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Finally, my review of Star Wars: The Force Awakens

This is going to be a stream of thought, rather than a planned out, book-report style review. I hope to cover several points, but, if I miss or neglect some, I'm sure you won't care—you've already read far too many reviews of this movie anyway. So, does it really matter that yet another unknown is throwing his Two Cents into the wind for whoever to read? I didn't think so. And, to further the point, the next time something like Star Wars gets placed in my lap, maybe then I'll have real room to critique. This is just for fun and because I'm a geek. For me, blogging about this stuff is the next best thing to sitting around with friends and going over and over all the little details for hours on end. I mean, I'd like to stay married. :)

Ok, first things first: I enjoyed this movie. To me, it was a solid B (reasons to follow)
I enjoyed the return to Old Movie Magic. I enjoyed the equal mix of CGI and FX and Costumes and Settings and all that jazz. It was good. Now, I'll try not to compare this movie to the prequels as best I can—sorry, I know that word alone makes people mad—And not because I hated them, which I didn't—yep, Fan Boy's ears are burning so bad right now—but because the actual style of this movie felt once again so in-line with Four, Five and Six, that One, Two and Three feel even more like totally different films. 


Ok, so here we go.
In no particular order and without talking much about Plot, because, well, GO SEE THE MOVIE!

Home of Rey, the female lead and pretty bad ass character. 
Now, I won't Monday Morning this...but, I hope someone asks J.J "Why another desert planet?"
Of course, the scenes are pretty, great textures and depth; the creatures are cool, the marketplace is detailed, and if you know me, you know I love a good desert planet, but comeeeeeee ooooooooon.

I have to know the reason for this. Was it nostalgia? Was it getting back to the comfort zone? Was it not wanting to rock the boat too much with this first movie? Was it because all Skywalkers have an affinity for deserts? If you're going to hide one, given the trend, feels like maybe a water or ice world might've been better? Also, given the list of other story ideas, I think they kicked the can around about an Ice World or Swamp Planet, I just want to know WHYYY? :)

Same with Jakku: Really, another Death Star? *Head on Desk* Just, someone, plz...tell me why.

REY SKYWALKER *Remember, I warned you, so stop crying. 

Ok, she made the movie for me. She was fantastic. I loved that she was a Junker, making her livelihood off scrapping the leftovers of the Empire. I loved that she lived in a fallen Walker. I loved when she put on the old Ty-Fighter pilot's helmet, looking innocently towards the stars, wondering about WHEN whoever left her behind would return......
And yet, while I feel, contextually, the answers to all the Haters questions are THERE within the context of her character, maybe too much is on the part of the viewer to make those assumptions—to be so keenly aware of the subtext to make the connections. Which, for me, not a big deal, but does play into the overwhelming Pass Given to ALL STAR WARS MOVIES when people, usually angrily, overlook what's infront of them: They'll say "It's just Star Wars, it's a Pop Corn Light Show with Lazar Swords and Space Magic" *These kinda things drive me nuts.

So, let me give you some examples which've bothered some viewers and maybe I can open minds:

Q) Rey knew how to fly the Millennium Falcon, fix it, as well as other machines?

A) Not a big deal, if you assume most people know how to fly one thing or another, so, not a stretch. Also, she's a Junker, so she likely knows what she's working with, what it's for, how to take it apart...and thus...put it back together. She's likely, like alot of characters in the Star Wars universe, a roving encyclopedia of parts and space gadgets. Feels like Haters Hating. It's not like Han had some secret trick to start the engine or anything. He's not The Fonz of Space.

Q) Her quick ability to Use The Force: Mind Trick, Summoning the Light Saber, her fight with Kylo

A) Ok, so she's a Prodigy. Or, she's had training, but forgotten it.
Both of these could be true, but we didn't get much to settle the issue. So, kinda maybe a real flaw.

I'll admit, I think her using the Jedi Mind Trick was completely for the fans/viewers. Which made it kinda gimmicky, but that's also ok. I bet you it made you smile too. However, the same result could've been achieved if they'd set up her Abilities: they come out under times of stress. So, she could've been just repeating that she wanted to be released and after enough times the Trooper finally either succumbed or her Force Powers finally "Awakened" :)

Similarly, her summoning the Light Saber, was, to me, also a gimmick for the fans, but, it was cool, so it doesn't bother me. Again, I bet it got a HUGE return in the theaters. No real way to set this up....unless...when she first found it, it could've stirred when her hand was near it or when she touched it, or something, because, as Obi Wan said, it was calling to her. :)

Finally, her fight with Kylo, which we will also cover when speaking about him. But I feel she showed competence when fighting off the two guys on Jakku and she'd likely had kinda a rough life growing up there, so she's obviously a Scrapper and a Junker :) See what I did there?

But people didn't like that Finn, a Storm Trooper, couldn't stand against Kylo, so how could Rey? Well, she has the FORCE!!! But, her ability to use it under pressure could've been better expressed to fans prior to this scene where she quiets/calms herself. For instance, when earlier looking for scraps in the downed Star Ship, there could've been a quick scene where she almost fell to her death...but....she focused, steadied her mind and emotions and did some bad-ass free-climbing to get out or w/e.

Now, fans upset that Kylo was pushing his Light Saber against Ray and failed to do something else while she was doing her Capcom move button sequence, well, that's an issue to take to J.J. Also, if you've ever seen a sword fight, in any movie, there's tons of times where in mid duel, the combatants are basically trying to push the other one away/down, their blades locked. CAUSE IT LOOKS COOL. Also, in fencing, there's lots of counter techniques that come into play once you've gotten into that position, kinda like in Judo or in Wrestling, where from a DRAW stance, someone has to turn it around and regain the upper hand. So, that's what this scene was about. :)

In the end, Deal With It. She's a Jedi. :)

Wow. Just a fun character. I really enjoyed him. To me, he was the FAN in the Star Wars universe. I loved his energy. I loved his humor, though some of his lines were kinda goofy :) Also, I feel he did a good job with his actions scenes. And, lets be honest, the youtube video of him seeing himself in the first big Trailer.....AMAZING. That's how any actor should be if/when you ever get to be in such a movie. I loved it. So happy for him. Think he's going to continue to do a great job.

Q) What kind Storm Trooper....?

A) He's the Worst Storm Trooper. 

Now, I know there was a line somewhere in the movie about these Troopers not being nearly as good as the Clones. However, I feel, anyone who was raised from birth, with such indoctrination, with all the training that would go into making you a Trooper, wouldn't just tuck-tail-and-run on his first day on the job. That's just me. So, I feel that was kinda the writer's fault for making him a Trooper. Really, he should've been a Smuggler or Spy, who somehow had to pass himself off as a Trooper in order to get away from the First Order. He's also just TOO NICE, the scenes where he's holding Rey's hands are too cute for someone who is supposed to have been a Trooper. And yes, I get it, he's turned on the First Order.....but I kinda feel the First Order, ya know, just blew-up Three Planets of innocent people, they murder everyone they come across—kinda the worst that remains of the Empire—would never have allowed such a kind, good person ever become a Trooper. That's just me. So, I want some details on his backstory. I want explanations. The Trooper who died, blood-stained his helmet afterwards....was that person important? If that's what sent him over, I need some reason to go there, otherwise, ya, I just can't.

Q) Was Phasam even important?
A) No. Though she could've been if SHE'D BEEN THE ONE WHO SQUARED OFF VS FINN and then somehow got away, forced to feel by Resistance....


While he was fun and cool, he wasn't a big deal for me. Honestly, I hope it comes out that his story is more than Just Being the Best Pilot in the Resistance: ex Bounty Hunter? That idea was kicked around the in the office, so I hope it stuck to some wall and will make it's way back. Otherwise, ummm he's just another cool guy in a world where we really mostly care about Jedi and Dark Side people. :)

How did THIS :)
Become THIS :(


It's been 30yrs. Their Son is a Monster. He's killing people by the Star Ship load. The First Order is destroying planets at a time. Any hope of the Return of the Jedi Order is GONE. And yet, there's no passion left enough to even briefly gloss over the likely horrors and pains inflicted upon them, their relationship(s), the Rebellion/Resistance and the Galaxy as a whole.

If you've guessed, for me, this was the biggest and worst issue with the whole movie. I felt Leia was almost a completely wasted character and their reunion was totally empty. So, what happened? Why did we go from the old couple, who bickered and argued and fought all the time, over silly things, yet very much loved each this?

Do you think the assumption that it's been 30yrs is good enough for the viewer to just assume they're tired of the old arguments, so why have yet another one? I don't. It should've been great to see them and I was originally excited for it. I wanted the love to come back. The playful, affection and romance to come back. The little digs to come back. And then, yes, I wanted a hard, emotional argument over their Son Ben Solo (Kylo Ren)

I wanted the old arguments to come out....
I wanted Leia to defend him, making more contrasts to Vader, how he could be saved, how it wasn't his fault. How maybe it was their fault. I wanted Han to be the realist: How their Son was a monster, how he ruined everything, how he wasn't his Son anymore....which would've later made the scene where Leia finally got Han to see that Ben was HIS SON, how Luke couldn't reach him and that he had to. He was HIS FATHER, as Luke saved Anakin, so Han could save Ben. And then later, Han's best scene in the whole movie, on the bridge, would've been carried equally by the actors, instead of Ben having to do most of the heavy lifting.

Because here's the thing. How many people KNEW Vader was Luke and Leia's Father? Is that the kinda secret that would be allowed to get out? Is that why the Rebellion became the Resistance? Or, did that happen when yet another Skywalker fell to the Darkside? I mean, how would you feel if the Son of your two most favorite leaders, who's UNCLE WAS LUKE SKYWALKER, turned out to be yet another killer? Does the Resistance think Kylo killed Ben, the way Anakin was killed by Vader? Or, did word get out and so people lost faith, ya know, cause Luke just gave up and left....

All of this could've carried great emotional weight given how their was no BIG reveal moment.
And now, well, I doubt the next two movies will address these issues as well as could've been through the eyes of the two who spawned it.

What a shame. 

Given that I feel he's two characters in one, I'll refer to each as individuals going forward. 

It's been so long since we've had a cool looking enemy and Kylo is cool looking. His helmet is awesome. His Light Saber, which lots of people mocked, is pretty bad ass. His whole garb is pretty cool. I dig him. For me, there's nothing really wrong with this character, I'd just like to make a few notes.
1) When people complain about how Rey/Finn were able to fight toe-to-toe with Kylo, I'll simply say, Why does everyone think Kylo should be some great master of the Light Saber? This isn't the crazy Old Empire. These aren't the Star Wars Video game characters, who mix force and weapons into crazy, damn near DBZ moves. Really, with the exception of the three-way showdown at the end of The Phantom Menace, the duels in the series have never been amazing. Plenty of Kung-Fu movies have greater melee scenes. 
    A) Finn is a Storm Trooper, so, likely plenty of melee training.
    B) Rey obviously has skills herself....and....well...SHE'S A JEDI 

Ok, Luke trained Ben, sure, but how much training did Luke have with the Light Saber? Honestly, not much; least very little ON SCREEN and that's what I'm mostly speaking to. The great Jedi/Sith Light Saber skills of the past, from the prequels and the books before then, should be, for the most part, GONE. DEAD. 
Vader was too much of a machine to really use all the intricate fencing maneuvers he might've known prior to Obin Wan....ya know....Plus, he doesn't need them anymore. He hasn't needed them since the Jedi were destroyed. His mechanical body has made him so strong. His fear is basically a weapon. Who would dare fight with him? When he and Luke faced off, watch it again, not much there...remember him Throwing His Light Saber? Sure, later in video games we saw it used, coupled with the force, to make it a deadly boomerang, but that didn't happen on screen. He basically just threw it and then picked it up. Luke, also, didn't show any awesome fencing skills, he basically just beat on Vader till he got the opportunity to cut off his hand. Think about it.

Also, one of the most impressive things anyone Now A Days can do with a Light Saber is deflect, repel, ricochet, an energy bolt back at whoever is doing the shooting...because how many people have Light Sabers or similar weapons and who would risk trying to fight hand to hand against the likes of Kylo or Vader back in the day? Which is why it's a much more useful and intimidating skill for Kylo to know how to PAUSE A BOLT IN MID AIR!!!! 

2) I thought it was great how he beat on the wound(s) he got from Finn during their fight, or maybe it was when he was fighting Rey, either way, very cool character detail.

3) Everyone is totally fine with Kylo's Light Saber temper-tantrum the two times he got disappointing news, yet everyone mocked and hated when Anakin did basically the same thing in Clone Wars. And I'm pretty confident it's because Kylo is cool looking. I read everything online where people want to  insert all this nuance for why its ok, but looking back at all the Hate Hayden got, kinda silly. I will also add, just as with Anakin, this scene with Kylo didn't make me fear him, it made me pity him. And while I understand the reason why JJ went with this, I tend to agree with lots of viewers that perhaps this isn't what some were expecting in a villain. 

4) Oh, and this bugs me JJ- "Long before we had this title, the idea of The Force Awakens was that this would become the evolution of not just a hero, but a villain - and not a villain who was the finished, ready-made villain, but someone who was in process." Ummm J.J, did you see the prequels? Again, the only reason it's now cool, is because Kylo looks cool and people like the actor more than Hayden, but there's no other difference. 

Also, after a 30yr jump, this isn't so much an evolutionary chain of Ben's turn to the darkside that we all can follow and understand, as it is, given the speed with which we must except it, a critical survival adaptation. 

5) So glad Ben killed Han. Loved that his struggle wasn't to stop himself, but to push himself because he knew it had to be done. :) He did a great job in this scene.

6) I think he'll look different in the next movie. I think he'll become more and more like Vader. 

7) I hope Ben can't and won't be Redeemed. I think that would be terrible for the series. Also, I hope Ben kills Leia. :) I think their family should be a tragic lesson. 


Yes. I hope he's Darth Plageuis. :)

How did we go from THIS
To This

Sorry, I hate this. I hate the way he looks. Why did he become Obi Wan? What happened to the Black? It was so awesome in Return of the Jedi when he was in all black. Or why not Gray? Again, love to know the reason for this and will all Jedi hence forth become copied versions of Obi Wan? God, I hope not.

Anyway, I was excited that the story would focus on The Search for Luke. Great. An Adventure. And it didn't bother me, as I imagine it didn't bother many, that we called the plot shortly after realizing the story would take place 30yrs after Return of the Jedi. It only made sense that Luke would Fail and in-turn leave. 
So, yes, all excited to track Luke down.....wait?
What do you mean we get the rest of the map by the end of the movie?
No! Why?
Because of Light Speed we can get across the galaxy in...shit

On the plus side, instead of dodging the issue like, "Why didn't the Eagles just fly the Ring into Mordor," we at least went at it head first and got there as fast as we could using the available means to do so, so, there's that. Really, by the very end of the movie, I wish he'd simply not been in it. Could've found him at the very opening of Ep8, or maybe a cool flash scene at the end or maybe just an awesome voice over, oh well.

Finally, I'll say, I hope there are no more Skywalker or Solo kids. I hope they either no longer exist because the canon's been changed or, I hope Kylo killed them all when he rose up against Luke.

But, to form your own opinion, go see it yourself.


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