There is no such thing as good. There is no such thing as evil. Star Wars: The Last Jedi opens in wide release this Friday, and writer/director Rian Johnson’s first foray into the Star Wars Universe attempts to bend its rules but relies so much on classic tropes that the film ends up broken.

The Last Jedi exists mainly in three parallel story arcs: Rey’s (Daisy Ridley) encounter with Luke Skywalker (Mark Hamill) on his remote planet; Poe’s (Oscar Isaac) and Finn’s (Jon Boyega) struggle to save the resistance fleet from annihilation at the hand of General Hux (Domnhall Gleeson), and Kylo Ren’s (Adam Driver) tumult under the tutelage of Supreme Leader Snoke (Andy Serkis).

This film feels in no way like any of the previous entries in the Star Wars saga from a plot standpoint, and it also fiddles with new territory from a thematic standpoint as well. The main idea that continues to try to surface itself is one that is of complete defiance to the central theme of the Star Wars Universe. Rather than there being a clearly defined light and dark side, The Last Jedi posits that this isn’t the case. There are layers to good and evil and drawing that distinction is much less clear than previous films would have you believe. At least, The Last Jedi attempts to posit this.

As soon as the film starts to go down in thematic territory unexplored thus far in the Star Wars saga, it gets undermined by a desire to have something go boom or the plot to take a more traditional turn. It comes so close so many times to turning the concept of a Star Wars film into a completely new direction that its constant retreats into more traditional Star Wars territory become increasingly frustrating as the film moves along.

And the film moves along forever. Running at a bloated 2 hours and 32 minutes (the longest film by a full 10 minutes in the Star Wars canon), the film never finds its pacing groove. At first shuttling back and forth between its three storylines and then merging them together in a clumsy and contrived fashion that pays off in an endless climax that never truly connects and feels like it should have reached it conclusion a half-dozen times.

With all its disjointed moving parts and inability to find a singular tone or point of view, The Last Jedi is the biggest mess in the Star Wars film series since The Phantom Menace gave us Jar Jar Binks 18 years ago. It simply cannot make up its mind about what it wants to be and vacillates so quickly that it’s impossible for the film to ever gain any real momentum.

That lack of momentum is most apparent in the film’s utter lack of any character development. Those hoping to learn more about Rey or Finn or Poe will have to wait for the next film because The Last Jedi leaves them all just about right where they started. Kylo is given the largest arc of any character in the film but by the time he’s brought into the film’s climax, barely anything has changed about him at all.

What makes all of the film’s shortcomings so frustrating is that there are so many good ideas swirling around inside it. There are moments that seem poised to be iconic only to be thrown away in favor of a mix of fan service blockbusterism. There are surface scratches of untouched thematic depths quickly abandoned so that the next set piece may be formed. It feels so much as if the work of an auteur who wanted to take Star Wars in a deeper direction was undone by a meddling studio head who wanted to make sure the formula was kept intact.

This film hints so often at bringing a deeper exploration into the concept of good and evil. In so many different ways does it attempt to show levels to the light and the dark only to throw it all away when it’s more convenient to draw those lines in the sand when it’s time set up the next battle sequence. It’s as if the film cannot resolve a conflict with itself over what it wants to be and that turmoil tears it apart again and again.

Much like that never ending battle between good and evil.