Years after the Rebellion destroyed The Empire we find they didn’t. What? (Spoilers be damned, stop reading if you fear them.)
An unknown amount years after the Rebellion blew up the Death Star(again) we find that things still aren’t well. The Empire is somehow still in control of the galactic government, sort of(?). In these days we find a new foe, The First Order, that challenges both the Republic/Empire and Rebellion. We are also to find that this splinter group has created a newer, larger, more powerful Death Star.
By trying to be an homage, this film struggled to cover any new ground. There is a difference between honoring the past and being a copy-cat. So much of this movie is directly taken from the previous films it is nearly criminal. It is so obvious that a hilarious parody has been made celebrating the fact. It almost begs to have the subtitle “names have been changed to protect the innocent”. Having watched and enjoyed the previous films, there were characters and moments that felt as though they had been cut and pasted from them.
Let’s look at the characters – the good, the bad, the ungodly resemblances
- Rey – Somewhat unlikable know-it-all orphan that lives on a desert planet but powerful in the Force. This generation’s Luke Skywalker. The focal point for the likely future but unfortunately a character that can feel overbearing and abrasive.
- Finn – A storm trooper with a sense of conscience but saddled with ineptitude. This generation’s Jar Jar Binks. This character means well but is always out of his element and can be less than helpful at times.
- Han Solo – Han so-old, right? Aged like a fine wine that was opened up a day early and left on the table overnight. This generation’s Obi Wan. He dies at the hand of his greatest enemy and disappears, likely to return by way of the Force to help guide the wayward Jedi and companions.
- Leia – Diligent leader of the resistance. This generation’s ‘Whatever-that-no-name-General-was’. Likely only to be brought in when the plot has stalled, the gruffy leader will offer little counsel unless no one else can.
- Chewy – Large furry that only grunts. This generation’s Chewy. (Insert Wookie sound.)
- Kylo Ren – “Feared” enforcer of the First Order.This generation’s sad excuse for a Darth Vader. He’s everything his predecessor was, except for anything that made him feared but he still gets a cool suit.
The plot was a true sore spot for the entire movie. Not only did it feel like a rip off of previous movies, it felt as though it were pieced together as it went along while at the same time being completely predictable. Not only it it drag on, it did so by spending too much time on points that didn’t need it and not addressing others that did. Take the fact of how or why Han and Leia’s son became Kylo Ren not getting any time or explanation but the fact that Poe Dameron should have been dead, several times, yet miraculously shows back up near the end of the film. Then tell me how a planet can be turned into a weapon and nobody noticing?
Let’s delve into a few issues with the characters a bit further. Take Mas for instance how she “doesn’t know the Force” but talks and acts like she does. Ultimately she is the one to try to steer Rey to Luke and her path with the Force. But I guess a lot of people know how the Force works since Han tells Finn how it doesn’t. Then there is Kylo Ren. How can this guy be one of the most feared persons in the universe when he throws temper tantrums like a twelve year old, talks to his dead grandfather, almost cries to his dad, and whimpers in front of his boss? Being of the age that I am, this feels like a Coy and Vance situation. That is, the attempt to replace something that looks like what it is replacing but it just doesn’t work out. Seriously, Kylo Ren almost loses a light saber battle to Finn, a borderline incompetent trooper, and escapes from Rey, an untrained scavenger, only because the planet is collapsing. He better get a lot of training before the sequel.
At the end of the movie, the feeling i had was that it was a good Star Wars movie but not a good movie overall. I realize that this was meant to be a hand-off from generation to generation. Even with that knowledge, there is the sense that it could have been done differently and with greater presence. As many times as I’ll watch this film I will enjoy it but always look at the promise it had but failed to reach. The wider hope is that the upcoming movies will be even better.
(Bonus material: Then there is the fact that Disney made a lot of material non-canon for the universe. Which is fine but the they dress Rey in garb that looks oddly like the character from The Force Unleashed and call the new Death Star “Starkiller Base”?)
Owner, Proprietor, Typer of Words, Gamer, Jester
A self described Polish ninja toiling away as an IT professional but more into gaming and writing. Physically existing on the western side of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania yet existentially flowing with the ether of the Internet.