Better than I expected, but overall only barely good.
I went into this with pretty low expectations, and the first half of the movie had me quite worried. I thought Thandie Newman was terrible and I wasn't buying that new droid for a second. Only when she interacts with other droids did I find her really on-point. The train action sequence was far too long and the depressing colour scheme of the first half just really gets old (all dark blues and greys, I get it that Corellia is no picnic but then the mud world was just more of the same dreariness). I don't know what happened in the second half but all of a sudden all the characters, story and pacing just seemed to gel together really well. Most surprising, I really started to enjoy and get impressed by Emilia Clarke's performance which I had assumed would be terrible from the trailers. There was all sorts of depth to her character and she was good fun. I think the casting of Han Solo was a mistake, they should have gone from the kid from Baby Driver. I didn't mind Woody Harrelson who's a strong enough actor to become any character he wants. I even liked the required Clint Howard cameo. I think the reason the 2nd half is better is that the movie decides to really become a Star Wars story at that point. Before then, it's just a backdrop and doesn't feel like it has any soul at all. Once mission and purpose start to get there, and all sorts of important Star Wars stuff begins to tie in, then I think the movie gets much better. I will say this, every scene in the Millenium Falcon has a ton of gravitas and that's when the movie truly shines. Heart rating: 3.5 stars Brain rating: 3 stars