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I have to admit I had high expectations… maybe that's why I did not like the movie as much as you all apparently did.
It felt like they recycled story-elements from the previous movies.
Overall I expected a more compelling story.
Yup, that last point was my only "big" concern.
I kinda let the last one slide, I was expecting some things to be a bit silly like that...
Rey did show herself to be adept with melee weapons toward the beginning of the film and in both Rey and Finn's defense, Kylo Ren was injured during that fight from being shot by Chewie just before. If that helps make that fight easier to accept?
Exactly. Kylo Ren didn't seem all that well-trained at this point. He was reckless and forgetful. I think the fight was well matched, all things considered.
THANK YOU THESE WERE ALL MY ISSUES TOO. And everyone is so in love with it. The light saber scene at the end was just too much. There was so much potential with the story, but it was incredibly lazy.
What you consider lazy, I consider meticulous. They clearly chose to reference the original trilogy and they did so with some interesting twists on concepts and set pieces from those films. The fact is, this film had to pass the torch to the new characters in some way and you are going to have a really hard time doing that with a franchise this revered without referencing the original in some way. I think it gave the new characters a sense of belonging in this universe. They fit the mold that we have come to expect.
The lightsaber skills of Finn are certainly questionable, but I also think that Kylo Ren is clearly not as well trained as some people may think. He is obviously very strong with the Force, but I doubt that he has had serious experience in actual combat. He is reckless and makes mistakes constantly. He is certainly not as experienced as Vader in the OT, but I think that's what the people who find issues with the film are attempting to compare him to, which is pretty short-sighted in my opinion.
Actually, when I said "lazy," I wasn't referring to the recycling of the plot w.r.t the original trilogy. I was mostly referring to the fact that we've got all these characters that aren't really presented in a great context. In addition, "finding Luke Skywalker" just wasn't a compelling overall plot.
Questions that are probably going to be explored in future films, but really bothered me to be completely left hanging: Who is Rey's family? Why does Finn decide to desert now? How is Kylo Ren in such a position of power, when he can't even fight off a couple of newbie lightsaber users? Kylo Ren can manage to use the force to search peoples' minds, but anytime he doesn't get his way he throws a temper tantrum? It doesn't seem like someone that reckless would be able to rise to such a position of power and at such a young age. If he were a CEO, it'd be at a shitty startup he funded himself. The First Order seems a little more sophisticated than that, since they're able to exterminate several planets at a time and all.
The pacing felt very bouncy without enough meaning behind it. It was also incredibly predictable (oh, Han follows his now evil son out onto an incredibly narrow bridge, looks like they're killing him off...oh, Rey is now on a mission, guess she's going to locate Luke...) It was lazily written, and they simply relied on Star Wars fandom to carry it out. And not in the good way, which I expected. Of course I love the nostalgic references and jokes, but there wasn't enough substance beyond that to make it a great film.
You make some good points, but I think you didn't pay close enough attention.
To answer your questions:
Luke is Rey's father ("I know those eyes... You were destined to wield this...") . That was Finn's first field mission. Kylo Ren was wounded, and he lacked faith; Rey didn't, and let the force flow through her (up until that point, she she was losing badly). Kylo is pretty insane, and personally I don't think he can read peoples minds – more of a mix of force aided intuition and whatever the force shows him (like Anakin's dreams). Just like Vader, he's not in charge: he's an enforcer, and he never finished his training... but he is powerful and scary enough to be effective at his job. The First Order seems to have inherited a lot of tech and processes from the empire, which might be more attributable to Phasma than Ren.
If it felt bouncy, it's because you missed Endor's Moon for the Ewoks.
My husband and I got a good laugh out of your comment, thanks.
I disagree that Luke is Rey's father - but I agree she is a Skywalker (the Skywalker theme played during her scenes). I think they threw out most of the Expanded Universe, but kept a few things: Han and Leia had two kids (but possibly not twins). She is Kylo's sister and was at the new Jedi school whenever shit went down and he went crazy. Luke dropped her off on Jakku and let everyone (including Han, Leia, and Kylo) think she died to keep her safe (reminiscent of Obi-Wan splitting up the twins and dropping Luke off on Tatooine).
Ah. Now this theory, I can get behind.
Kylo Ren wasn't in any position of power really. He's a "rogue" agent on his own mission from Emperor Snoke. That's why General Hux and him are at odds with one another because Hux is in charge of the First Order, not Ren. Also, there are theories about Finn learning and growing in the Force which would support some ideas of him using the lightsaber at all.
Rey is trained, as shown in the beginning, and her force sensitivity was growing fast. It's much better than Anakin's "accident" in the skies above Naboo.
This is all the thumbprint of JJ Abrams. He did the same "recycling" thing with Star Trek Into Darkness.
We have the parallel storyline because the Star Wars universe has never really accepted time travel/time bending, which is a huge part of Abrams's signature. So instead, he uses this deja vu stand-in, in which some of the elements are altered, but history repeats itself with new characters filling the same archetypes.
To me, this was not only a smart decision, but it paid homage. I think it also sets up Episode 8 and/or 9 to have "The First Order Strikes Back"-echo, and perhaps even the "return of the sith" for the final episode, where a famous sith lord returns from some unknown place...
I don't think there is any precedent for returning from the dead.
With regards to the weapons, both of the new Jedi (assuming Finn will be revealed as a Jedi) are trained in hand-to-hand combat already because of their day-to-day situations. One is a Star Trooper, the other fends for herself in a clearly hostile environment on Jakku. So it's not all that hard to believe they would be able to fight. I agree they gloss over the whole "Luke had no clue how to use a lightsaber, so how dare they?" - but to be fair, Finn was beat in that fight had it not been for the new force golden child coming along.
No son of a protagonist joins the dark side in previous films, by the way. Anakin joined the dark side without a father figure, and his son joins the light side. Perhaps a "young otherwise clean Jedi joins the dark side", but this is otherwise an echo with a different outcome from Abrams. Luke the son joined light, Kylo joins the dark.
"Death Star like thing only bigger" - I feel like this is pretty natural, considering the ultimate devastation and terror is to have the power to destroy entire planetary civilizations. It is also normal to have "one way to blow the thing up" - the concept of kryptonite, a difficult, nearly impossible defeat, which makes the victory much more potent when it does occur.
Overall, I think Abrams did a fantastic job bringing his directing style through echoing.
I was actually quite surprised that they took out Han. That seemed to me to be a daring move, but it also definitely makes sense, so overall... I'm most of the way on board with this.
Star Wars films always echo each other, if JJ had totally reinvented the structure fans would have hated it.
I thought it was a good homage to the original films with nice echoes of the Extended Universe (Rylo Ken seems inspired by Jacen Solo - Han and Leia's son who went to the dark side https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jacen_Solo )
In fairness, Anakin and Luke both displayed incredible prowess pre-training (Anakin's podracing, Luke's 'bullseyeing womprats'), but without having experienced combat they hadn't developed skills in that area. Whereas Rey is clearly used to dealing with physical combat armed with only a staff... She’s also having force visions before undergoing any training, so it’s likely she’s more attuned to the force than Luke was at the same age.
Luke was never that powerful in the movies. It’s pretty clear that Vader and the Emperor have more raw power. Luke’s a great pilot, an excellent shot, and a nimble fighter, but he’s not powerful. I’m not sure which direction his arc is heading since they canned the Extended Universe, but it seems like he’s becoming more of a mystic than a warrior.
From memory the level of the force itself also fluctuates. The prequels take place in a time where the force is flourishing, hence the numerous Jedi, some of whom have incredible powers - whereas by the time of A New Hope, it's waned, Yoda can't leap around like an acrobat anymore, Kenobi’s relying on simple mind tricks. In this film is seems like it is growing again - Rey taps into it easily, Leia (who is force sensitive due to her lineage but apparently has never undergone training) can sense Han’s death, and Rylo seems very powerful for someone with little focused control of his emotions. Vader and the Emperor used hate to drive power but not uncontrolled rage.
It’s likely no coincidence that it’s titled “The Force Awakens”. It’s not referring to the Jedi, it’s referring to the Force itself.
• Death Star like thing consumes the freaking Sun — Becomes the sun! A bit more epic than the previous "Moon" version.
• It would be a crappy evil machine if it had multiple ways to be destroyed, right?
• Ben's story will be explained a little better, that would help :P For now, it has to do with Vader and the fact that fucking Leia let's her son go out alone on a Jedi training — knowing that he is viable for the Dark side... that stupid.. a man.
• I have this idea that Finn might also be a Jedi, else it makes no sense. Rey was just stabbing around and blocking the pussy slaps of Ben — when she focused, she (i think) obtained some sword fighting skills through the FORCEEEE and slapped Ben out of the park, though he landed without breaking his neck.
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