The Flaws Awaken – Nitpicking the New ‘Star Wars’ Movie

Before fanboys and fangirls out there ignite their lightsabers, let me preface this article by saying I liked ‘The Force Awakens’ – a lot. It was a monumental task for J.J. Abrams and company to revive the feeling most of us felt for the ‘Star Wars’ franchise back in the late 1970s/early ’80s, and for the most part, this new film manages to recapture that magic. But the movie is not without some flaws – some of which may have been intentional by the filmmakers, but certainly shouldn’t be overlooked.

SPOILER ALERT!: While I’ve done my best to avoid any MAJOR plot spoilers in the text that follows, it’s impossible to talk about some issues in this movie without going into the basic storyline and the characterizations we see in the film. Hopefully, those who have seen the movie will know what moments I’m referring to below, while those who haven’t seen it won’t feel too spoiled. However, for those of you who haven’t yet seen ‘The Force Awakens’, do yourself a favor and see the movie first before reading this piece. I won’t be offended!

Han Solo Returns

For all the talk from Harrison Ford about how he came back to ‘Star Wars’ because he liked what the script gave Han Solo to do, the character as portrayed here isn’t a whole lot deeper or more developed than we’ve seen him before.

That’s not to say that Harrison Ford doesn’t get plenty of screen time in this installment. In fact, from the moment he appears in the story (though it’s not until the second act), Han Solo is pretty much the lead character in ‘The Force Awakens’ and a big chunk of the film focuses on him. However, Ford seems to be around primarily as fan service. He has a lot of great one-liners (this might be a good time to mention that ‘The Force Awakens’ may be the funniest ‘Star Wars’ movie to date), but upon reflection, how necessary is his character to this story? Not a whole lot. He’s basically a guide for the new young characters – telling them things they need to know, taking them to see people they need to meet, and helping them get out of jams.

Of the big three from the original cast – with Ford taking up the most screen time and Mark Hamill the least – who would have guessed that Carrie Fisher would actually get the best moments in ‘The Force Awakens’? She only has a moderate number of scenes, but she’s the emotional core of the original trio, and the scenes she shares with Ford are his best in the movie.

Kylo Ren

I’ll go out on a limb and say that Kylo Ren will be the most debated character of this new trilogy. Some die-hard fans will love him and some will despise him. Of course, a lot of that has to do with his actions in this film, but a lot of it also has to do with the way the character is written.

To say that Kylo is “Darth Vader-lite” is probably the best description of the character. He’s honed a number of abilities using the Dark Side of the force, but he’s much more like the Vader we saw in ‘Return of the Jedi’ in that he has an obvious internal struggle between the Light Side and the Dark.

But that’s not the the biggest problem with Ren. The biggest issue with the character is that his Force skills are all over the map, depending on what each scene calls for him to do. Early in the movie, he seems like an unstoppable force when he leads an attack on a Jakku village. However, later in the movie, when he has to square off against a pair of our main characters, he suddenly comes across as very poorly trained. In fact, there’s one character with seemingly no Force abilities at all (or at least with none we know about yet) who lasts several minutes up against Ren, when you’d think he wouldn’t last two seconds.

Rey

Although it’s perhaps no surprise to anyone going into the movie, the biggest spoiler I’ll reveal in this piece is that fact that Rey is Force-sensitive. In fact, she doesn’t just have Force abilities; she comes off as being stronger in the Force than any character we’ve seen to date in the ‘Star Wars’ universe.

We already know how strong Luke became in the Force, but when we first met him back in ‘A New Hope’, he struggled to learn how to use a lightsaber. It wasn’t until ‘The Empire Strikes Back’ that he was able to move objects with his mind, and not until ‘Return of the Jedi’ that he could do the ol’ Jedi Mind Trick. Yet in ‘The Force Awakens’, Rey is able to figure out how to do all of these things with no training at all! There’s not even another Jedi around to suggest how she might try to do what she does. She basically just figures it out on her own. Rey even has better lightsaber fighting skills that any other character in this movie, a point which I’m almost positive will be every fan’s biggest complaint about ‘The Force Awakens’.

All the Other New Characters

I really didn’t even think of this one until after I saw the movie and was able to reflect on it, but for all the hype about the new characters, isn’t it unusual how very little we learned about most of them?

The two new main characters already mentioned – Kylo and Rey – get a lot of screen time, but when all is said and done, they still leave the audience with a lot of questions. Kylo is easily the most developed of the new characters, while Rey is still somewhat of a mystery… and a character who still hasn’t been given a last name (which should lead to an additional two years of speculation, particularly given the movie’s final scene). Most of us knew that John Boyega’s Finn was a Stormtrooper-turned-good, but his character’s past and parentage remain fairly elusive as well. Poe Dameron is courageous and a great pilot, but I couldn’t tell you much about his character beyond that, despite some significant screen time.

As for some of the major secondary characters…? We learn virtually nothing about Captain Phasma, General Hux or even Supreme Leader Snoke in this movie. They seem like merely set-pieces to move the plot along or – in the case of Snoke – provide exposition to the audience. Then there’s Max von Sydow’s character, who comes and goes so quickly I’m not even sure we get his name.

Familiar Tropes

I’m sure this won’t be lost on most who see the movie, but it’s amazing how similar to ‘A New Hope’ this new film is. The movie is entertaining, but it’s also very, very familiar. Once again, we get a droid who’s holding important information in his data banks. Once again, the bad guys send troops to a desert world to search for that droid. Once again, those same bad guys have built a huge battle station capable of destroying worlds. Once again, that battle station is holding a prisoner that our heroes need to fly in and rescue, and once again, the climax has the good guys leading an attack in the hope of blowing up said battle station.

Certainly, it can’t have been lost on the filmmakers how closely their movie resembled the original film, so this must have been intentional. The only question is why? Yes, the best ‘Star Wars’ movies (i.e., the original trilogy) have had pretty simplistic plots, but did we really need what is essentially a third Death Star film? I’m not even sure George Lucas – who has gotten his fair share of complaints about his storytelling – would have gone there had he written this film. Again, the movie is still quite entertaining, but it loses points for originality.

John Williams

This might be my nitpickiest of nitpicks, but – with all due respect to one of cinema’s greatest composers – John Williams’ score for ‘The Force Awakens’ seems… well, rather lazy. Yes, many of the familiar themes are back – such as the main title score, the Han/Leia theme, and even Luke’s theme. However, when it comes to new material, nothing here impressed me or had me humming it as I left the theater.

The most notable of the new music is the new theme for Rey, but it’s not exactly catchy. It sounds like a mix of the Han/Leia and Luke themes, to be honest. Remember “Dual of the Fates”? Or the love theme for Anakin and Padme? Or that great music Williams came up with for the Anakin/Obi-Wan showdown in ‘Revenge of the Sith’? We get nothing even remotely close to that in ‘The Force Awakens’. In fact, I feel like this is Williams’ worst new score since ‘Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull’, which also didn’t bring anything new or exciting to the table.

Conclusion

At the risk of repeating myself, I feel the need to say once again that I really liked the new ‘Star Wars’ movie and plan to see it at least several more times before it leaves theaters – but that doesn’t mean we shouldn’t address some of the problems with the film, a few of which I’ve touched on above (and probably more that other fans will note in the days, weeks and months to come).

Feel free to share your own nitpicks (or tell me why I’m wrong!) in the Comments below. And may the Force be with you.

[Ed.: If you haven’t already, be sure to also vote in the poll at the end of our ‘Force Awakens’ theatrical review. -JZ]

54 comments

  1. Chris B

    Personally, I though Harrison Ford’s best moments were the elements of humor between him and Rey and him and Finn. The scenes with him and Leia came off as kind of awkward and forced IMHO. If I was Carrie Fisher I’d feel kind of ripped off. She went from being a princess/rebel/warrior in the first trilogy to be given very little to do in The Force Awakens. All she does is say hello and goodbye to people throughout the movie and that’s it.

    Poe doesn’t really have character, he kind of exists only as an excuse to have X-wings in the movie. it’s almost like the writers were trying to cram too much shit into this movie and wound up short-changing a lot of people’s backstories. they should have either made it 3 hours long or cut out a few characters.

    I’ve already bitched about the color of Luke’s light saber in another thread but that’s the thing that bugs me the most. It seems obvious that the filmmakers just wanted to have a blue vs. red light saber duel at the end so they just conveniently had Luke’s old weapon from The Empire Strikes Back show up. It should have been green! this movie was supposed to act as sequel to Return of the Jedi, it would have been a perfect way to help tie the two films together visually.

    • How could it be green when Luke still probably HAS his lightsaber, the fact that the old one was found and now called out to Rey is whats the most interesting thing here, still dont get why this is a problem for you

      • Chris B

        Well for starters, how does Rey touch the hilt and have a big flashback moment about her past? If it’s been passed around for the past 30 years then none of Luke’s or her memories should be stored in it….

        • Most of what was said and seen in that vision had to do with Anakin before he turned, Luke’s connection to Obi-Wan and of course Rey’s life, its a vision and its the Force Awakening, hence the title. I dont think its that hard to understand. I need to see it again but you can hear Yoda and Obi-Wan in the vision, I’ll be paying better attention to that next time I get to the theater

        • Chris B

          I need to see it again as well, I’m hoping a lot of my issues with the movie will be resolved in Ep. 8…I still liked The Force Awakens, I just didn’t love it.

  2. My biggest complaint happens right at the beginning of the movie: the opening crawl. I just didn’t think the language and flow of it matched up with the opening crawls of the first 6 movies. I’m guessing this is simply because it wasn’t written by George Lucas but you’d think they could have emulated the style of previous opening crawls. Its possible its also because the opening crawl has so much to cover. Most of the things you bring up I can see why someone would have a problem with this or that but I ultimately don’t. The only thing I really disagree with you about is Kylo Ren’s force abilities. I wouldn’t say his power level is all over the map, its just that by the end of the film hes been severely injured, I mean this in the physical sense of the word as well as emotionally and psychologically because of events in the preceding scene. By the time hes fighting Finn and then Rey, hes totally exhausted from doing a terrible an unthinkable action, being shot by a bowcaster (which had been shown to be EXTREMELY powerful previously in the film) and then having to chase the two down. Theres also nothing stating that Finn doesn’t have force abilities, he just might not be as strong with the Force as Rey. Or, as some are speculating that Rey had early training that was wiped from her memory, no previous training with the Force. In fact, I’d make the case that Finn definitely is Force capable because of the opening attack on Jakku. From his reaction to the onslaught and his compatriots death, it appears that its much more than an ethical problem he has with the situation, especially when him and Kylo Ren share that look at the end of the scene. Finn’s ability to break his programming could also be a hint to his connection to the Force as it appears that such an occurrence is a rarity.

  3. Chapz Kilud

    Kylo Ren is about as pathetic a villain as you can get. The guy behaves like a spoiled brat. He’s emotionally unstable and throws tantrums more than typical patient in a psychiatric facility. Don’t mistaken his actions at Jakku village as a sign of power. He was only capable of slaughter defenseless people. He showed that again when he killed Han Solo. When he was faced with a couple of newbies who held light saber for the first time in their lives, he couldn’t finish them off.

    If they want to throw away previous non-cannon material, at least be more creative. Ben??? That was the name of Luke Skywalker’s son. Going to dark side? That was Jascen Solo, Leia and Han’s first son. You mix their names together, it doesn’t give you points for originality. It’s still copied from known works. I’d like to see the writers for some of the Star Wars novels complain about Episode 7 copying their ideas.

    • Kylo Ren is a flawed character, struggling very hard with the pull to the light and his extreme want to stay dark….he cant control his emotions, his rage or just about anything else and that makes him dangerous in itself. Already we know more about his character than we ever did Darth Vader when Star Wars started, he’s already well fleshed out and we know that he isnt fully trained yet, to go as nuts as he did, kill his own father, beat himself and make himself keep fighting after being shot like he did shows a crazy side to him, he’s completely reckless while also having calm and collected moments of power, he’s completely unpredictable and thats what makes him so compelling….we have a lot to learn about him yet and he’s easily my favorite character out of the new film, Rey a very close second 🙂

      • Cat's Paw

        There’s a contradiction there though. He can’t control his emotions… to the point he takes his lightsabre and destroys an instrument panel on a starship… yet he had enough discipline to develop his skills and accept some degree of training from Luke, etc. I guess he’s supposed to have Anakin-levels of natural ability, but no discipline… but in the prequels, at least everybody recognized that you don’t follow somebody like that, and give then high title. The Jedi didn’t even make Anakin a Jedi Master, yet Kylo is running around apparently leading regiments of stormtroopers and Star Destroyers, etc.

    • Kevin Johnson

      Gotta agree that the tantrums were annoying, if only because it’s treated as a joke, and was dissonant from his behavior in other scenes. Yeah, it’s frightening that such an unstable kid has that kind of power, in the same way it’s frightening to see unstable kids with guns, but that’s not exactly what I want to see from a Star Wars villain. That’s what ruined Anakin in the prequels, that he acted like a teenager. As Vader, he killed almost discompassionately–if people failed him, he force strangled them, often without a word. That was much more frightening, that he could kill without even becoming outwardly angry. Then again, I do believe they have a chance to salvage Kylo Ren, as it’s obvious they intended him to appear untrained in the dark side, and that is something that is likely to change soon, and it needs to be either between the movies or early on in Episode 8.

      • Vader was who he was, technically later on in the series, sure he was great in the original trilogy and I fully understand what you mean but as a teenager, he couldnt learn to control his feelings, and thats how it goes with real people. No way would Kylo Ren be completely cold and calculating at this point in the game, to me its a bit more compelling to watch someone like this and his arc, Vader had no arc in the original trilogy, as Star Wars fans, we all love him but he was pretty simple over all, the only time he showed he had any personality was when he finally realized he cared for his son and betrayed the emperor, otherwise, not a whole lot there. I’m anxious to see what they do with Kylo Ren and how his story plays out

  4. Mizuno Boy

    The main weapon makes no sense at all. The original death stars had to be in proximity to the intended target. If you are consuming a star from another system it’d take an age for the weapons fire to reach the target. We are talking lightyears between systems. Hence the whole jump to hyperspace. Also it consumed a star to provide its power. That star’s solar system would be dead. I feel pretty safe labeling that as an extinction level event. What would the planets orbit? I’d love to know how that plays out. It would make more sense if it consumed a system’s star to create devistation and used the fuel to defend itself against attack in the process.

    • Chapz Kilud

      JJ Abrams creativity is only limited to making up b.s. nonsense. The idea was copied from Star Wars Sun Crusher. But even that weapon wasn’t capable of firing across galaxies. If you recall, Star Trek into Darkness came up with device capable of beaming Khan from Earth to Klingon home world Kronos. Why do they need spaceships??? So you should recognize this Death Star as JJ Abrams’ bull.

      • Shannon Nutt
        Author

        JJ didn’t write INTO DARKNESS, and only co-wrote THE FORCE AWAKENS. I doubt very much they looked to an old novel for the idea…it’s almost certainly just a coincidence.

        • Chapz Kilud

          He could have shot down any ideas he didn’t like. If someone else wrote the b.s., he obviously liked it. Let’s hope the coincidence ends there. If we have Rey cutting down Kilo Ren in the end and they turned out to be relatives, that would be straight copy from Jaina Solo killing Jacen Solo. Snoke had better not be cloned emperor.

    • Cat's Paw

      Not only that, but the older Death Stars were space stations… ships of a sort. They presumably had some sort of motive power, even though we never see exhaust or fuel burning (I can’t imagine the fabled 2 meter exhaust port was driving the Death Star around). But with a planet… a natural planet… how are you supposed to aim it at anything? It’s orbiting around, and the plasma (or whatever) shoots out of it, but how is that supposed to work? I would think you would have to wait until natural orbit brings you around to the right angle. Also, why isn’t the Starkiller planet’s atmosphere ripped away when the sun’s plasma rips through the ground and shoots through the atmosphere into space?

      I get that we’re supposed to suspend disbelief, but there are different degrees of that. We suspend enough just stepping into the Star Wars universe… the weapons should make basic sense.

  5. I agree with most of what you said, although I didn’t care about the music, nor about not learning much about the new characters. I enjoyed the movie a lot (just saw it), but it certainly was too familiar, derivative. That was one of the things I didn’t like about Return of the Jedi as well. Even just reading the title scroll where it talks about what’s going on, I was thinking, Leia leading a rebellion against the dark side? Again? It was already too familiar. Plus they seemed way more Nazi-like in this movie.

    Don’t forget that Kylo Ren was injured when Finn fought him, and bleeding, so that may have been why he lasted at all in that fight.

    It seems to me that the flashbacks that Rey had indicated that she is Luke’s daughter. The reason she was waiting around the desert planet and wanted to get back is because they told her that they’d be back to get her some day.

    I really didn’t like that they killed off Han or that Mark Hamil was barely in the movie. I hope they find a way to revive Han, but I’m not too optimistic about that. I’m very glad that they didn’t kill off Luke, which is what I feared.

    Kylo Ren doesn’t look anything like Han or Leia. Terrible casting in that way. Good actor but… he looks kind of Italian in the movie (not in other photos I’ve seen of him). I found it distracting that he didn’t look like anyone else in his family.

    A smaller plot point that bothered me is that, Finn escaped from the life of being a stormtrooper, after being upset that one of his other stormtrooper friends was killed, then turns right around and shoots other stormtroopers! Plus he’s happy and excited to do so! I didn’t like that they made him kind of cowardly as well.

    But overall I did enjoy it. It was fun, funny, entertaining…

    • Shannon Nutt
      Author

      The poster that made the point about the bowcaster made an excellent observation. I certainly knew Kylo was injured during those last couple of fights, but I didn’t pick up on how the movie shows the power of that bowcaster throughout until later viewings.

      I still think it doesn’t make a whole lot of sense that Kylo can throw Rey up against a tree at the beginning of a battle, then struggle to even get the advantage later on. Again, it’s nitpicky – which is the entire point of the article above.

      • Kevin Johnson

        I just took it that she wasn’t prepared. Most of the time, she has to concentrate/focus to use her abilities, so she wasn’t prepared to use her abilities at that moment. Yeah, it doesn’t exactly make sense for her to be able to best a pseudo-Sith, but then again, the force is weird that way. Even in the first movie (New Hope), it’s revealed that the Force can “partially” control your actions as well as obey your commands, so chalk it up to the Force having a horse in the race and picking sides. If anything, the fact that Finn isn’t dead is much more unbelievable. And I don’t exactly buy into the Light Side being seductive, but I guess Yoda’s line about the Dark Side (“Is the Dark Side stronger?” “No. Quicker, easier, more seductive”) doesn’t entirely rule out the Light Side having any seductive qualities, but it just sounds weird to call the pull to do good “seductive.”

      • Chapz Kilud

        He wasn’t mortally wounded. If this were Darth Maul or Count Dooku, you can bet that blaster wound wouldn’t stop them from taking down newbies. Whatever the training he received from Luke or Snoke should be more than plenty. The bigger implication would be how the empire managed to put the new republic on the brink if their top guy is so weak and pathetic, never mind the super weapon that was poorly designed and utilized.

    • Its all enhanced versions of what they’ve been using, stuff like the Falcon havent upgraded at all and still work….most everything in the film is similar to what came before, obviously there have been upgrades, Stormtroopers that actually have a weapon that can fight lightsabers a crazy new planet death star that can harness the power of the sun, its all a step forward but nothing drastic, gotta figure to where they are, since there are TONS of planets, quite a few I’m sure not being up to date on the modern technology, it makes sense to me, the Empire isnt changing much of what they do and its just a natural progression. I mean if you look at our planet today there are still places without good running water

  6. Kevin Johnson

    I think a lot of nitpicks might be rendered moot after the remaining movies are released, though it might make the entire movie moot, as well, if it turns out nothing of importance to the overarching story, besides the death of a major character, occurred in the Force Awakens. As far as Finn not having a backstory, he was taken as a baby from a conquered planet and forced to be a storm trooper–though apparently a janitor as opposed to an elite fighter–which was a common theme in the Expanded Universe novels (Chewbacca was apparently also a slave to the Empire, according to one of the novels). You’re not likely to get more than that,

    “I’ve already bitched about the color of Luke’s light saber in another thread but that’s the thing that bugs me the most. It seems obvious that the filmmakers just wanted to have a blue vs. red light saber duel at the end so they just conveniently had Luke’s old weapon from The Empire Strikes Back show up. It should have been green! this movie was supposed to act as sequel to Return of the Jedi, it would have been a perfect way to help tie the two films together visually.”

    That was purposeful, whether I agree with the logic or not. Luke’s lightsaber in the first two movies originally belonged to Anakin before he became Darth Vader, and that is why Kylo Ren refers to it as belonging to him, as heir to his grandfather. It’s not simply about wanting a blue lightsaber instead of a green one. After all, Luke likely still possesses his green lightsaber.

    • Kevin Johnson

      At one point it was even rumored that the opening scene would be of Luke’s lightsaber falling through space towards a planet, but thankfully they realized how incredibly stupid that would be.

      • Cat's Paw

        I wonder if that was going to be a riff on the transition early on in 2001: A Space Odyssey, in which the monkey throwing the bone in the air transforms into an orbiting nuclear missile silo, which looks quite a bit like a lightsabre tumbling/falling through space.

    • Shannon Nutt
      Author

      One should assume that Luke still has his green lightsaber.

      Plus, there’s a fan theory that the reason the lightsaber is “calling” to Rey isn’t because of Luke, but because she’s the granddaughter of Obi-Wan Kenobi. Remember, Obi Wan had that lightsaber in his possession a lot longer than Luke did…and Rey hears Obi-Wan’s voice during her “Force flashback.”

    • Chris B

      Just seems kind of odd that if Luke basically gave up being a Jedi and just ran off to live life as a hermit after things went bad, why would he still be in possession of a light saber? Wouldn’t he want to leave it behind? wouldn’t it be a constant reminder of the life he walked away from? why would he keep it?

  7. agentalbert

    The explanation for how Rey can do everything so well so quickly and with no training and best a guy who can pluck blaster bolts out of the air is very simple – ‘girl power”. That’s all it is. Maybe this movie should have been called “Episode VII – Title IX: The Force Awakens”.

    • People have already discussed this in depth…..being that she bested two or three guys on Jakku with her fighting abilities, sure could give her enough to fight Kylo Ren, not to mention the calling of the force and her (IMO) very likely being Luke’s daughter, lends even more belief to it, my guess is that she trained with Kylo Ren as a kid at the academy and her mind was kind of wiped of who she was to hide her away on Jakku, as she’s now involved with whats going on, her powers reawaken in her but they have really always been there, she just didnt know it, her fighting skills, her ability to pilot just about anything (like Anakin and Luke before her)…..explains quite a bit if you ask me

      • Daryl

        Thanks, Chaz! Like others, I really struggled with “how did Rey get so skilled so quickly without any form of training???” but your theory would certainly explain much. I’m hoping you’re right or that there’s an equally plausible explanation provided in the next movie, or else I’ll continue to feel a bit cheated/disappointed.

        • Guess we will all find out, if none of what I said becomes true, then it was kind of stupid….but lets hope thats not the case, JJ and Kasdan have more planned for this story I’m sure 🙂

  8. Cat's Paw

    What I liked (no particular order):

    1. I am mostly happy with the new characters, and glad the story focused on them. Having the IV-VI characters around was good for continuity, but the universe isn’t just about them. It was probably good to kill off Han Solo, because I just had the feeling that he wasn’t really into it any more.

    2. The barowner character with the odd glasses, who looked a little bit like E.T.- I forget her name, but I’m glad we finally, finally, FINALLY have a character (however minor) somewhat familiar with the FORCE who isn’t a Jedi. It always bothered me that if the Force is something that binds and flows through everybody, then why does there only seem to be this obscure priesthood in the Jedi/Sith of people who know about it, and who are adept in using it. It stands to reason there would be all sorts of beings around who sense it, and who have found different ways to relate to it, and use it in their lives in some way… maybe not for fighting, but as home remedies or as parts of other religions and philosophies, etc. If it’s as universal as the Jedi say, it should really appear universal, not exclusive to some little club.

    3. It may be a little overdone, but the parallels to Episode IV don’t bother me- Lucas and others have observed that history itself doesn’t recur, but does sometimes rhyme. Themes and situations recur, because they reflect unchanging truths in human nature (children do sometimes defy their parents; people with bad intentions do keep their intentions hidden- at least until they have become secure enough in their position to reveal themselves; etc).

    4. John Williams’ music is the “Force” of all these movies…. it binds them, and flows through them, and holds them together. I never get tired of it.

    5. I was worried that Disney would overly “cutesy-fy” this franchise. When I saw the advertisements with BB-8, I had this uneasy feeling he was going to be some horrible WALL-e /Jar-Jar mashup, but it was okay.

    6. No Jar-Jar, as it should be.

    What I didn’t like:

    1. Another Death Star? Really? I mean, it isn’t called the Death Star, but that’s basically what it is…. another existentially devastating super-weapon. Is this the only thing Star Wars screenwriters can think of to drive a plot? The Star Wars universe is so rich- there are so many more interesting things that could advance the plot of the franchise.

    2. This might be me, but I’m confused about the basic current events of the galaxy in Episode VII. Is the FIrst Order the underdog, or the Resistance? It makes a difference, because I don’t know if the destruction of those worlds was another state-sanctioned extrajudicial execution of millions of citizens again- as it was with Alderaan, or an act of terrorism. And yes, in a sense it was terrorism either way, but I mean terrorism in the sense of being an act of asymmetric warfare by a smaller power against a larger power. It’s important to interpreting the action, because if it was state sanctioned, it means the Resistance is basically back where they were in Episode IV, and the audience deserves a history lesson on how killing Darth Vader and the Emperor, and destroying the Death Star II apparently had no real effect on the political landscape of the galaxy. If the First Order is the underdog, we deserve a look at what kind of new regime followed the Empire, and what lessons they learned/didn’t learn from a generation of totalitarian rule.

    3. The bit about the map BB-8 was carrying… nobody could figure out where in the galaxy that was? I get that the galaxy is a big place, but using computers and all the resources of the Resistance and the First Order, nobody could figure out where this could possibly be? To me, this is like if BB-8 showed up in America with a map of Blaine County, Montana. Okay, probably most people have never heard of it, but you start putting names of little towns in the computer, or matching the shapes of lakes and rivers with satellite data, and pretty soon you’re going to figure out where this place must be.

    4. I’m a little ambivalent about this one, but it seems like everybody in the Star Wars universe can jump into any spaceship and immediately know how to fly it. On one hand, most people can jump into any car, and basically know how to drive it (although some people really don’t know how to drive standard transmission). On the other hand, I once rented a car and had to get the staff to come show me how to put it in reverse (it was a standard, and you had to press down on the shifter to get it to slide into reverse). A TIE fighter is comparable to a military fighter aircraft today, isn’t it? Those pilots spend years training to be adept at flying one or two particular types of plane. As I understand it, a F-14 pilot doesn’t just jump into a Stealth fighter and know how to fly it. Things may be more standardized in the Star Wars universe, but it kind of nags at me.

    5. This is a general observation about the entire franchise: people in this universe are a whole lot better at learning foreign languages than I am. People are conversant with droids who just beep and boop (and by they way- what’s up with that? C3PO is proof that they can make a conversant robot. What kind of user interface communicates through weird sound effects instead of spoken word?) Likewise, English speaking characters seem to understand lots of phrases of other species’ languages. I guess the Star Wars universe is more like Western Europe -where a few well-known languages are spoke, than subSaharan Africa, where many, many languages and dialects are spoken, and many of those are not widely known outside their local region. If that’s true, then it is a little weird, given that the galaxy is so vast and parts are so little-known that a droid can be tooling around with a map of part of the galaxy, and nobody can even figure out where the places on that map could possibly be.

  9. Cat's Paw

    Oh, I forgot to add: we have a Force Ghost problem. If Jedi (and I’m guessing also Sith) never die, but hang around in the ether as posthumas spirits, then where are they? Kylo has an obsession with his grandfather, and he seems to be quite powerful with the Force. So why doesn’t Anakin appear to him and explain how he left the dark side, and get Kylo back to the bright side? Maybe Force Ghosts dissipate with time, or for some reason can’t show themselves all the time, or something like that, but whatever it is, it needs to be explained, because I’m pretty sure all the Force ghosts I saw at the end of Episode VI would have tried to prevent the destruction of three inhabited planets.

    And about that… is the galactic economy so large that it can just take the destruction of inhabited planets in stride? Those planets were full of producers, consumers, inventory, capital, and raw materials. What were the economic consequences of destroying Alderaan? I can’t imagine that even a super Evil, Evil-for-the-sake-of-Evil government would want to go around destroying its prospective assets like that. Those are people who could be ruled and exploited, after all.

    • Force ghosts are weird. In Episode 3 Yoda tells Obi-Wan he will teach him how to commune with Qui-Gon Jin’s force ghost. In Episode 4 and 5 Luke can communicate with Obi-Wan without training. It just doesn’t flow well in the story for me.

    • David

      Your notes about the lack of limitations on speech, piloting and combat skills, etc. is a very common problem in Hollywood. The writers there do not understand how to embrace logical limitations. Transforming limitations into entertainment is not that difficult, an enthusiastic high school student can do it… whatever the reason that they cannot do it is, it’s an objective mark of incompetence that I hold against them with every new film.

      They’re terrible writers, and it’s important to not read too much into anything coming out of Hollywood. You might as well try to analyze the ramblings of a lunatic.

  10. David

    None of the writers seem to understand the imprint they are making on the franchise with these new Episodes. Each one becomes canon and determines what people talk about and how they perceive the Star Wars universe.

    The universe is very, very small.

    The major players only seem to consist of Anakin and his progeny. The story never talks about the universe at large. Inconsistencies abound, no characters or ships seem to have any physical limitations, and now in the Force Awakens we have the same song on repeat.

    The damage they’ve done to the franchise is tragic. Each of the original three films (Episodes IV, V, and VI) stands on their own. Plenty of people disagree about which one of those is best and worst, but I think there’s a pretty clear consensus that those films stand head and shoulders above the rest.

    Head and shoulders. Why?

    Because every other film has so much hype around it from the original trilogy, the nostalgia floods the story and nostalgic references dilute any vestige of creativity that’s left. The film makers just want the money to flow, so they write in nonsense like Anakin built C-3PO, or Kylo Ren wears a mask that distorts his voice for no apparent reason, or the Millennium Falcon is back and even more indestructible.

    The prequel trilogy was abysmal in comparison to what it should have been. The Hobbit trilogy, relative to the Lord of the Rings, was much better. Episode VII was their chance to make things right, to show the audience more of the Star Wars universe and in a more meaningful way. To develop and improve on the original story. And all we get is a replay.

    I’ve given up all hope on this franchise. The writers want to feed us a rainbow-perfect fairy tale, and the audience just gobbles it right up. Thanks, but no thanks.

  11. Mic

    1. I agree I enjoyed it
    2. yeah i dont know why they were so repetitive in the plot. BUT even doing almost the entire movie by the playbook they couldn’t do a happy visual ending. the endings are always so grand this one was a few people waving.
    3. um….pretty sure we ended with a good Darth Vader. The one who killed the emperor. And saw his weird humpty dumpty face smiling with all the other good guys. And Luke trained Kylo so shouldn’t he know that?
    4. I’m not sure how aging in other galaxies work. But it doesn’t seem like they tried to make Han/Leia/Luke look young. They did make Kylo/Rey look young. like more grandchild than child.
    5. The nazi scenes were unnecessary. I dont remember them making the hail hitler signs before. …not all bad guys need to be made in the image of hitler
    6. which yeah brings the whole state of politics into question. why was there even still a resistance? Didn’t the republic prevail? Are the first order in the republic? terrorists or government?

  12. 1. I loved the movie. The first Falcon scene was terrific, probably better than any other fight in the movie.
    2. That being said, how many times can they crash the Falcon and just take off again?
    3. How do they always have a 3d plan of the death star/planet?

  13. Ryan

    I saw the movie twice. The first time, I really liked it, but had some issues. It’s a New Hope Clone with a hint of Empire and Jedi being the biggest.
    The second time I saw the movie I honestly had ZERO issues with it. I loved it.

  14. Bill

    If they gave away every point of contention in this first part of a new trllogy what would we have to watch over the next 3 or four years? May I point out that it was not until the end of Ep. V that we learned that Darth Vader was Luke’s father and it really wasn’t until Ep. VI that we understood for sure that Luke and Leia were brother and sister. That last fact made some of the moments in Ep. V between Luke, Han and Leia seem a little weird but the final reveal of their relationship in Ep. VI opened the door for Han to win Leia. My point being of course that we’ll learn more about Rey, Finn as the trilogy progresses. That’s the way of good story telling.

  15. Thulsadoom

    I’m a huge Star Wars fan. Have been my entire life, even continuing to collect stuff during the period when it had ceased to be popular or cool, before any rumours of the prequels, before being a ‘geek’ became cool. Hell, I even made my own Star Wars related magazine when I was a kid, on my dad’s photocopier and old computer. Star Wars has inspired me throughout my life, not only with its own worlds, but to become a science fiction fan in general, and dream up my own material.

    After seeing some of the better trailer materials, I had my worries about this new movie, but I was cautiously optimistic.

    I won’t go into the details because I’d be here all day, but I’ll just say this. It exceeded ALL of my fears about what could go badly. It’s genuinely so poor that as far as I’m concerned, there were six films from Lucas, and everything else from here on, is just expensive fan fiction. 😉

    For every flaw, George gave us worlds of wonder and imagination that fired our dreams (Yes, even amidst the Jar Jar’s). This new film brings precisely nothing to the table. Even the best that can be said of it, is simply the moments inspired (or directly ripped) from the originals. The only moments that actually made me smile with hope, were the derelict remains of war with the Empire, which were visually impressive. It’s not a BAD film as such. It simply has no reason to exist. There is almost nothing story, character, or imagination related that it adds to the Star Wars universe.

    I wish George had never given up because of all the fan bitching. I’d sooner have another five Jar Jar’s (six might be pushing it) than this mess, because I know George would’ve given us amazing ideas and characters and visuals alongside the odd stumble.

  16. Justin

    Does it bother anyone that Finn refers to the star that the Starkiller base uses for its power as the Sun? Since the “Sun” is the proper name for the star in our solar system. Just wondering.

  17. I really enjoyed the movie but here are the flaws I noticed:

    1. Han, Chewy and Finn infiltrate Starkiller base extremely easily.
    – You’d expect the place to be filled with security. It’s like three people breaking into the white house without getting caught.

    2. Captain Phasma turns down the shields.
    – She’s obviously high in command, so why would she turn down the shields without putting up a fight or even dying before doing so.

    3. A few resistance pilots destroy Starkiller base.
    – The First order is obviously bigger than the resistance, so why is it they can’t take down or overpower a few pilots?

    4. A third death star!!!!
    – Whoever though of this is a fucking idiot.

    5. Han’s entrance.
    – This is way to big of a coincidence. There’s no way Han would be in the same area as Rey and Finn at that precise moment.

    6. Finn vs. Kylo Ren.
    – How is it that Finn can last more than two seconds against Kylo Ren? Kylo could just force push him into a tree.

    7. Rey mastering the force so quickly and beating Kylo Ren.
    – Kylo was trained by both Luke and Snoke, so Rey beating him is bullshit.

    8. Finn is way to joke-y (my opinion).

    9. If the First order is after bb-8, why aren’t they even trying to hide him?

  18. Here’s an explanation for why Rey beats Kylo that should have been in the movie:

    Supreme Leader Snoke imbues Rey with power in order for her to embrace the darkside and kill Kylo Ren. She hears his voice saying “Kill him”. Rey tries to battle the urge to kill him so hard that her force powers crack the ground between them .

    So that’s why she overpowers him and also why the ground conveniently cracks between them.

    Also wouldn’t it be cool to see Rey’s eyes turn red like Annakin’s for that momentary time of possession.

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