Regan, sorry, I was a dick up there. Should have just nicely pointed out that you missed it. I had gone through a break up not 10 minutes earlier and needed to clear my mind by getting on a forum and talking about Star Wars and was an asshole instead. I'm sorry dude.
This movie and TLJ are polar opposites for me. I absolutely love the themes that TLJ raised and explored, but the execution leaves a lot to be desired. It's nonsensical at times and, besides Kylo/Rey/Luke/Yoda for a second, the remaining 90% of the movie is completely unsatisfying and is just sort of pointless.
This movie, on the other hand, is...well, thematically and as a story, as everyone said it's a mess. But it's a *glorious* mess. This one fits in the same bucket as Solo for me: it's damn stupid, but man is it fun. A satisfying end to the Star Wars saga it is most definitely *not,* but in many ways this movie gave me much of what I missed from the other two:
-The gang felt like a gang. It's an ensemble film, and IMO that is integral to "feeling like Star Wars." This one got that right.
-It's fast-paced, perhaps to a fault, but I really appreciated that this film had *energy.*
-The Emperor and all that makes absolutely zero goddamn sense, but in a batshit-crazy EU kind of way. The whole movie felt like "fuck it, let's go for it," and I'd be lying if I said I wasn't smiling like an idiot when Palpatine Force-lightning'd an entire fleet of ships out of the sky. Like, WHAT. It's so over the top and fucking stupid that I kind of love it.
-Speaking EU-type stuff, a lot of the imagery is just...again, stupid as fuck and not at all explained and doesn't really matter, but a lot of the imagery is fucking awesome. I have no idea who was in that absurdly giant Rebel fleet, but damn it was a fun dogfight. The Emperor being hooked up to some...mechanical arm...life support thing...with mangled skin and smoky blind eyes...surrounded by tens of thousands of black hooded figures who are apparently loads of Sith we've never heard about...all stupid, all completely unnecessary, and all fucking awesome.
-Billy Dee Williams seems literally unable to act at this point, but he seemed real happy to be there, so that's cool I guess.
-Babu Frink FTW. Easily one of my favorite characters in all of Star Wars in that "tiny side character a la Salacious Crumb echelon."
It occurs to me that this isn't so much an ending to the story so much as it is a coked-up celebration of the whole saga that you'll probably regret in the morning, and it'll all be a blur, but you'll probably be sure that you enjoyed yourself somewhat, even if you maybe regret it.
So, TLJ is a nutritious meal that doesn't taste very good as it goes down. TROS is pure candy. Less and less satisfying the more I think about it, and very probably the worst of the three sequel films, but also very probably the most *enjoyable.* It's like Transformers as Star Wars.