Every mainline Star Wars movie has been very similar to each other up until this point. People forget that Star Wars was always a series targeting families and children. Though there was great wonder and stories surrounding the movies, that tone never seeped into the movies themselves. The stories that populated the rest of the Star Wars universe were always different in tone, and I think people have come to expect that from the movies. Fan theories and wondering where the movies will take you can and are poisonous. This happened when the Matrix trilogy came out and I hope it doesn't happen here.
When The Force Awakens came out, people were ecstatic. The excitement overwhelmed people into overlooking the faults that the movie still bears. This movie does not have that blinding cloud for me, so when I say that the Last Jedi is good enough , I mean it.
The Last Jedi has the best cinematography of any Star Wars movie. There are so many beautiful shots that could be posters themselves, such attention the framing of the movie really went a long way in making the movie feel new. This is important because it reflects on the new direction that no other main Star Wars movie has gone. This isn't a rehash of Empire Strikes Back like the Force Awakens was just A New Hope. There is a new feeling to the movie that can throw some people off, but I'm glad that it happened.
This change does not come without consequences though. The first casualty to the new direction is pacing. This movie is not paced out well. The story beats are not well cut together. You will go from intense scene to more of the same. Any example would give away the plot of the movie, but think about it this way. Imagine a Nascar race, but instead of watching one lap, it cuts halfway through to a car in a pitstop getting its tire changed. When that happens you would think to yourself, "I didn't even get to finish that moment". That is the majority of this movie.
The next problem is overarching story vs micro story. There is finally some real character development at the expense of what the story actually achieves. You finally get some truly great moments of characters coming into their own, but not really progressing. This movie doesn't answer the questions you might have had, but it wasn't made to. All the fan theories and speculation might make you really not like the result that you get. In short, the total story leaves you in a state too similar to the one it starts off in, it feels like nothing is achieved in the movie.
As a movie, this is a good one. As a Star Wars movie, this is a mixed bag. It is in peek form when it acknowledges its legacy and uses that as a building block into creating a deeper story. The most harm it does to itself is trying to work with the new characters that were established in the last movie.
The biggest difference between The Force Awakens and The Last Jedi is that after The Force Awakens, you wanted more. After this movie, you don't feel like you want more. All the questions that the first movie gave you are answered in this one, though many people will not like those answers.
I really appreciate the classic storytelling that was infused into this movie. There was more balance to each side and a mirroring effect that really helped you understand the motivations of the Rebellion and the New Order. It is ironic in a way because it takes a sledgehammer to what Star Wars could have been going forward. The two sides are forever morphed into things that are unfamiliar, even to the prequels.
This movie felt more like a platform that comics, tv series, and books will build upon to flesh out the Star Wars universe. It satiated the desire for a new Star Wars barely but left a trail of pain behind it. With this movie, it is now more apparent than ever that there was never a plan for this trilogy. People defended The Force Awakens by saying that the whole story was already planned out and that everything would fall into place. This argument truly holds no real weight, but then was made even worse when it was revealed that there was no official plan.
This movie is a beautiful mess. A mess, but one that was filmed beautifully. I would recommend you see it on a huge screen if you are a casual Star Wars fan and all the way to super Star Wars nerdom. If you go to the movies for fun, you don't have to watch this.