First and foremost, heads up to comics wizard (both online and real-life) John Allison for that Wookiee drawing. It makes my heart sing.
Secondly, I want it known that I really enjoyed the latest Star Wars flick. Yes, the whole Starkiller plot line was WAY too similar to past films (like, to the point that it was mildly frustrating that this fantastic movie was boiling down to another "WE HAVE TO DESTROY THE DEATH STAR! AGAIN!"), but it was an otherwise engaging and fun piece of escapism.
However, some folks did not enjoy this newest Star Wars movie. We've all gone though dozens of these articles (What? You're haven't? You're not a masochist?), but none of them really irritated me as much as this one did.
So, because I'm irritated, I'mma break this down for you piece by piece, with my responses in bold:
Several glaring problems that are impossible to overlook, in no particular order:
1. Orange Yoda has the saber Luke lost on Bespin, “but that’s a story for another time”? No. That seems pretty important. Tell us now.
Welllll, that’s not how this narrative works. Do you think the saber’s travels may be more important in the second one? Y’know, where Luke can talk? Or we can fill the movie with exposition… Like the prequels. Those worked out GREAT!
2. We never find out how Poe Dameron survived the TIE fighter crash on Jakku and reconnected with the Resistance (all while completely abandoningFinn, his supposed new BFF). Dameron just shows back up flying an X-Wing, an odd thing for a dead guy to do.
Again, don’t you think it may come up again? Or, God forbid, the audience is supposed to imagine how he may have escaped? NO, SCI FI MOVIE, DON’T MAKE US USE OUR IMAGINATIONS! DO IT FOR US!
3. Why and how was there a map to find Luke Skywalker? Shouldn’t it just be coordinates?
Because maybe Luke wants to be found someday? And putting together a map is more difficult than popping in coordinates, and shows the gumption needed to prove to Luke that someone has gone through a lot of trials to get to him and that he’s really needed? I don’t know – I’m using my imagination. It’s TERRIFYING.
4. Why do Max von Sydow’s character (whoever he was) and R2-D2 share the two pieces of this map? Did Luke give it to them in case of emergency? [Ed. Note – Jordan: Yes, I assume it was some sort of contingency plan in case of extreme emergencies. More pressing for me is why does R2 power up at the end to provide some very literal deus ex machina?]
Oh, fuck you. Instant gratification is for children and clueless white class nards. Wait for the payoff – revelations in movies can really resound in the cultural zeitgeist. Or was the Darth Vader-is-Luke’s-father-thing too passé?
5. The Starkiller Base is used to destroy an entire planetary system, which we are led to believe is populated by the Galactic Senate. Or maybe it wasn’t? The aftermath of the First Order’s attack is not made clear. The First Order is also preparing to fire at the planet where the Resistance is based, yet nobody makes any attempt to evacuate? Leia just sits there, hoping the Resistance blows up the Starkiller Base in a battle that presumably takes place light years away.
….I got nothing. The whole Starkiller subplot felt forced and had too much déjà vu for me to like it.
6. The fact that those five planets were just wiped out by an opposing force doesn’t seem to matter to anyone once it’s done.
I think it was because everyone immediately thought, “holy fuck that thing is gonna annihilate us into star farts next!!”
7. How were Finn and Rey able to use a light saber so expertly with no training? How could Rey fly the Falcon or use the Force? How were either of them able to take on Kylo Ren and not get killed within seconds? Clearly Rey is strong with the Force, yet we’ve always been led to believe someone has to receive training in order to wield it properly.
Woof. Okay. First, Finn was raised a Stormtrooper, so methinks a skosh of the military training involves armed combat with a variety of intergalactic weapons, maybe kinda sorta including sword-like-sharpy-things. Light sabers? Essentially the same basic principle.
As for Rey, once her grasp of the Force was unlocked, you could see her developing her powers – she was trying different shit. Not always successfully, but if you learned you had access to the Force, wouldn’t you just try to do all sorts of dumbass stuff with it?
Also, Rey flew that super-fast space-cycle thing, pretty expertly, so maybe those instincts, combined with her latent Force abilities, allowed her to fly the Falcon? And motherfucker, that ship made the damn Kessel Run in less than 12 motherfucking parsecs!
8. This also brings up the issue of it being unclear just how strong Kylo Ren is. When first introduced, he stops a laser bolt which was fired at his back from what essentially amounts to a sniper’s position. Ren then keeps the laser in mid-air — without even thinking about it — and while doing his mind-reading thing. We’ve never seen anybody do this before. Aren’t we to assume, then, he is very powerful and not to be fucked with?
We could also assume that the Force, as has been canonically established in prior movies, can be used in a nearly infinite number of ways? Hell, Darth Plagueis learned how to sustain and create life with is (ZOMG IS/WAS HE ANAKIN’S DAD?!), so Ren doing some crazy shit with it is par for the course.
It also falls under the realm of possibilities that his batshit emotions can influence his concentration. Y’know, like what happens to people in real life. Ren’s a badass, strong Sith who is still developing his powers – them shits aren’t set in stone.
9. If that’s the case, why is Ren then wounded by Chewie, whose presence was made as he screamed before taking the shot? Shouldn’t Ren have been able to stop that crossbow fire or at least block it with his saber?
You mean just after that super-emotional moment where his whole world just dramatically shifted and his entire being was in shock? Why couldn’t he do shit then? OH I DON’T KNOW
10. The plot does not lead to its climax. The Starkiller Base is thrown in late and suddenly becomes the driving plot point, but prior to which the entire story revolved around the search for Luke. If you think about the rebels in A New Hope, their entire motive was destroying the Death Star. We don’t see all of it because we’re following Luke, but that’s their only goal. It all leads to the Battle of Yavin. The Force Awakens abruptly shifts from finding Luke being the most important thing to “Hang on, we gotta blow up this thing first. Shouldn’t take too long. No big deal.”
Yeah, I’m with you on that Starkiller stuff. Death Star v 3.0 was just so…bleh.
11. Han dies. Chewie cries. Leia makes a sad face. Then, five minutes pass and everybody moves on. Darth Vader got his own funeral scene! Han just falls off a bridge. More drama was felt when Han was frozen in Carbonite, no? Is J.J. Abrams video game-style pacing sloppy, or is it intentional so that the audience has little time to digest and scrutinize? (Chris Nolan is arguably guilty of the same with The Dark Knight Rises.)
Wellllllll, y’see, when Vader bought the farm, it signified the end of the darkest time the galaxy had ever seen, and Vader had redeemed himself in the eyes of his estranged children. Unfortunately, Han died at the beginning of a perilous war against evil, and the fact that he’s gone is something that the characters are going to be dealing with for, presumably, the next couple films. Did you know there will be more movies? There WILL.
12. “The Starkiller Base won’t detect you if you just haul ass directly into it at light speed! #yolo.” Remember the good old days when traveling at light speed required “precise calculations”?
HOLY SHIT, this movie takes place, what, 30 years after the events of Return of the Jedi? People have learned how to pilot better with evolving technology! Imagine taking the very best fighter pilot from the Gulf War and plopping his ass in a F-35 Lightning II? Shit’s a bit different, and people adapt to the technology.
13. What was the point of the Chrome trooper? She literally did NOTHING. If it was an effort to gender-balance, why not make the Grand Moff Tarkin Jr character female instead of casting Domhnall Gleeson?
MORE. THAN. ONE. MOVIE.
14. What did the Starkiller being powered by the sun have to do with anything? How did that function as a plot point? And how was the First Order able to fire its weapon more than once if it drains the sun of its energy?
Because destroying a sun is BAD, and it didn’t need to drain the whole sun for its first shot – the power of its discharge is directly proportionate to the amount of sun it siphons and oh my lanta I’m a dipshit and I’m still explaining a concept to someone dumber than me.
15. No Cliff Claven cameo.
16. It often felt as if Han or Leia didn’t give two fucks about their split-up or their son turning evil. Abrams’ spastic pacing may likely be the main culprit for why it was so difficult to feel sold on any characters’ motivations or despair, but you have to wonder if, in between takes, Harrison Ford was thumbing through a yacht catalog and thinking how he’s going to spend the big pay-day. [Ed. Note – Jordan: I don’t agree with this. I thought Ford’s performance was fine, but I do not understand for the life of me why he walked out onto that bridge to face Ren.]
We, the viewing audience, were supposed to infer that they’d been separated for quite some time, and that it had been amicable. We were also supposed to notice that Han and Leia were torn up over their son switching to the Dark Side…because they WERE.
Also, screaming, “Come here!” “No, you come here!” would have diminished the sense of dwindling time.
17. Another example of the audience’s emotional disconnect from characters: Were we supposed to care for Finn when he made what was an instant heel-face turn?
If you didn’t care, then you probably shouldn’t be watching these movies. How can any member of a viewing audience not feel for this guy, whose perspective is literally unlike any we’ve seen in a Star Wars film?
18. Why was General Leia’s military outfit called “The Resistance” when the Republic had been rebuilt after Episode VI? The First Order was not the dominant governing force, but an up and coming terrorist organization. They were more likely to be referred to as a “Resistance” or as “Rebels.” So why wasn’t Leia’s “Resistance” just called “the Republic Army” or “Republic Special Forces”?
My oh my! Look at all these inconsequential nits! To formulate a less-popular view of a generally adored movie for sheer shock value, I must pick these nits!
19. When exactly did Ren build the Starkiller Base? It must have been done by that Harry Potter-looking villain long before Ren turned to the Dark Side. Right? The lack of explanation is confusing and just kinda lazy, or, worse, presumptuous in that, because audiences felt so wounded from the prequels, that they’ll just ignore anything questionable as long as it was cool.
I bet you need Pixar movies explained to you. “Well, why don’t the toys just get up and find a new owner?”
20. And, BTW, that Harry Potter CGI villain was atrocious.
Voldesnoke did look pretty crummy.
21. In fact, we’re not even sure how convinced we were of any of the CGI or mo-cap characters. Like, those monsters in Han’s freighter and the creatures in Orange Yoda’s casino? Did not impress. And this isn’t a blanket statement about CGI, mind you. That alleged rapist bear in Alejandro González Iñárritu’s The Revenant was A+. [Ed. Note – Jordan: I liked the creatures in Orange Yoda’s place, with the exception of Orange Yoda.]