I loved the film so much right from the off.
Luke's story for me made so much sense. The several years of build up only for TFA to give us 1 minute, then with everybody expecting the predictable wise old yoda/Luke, we are given a reason to why the Jedi religion is no longer the ideology Luke holds to. The 'lazer sword' over the shoulder just emphasised his point, a little comically but I believe deliberate to shake up those still dreaming of the Luke/Yoda predictable story.
Its 'the force' > (The Jedi order / Dark Side / Sith).
TLJ for me is the logical conclusion that the star wars films have always been about the 'fall of the jedi order', the Force Awakening was exactly that, that the force isnt solely about religion, its about what yoda told us. Star Wars is about the force being the central character, not the Jedi.
From Anakins frustration at the order, Palpatine turning everyone against the jedi order, the corruption and manipulation of anakin through to the redemption. Now we have the EU story of Luke starting and failing at a new Jedi Order. Why are people demanding that Luke, who hasnt really been much of a Jedi suddenly gets laden with this wise old master tag? Ive heard that story and wanted something fresh. TLJ provided that. His reason for tossing the saber is that as the two new films touched upon that much is now legend and myth (like that EU story a lot wanted). Lukes painful story from Kylo's point of view was that Luke got it wrong. I can see Kylo's choice. What else could he do? In his eyes Luke was going to kill him. Lukes point of view is that he wasnt going to carry it out but can understand what he's done and the catalyst for Han's death etc. The gravitas of that situation, for me, was breathtaking. Luke thought that he could control and change the force by insisting that Kylo was behest of the religion. Kylo was strong with the force, just not with the religious constraints - Luke was already struggling with him we are told. Thus the lines in TFA of Leia when we hear 'theres too much Vader in him'. Of course there is. Anakin too found the Jedi order something impossible to adhere to. Luke was always going to fail, Leia knew it (was she aware that her Military Career and Han's smuggling/racing/itchy pants behaviour would always lead to a child growing up on the sidelines so was happy to hand him over to her brother?).
And thats why Luke retiring away from everything to Ach-to so heartbreaking. And thus so enchanting. His tossing of the lightsaber echoed that mischievous Yoda we saw in ESB. A lightsaber is just a thing, a tool. Luke isnt the legend Rey had heard, there was more to that story. And this was backed up in the child's play at the end. The story was that Luke did face the first order and hold them off.
Could Rey and Chewie bring him back to the failing resistance? No. The old bugger isnt moving. His hermit-isation was wonderful. Luke came from a simple life and returned to it. Kylo suggested the facetime power call would take immense power and we slowly saw it enter the physical realm with the moisture on Kylo. Its a power that we've seen build across the star wars media. We've had Vader and Palpatine (clone wars) force choke across the galaxy. With that in mind I thought we might see a Jedi pop through a portal to save the day. It almost happened. So to pull that off before becoming one with the force was a perfect ending. Yoda, Ben, both became one with the force. They werent chopped up or diced up. I'm hoping this is something we will see more in 9. Luke's physical interactions will i believe lead to a different conclusion in 9. I'm hoping his one with the force will mean we see something epic in 9 with force ghosts.
What I loved about the film were the main leads and their stories.
Poe - a great pilot but with any great strategy? He fucked up in TFA, He fucked up in TLJ. He got schooled by experienced generals and military. I believe this film will see him being a more rounded character in 9. Leia shooting him in her dressing gown was brilliant.
Rey - Similar to Poe she has an understandable innocence. With the force on her side she leaves Ach-to having failed, but she does learn that the Jedi order is no more. I still fail to understand where people are not seeing she's a very handy defender of herself from the first moment we see her. The only major force thing she does is move some rocks.. her backstory with shitty parents is her journey, she unlike Kylo can follow her own path. No baggage, and that scene in TFA when she looks at the crone performing her job is a great vision for her. Rey is my favourite character.
Finn - In my book the character who keeps learning. When he faces Phasma and also prepared to die to save everyone its when he finally realises that he cannot run. He can do something. His story arc and failure is brilliant. It also sits alongside the other two heroes so beautifully.
Yoda states that failure is part of life. All these characters fail majorly in this film (along with Luke). Poor decisions, riding on their legend or the legends of others to put things right, but realising that they have to step up for the greater good. Just great story telling IMHO. I know Canto bight gets a bit cheesey but Rose's introduction is there for Finn's development. As an old cheese I did love her line.
I could talk about this wonderful movie for days, there is so much to it. Sure some of the jokes and moments were silly, but their inclusion were to bring a more general audience in (the Hux on hold - animal rights - diversity in roles and responsibilities (Ackbar being killed and Holdo being included was VERY deliberate), much like TFA bought lapsed fans back in.
And finally.. the Leia in space scene chokes me up. I fucking loved it. First time I was relieved Leia wasn't dead. The second time I cried.. YES SHE's FUCKING ALIVE!!!