***SPOILER ALERT for those reading the end of this thread not really knowing that we're discussing major plot points to TLJ***
Just came back from the theater 2 hours ago. I am an absolutely HUGE and die-hard fan of Star Wars. My father raised me on the films, right along with the Jets. I was so happy with it. I'm gonna watch it a second time and let it sink in before giving the film a numerical score and before I really start diving into my own theories for IX. For many, I feel like this is a film that will be appreciated years down the road when the "Sequel Trilogy" (as they call it within the fanbase) is wrapped up and some, obviously, loose ends are tightened up with a pretty bow.
Rian could have taken the easy way out, set this film up to be your typical "the emotionally conflicted bad guy realizes the error of his ways and turns good to fight the big baddie with everyone else in the final movie, THE END" and I absolutely love that he stuck to his guns and made a Star Wars movie that destroyed the flawed tropes of the past. We saw the downfall story play out. We saw the redemption angle too. This is fresh and it's new. @RutgersJetFan is right when he presumed that certain people were gonna have issues with the film. The guys who fell in love with the original trilogy, particularly the ones who are active on the internet, a little older, and stubborn in their "this is what Star Wars is, and anything else written in any other way, is trash" were never going to love or appreciate the film and it's direction. I knew that the second I walked out of that theater. I'm not trying to say that they're wrong for not enjoying it (everyone is entitled to their own taste), but when you have such a stubborn bias in how you believe things should be done, you shouldn't be surprised when someone comes along to shake things up and you're left dissatisfied.
On to the plot...
I really like the line where Luke says to Rey “what were you expecting, that I face down the whole First Order army myself?” From my point of view (lol), Luke is not only talking to Rey, but to us, the audience. From the moment we saw Palpatine execute order 66 in ROTS, we realized, as powerful as they are, the Jedi cannot hold their own against an entire army. Even if Luke was so powerful that he was the key to defeating the first order in the battlefield as Rey implied, what does that say about his character? Staying hidden while his family, friends, and innocent people are killed by the first order. He would be a monster. Also, the "Laser Sword" comment felt like a nice little shot from Rian and Co. at those who actually thought that was the way they were going to take Luke's character. It would have been ridiculous. It's a shame that it fell on deaf ears for some because THAT is exactly what they wanted to see and any other direction, in their eyes, makes the film "bad".
Luke understanding that his actions, and the actions of the Jedi have created the current problems. He really feels that he can do more harm than good. He is wrong in these beliefs though, and in this movie he learns that his biggest power is his power to inspire people. That of course is beautifully illustrated by the final scene of the film, where the slave kids are gathered around and one of them is recounting the battle where Luke Skywalker, alone, faced The First Order. Inspiration was what the world needed, and that’s is what Luke gave them. That was his purpose. In a way, that is more powerful than him beating the first order in battle with his "Laser Sword".
Regarding Snokes death, a small part of me is disappointed that they killed him off so soon, but I thought that how he died was perfect. I've seen people complain that Snoke wasn't fleshed out enough before he died and, quite frankly, it annoys me because it's like those people completely forgot that Sidious was literally nothing more than a hooded hologram for a total of 45 seconds in the OT before he was introduced in ROTJ and, literally, thrown away after 10-15 minutes of screen time. The death scene for Snoke is a very classical "the all powerful being dies because his hubris is blinding him" scene and it was done beautifully. He saw what Kylo was doing but totally misinterpreted it. I've seen complaints about him using exposition to explain what was happening but I thought that added to the moment. One aspect of story telling is showing the reader/viewer something that is impending but the character doesn't realize it. It was also an absolutely awesome way to reintroduce the old Sith ways of "the apprentice either kills the master or is discarded for someone who eventually will" tradition, even if Snoke and Ren aren't actually Sith.
Kylo Ren has become one of the best characters in the entire franchise and Adam Driver's performance was absolutely brilliant. I was always a fan of his acting and it's great to see him do such a phenomenal job in this series. Watching his rise as an actor has been fun in itself.
Lastly, I don't care what anyone says about the end of Luke's character in this film. What an absolutely beautiful send off scene. Sitting there, exhausted from the power he just exerted, the vision of the Twin Suns, was insane to me. I won't lie, it was emotional and had me choking up a bit. Like, if he had to go, that was perfect for me. He died in peace, smiling, just as his masters did. Personally, I have no doubt that he will be back as a Force Ghost and, to be honest, that's the right way to continue the character. This story is all about the new kids. The old guard has to pass the torch and it started with Han's death. Keeping Luke "alive" just because he's Luke Skywalker, is silly, even if that's what the Star Wars purists want.