If you continued on after Doctor River Song's warning, then you understand this is a blog that will mention Star Wars Episodes I through VII and discuss plot, characters, and may even speculate what the future of the franchise holds.
I will not only discuss the movie, but I will also examine the subsequent on-line presence that included the most massive unification of fans to not post any spoilers on social media, multiple podcast discussions, articles from reputable entertainment sources, and the 10 thousand blog posts from igits like myself. So, sit back and get ready for the analysis that you've all been waiting for!
Star Wars: Episode VII - The Force Awakens
I'll begin with a review. Yes, it was a retread of the major plot beats from the original trilogy. Yes, Rey could be considered a Mary Sue. But, harnessing the nostalgia and focusing the story onto new characters while paying homage to the original trilogy and removing focus from the prequels has made this film into the reboot this franchise needed. It is no where near a perfect film, and it isn't even the most perfect Star Wars film in my opinion...but it's a new beginning. A New Hope, if you will, for this franchise. If I was still reviewing films for my college newspaper, I would give this one 5 out of 5...which was the "instant classic" classification of film and that's exactly what this film will be remembered for.
FN-2187 AKA Finn is a storm trooper who defects from the First Order. During a throwaway line, I believe General Hux mentions that storm troopers are brainwashed and no longer a clone army. Later, Finn relays that by saying he was snatched up from a family that he'll never know.
While listening to the 2nd spoiler edition of Star Wars on the Comedy Film Nerds podcast, Dean Haglund had an issue with Finn being in "sanitation." Dean's issue is that why would a sanitation worker be in a fire fight from the opening scene, but obviously he didn't realize that scene was Finn's first actual in-the-field military mission. Finn couldn't execute innocent people and decided to desert the First Order. Dean's issue might be legit, but if you think about it, everybody has to do their part. I didn't start out at the top. I worked my way to the middle. Perhaps, Finn did the same. He showed promise emptying those trash receptacles, get that kid a blaster. I'll let that one slide because the sanitation joke was funny, and it made Kevin Smith think that it's a shout out towards Clerks.
So, I accepted that Finn grew up in the First Order and worked mundane jobs before awakening from his brainwashed ways and hatching the plan to defect from the wannabe Empire. Then, the sanitation joke put me in a "Clerks" state-of-mind worrying about all those independent contractors. So, I started thinking about nurseries full of babies and training facilities full of child-sized storm troopers. I really hope those facilities weren't on Starkiller Base... because you know, BOOM. Otherwise, the Resistance is resembling Darth Vader and his youngling slaying ways.
Early in the year, we had the operations manager of a theme park running about in high heels while trying to avoid being eaten by dinosaurs. Star Wars did not make the same footwear faux pas. Rey was a warrior of a character that starts off as a tough-as-nails scavenger then she becomes a better pilot of the Millennium Falcon than Lando ever was. She speaks droid and wookie. Later she replaces Chewbacca as the co-pilot/maintenance person. Then, she uses the force and escapes capture and fights a powerful villain with an antique light saber that she's never operated before. So, when the SR Underground and Pop Rocket podcasts called her a Mary Sue (idealized fictional character normally representing a young or low-rank person who saves the day through unrealistic abilities), I completely understood their critique. Luke's rise up to Jedi Master took three films, and by the end of the first film, his force abilities included turning off his targeting computer and completing a task that he said was equivalent to when he would bull's-eye womp rats in his T-16 on Tattoine. Rey, on the other hand, was facing an enemy who had some training in the force. Kylo Ren stopped a blaster beam in mid-air. I never saw Vader do that....of course, Vader wouldn't even allow the blaster to fire. Rey vs. Kylo Ren ended with a chasm opening up in between them after she was whooping his ass. Who am I to say that Rey wasn't prepared for this. She did beat up a couple of scavenger scum-bags. She was also living on her own. She was tough, unlike that whiny little farmer boy who we all came to love. His aunt and uncle coddled him. Then, old Ben protected him in the cantina. Then, the droids saved him from the trash compactor. Then, Han saved him in the end. You know what? Rey is completely absolved of this Mary Sue bullshit in my book.
As the movie progresses, we witness the villain's arc. He is all-powerful and feared at the beginning of the film, but as Finn defects and the Resistance puts their plan into effect, you can see the toll all of it has on Kylo Ren. He is frustrated. He is angry. He is becoming more and more like his grandfather, Darth Vader. It all culminates when Kylo Ren encounters his father Han Solo in Starkiller Base. In one of the saddest scenes of the franchise, we see the demise of a hero by the hand of his son who becomes a full-fledged villain at this point. Ol' Kylo Ren isn't flirting with the Light Side any more. Wookie rage ensues (my favorite scene in the film). The force is strong in that wookie. Remember Kylo Ren stopped a blaster bolt at the beginning of the film. Same exact situation, except an angry wookie fired the shot this time around...and hit him. After the final battle, Kylo Ren is slightly disfigured and will probably not be taking his mask off as often in the upcoming sequels. I felt as if this was Kylo Ren's story more than Rey. With Rey, she's a fish-out-of-water character who looks to be the savior of the galaxy and we know nothing about her. With Finn, he's a storm trooper with a heart of gold who tries to protect Rey from bad thinks and we know nothing more about him. Poe Dameron could be Porkin's son. However, we do know that Kylo Ren was trained by Luke. Turned to the Dark Side. Lead an uprising. And killed his Father to prove himself to Andy Serkis. I don't see why anyone would think this is Rey's or Finn's movie. It is obviously, Kylo Ren's film.
I wanted to go into detail about Captain Phasma, but apparently she was just a marketing ploy to sell a different color of storm trooper armor. Can anyone else tell me why I should care about this character? If she survived the Starkiller Base battle, Kylo Ren better kill her for turning off the shields. The only way this character could be used is if her and Finn start a refugee camp for all fugitive storm troopers.
General Hux, on the other hand, had a great dynamic with Kylo Ren and Supreme Leader Snoke. Evil without super powers. I hope he continues this route and becomes as iconic as Grand Moff Tarkin.
The final character to note is BB-8. The new droid. It was fantastic to have a character like this...until C3PO showed up with his red arm and reminded me of my favorite childhood droid, R2D2. I'm glad C3PO was allowed so little screen time because that character gets old quick. The nostalgia of seeing him along with Princess Leia, Han Solo, Chewie, and for a brief moment, Luke, was perfectly blended into a story of new characters. The new characters were far more memorable than these classic ones in this story, but their addition was greatly appreciated.
1) How did Episode VII rank with the others in the franchise?
A) I'd say 3rd - V,IV,VII, VI, III or I, II - the first and third prequel are interchangeable. Darth Maul really tips the balance of the annoying characters of Jar Jar Binks and the Jake Lloyd version of Anakin.
2) Would you re-watch it?
A) Already did and I would like a few more theater viewings.
3) Any potential rumors you want me to start about Episode VIII or the stand-alone anthology films?
A) I'm sticking with the Porkins/Poe rumor
4) Do you think the First Order had a nursery on Starkiller Base?
A) Trooper Babies coming to Disney XD in 2017
5) Will the Resistance be considered baby killers now?
A) No of course not...accidents happen, right? Or was it the greater good? Just pick an ethical principle to establish the moral high ground.
6) How big is this galaxy far far away if you can see an entire system being destroyed from the surface of Takodana?
A) I can't answer that last one. I think that may be a plot hole. However, there would have to be some sort of response from the Republic to the First Order after that attack. I hope that the Republic teams up with the Resistance to kick some butt.
I know a lot of Star Wars based media content exists out there, so I wanted to thank you for reading my thoughts. I truly enjoyed this film, but I think I was swept up in the hype and the Christmas spirit to notice that the film wasn't perfection. So, let me know your honest thoughts about the film.
Professor Procrastination/Legit Idjit/Perfect Slacker
is a self-proclaimed, semi-professional procrastinator that doubles as an pop-culture guru. Is he completely renarded? Perhaps. Is renarded a word that he invented on urban dictionary? It is. He is also the Legit Idjit on Facebook and a Perfect Slacker on reddit and Twitter.