Destroy All Monsters: The Power Of THE FORCE AWAKENS

Contributor; Toronto, Canada (@tederick)
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Destroy All Monsters: The Power Of THE FORCE AWAKENS

Sure, within moments of the wider pop cultural world becoming aware of the fact that Rey (Daisy Ridley) wasn't just the main character of Star Wars: The Force Awakens, but was indeed that kind of main character - the Luke, for lack of a better word - the pundits began weighing in on whether or not Rey's status as the best thing to happen to the Star Wars franchise since... uh... ever?... was appropriate.

The reaction - is Rey a Mary Sue, and if she is, does that make her invalid as this film's particular slice of awesome? - was dully, ploddingly predictable. As my friend Sasha James so elegantly put it, when a Gary Stu shows up, we hardly bat an eyelash.

It's easy, particularly in a week when a whole bunch of other bigots lost their collective shit because a woman of colour was cast as Hermione Granger in a Harry Potter stage production in London, to ascribe the problem to simple sexism. And certainly, Sasha's point is entirely accurate: if Rey were Ray, we wouldn't be having this conversation, except perhaps as a tangential swipe against J.J. Abrams for being too much of a geek, or six months down the line as an example of how The Force Awakens' script was a bit over-the-top.

(He is, and it is; and I gotta tell you, this week? I don't give a single fuck. The Force Awakens is terrific, in ways I never could have expected. Rey's one of them.)

But because Rey's a girl, and a deft mechanic, and a great pilot, and strong enough in the Force that she sorts out how to do the Jedi Mind Trick all on her own, we must question whether she's too much of a convenient good thing.

A Mary Sue is an audience-identification character taken to an unlikely extreme, wherein she/he emerges from obscurity with world-saving extraordinary abilities that put the rest of the cosmology - the established heroes, like Han Solo and Chewbacca - squarely in her/his debt. This is where the wish fulfillment aspect comes from: what if you were thrown into the Star Wars universe... and you turned out to not just be adequate, but crucially, enviably special?

Rey ticks all the boxes. But I would suggest that it's because she's supposed to.

Many people have responded to The Force Awakens by noting its structural similarities to the original Star Wars. This isn't accidental, of course; even on the most pragmatic level, Abrams and his team had to deliver a roundly nostalgic reboot of the Star Wars universe (if not the actual narrative continuity) by providing something that reminded as many people as possible of not just Star Wars in general, but Star Wars (the movie, which no, I will never refer to as "A New Hope") specifically.

But this structural mirroring has allowed The Force Awakens to be something that none of these episodes since the original Star Wars has been: a power fantasy for young people.

People will line up for weeks to tell me what's wrong with the prequel trilogy, but on this rarely-discussed aspect I think we can all agree: did anyone ever want to be Anakin? Did Anakin's journey ever seem like something we'd want to happen to us? (The Force Awakens even takes a subtle jab at Jedi indoctrination. The First Order's stormtroopers, like the prequel trilogy's Jedi, are taken from their families at a young age and raised to do exactly one thing. Fascist cult much?)

Anakin doesn't entirely count anyway, thanks to the order in which Lucas made these films; we already know he's different/special/The Chosen One, and that he's going to become Darth Vader, so any tension on that point is moot before the story begins. Empire and Jedi weren't particularly allowed to be power fantasies either, except as extensions of the first film. Luke goes through his growing pains in Empire and his maturation stage in Jedi.

But Star Wars, and now The Force Awakens, are the only two movies in the canon where the lead character is plucked from obscurity by coincidence and circumstance, and goes on to win the day by an equal combination of their talents, willingness to learn, and a keen interest in finding out who they are.

Only this time - and this is really, truly, I swear to you, very important - it's a girl.

It's a girl and, in support of her, a man of colour, and they are the ones who, this time, find that magic combination of pluck and skill that gets you from one end of a Star Wars adventure to the other.

They aren't princesses, knights, or politicians; they aren't even smugglers or officers. They're nobodies from nowhere, and the Force (within the story), and the Star Wars franchise (out here in the real world), reaches out a hand to them, and by extension, everyone like them, and says, you have that power too.

It's no coincidence that that particular piece of Luke's dialogue from Return of the Jedi was repurposed (slightly) to serve as the narration for the second trailer for The Force Awakens. It's no coincidence, either, that not once but twice in this movie, our young heroes get to fly a "classic" Star Wars spaceship - the TIE Fighter and then, even better, the Millennium Falcon, just like all of us have dreamed of doing since we were embarrassingly young.

It's no coincidence that both Rey and Finn survive the climax by brandishing the same lightsabre that Obi-Wan handed Luke in the original Star Wars; and it is very, very, very important that when the moment of truth comes and all seems lost, it's that girl, who is very ordinary and very special at the same time, who Force-pulls the lightsabre into her hand to finish the fight with Kylo Ren.

Power fantasies are not about plausibility. They are about that line - very ordinary and very special at the same time - and, by extension, the incredibly important idea that anyone, anywhere, might have the magic inside them that lets them be the hero.

This is what Star Wars, ultimately, is about; has always been about, should always be about. This is what a lot of our pop cultural myths are about. Except that for longer than I can remember, they've almost always been about Steve Rogers, or Neo, or, indeed, Harry Potter.

And if you truly insist that your power fantasy character fit into those classic, person-with-a-penis-and-white-skin tropes? Hey! The Force Awakens has you covered, and uses that character to underline its point: Kylo Ren is a delirious caricature of fanboy entitlement run amuck, a super-powered (he can stop laser bolts with his mind!!), pasty-faced brat who's so out of touch with reality that he's built himself a Home Depot Darth Vader mask that he doesn't actually need, so that he can wear it to feel like a badass whenever he's not busy talking to the charred remains of Darth Vader's actual mask.

To take it back to Harry Potter for a sec, Kylo and his DIY mask are like the out-of-touch Slytherin fans who have the Dark Mark tattooed on themselves, because I dunno, getting a swastika tattoo was the wrong colour or something. Kylo Ren is everything that's gone wrong with the universe in the 30 years since Return of the Jedi - and the fact that he so closely resembles the exact sort of sod who seems have a problem with Rey today isn't, I think, much of a coincidence.

Rey and Finn are what make this movie fun, and what they say to the young people who will follow in their swashbuckling footsteps is what makes this movie great.

And if Rey turns out to be Luke's daughter, or Chewbacca's cousin, or a robot built by those four other robots from Ody Mandrell's pit droid crew, it won't really matter. The generative power of the story will remain the same: it could be you, girl. You already have more power than you know.

Destroy All Monsters is a weekly column on Hollywood and pop culture. Matt Brown is in Toronto and on twitter.

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Daisy RidleyJohn BoyegaReyStar WarsJ.J. AbramsLawrence KasdanMichael ArndtGeorge LucasHarrison FordMark HamillCarrie FisherAdam DriverActionAdventureFantasy

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Ard VijnDecember 23, 2015 10:32 AM

Fantastic article, Matt! Maybe your best ever.

Gerald WalkerDecember 23, 2015 10:43 AM

You can have some issues with rey's characterization and not be a misogynist...I know that's hard to comprehend in today's giant echo chamber of outrage..and for the record,I would have the same problems if it was a male character . At the end of the day, my nit picks are just that, nitpicking, over a really great adventure sci fi film that I highly enjoyed

Jeremy OdwyerDecember 23, 2015 11:20 AM

Great article and great points.

omnisemantic1December 23, 2015 11:28 AM

As per usual you're taking the words out of my mouth. If you or Ard ever have to quit, Twitch's gotta give me a call - I'll be the perfect stand-in :D Seriously though - Max Landis can suck my girly dick.

Todd HarringtonDecember 23, 2015 11:29 AM

Agreed. There are PLENTY of nits to pick with the script -- and, indeed, I think the hyper-compression of Rey's learning curve is one of them, regardless of gender -- but the movie is still a very good, fun movie for all and, maybe especially, for those like my 7-year old daughter who, for once, could completely envision herself as THE hero.

But I agree with Matt that the deliberate choices made -- with Rey, Finn and Kylo Ren -- are a refreshing reaction (if not antidote) to a status-quo entitlement culture that has infected popular narrative in feature films for far too long (ie: always).

omnisemantic1December 23, 2015 11:36 AM

There are two reasons for why Rey ends up feeling overpowered to some. The first is that in 2015 the audience doesn't need to see the whole step-by-step Jedi journey span three films, so they took a shortcut.
The other, which in terms of lore I find really interesting, is that when it comes to the Force Rey seems to learn by experience when any type of power is used ON her. That is, in a sense, Kylo Ren was her teacher for the duration of TFA. If anyone recalls the baddie from the original "Heroes" run - he had the same trait/superpower. He could understand on some fundamental level how things work and reproduce it, so making a Jedi along those lines is actually a pretty neat idea. I don't say they can't mess it up, but so far Rey is truly the cherry on the top of a very massive Star Wars cake :)

Matt BrownDecember 23, 2015 1:11 PM

Ha ha. Thanks!! :)

Matt BrownDecember 23, 2015 1:11 PM

Thank you Jeremy!

StuDecember 23, 2015 1:28 PM

Destroy All Monsters has history of tackling subtle and unexpected subjects with a lucidity I envy, but it's the ability to elucidate blunt and obvious subjects with subtlety and surprise that elevates this column to something truly revelatory.

The Force is strong with this one.

Christopher WebsterDecember 23, 2015 1:33 PM

GREAT article. Couldn't agree more.

BenUmsteadDecember 23, 2015 2:54 PM

So simple, so elegant, so on point.

It's funny that some are treating intuitive experience based learning (Rey has done this all her life) as some novelty thing when it's the building blocks of what makes us human (even in a Force powered Star War)

Jakt NovaDecember 23, 2015 3:08 PM

So, I think a lot of people are misunderstanding where the Mary Sue complaint comes from. It doesn't come from misogyny, or a dislike of Rey at all. It's only that some people are heavily invested in the fantasy and when you have a character who is inherently good at everything, it lowers the stakes. Nobody wants to diminish Rey's power or ability, they just argue having a flaw or two would actually make her more interesting.

Sasha KozakDecember 23, 2015 3:34 PM

Wonderful article

Ard VijnDecember 23, 2015 4:53 PM

Then again, maybe the hyper-compression is a plot point? Seeing as how the dark side is talking about an "awakening in the Force", maybe she is a super-prodigy, the likes of which even outshines Anakin Skywalker?

In the prequels I'd go "nah... just sloppy writing", but with this one I'm... well, I'm gonna wait a bit.

BobGyroDecember 23, 2015 7:54 PM

Title change Star Wars: The Feminist awakens

Corps I AmDecember 23, 2015 8:15 PM

Don't be too insecure.

That One GuyDecember 23, 2015 11:41 PM

I feel like you can nitpick this movie to death and it still won't ruin this movie. This is movie where execution means everything.

Bewar3them00nDecember 24, 2015 4:52 AM

Did we make the same assumptions about Luke's meteoric rise from simple farm boy with dreams, to Death Star destroying, princess rescuing, super pilot in Star Wars?
I'd say Rey has had 20 years of hard training and preparation on Jakku, no aunt and uncle to look after her, she lives off her own wits, she already has superior fighting a skills from the way she handles herself when BB8 was being stolen, add to that her re-awakening with the Force, and I d actually say her ascension isn't as drastic as Luke's in Star Wars

Ailsa GadbrooksDecember 24, 2015 6:35 AM

I actually teared up reading this. I never knew how much I needed a character like Rey until she was presented to me.

Willem GroblerDecember 24, 2015 6:41 AM

Why do people keep saying that Rey's saber is Annie's old saber which Luke lost, along with his hand, in Cloud City? You see, along with her "hyper compressed learning curve," it's narrative leaps like these, along with setups that weren't paid off properly (her vision of being dumped on Jakku; why Leia hugs her after Returning to the Reisitance base without even having met her; why they send only Rey, Chewie & R2 to find the great MacGuffin - Luke - without any explanation or proper resolution; why there's no hero's wake for Han, a legend) that killed this movie for me. It really killed me, in fact: I wanted to believe, to love this movie, I was so invested, but all I got was a glorified, derivative reboot with some good laughs & great spectacles I'd seen before & done better in other SW movies & Guardians of the Galaxy. This was not the movie I was looking for. 😢

EDIT: more on topic, really like Rey & Finn as chars; instantly recognizable & memorable, though their Hero's Journey seemed to easy & obvious, doing the canon no favours. Sadly Poe felt like window dressing.

omnisemantic1December 24, 2015 8:27 AM

But that's exactly what I'm saying. Yes, it is a convenient way of moving certain aspects of the character development along quicker, but it's definitely not happening for that sole reason. The "awakening" clearly refers to Rey as there isn't anything else occurring in the movie it could possibly refer to, and also underlines the fact that it is not an unique event as such, since Big Bad Ancient CGI Guy recognizes it from his Big Bad Ancient Youth.
I wouldn't call her a super-prodigy though. After all it is indeed what Ben said above - "intuitive experience based learning" and we really shouldn't find it THAT surprising, but I guess many SW fans are just too steeped in the whole master/apprentice dogma to take it at face value...

omnisemantic1December 24, 2015 8:34 AM

That's true - her character is designed to be way more self-sufficient than Luke's. It is her way of using of the Force that confuses people, but we'll see in the sequel how/if they explain it. Should be fun if my theory is correct though. It would more or less mean that the only reliant way of killing her is in a lightsaber duel and we can never get enough of those, right?

KurtDecember 24, 2015 8:46 AM
Rusty PriskeDecember 24, 2015 9:37 AM

I think you missed a bunch of sub-text in this. I am not saying that all of your points are wrong (like why IS it just the three of them that go to find Luke?)

The others: why do they keep saying it is his old sabre? Uh, because it is. Each one is unique and this is that one.

The more important one is 'why did Leia hug her?' Because she recognized her. Just because you haven't been told how doesn't make this a bad movie.

It is like the people who claim that Lost (for example) didn't answer the questions.,.. uh, yeah. It did. Stop asking to be spoon fed.

Yes it is derivative... and that is why it worked. The prequels tried to add more layers and was absolutely garbage. They went back to formula and made the 3rd best Star Wars movie. Nothing wrong with that.

(And Rey was absolutely delightful. She is a lot more likeable than Luke was in his first movie...)

Todd HarringtonDecember 24, 2015 10:41 AM

Good piece.

deanareenoDecember 24, 2015 12:11 PM

I wasn't as enamored of AWAKENS as most seem to be at this point (I like all of the new characters, but felt they were better than the movie surrounding them, which felt like "Star Wars Karaoke"), but Rey's abilities aren't among my complaints.

She has an excellent grasp of spaceship tech/parts because she scavenges for them every day in the downed Star Destroyer so that she can eat -- the more she knows about what might be valuable components, the more food she can potentially get. She doesn't necessarily know more than Han about the Falcon, she seems to know as much as him, likely because she's inadvertently picking stuff up from him via the Force (she's finishing his sentences, not upstaging him). When she pilots the Falcon, she doesn't do a great job of it (sliding its belly along the dunes, and that big VFX loop that she does that's so fun in the trailers/film isn't exactly ace flying), and she lures the two pursuing fighters into that downed Star Destroyer she knows so well. She accidentally lets out the squiddy-beasties that almost eat Finn, so it's not like she doesn't screw up. Kylo was pretty physically/emotionally messed up in the final fight, and when they go at it it's mainly two angry kids trying to batter the crap out of each other, not the CG-ninja nonsense of the prequels. It's all there.

(The Jedi-mind-trick worked for me mostly because I read somewhere that it's Daniel Craig playing the stormtrooper she messes with, so I was getting a kick out of that).

Willem GroblerDecember 24, 2015 12:30 PM

Not asking to be spoon fed; on the contrary, just for narrative threads to be tied up & setups to be paid off.

Leia hugged her because she knew her? GREAT! Then give me that scene: the one where Leia reveals she is Rey's aunt, and Luke, her father. Reveal that her quest is to seek him out, because the Force works in mysterious ways; that it is her destiny! Then we understand why there is a Resistance, perhaps; a forgotten contingent of the New Republic Army nobody cares about cos they believe Luke is still around & important to the effort against the First Order, which the NR doesn't view as a real threat! Give us a moment to show how much anguish Leia & Chewie have felt at losing Han - a formerly living legend, killed at the hands of his own son, Rey's cousin! Ten more minutes to get us to this turning point would have salvaged a film riddled with serendipitous shortcuts that stick gaffer tape over plot holes with VFX & nostalgia!

Finally, did Luke go back to Bespin to find Anakin's old saber after he constructed his own? WHY!? I wanna know these things; my expectations aren't unfair at all, I feel.

I fucking love SW, man. Had such high hopes, such high expectations, especially after they scrapped the Extended Universe for Disney cash ins. This was not the film I was looking for, sadly.

BobGyroDecember 25, 2015 11:47 AM

You Actually watch the show?

Corps I AmDecember 25, 2015 12:44 PM

What show?

DarrinDecember 25, 2015 5:32 PM

In other words, you wanted a six hour movie showing every character explaining why they are doing anything.

You're making yourself dislike the movie. Pull the stick out.

DarrinDecember 25, 2015 5:35 PM

Lol....if Hermione was created as a "person of colour" and a non "person of colour" was cast in the role in any way whatsoever, then the people complaining wouldn't be bigots anymore would they?

Ugh...this nonsense again?

Only a feminist would think that people are pissed that a woman is the hero of the movie. Clear thinking individuals watched the film and NEVER ONCE thought "Hey. She can't do that, she's a GIRL"!

Nor do they read a critique and thinks it's "just because she's a woman"

Some people are so self important that can't accept that not everything is about them.

DarrinDecember 25, 2015 5:37 PM

Then the "awesome" of the movie would been nonexistent.

el capulloDecember 25, 2015 7:05 PM

This was an insightful reading of TFA that will surely not go down well with people who believe feminism is unnecessary, or that we are already living in a "post-racial" America. The cultural repercussions of having a woman, a man of color, and a Latino as the heroes of the what was heretofore a lily-white fantasy will be tremendous on a global scale. Awesome, especially because of all the butthurting it will cause among the less enlightened.

el capulloDecember 25, 2015 7:15 PM

"clear thinking individuals" would be feminists to begin with, invalidating your argument.

DarrinDecember 25, 2015 7:16 PM

Too bad. But please, continue to think everyone is as miserable as feminists are. Again, clear minded, intelligent people didn't watch this film, and think any of the nonsense in this article, or your post.

'Lily white fantasy"

DarrinDecember 25, 2015 7:20 PM

There are many adjectives to describe a feminist, but "clear thinking" isn't one of them.

el capulloDecember 25, 2015 7:27 PM

like I said, butthurt much?

el capulloDecember 25, 2015 7:30 PM

Of course not, feminists are all crypto-fascists who want to emasculate men and take over the planet. Can you save us? We need a hero with BALLS, hairy ones, if possible.

DarrinDecember 25, 2015 7:32 PM

Yeah, I'm butt hurt because I'm able to watch a movie and NOT think that it's weird that a woman and a person of colour are the heroes, and salivate over people getting mad about it.

But then again, I can think for myself.

Try it.

DarrinDecember 25, 2015 7:35 PM

You need intelligence not childish banter that in your mind would make someone mad. Or...have a valid point. It makes the conversation so much more interesting for the other person.

Try again Cochise. Women are fully capable of accomplishing anything they want without the need for you and your ilk telling them they are inferior in some way and that they need some sort of "movement".

el capulloDecember 25, 2015 7:41 PM

Cochise? WOW. I rest my case.

DarrinDecember 25, 2015 7:47 PM didn't have a case, but thanks to that reply, I do rest mine.

Thanks for proving my point by the way. Unexpected it was. (Not really)

SubSumeYouDecember 25, 2015 10:32 PM

Thank you, Matt. : )

Corps I AmDecember 25, 2015 11:53 PM

I don't think most people even care. With an RT score of 95% and an audience score of 91%, it appears obvious that the racial/gender casting doesn't matter. It seems that it is only the few who keep insisting upon celebrating victim studies with complete abandonment of historical context or event as they preach to those few who still hold to archaic notions of color/gender supremacy. The ten percent of you who seem to need this racial/gender garbage in your lives should move to your own island and get on with your private little social war amongst yourselves. I'm guessing the island will be entirely populated by old people and young college somethings who have been trained to view every non-white male in America as existing in perpetual victimhood. The vast majority of the rest of the country just doesn't care.

With America's first black President (and probably a woman on the way), you choose to use the diverse casting of a Star Wars movie to boast a cultural repercussion heard around the world? The Declaration of Independence was of global impact. The American Civil War was of global impact. The Civil Rights Movement was of global impact. The election of Obama was of global impact.

Pull your head out of your ass.

Corps I AmDecember 26, 2015 12:16 AM

"Leia hugged her because she knew her? GREAT! Then give me that scene..."

"I wanna know...."

The Twitter generation. Patience. It doesn't all come in 140 characters.

Corps I AmDecember 26, 2015 12:25 AM

The funny thing is that Anakin's irritating flaw was that he was "whiny." Defenders of the Prequel became fond of pointing out that Luke was also "whiny." Here comes Rey and people choose to complain that she has "no flaws."

Conclusion? People just like to whine.

Willem GroblerDecember 26, 2015 1:37 AM

No, the Fanboy Generation: in a 135+ minute movie, audiences have grown so accustomed to favoring spetacle & VFX over good, satisfying storytelling (because Disney/Marvel/Avengers) that they can't see or admit that the films they're salivating over have critical flaws & issues.

Being spoonfed is not the same as expecting setups & narrative bears to be paid off in a satisfying manner.

Willem GroblerDecember 26, 2015 1:43 AM

See above, friend. I dislike aspects the movie because bad storytelling & serendipitous shortcuts. The end.

We have a 135 minute movie that could easily have shaved off 15 minutes of recycled action & spectacles & given us some closure to make the film work on its own, not solely as part of a trilogy. I'm not prepared to wait two years to see them either gloss over these mysteries/questions with brain numbing spectacle, or conveniently explain them away with Force/lineage-related coincidences. Not two damn years.

Robert DehnDecember 26, 2015 2:05 AM

I agree about the hug scene, without knowing that Rey is Luke's Daughter it seems incredibly callous that Leia basically ignores Chewbacca after Hans death, a death that she felt in another star system. I'm fine with Maz having Luke's old saber as it seems plausible that many things find her way especially with the banners she had hanging on her cantina. For Rey her knowledge of electronics makes perfect sense, and being able to fly very well and shoot pretty well after one misfire I can give that to being strong with the force. However her going toe to toe with Ren in both the Force struggle and the Saber fight seems rather unbelievable when we are to believe that Ren bested Luke and his new Jedi Order, and that she thought the Jedi were a myth not to long ago. Also no one can explain how she could have thought about force persuasion which is in no way a novice feat. Nearly everything after the death of Han was terrible with the exception of Poe.

Robert DehnDecember 26, 2015 2:07 AM

You could have fit in the family tie in the amount of time it took her to climb the never ending staircase at the end, didn't she just get there on Falcon. why would she stop at the bottom of the mountain?

AntonSiriusDecember 26, 2015 9:45 AM

If your point was to demonstrate that you aren't worth attempting an intelligent conversation with, you did that all by yourself, son.

AntonSiriusDecember 26, 2015 9:46 AM

She also knows what *changes* have been made to the Falcon since Han last owned it, so of course she'd be in a better position to fix/remove those additions.

omnisemantic1December 26, 2015 10:01 AM

Listen dude, if you want stuff answered - there're the prequels. They answer everything there, even plenty of stuff no one ever wanted to know (midichlorians?, boba fett?, wtf?). Good mysteries make for a great movie, good answers make for a great powerpoint presentation. The movie has plenty of issues, but neither of those is even close to "critical". You have decided in advance that things have to go a certain way and refuse to watch the movie for what it is. Han Solo died Obi-Wan's death in the original Star Wars, which TFA follows as a template. There wasn't a body that remained after, nor a wake for either of them. Get it through you thick skull that the old SW movies are far from perfect either (with the notable exception of Empire, which essentially defined how to make a sequel) and this one's goal is to follow in those exact footsteps and it did so admirably.

omnisemantic1December 26, 2015 10:10 AM

You're completely clueless as to what feminism means. Nothing surprising though - most people are.

Todd BrownDecember 26, 2015 10:15 AM

I hear exactly where Willem's coming from and, honestly, the solution isn't to jam more in, but less. They've bitten off too much here. Too many characters, too many storylines, and ultimately too much fan service. Having thought o this for a few days now I firmly believe this film - and the entire trilogy - would have been better served by focusing this story purely on Rey, Finn and Poe with the Han / Luke / Leia stuff left to the second film.

They've got so much jammed in that there's no room for ANYTHING to breath, not in terms of character or plot. They always have to rush from plot point to plot point because there's SO MUCH ground to cover. One of the strengths of the original trilogy was that it took the time to throw in the little grace notes that made the whole universe feel more grounded and real and there's none of that here because there's no time for it. It relies entirely on the nostalgia and goodwill of existing fans to do all the character establishment groundwork for them.

That said: Rian Johnson has by all accounts been given free rein to do what he wants with episode eight and that guys one hell of a good writer and director. I have a lot of confidence that he's not going to retreat into baseless spectacle. He's never done that before (unlike Abrams) and I see no reason to believe he'll do it now. The guy has turned down a LOT of big jobs over exactly these sorts of creative control issues and I firmly believe he would have turned this down as well if he wasn't able to pursue his own goals with it.

DarrinDecember 26, 2015 11:12 AM

Most people have the ability for rational thought.

DarrinDecember 26, 2015 11:14 AM

Well thanks for that mom, but unless you have a coherent point that adds to the conversation, go back to the dishes.

DarrinDecember 26, 2015 11:15 AM

I'm not your friend, and no matter how many times we read it, it's the same nonsense. You want the filmmakers to hold your hand.

DarrinDecember 26, 2015 11:19 AM

Don't bother, you'll never get through to the perpetually offended. They can take everything that is good in the world and turn it into some sort of "cause" or "movement" to suit their miserable life. They will not be happy until everyone is as miserable as they are. J.J. Abrams was not sending any message by casting these great actors in these roles, he just saw great actors. Some people just see a woman, a Latino, and a black guy, and try to turn them into some twisted icon to fit their ridiculous agendas.

omnisemantic1December 26, 2015 1:47 PM

Yet rational thought can do precious little when lacking the relevant knowledge or the proper context...

DrevniborDecember 26, 2015 2:53 PM

''...but Star Wars (the movie, which no, I will never refer to as A New Hope)''.
Matt Brown... how old are you?
I mean, Star Wars was retitled to A New Hope in 1981, with the film's public script being called A New Hope in 1979.
So, it's not some new thing Lucas pulled from his ass.
And when you have a franchise called Star Wars, which spans 7+ films, it is confusing if you call the first film and the franchise with the same name.

Willem GroblerDecember 26, 2015 4:16 PM

Okay, settle down now; no reason to pass off your opinion about me as fact - mine is also just an opinion - but it is about a film on a site they is all about opinions on films, not about people - you don't have to like it, but offer me the courtesy of arguing the point, not the man. Nothing you have said in anyway even remotely addresses concerns that I and numerous critics and fans have with the film.

Willem GroblerDecember 26, 2015 4:17 PM

Finally, some sense. I hope you're right about Johnson; maybe he'll give us the film we truly deserve, not the one we think we need.

Willem GroblerDecember 26, 2015 4:19 PM

MY thick skull? Riiight, I guess we've reached the ad hominem part of this "debate" now. And here I thought I was the fanboy suffering from nerd rage. Good day to you, sir.

omnisemantic1December 27, 2015 10:46 AM

Wait, did you just get OFFENDED by what I wrote?! LMAO ok, surely stranger things have happened. Some time... Somewhere...

Thing One n' Two ThingsDecember 27, 2015 12:23 PM

Why did Leia hug her? Because Leia is her mom and they experience their first Force moment together. Turns out, Han was a deadbeat dad, who never knew he abandoned his wife with their second child, unborn. I'm glad he's dead.

The drooling enthusiasm showered on this trifle, as well as the nonsensical, pointless argument over its unoriginal characters of politically-correct race and gender, is one of the great befuddlements of 2014.

DarrinDecember 28, 2015 12:13 AM

heh...Trying to validate your "concerns" by stating that "numerous" critics have the same problem with the film as you is not exactly arguing the point. I could spend about 5 minutes finding a few critics that agree with me. Does that mean anything? Nope. You're creating a problem where none exists. That's why there is no arguing the point with folks like you. The only response to nonsense like that is to point out how silly it is. Every point you gave exists only in your mind. At some point, as adults we have to start thinking for ourselves, and not expect everything to be spelled out for us.

DarrinDecember 28, 2015 12:15 AM

You may as well give it up. He needed the film to be what he created in his head, and when it wasn't it immediately became crap. Even the originals are not what he sees in his head.

DarrinDecember 28, 2015 12:30 AM

Is that you admitting something or.....? Anyway, Most rational people understand that feminism is a bad joke perpetuated by professional victims. It’s less a true “women’s movement” than the public face of hysterical leftist intolerance. This article is damning evidence of that. Clear thinking individuals don't think things like that.

Willem GroblerDecember 28, 2015 5:13 AM

At some point, as an adult, you have to realise that you have to tolerate other people's opinions, even if they contrast with your own. As an adult, you also need to also realise that calling their opinions "nonsense," inferring non-truths to support your own, unsubstantiated opinion, and telling them to "pull the stick out" because you don't agree with them, is not adult, and that you may have to spend some more time at the Youngling table before you can graduate from your Padawan ways and become a true Journeyman.

This whole "9/10 or nothing, bro!" mentality damages the franchise. It damages critical opinion, and the consumption of film not just as a commercial enterprise, but as an art form, and you can deride me as much as you want, but I'll have none of it and I stand by all my points. Now, in the interests of supporting my argument, and with some time having passed, the hype worn off and people having had time to digest this film and deliver some critical thought, let's break this down for you by referencing a well constructed critique on TFA:

"I’m not exactly delighted to be adding another branch to the Star Wars take tree. But the reviews are so effusive, success so roundly declared, I can’t help it. Because we’ve been played. We’ve been served up a pretty unoriginal reboot that adds few, if any, new ideas to our greatest commercial mythology. It’s the latest and maybe largest sign of a drift towards big screen sci-fi monoculture. And we’re lapping it up.

Clearly, Force Awakens is far from the worst Star Wars movie, but it might actually be the least interesting. In some ways, the triumph of this, Star Wars 2.0—and its predictable, nostalgia-reliant, repackaged thrills—is a defeat for what made the trilogy extraordinary in the first place—its madcap sci-fi originality and genre-bending experimentation.


Ultimately, Force Awakens is more a product of the same market logic that gave rise to the Marvel Universe films—a logic that rewards emulation and nostalgia above all; reusing ideas, characters, and narrative arcs that have already proven lucrative—than it is of the imagination that launched the series nearly four decades ago.

Since Star Wars is like water now, I suggest reading Forrest Wickman’s piece about the series’ genesis for a reminder of just how pathbreaking and weird it was when it first came out in the 70s. It was a hugely ambitious experiment founded on what turned out to be a very replicable model—one that both future filmmakers and tech bros alike would seek to follow for decades to come. Force Awakens is just the latest to go through the motions.


Case in point: I totally enjoyed the Force Awakens during its runtime. You might even say I was riveted. But as soon as the credits started to roll, the whole pastiche immediately started to slip from memory, scenes receding rapidly back into the source material from whence they came (Luke’s aunt and uncle’s charred bodies standing in for that slaughtered village, Mos Eisley cantina for whatever that forest planet saloon was). And then, the next thing I thought of on the drive home was that I kind of wished it was more like the prequels. That George Lucas had been moreinvolved.

No, I’m not trolling, and yes, I fully acknowledge that the prequels were, mostly, very terrible movies, and Lucas is blamed for the wreckage. But I started to realize that as works of imagination, they’re actually pretty impressive. They sought not to create full-scale retreads of the original Star Wars but to expand and enrich it; the films were bursting with color, imaginative city-worlds, clone armies, duels on volcano planets, and an explanation of the fall of a democratic intergalactic society and the rise of an autocratic Empire.


Abrams has expertly reorganized a Star Wars film, he has nailed the rhythm, the pacing, the visual aesthetic. He also made the principal characters more diverse (which is great, given the old Star Wars' failings in this arena) and Millennial-friendly. But he was allergic to over-explaining, and avoided any and all meaningful exposition (wait, how did the First Order come about, anyway? What did this new galactic government look like before it was destroyed by the DeathStarKiller? Why did the “Rebellion” need to rebrand?) or any ideas or figures that would’ve stuck out in the original series.

Lucas was derided and mocked for the new elements he introduced into his own saga in the prequels—but it was his ultimately his lack of skill with directing, something he’s well aware of himself—that doomed those films. Without Lucas in the room, Abrams remade Star Wars. And that’s bad news for a sci-fi market that’s cozily embracing self-referentiality, sequel madness, and shared universe economies of scale.


Science fiction is supposed to be all about exploring the unexplored, not rehashing the well-trod. As its key franchises become increasingly more important to the bottom line of huge studios that are fending off streaming and view-on-demand, expect them to become more formulaic, and less interesting. It’s already begun: one of the most unabashedly creative enterprises of the 20th century has been rendered another largely enjoyable, but mostly forgettable Hollywood reboot."


Couldn't say it any better myself. Your turn, friend.

J'accuseteauDecember 28, 2015 7:33 AM

The heroes' ethnic background "not mattering" is the ultimate victory of feminism, not a refutation of it. You talk of perpetual victim hood without the self-awareness to see that it reeks from your every pore. Your whiteness is supposedly under attack, at every turn, from the leftist "ten percent" (what a tidy, completely arbitrary number!) and it dominates your entire world. The only one making himself out to be a victim is you.

J'accuseteauDecember 28, 2015 7:42 AM

Bubble busted in 3... 2...

"I think it's important people see themselves represented in film," Abrams said. "I think it's not a small thing."


Despite characters like Leia, Calrissian, Windu -- and now Finn, Rey and Phasma -- Abrams and crew said the shepherds of the Star Wars franchise (a leader, after all, in the world of science fiction and fantasy) are striving to improve at every corner. Speaking about diverse casts, Abrams said: "It's a big consideration."

And though Abrams is passing off the director torch, Kennedy said Friday that his view on this will remain alive.

"There is every intention to carry on exactly what J. J. is talking about in all the Star Wars movies that we intend to make," she said.


Oh noes! JJ Abrams' casting decisions were motivated by a belief in diversity, and didn't happen by accident! Everybody pull their "Make America Great Again" hats over their eyes!

J'accuseteauDecember 28, 2015 7:54 AM

Obi-Wan told Luke that Vader killed his father -- WHY!? HOW!? I wanna know these things; my expectations aren't unfair at all, I feel...

If A New Hope had satisfied your desire to answer every possible question from the get go, the series' most famous moment in ESB would have never happened!

(and however Anakin's saber made its way into that box, I seriously doubt Luke went back for it and then lost the thing again.)

J'accuseteauDecember 28, 2015 8:10 AM

Had they left "the Han / Luke /Leia stuff to the second film", Kylo Ren's entire emotional journey in this film (AKA, the best part of it) would have been completely gutted. You'd have to rewrite him to the extent that we're basically talking about a different character. I just can't see them ripping the heart of the story out like that. You're acting like the original trilogy characters could have been easily excised from the picture, shuffled off to part 2, and that just isn't the case.

I have high hopes for Johnson, but I'm going to miss Abram's compositions. Johnson certainly doesn't have the same eye, but I look forward to seeing him step up his game in that regard.

Todd BrownDecember 28, 2015 11:16 AM

Yep, you'd have to do something significantly different with Kylo Ren. Absolutely. What I'm suggesting here couldn't be accomplished just by editing stuff out of the existing footage but would require a significantly different script - one that recognizes which characters are going to lead the new trilogy overall (those being Rey and Finn for the most part, with Poe and Kylo being strong support parts) and structuring a story that allows us to actually get to know and care about those characters because they're fully fleshed out characters rather than relying on the audience's predisposition to buy in because, hey, Star Wars!

As a structural point of comparison, how long is it before Luke even gets off Tattooine in the original film? I honestly don't know because it's been a while since I watched it, but there's a LOT more of Luke living his life of Tattooine than there is of Rey on Jakku (and there's a shitload more of Rey on Jakku than there is of Finn being a Storm Trooper). Thus when Luke embarks on his Hero's Journey we actually care and can see his progress because we knew him before the journey started. We discover as he discovers and we invest emotionally in his success. If you were to time it out I'm willing to bet we get a grand total of about five minutes with Rey to establish the character before she meets BB-8 and Finn, and that's a legitimate problem. It's even moreso a problem with Finn. They're currently pieces being moved around on a board more than they are living, breathing people. We don't share in their progress because Abrams has never bothered to establish the baseline.

And, yes, I would have pushed Kylo's confrontation with Han into the second film and I think it'd be better off for it. There'd be more buy in to both characters. There would - hopefully - be more of a sense that there was actually a decision to be made here by Kylo, a legitimate emotional crisis, rather than it being an absolute inevitability because there's a plot box that has to be ticked in a very small amount of time. As it is now it's an absolute inevitability from the moment you get even a whisper of their back stories - I knew exactly what was going to happen probably 45 minutes before it did. Right now it's a good scene, but it's a good scene because people already have an emotional connection to Han. If they took the time to create an emotional connection to Kylo as well it'd be a great scene instead.

I had a lot of fun watching the film and my kids liked it a bunch but it consistently reaches for the low hanging fruit only. It goes for the easy moments, not the best moments.

Corps I AmDecember 28, 2015 12:54 PM

"The heroes' ethnic background "not mattering" is the ultimate victory of feminism, not a refutation of it."

This is a profound and true statement. It also contradicts the article and what the original poster writes about this movie having an effect on the world as if the world has yet to understand these issues.

But then you went ahead and contradicted yourself.

Neil LaslettDecember 28, 2015 3:41 PM

Sure, it was added to the opening crawl in 1981 but I never, EVER, heard the movie called "A New Hope" until Lucas released the prequels and really REALLY wanted to make the most of the "Star Wars" name. So, like Han Solo stealing back the Millennium Falcon, Lucas fully took back the name. Yes, the first three movies were always marketed as part of the Star Wars franchise. But we [i.e. "kids"] always knew them as, simply, "Star Wars", "Empire", and "Jedi". If you had told me as a kid that you liked Episode 5 better than Episode 6, you would have gotten some strange looks.

DarrinDecember 29, 2015 4:17 AM

I don't think you understand what "bubble busted" means.

"I think it's important people see themselves represented in film,"

That means everyone Fred, not just the the inhabitants of victimville. Unless you seriously think Abrams made the movie just for you and your ilk?

Wow, please don't tell me that's what you thought? please. Are you one of those "fans" that think Star Wars movies are made just for you because you love it and have all the toys and read all the EU books, and watched all the movies a million times?

Let me guess, "Fanboys" is a favorite film of yours?

Heheheh...yeah this movie has made over a billion dollars because only you and your friends went to see it.

You think Abrams only wanted to cater to a certain portion of the audience, or could it be that he's smart enough to understand that not everyone thinks like that and most people just want to see a good movie? Most of us just see people doing a great job playing great characters.

Here's how you "bust a bubble": You see, regardless of what you and your buddies talk about in the dark recesses of the comic book store, normal people love diversity too. It's what makes things interesting. But when we see Rey and Finn and Po, we see three heroes. Not JUST a woman, a black man and a Cuban. We don't separate the hero from the person just because they may be a different race than us.

Trying to "claim" the characters for any one group to make you feel better about yourself is weak.

(By the way? Nice Trump reference, but it would be awful presumptuous of you to think that buffoon influences my thought processes. It seems uneducated opinions is your strength)

DarrinDecember 29, 2015 4:21 AM

My turn? Nah. I don't need to spend an inordinate amount of time searching for validation on Google. (congrats on knowing how to use Google, though I have to admit, I certainly didn't read any of that) Like I said, you can find just about anything that supports whatever nincompoop theory or opinion you have, and then copy and paste it. I don't doubt you also found counterpoints while you were searching for someone that agreed with you.

In a world of billions, there's bound to be a few nitwits that think as you do.

Willem GroblerDecember 29, 2015 4:38 AM

You've failed at every turn to address any of the very clear, vivid critiques I (and increasingly more and more critics and fans alike are bringing or) have brought up.

You're adding absolutely zero value to this discussion; in fact I've come to the realisation that the only reason you're still "contributing" is cos you really love the sound of your own proverbial jaw flapping as you hurl pitiful and vitriolic remarks that continue to do your own standing harm.

You've repeatedly stated that my argument is nonsense because I'm a nitwit from the word go. WE GET IT: maybe that makes you feel like you're winning at the internet, so why don't you give yourself a self-congratulatory pat on the back already? Your fanboyism sure isn't doing you any favours.

In closing, I guess I have to spell it out for you. You fail because you rely on a logical fallacy to support your (virtually nonexistent) argument:

"An ad hominem (Latin for "to the man" or "to the person"), short for argumentum ad hominem, is an attack on an argument made by attacking the character, motive, or other attribute of the person making the argument, rather than attacking the argument directly. When used inappropriately, it is a logical fallacy in which a claim or argument is dismissed on the basis of some irrelevant fact or supposition about the author or the person being criticized."

My work here is done.

Willem GroblerDecember 29, 2015 4:41 AM

Don't confuse one or two mysteries in the interests of serving an overarching narrative with one or two thousand mysteries because it's 2015 and mysteries + plot twists are kewl. Less is more, but not in JJ's take on SW.

Willem GroblerDecember 29, 2015 4:46 AM

"I had a lot of fun watching the film [...] but it consistently reaches for the low hanging fruit only. It goes for the easy moments, not the best moments."

This is just about the best two line review I've read on the film. :'D

DarrinDecember 29, 2015 4:49 AM

If that's what you call "work", I understand now why you feel the need to have it all spelled out for you.

You only feel as if you have a valid argument because you found a few articles on the internet that agreed with you.

Not everyone needs that to form an opinion. I told you what was wrong with your argument. I don't need to find a random person I've never met to prove that I have a valid opinion.

That being said, you're going to buy the Blu-Ray when it comes out aren't you?

I knew it.

Willem GroblerDecember 29, 2015 4:52 AM

Obvious troll is obvious. As you were, my very young Padawan.

DarrinDecember 29, 2015 5:04 AM I guess your "work" wasn't done after all.

What's obvious though is that by calling me a "troll" you've let me know that what I've said hit the nail on the head. (lol, that rhymes)

Because we all know that a troll is someone that disagrees with you.

Willem GroblerDecember 29, 2015 5:20 AM

On the contrary, guess it's back to google for you, bro:

"[A] troll is a person who sows discord on the Internet by starting arguments or upsetting people, by posting inflammatory, extraneous, or off-topic messages in an online community (such as a newsgroup, forum, chat room, or blog) with the deliberate intent of provoking readers into an emotional response or of otherwise disrupting normal on-topic discussion, often for their own amusement."

Sounds about right.

Anyhow, hard as it my be on my ego, I'll just bite the bullet now and say au revoir, as this conversation is clearly going nowhere, and definitely adding no value to a critical discourse around TFA or SW as a whole.

Feel free to strike at me with more vitriol and flamebait, cos I'm gonna make like Obi-Wan and become one with the Force: more powerful than you can possibly imagine. ;)

DarrinDecember 29, 2015 12:09 PM

""[A] troll is a person who sows discord on the Internet by starting arguments or upsetting people,"

I upset you so I must be a troll? Ugh, you can't be serious. That's why It's so difficult to have a conversation with people like you. Feelings get in the way. It's just a movie Cochise.

I feel like I should just agree with you so you'll stop. I'm starting to feel sorry for you.

Todd BrownDecember 29, 2015 12:58 PM

No, you're a troll because you base everything you say on appeals to a fictitious 'clear minded, intelligent' majority that you can provide no factual basis for and with 'clear minded' and 'intelligent' clearly defined as 'people who agree with me'.

You go on and on and on about how other people's opinions aren't grounded in fact and therefore inferior to yours and those of your 'clear minded, intelligent' majority while simultaneously refusing to engage in points made or provide any sort of substantiation for your insistence that this majority actually exists while also refusing to simply state your opinion is what it is: Your opinion. Nothing wrong with it being your opinion. More than a little bit irritating when you insist that it is somehow the Voice Of God As Delivered Through The Masses (Which May Or May Not Exist) while denigrated everyone else's thoughts and opinions as being inherently inferior to your own when the people you're firing shots at are actually doing far, far more than you to engage in a substantial conversation.

DarrinDecember 29, 2015 5:23 PM

Good grief.

You guys really put a lot of thought into this don't you? Although it was difficult to follow that particular rant, because nowhere did I claim to be "the voice of God", nor am I the one copying and pasting opinions from other people to give myself some sort of credibility. kind of blows that whole "appeals to a fictitious 'clear minded, intelligent' majority" theory out of the water huh?

Anyway Chief, you are free to have any opinion you want, just as I am, but you had better be prepared to have it challenged at some point. If you can't handle that then keep it to yourself. I don't really have the inclination to deal with your hurt feelings. If you need a safe space where everyone simply agrees with what you say with no rebuttal whatsoever, then I'm afraid I can't help you. I saw a comment, I replied. That's how it works. If you don't like my reply, you reply to me if you want.

It's "freedom of speech", not "Freedom from hurt feelings"


Mike WalkerDecember 30, 2015 9:14 PM

It's has nothing to do with her gender, dipshit. I don't care whether it's a boy or girl. Kylo has been training his whole life and Rey just picks up a lightsaber and whoops his ass and nearly kills him, her very first jedi fight? it's bullshit. She didn't train, like Luke did. Luke still had to train ALOT before he could ALMOST BEAT Vader. She should of trained a bit, before being untouchable by Kylo's force powers. And Kylo should've easily beat Rey in a lightsaber battle, he's trained with Jedi's, his whole life. Rey had zero training and be a seasons Jedi, bottome line.

Mike WalkerDecember 30, 2015 9:19 PM

Has nothing to with sexism or racism. She gain her powers and skill without any guidance or training. It was bogus.

Mike WalkerDecember 30, 2015 9:25 PM

It has nothing to do with racism or sexism. I loved the movie. I'm just pissed at how Rey whooped Kylo and almost killed him. Rey hadn't even met a Jedi. The only thing that she knew about the force, was the one liner that Han gave her and somehow that was more than enough to make her almost untouchable. Crock.

Mike WalkerDecember 30, 2015 9:38 PM

This is so stupid. Why does everybody always blame other's opinions on racism? It's ridiculous. I'm not racist. I just feel that Rey developed without any training or guidance. And people like you, always blaming racism on opinions that differ from yours is despicable. Now a days people are racist of white people. Reverse racism is still racism. And don't give me the bullshit about white people having been predjudice for years, I haven't. none of the current black people have been slaves and none of the current white people have been slave owners. Rey's automatic development of her Force skills were way too sped up not earned. Bottom line.

Mike WalkerDecember 30, 2015 9:43 PM

Not everything is race related. The fact that you automatically jump to that conclusion, says how racist you really are. Reverse racism is still racism. Rey developed automatically and that's why people are bashing. I loved the movie, but she didn't have to earn any of her powers or skills. That is what is bullshit. Not the fact that it's a female or a black guy. Get over your damn racist, anti-white bullshit.

Corps I AmDecember 30, 2015 10:06 PM

You should probably re-check who you addressed your post to. I'm on your side, dummy.

Corps I AmDecember 30, 2015 10:12 PM

You mean how a trained fighter like Rey began to remember her past (not revealed to us) and fought back against a blaster wounded Kylo? I don't know about you, but I bet I can hold my own against Bruce Lee if he had gotten shot in the gut first.

Corps I AmDecember 30, 2015 10:20 PM

He not the poster you were looking for. Now...."apologize to him too."

Corps I AmDecember 30, 2015 10:25 PM

"Bubble busted in 3... 2..."

Not quote. Diversity was obviously a goal. However, this is not the subject. The subject was whether or not this was going to have some global cultural impact, which is ridiculous. History is well beyond the point where seeing a black man or a woman on screen in a hero's position is revolutionary. The impact you seek occurred decades ago. So, save your bubble busting and focus on the subject.

Mr. CavinDecember 31, 2015 2:01 AM

"it is confusing if you call the first film and the franchise with the same name."

I don't find it particularly confusing in this case. Nor in the cases of the MAD MAX , TERMINATOR, FAST AND FURIOUS, FRIDAY THE THIRTEENTH, ALIEN, or SCARY MOVIE franchises, either. Honestly, thinking about for the fist time in my whole life just to make this comment, im hard pressed to come up with more than three series titles that do not utilize the

DrevniborDecember 31, 2015 3:34 AM

But when you have a film series called Star Wars, in which the first film serves as the middle portion of the story (whether you like the prequels or not), it is strange for it to be the only entry without a subtitle.
Furthermore, Star Wars is a better name for the entire franchise, than for one film - especially because there are no ''star wars[]'' in that film, but a single war.
If Lucas knew that the first film would become such a hit (and would produce the sequels) it would definitely had a subtitle from the beginning (like, for example, The Lord of the Rings films).

DarrinDecember 31, 2015 12:26 PM

You seriously have to pay attention to who you're replying too. So far you've replied with arguments to the people who you basically agree with.

Corps I AmDecember 31, 2015 12:56 PM

You appear determined to be obtuse as possible with this, but I'll give it a go...

1) The entire reason there is an earlier scene showing a fight between Rey and the scrap traders was to demonstrate her fighting ability.

2) The entire point of showing the scene when Kylo was trying to read her mind was to demonstrate Rey's learning curve against another force user.

3) The entire point in showing Kylo reaching for Luke's Saber was to demonstrate Rey's ability to see and learn, hence her reaching out for it too.

4) The point of the camera focus on Kylo's bleeding gun shot wound and his holding his side throughout the fight was to demonstrate that Kylo was badly injured and had to hold his own against a person who is remembering a past with Luke.

5) The entire point of showing the very long hug between Leia and Rey, along with the very long emotional stare between Luke and Rey was to demonstrate that there is a past that we don/t know about.

Considering that we were shown no "Jedis" in the movie, you are assuming that he has trained with "Jedis" his entire life.

Bottom line...stick to cartoons.

Gopal NatarajanDecember 31, 2015 4:41 PM

"The Force Awakens is terrific, in ways I never could have expected. Rey's one of them."

Matt, you sound like someone who grew up totally unaware of "Star Wars" or any other SciFi blockbuster of the last 40 years.

PocketFoxJanuary 2, 2016 3:34 PM

I can't believe how insulting this article is. So you honestly think the only reason someone could consider Rey a MarySue is if they're a 16-24-year-old white guy who's mad that his male power fantasy is being usurped by girl cooties?

I have a problem with Rey, too, and I'm a 30-year-old woman. It has literally nothing to do with her gender for me; it has to do with the fact that her instant mastery of the Force, despite believing it was a myth almost until she discovered her own Force-sensitivity, is basically the very definition of MarySue. We're supposed to believe that, despite probably not even knowing the Jedi Mind Trick is a thing, she's able to use it perfectly on her *second try*?

Poor writing has nothing to do with gender (at least in this case). Rey could become Ray and I would still have a problem with the character, but because Rey is *not* Ray, I can't prove that and can only brace myself for the accusations of anti-feminism. Hurray.

Pol McGeeJanuary 3, 2016 8:20 AM

To Kylo's credit, he did just get hit in the side with Chewie's blaster. In my opinion, the writers were holding back on what Kylo is capable of.

Christopher WatkinsJanuary 3, 2016 11:06 AM

I see a lot of people complaining about Rey's abilities as though they are outlandish. Anakin being created by The Force and not having a father is outlandish! Almost unfathomable. A real miracle of sorts. So Rey having a learning curve of using certain aspects of The Force without training isn't really all that outlandish.

First, the Storm Trooper she did the mind trick on is probably a very weak minded person. The First Order abducted them as children and said to indoctrinate or "program" them. Most people susceptible to this are probably not all that strong willed. So, if she is of the Skywalker lineage which I think most would say she is, then she's very well likely greatly empowered by The Force. So great power untrained versus a very weak mind isn't much to brag about. It's not outlandish or hard to believe. She even failed once against this weak minded indoctrinated storn trooper.

Her ability to fight is hinted at being a scavenger on a planet where it seems most are poor and starving. She probably had many times in which she had to fight off other scavengers to keep what she found. Kylo's libtsaber is an indicator that he's not really well trained in aspects of the lightsaber. He's said to have been too much like his grandfather Vader, he's hasty, impulsive, and arrogant. He never finished his training with Luke.

His arrogance is revealed in he thinks he can teach her despite that he never finished with Luke and Snoke has not completed his training either. There is no mention he has been dueling other Jedi's. Luke was the last Jedi. Luke probably had a handful of Padawans, not fully trained students. So it's not a long trained Luke vs Vader fight in the Rey vs Kylo battle. It's very much a battle between two amateurs that are pretty good in their own right.

Kylo is also severely injured and first fights Fin. He's also emotionally unstable, he just killed Han in which he did so with much angst and trepidation. You take that kind of emotional baggage, a severe wound, not being fully trained, rash, and arrogant and you can see why Rey defeats him. But she did so not with the utmost ease, showing that despite these things Kylo is probably still better than her. She just fought him on an off day for him which worked out well for her. So no it isn't really hard to believe she was capable of fighting and beating Kylo. She fought a badly injured, emotionally charged, untrained Vader fanboy, not Vader himself. He's getting there but he's not ready yet. She's not ready yet. But she bested him this time.

She didn't fly the Millennium Falcon perfectly. She is good with computers/machines but not perfect (she pulled the wrong fuse and caused a lot of problems for Han, Chewie, and Fin). She did a mind trick on a very impressionable Storm Trooper. She fought an amateur in The Force that is gifted but also untrained. Kylo was basically like the school bully figthing kids smaller than himself and then the right person comes along and bops him in the nose. Kylo is better than your average person (he's got the force) but they're both force sensitives without training. NOT HARD TO IMAGINE that things played out as they did.

Christopher WatkinsJanuary 3, 2016 11:21 AM

She didn't get her powers too quickly or unfairly. She did a mind trick on an impressionable Storm Trooper who was apparently weak willed in that he does as he's told in such a way that he's "programed."

Kylo didn't finish his training with Luke and Snoke says at the end to bring Kylo to him to FINISH his training. You had a girl who fought off other scavengers in her planet most of her life square off against an injured, emotionally charged, untrained amateur. Not a hard sell on who could win that fight. The fact that Kylo gives her a good fight back indicates he probably was better than her but due to just killing his father (talk about things to mess with your mind), being severely injured, brash & impulsive, and already had one fight with Fin (perhaps physically tiring him a little more) indicates she really got lucky against him. If all things being equal (not just killing his father, not being injured, etc) he probably would have defeated her.

You just watched a fight between two amateurs and one was having a really, really bad day.

shaunnJanuary 3, 2016 11:21 AM

I think that Rey is a great character whom I entirely enjoyed. I had no problem at all with her being as adept as she was - clearly this was intentional. The fact that she is so powerful in the Force is meant to be an acknowledgement that she is, indeed, special. Anakin was, supposedly, a virgin birth who was the most powerful Force-being (midichlorians - ugh!) that anyone had ever seen. The fact that a young woman happens to be enormously gifted in the Force is not outside the SW universe's norms. Also, the fact that she was adept with a staff is established early in the film, so her ability to use a lightsaber is not that much of a stretch. Anyway, there were lots of things in this film that did not work for me - Rey and Finn were among those things that, to me, really did work.

Mike WalkerJanuary 3, 2016 7:16 PM

Yeah, but he did alot more training then Rey. Bottom line.

Mike WalkerJanuary 3, 2016 7:21 PM

Stick to cartoons. You're a total douche bag. How about you stick to criticizing things you know about, not combat and weaponry.

Mike WalkerJanuary 3, 2016 7:22 PM

I was just saying that Rey could've had a bit more training, before taking on Kylo and or having stronger force powers.

Corps I AmJanuary 3, 2016 7:49 PM

A total one? Yeah, I know nothing of combat and weaponry.

Graycee357January 4, 2016 2:17 AM

Ahhh...but is this the story from George Lucas? No, it's a story from Disney. All of their fairy tales revolve around girls. I believe that Disney has invented a new hybrid of their new hero, the female Prince. No longer are the girl princesses locked away in a tower waiting to be rescued by a prince. Now they save themselves, their Prince, and their universe by kicking ass. Arielle saved Eric, Tiana saved Naveen, Rapunzel saved Ryder, Elsa saved Anna and Anna saved Elsa, and etc.
Rey is the female Prince. She freed herself, saved Finn, handed Ren his ass, and jumped on the Milennium Falcon and lived happily ever after. Just you watch. Oh and the force? Yeah that force is called Love. Darth Vardar's Love saved Luke from the Emperor. Leia's love saved Hans Solo once upon a Jedi's Return. Who does Rey love? Well herself so far. Finn? Maybe she loves him like a brother cuz I saw zero sparks between them. Now love stories are what Disney does best so this franchise is in great hands. Don't you guys know you are watching possibly the greatest longest love story created on film? You know the one that's starts with, "Once upon a time in a land far, far away..." Oops! I meant to say, " A long time ago, in a galaxy far, far away..."

Christopher WatkinsJanuary 4, 2016 9:36 AM

Fighters who train more don't always win the fight. Even still, you're ignoring all the other factors mentioned. Kylo had a lot going on in that fight and still put up a good fight but lost in the end. In which case his training probably helped him out but it's not unbelievable that the fight was not in his favor.

knightguardJanuary 5, 2016 4:32 PM

I can actually agree with you Neil. I saw Star Wars when I was either four or five when it first came out. I don't remember if A New Hope was always part of the line. I just remember seeing the Star Destroyer and the Blockade runner firing at each other.

knightguardJanuary 5, 2016 4:39 PM

Mike, there were hints on most of it.. Look at the fact that Rey has been fighting for years with a staff. We also don't know her past and it is possible that some of her training had started when she was very little as the dreaded prequels have shown.

I can agree that some of her force powers shouldn't have worked yet. At least the mind trick, though the tk use is basic and she could have been trained in that before she had to go to Jakku. This is of course a theory.

knightguardJanuary 5, 2016 4:46 PM

Darrin..I loved the movie and even thought of some of the plausible reasons why Rey could have been able to do what she did. She could have started her training when she was very young and before she was sent to Jakku. She also had been using the staff for years.

But I am supporting your and if I could have would have given you several more ups. I grew up with the OT and still love this movie. I hope they explain a bit more in March 2017 about Rey.

knightguardJanuary 5, 2016 4:51 PM

In the book, it states that she explored the Falcon at night to see and even imagine being in space away from Jakku. I agree with you deanareeno that the characters were very good. I actually really did like the movie, though I felt something was missing and still not sure what. But still liked it.

knightguardJanuary 5, 2016 4:58 PM

That was hinted at Willem..When Han asked where did she get that? when she handed Finn the saber. She said that is a story for another time. Also Ford wanted to have his character killed off. Han was supposed to be killed in Jedi, but Lucas said no since the toys were too popular.

A New HopeJanuary 6, 2016 3:21 AM

Nice try, Matt Brown.

You don't seem to have any idea why people object to Rey's character. It's not because she's a woman. It's because she can do everything. Even Luke - hell, even ANAKIN had limits. Rey does not, and that's poor writing.

You claim that she's a nobody from nowhere, but that clearly isn't the case. We simply haven't been filled in on her backstory. Rey can out-Luke Luke Skywalker even though she thought the Force was a myth in the beginning of the film. She can out-Han Han Solo even though she's never flown a starship. She seems to understand any language she encounters. Also, wielding a lightsaber is supposed to be so difficult that even a Force sensitive requires training in order to do so properly without injuring herself. As it stands now, Rey has vast superpowers that make no sense, and we don't know enough about her to accept otherwise.

Your entire argument is flawed. Call it sexist as much as you like - it's only a pathetic smoke screen to distract from the fact that you are wrong.

Scott CarrollJanuary 7, 2016 2:25 AM

So basically, your argument boils down to "yeah she's a total Mary Sue, but she's supposed to be." Great. Got it. Way to put the haters in their place bud.

www.plaintalk2010.comJanuary 9, 2016 10:27 PM

At first, Kylo was able to freeze her in place and knock her out with a wave of his hand. What changed from that point to him getting his butt kicked? You can't say Chewbacca blasting him, because he was still highly functional and showing no signs of disability.

Corps I AmJanuary 10, 2016 9:45 AM

Do you actually care here?

* Chewbacca's weapon was slamming armored Stormtroopers in the air. The unarmored Ren took the blast well and merely dropped to his knee. Did you notice that?

* He was sweating profusely in the very first scene when he approached Finn and Rey in the snow. He was pounding himself in the side just to keep from passing out. Remember that?

* He was bleeding out. That was a lot of blood hitting the snow. Did you see that purposeful camera scene?

* Finn got a luck shoulder hit in.

This is the context. He was not highly functional at all and showing great signs of disability. One could argue that given his wounds, his ability to defend himself against two people displayed his strength rather than Rey's.

Corps I AmJanuary 10, 2016 10:10 AM

Technically, it was a battle.

www.plaintalk2010.comJanuary 10, 2016 11:57 AM

The light saber scene was very corny and cliche because Kylo didn't use any of his force powers. Since he was hurt, you would think that he would be more reliant on them. (Remember when Vader was hurt in Empire? He started hurling objects at Luke with the Force to get the upper hand.) As soon as Kylo mentioned that he could train Rey, she closed her eyes, just like Luke did in previous movies, and became an unstoppable force. As a kid, I used to love when Hulk Hogan would shake and seem unbeatable. Now as an adult when I look back at wrestling, it's pretty laughable. I guess Rey is this generation's Hulk Hogan. If they don't balance things out in the next movie, people may become uninterested. They have a lot of work to do with this Kylo character.

Corps I AmJanuary 10, 2016 2:01 PM

I don't know. Maybe he lacked focus through the pain, which is why Rey was able to tap the Force and do something with it against him. As Rey was allowing the Force "flow through her," it appeared as if Kylo lost all focus.

I don't remember that Vader was hurt in that scene. Luke got a lucky hit later right before he lost his hand.

"They have a lot of work to do with this Kylo character."

I think that was the point. The movie made it clear that without injury Kylo was far stronger than Rey. I'd like to see Kylo beat Rey in the next one. I like that Kylo still has to train. And I really like his "tantrum." Yoda told Luke that he "must learn control." Without control and focus, Luke couldn't keep the rocks stacked. Rey's life taught her to control her emotions. Kylo is obviously not in control of his rage.

IsaacJanuary 10, 2016 7:47 PM

The lightsaber fight is fine, since Rey has been fighting her whole life and Kylo has never really gone against someone else with a lightsaber, as far as we know.

But how do you explain Rey's ability with the force? Forget the fight, explain how she is able to not only resist Kylo's mind-reading, but then flip it on him and read his mind instead?

When Kylo Ren stops the laser mid air, or when he freezes Rey, and when he reads Poe's mind, it sends the message that Kylo Ren is very strong in the force. And trained. Trained.

Assuming Rey is a Skywalker and is therefore very powerful, it's ridiculous to assume this means she's more powerful then Kylo, since he's also from the same family. Their raw talent should be about the same, with the exception that he has had training.

We had never seen someone stop a laser shot mid air before, or read minds, and so Kylo Ren was established as a better force user than we had ever seen in the saga before.

...And then this girl who just heard about the force 15 minutes ago can negate his force ability?

There's a difference between making a strong character that people can look up to and making an impervious one that overpowers all other characters.

My friends think Kylo Ren should have kept his helmet on cuz that's when he lost his cool factor. The problem is that the moment he removes his mask he gets his force powers usurped by Rey, and so now he's no longer the badass who was stopping laser beams and having funny tantrums. Now he's just a bratty kid who poses no threat for our heroes.

I can forgive the lightsaber fight, but there is ZERO justification for Rey overpowering Kylo Ren in the ways of the force after just hearing about the force, when Luke couldn't even lift his ship out of the swamp after a movie and a half of knowing about the force and being guided by both Obi Wan and Yoda.

To make her strong they made him weak. What kind of villain is that?

News flash: people get saved all the time. She can be saved by someone else and still be a strong character. Let's get our heads out of our SJW asses

IsaacJanuary 10, 2016 8:13 PM

I find your lack of gender and racial equality disturbing.

Your argument is that her ridiculous powers are ok because she's a woman and has a black friend.

That's as sexist and racist as saying the opposite.

She's too powerful because she's too powerful. There is no reason she should be able to flip Kylo Ren's mind reading on him. I could have believed her resisting his mind reading, but when she reads his mind in response it's just laughable. Not even Anakin was that strong.

This is not about gender or race, and this article villainizes white males.

Meesa think...that's racist.

IsaacJanuary 10, 2016 8:40 PM

I agree completely. Great post.

Corps I AmJanuary 10, 2016 11:05 PM

"Forget the fight, explain how she is able to not only resist Kylo's mind-reading, but then flip it on him and read his mind instead?"

Got it. It seemed that early scenes were expressly meant to give context to future scenes. As a non-force sensitive, Poe struggled against, but gave in to Kylo's mind probing. Later, Rey also struggled against, but found herself not only pushing him out but entering his mind. Finding herself in his mind was a surprise to both of them. She learned from Kylo right in front of us. I can't really see how she went from that to controlling the Stormtrooper (Daniel Craig), but at least she had to try it three times.

" sends the message that Kylo Ren is very strong in the force."

This too can make sense. His "tantrums" show that he has no control. Again, what was the point of those scenes? Yoda told Luke that he "must learn control" when his minded drifted to Cloud City. Qui Gon told Obi that he must be "mindful of the present" when he was thinking of something illusive. Obi told Anakin to "come to his senses" when his focus went towards Padme. Perhaps allowing the Force to "flow through you" is the easier part. It seems from past examples that it doesn't take much to do crazy feats with the Force once you tap it. Luke could immediately block blaster fire after an Obi pep talk while blinded but, couldn't keep the rocks in the air with Yoda once his mind drifted. It's the control and focus part that everybody seems to have to learn. This is something that Rey was shown to have had throughout the movie. Kylo obviously lacks control. Anakin remained in control when he slaughtered the Tusken Raiders and as Vader chokes fools out with great composure. But Kylo? He has yet to learn control. Why else would they show Kylo raging uncontrollably if those scenes didn't mean anything?

"To make her strong they made him weak. What kind of villain is that?"

Not weak. Incomplete. It appears that he is still trying to become the villain. He's obviously not weak. His abilities were shown on purpose, but so was his struggle with control. His struggle (Dark/Light) and lack of control over his rage appears to be holding him back. I suspect killing Han is going to make the difference.

IsaacJanuary 14, 2016 9:33 AM

I'd like to point out is that the dark side is fueled by emotions. Luke has to strive for control, because he is a jedi. The sith have always given in to their frustrations and pain and anger. It makes them stronger.

I also take exception to the notion that she is learning on the fly from Kylo Ren. If so, please point to the scene where he jedi mind tricks someone right in front of her. Im also not convinced that she reached for luke's lightsaber only after ren did. It looked to me like they were fighting for it at the same time, and she won. If he'd done it first, it would already have been in his hand when she went for it. He is struggling, therefore she is probably force pulling it too.

I'm ok with all of it. My only issue is how making her impervious made him vulnerable. I am hoping, as you said, the eigth film will show Ren as a more worthy villain, but in this movie there's no sense that rey will be in trouble if she faces him in the future. Rey is just too powerful. If he learns new force abilities, she will just learn them on the fly and flip them on him. If he gains lightsaber skills...well she's already a better fighter and is going to get more training too. If he gains control over his emotions, it doesnt matter cuz she already had control over them. Ren is the underdog here, and it doesn't make any sense to me. I also dont know what she has to learn from Luke. Everything he already did, she already knows.

Luke was crippled with self-doubt. Anakin with conflicted emotions. Rey? Oh yeah, she's the one with no conflicts or troubles at all.... -.-

Corps I AmJanuary 14, 2016 12:59 PM

Ah, but it's all right there in the past examples...

Was Obi emotional against Maul after Qui Gonn's death? Was Anakin emotional against the Tusken village after his mother's death? Was Luke emotional against Vader after Leia was threatened? In all cases they won. It's not the emotion that screws them up. It's the lack of focus or "control" that makes them abandon the Force as a tool. Yoda told Luke that he had to "learn control" because he lost focus and dropped the rocks. It wasn't because he had emotion. It's because his minded drifted away from the task at hand. In Return, it is true that his emotion (anger and rage) in the fight against Vader gave him the edge. But that anger and rage was focused on the task at hand. Therefore, it's not emotion itself that makes them Sith. It's simply how they choose to use the Force. In Kylo's case, he wasn't focusing on an instrument panel as he was raging. He was just thrashing out and raging. No control.

Again, this part is also demonstrated in the past. Luke saw Obi use the mind trick on another. Rey actually experienced Kylo trying to use it on her just like he used it earlier on Poe. The only difference between Awakens and former movies is that the Jedi mind trick was shown as an exercise rather than a simple wave where a person either obeys or doesn't.

Either way, Luke did not have to see somebody block blaster fire with a Saber to do it. He was merely told to "use the Force" or let it flow through him. Therefore, the Force instructed Luke or did those things through Luke. I don't think a person has to see a trick to know of the trick. In Rey's case, Kylo was doing to her exactly what he did with Poe earlier. That was the Jedi mind trick.

The scene went from Rey staring at Kylo to Kylo looking over and reaching for the Saber. The camera stayed on him and the Saber for five or six seconds until the Saber finally flew past him. The camera followed the Saber to a surprised Rey who had her hand out. I think the scene implied that Kylo was struggling to reach for the Saber long enough for Rey to watch and do it.

Rey is not more powerful than Ren. Rey has control. Ren does not. As far as we know, Rey has no Force training. Ren does. There is no way Rey could freeze a blaster bolt like Kylo. As far as we know, however, Ren has never had to demonstrate his control (lack of) of the Force against another Force user. But who was allowing the Force to flow through her every time she had an encounter with Kylo? When she focused, she was finally able to have the Stromtrooper release her. When she focused, she was finally able to gain the edge on a severely wounded Kylo. Like Luke, the Force worked for her because she allowed it. Ren appears to be trying to force it to work for him. Ren has trouble with control and his two rage scenes demonstrated that. No matter how Jedi/Sith use the Force, they seem to have to be in harmony with it and maintain control.

But, given Ren's physical and mental condition by the time of the fight, doesn't it say more about Ren's strength to push on rather than Rey's ability to take advantage of it? It's like going two rounds with a Martial Arts expert who is severely wounded and finally winning. The "fact" that you lasted two rounds before winning say's more about him than you.

Noosh VaderJanuary 14, 2016 1:15 PM

I don't think she's too powerful or her force powers developed too fast at all.
Luke started training when the 'shroud' of the dark side was at it's peak with Palpatine/Vader ruling the galaxy. This of course affects a Jedi's (or one in training's ) ability to use the force. Yet Luke is saved by Obi-Wan & almost immediately after that in his first real training session he deflects 3 fast laser bolts from the remote by lightsabre on the Millineum Falcon ......blindfolded ! - something that I imagine would be quite difficult to do.
But now, the force has 'awakened' - as the title tells us, and is strong with Rey. The 'awakening' has opened up tremendous potential. Unfortumately she has no Obi-Wan, Qui-Gon, or Yoda to help her initially - the Force itself has to do that for her......

Corps I AmJanuary 14, 2016 1:23 PM

"There is no reason she should be able to flip Kylo Ren's mind reading on him."

Why? Does one need to have an old man state "use the Force" before one can block lasers while blindfolded?

Look at her life of survival and individual strength as compared to Kylo's life of frustration, rage, and want. Kylo can demonstrate to her that reading minds and ordering people to reveal of a secret is possible, but Rey can't pick that up? Does she really need to be told to "use the Force" before doing ridiculous tricks that nobody has shown her? Did Obi block blaster fire before Luke did it?

She turns around and tries it on the Stromtrooper three times. She failed twice. She obviously just learned that it was possible from Kylo.

Corps I AmJanuary 14, 2016 1:44 PM

"Unfortunately she has no Obi-Wan, Qui-Gon, or Yoda to help her initially - the Force itself has to do that for her..."

People tend to think that somebody has to say "use the force" before being able to do the ridiculous. Put this crap into our reality. "Hey, Noosh Vader, allow the Force to flow through you." Obviously, now you can sit down and bust out some piano.

I believe the theme is that the Force is a tool, but one has to have harmony with it to control it. You can be the best guitarist, but what good is the guitar if you just start banging on the strings?

IsaacJanuary 14, 2016 3:36 PM

That was not the jedi mind trick. Reading someone's mind and controlling it are two different things, just like writing and reading access different parts of the brain.

The prequels did many things wrong. Allowing Obi Wan to exact vengeance through anger was one of them. There are many inconsistencies, but the jedi way is to clear your mind, and accept the will of the force.

I disagree that the tantrums show a lack of control. He stops a laser bolt mid-air, dude. He reads minds. He freezes Rey.

Your argument is he lacks control, and you need control to use the force. So how did he stop a laser, read minds, and freeze people if he had no control? Those are all advanced uses of the force. Orare you saying force training takes care of those basics, and you really only need control to master the force in combat?

Again, they made him weak in comparison to her. Emotions, control, whatever. The moment she flips the mind reading on him he loses his threat, he loses all potential for badass. No one walked out of that film thinking "gee I wonder how rey is going to deal with that in the next movie." It's clear she will overpower him.

Your Luke example doesnt make sense. Obi Wan was guiding him. Then Yoda guided him. Who was guiding Rey? Luke didnt have to see someone do it because he was told that it was possible. Who tells rey she can control minds? Who tells her she has to focus to use the force?

"I think that scene implied that kylo was struggling to reach for the saber..." .......What? Remember the scene where he immediately turns and force pulls the military guy into a choke? Why would he have trouble with a lightsaber? It makes more sense that the saber was resisting because Rey was exerting the force on it too.

I like Rey, but I dont see what else is left for her character. She has ZERO weaknesses. I've heard a lot of people saying, including the author of this article, that it is ok for her to be perfect because she is a woman. That doesn't make any sense to me. Woman or man, wwhat's so interesting about a character that has no weaknesses? Superman's most intriguing moments are when they weaken him or take away his powers. Neo is saved by trinity, and must get through his doubt. Only then does he become the One. Even Harry Potter, who is mentioned in this article, is constantly getting into trouble and being saved by Hermione, dumbledore, McGonagall, etc.

Why are we so happy with a character that has no flaws? Why is it such a good thing that she never gets saved? She is immediately better than everyone at everything. So where else can her character grow? What's left? Our protagonist really should be Kylo Ren. He's the one going against the odds, he's the one trying to figure out his place, he's the one with doubt and weaknesses. Rey is perfect, and I dont know why so many people are happy with that. There is nothing wrong with having room to grow.

Corps I AmJanuary 14, 2016 3:56 PM

"That was not the jedi mind trick."

Yes it was. What part of the body do you think the Jedi is addressing when implanting suggestion? Getting into the mind is exactly what Kylo did. It's what they all did before, except it was portrayed simply with a hand or finger wave.

"So how did he stop a laser, read minds, and freeze people if he had no control? Those are all advanced uses of the force."

You ever lose your temper? Are you at your best when that happens? Everybody loses control. I imagine a Force user is only at their best when they are calm or at least in control of their actions when they are raging.

You are needing too much to be here. There is nothing "advanced" about Kylo. He is merely a 2015 creation, whereas Luke was a 1977 creation. Had Lucas thought about it, Luke could have frozen a bolt in Revenge of the Jedi too. It was technology that allowed the acrobatics of the Jedi in the Prequels. And it was a fresh idea that has a bolt being frozen instead of blocked. Otherwise, one has to accept that the "chosen one" is weaker than grandson because Vader did none of this in the OT.

"Our protagonist really should be Kylo Ren. He's the one going against the odds, he's the one trying to figure out his place, he's the one with doubt and weaknesses."

There you go. This is why he can freeze a bolt in one moment and the next he is lashing out uncontrollably on an instrument panel.

"Why are we so happy with a character that has no flaws? Why is it such a good thing that she never gets saved? She is immediately better than everyone at everything. So where else can her character grow?"

You've read too much of this blog crap. Didn't Finn go the starkiller to rescue her? It appears that she did need some saving. This is a gender thing.

IsaacJanuary 15, 2016 12:03 AM

I'm at a loss for words here. You are rationalizing everything that happens in order to justify your position that it's ok for her to be overpowered.

It's like you read my post and didn't understand a single word. You are oversimplifying everything.

I have conceded every point but one. I have said the lightsaber fight made sense. I have said that Kylo indeed had tantrums, it is clear he is not at his height of powers. I haven't even said anything about her being a better pilot and mechanic of the millennium falcon than Han Solo. I haven't pointed out that she only needed one practice shot with a blaster to be a perfect shot, therefore negating Finn's usefulness. My one issue is the mind reading sequence and her incredible, unjustified, force ability.

However, you are so stuck in trying to win every single facet of the argument instead of just seeing the truth, that you don't even concede the fact that her mind reading Ren is out of bounds.

There is a very obvious difference between kicking and running. Between grabbing a pencil and playing the piano. The result is not the only thing that changes. Look it up. Just because it affects the same part of the body does not mean it is the same thing. Extracting information from a brain that doesn't want to give it to you is nowhere near the same thing as controlling the weak minded. You're really out of bounds with this.

Finn comes back for her, and by the time he shows up she is free of the bonds and looking for a way out. I don't know how anyone can qualify that as Finn saving Rey. It is highly likely that she would have found an enemy spacecraft and flown out of there safely if the resistance hadn't staged a rescue/attack. We saw Poe and Finn escape in an enemy spacecraft earlier, so, following the pattern of the movie, there is no doubt in my mind she'd be able to do it faster and more efficiently than they did. She's the one that does all the saving.

If you can't at least acknowledge that people have a point when they talk about her flawlessness, that a protagonist should have some kind of flaw, that there is nothing interesting about an impervious character, then there is no point in me continuing to talk to you.

"in the OT, Vader was "flawless" and it was Luke who was "flawed." In Awakens, Ren is "flawed," but Rey is "flawless." If it was the other way around, it would just be one more "copy" for the haters to complain about."

If you pay attention to your example, you'll see that the main character is the one that needs to grow. Anakin too was flawed. Constantly being lectured and put in place. Rey has nowhere to grow. She doesn't even have character flaws. She's perfect.

I don't have any problems with the similarities between episode iv and vii. I think it was a very well done movie. However, I'm also not going to hold it above criticism. To make Rey powerful, they made Kylo Ren weak, and to me, that is a huge flaw that needs to be corrected in the next film. Some explanation has to be given.

Rey is unjustifiably powerful. In what world does a person with no training beat someone who practices their craft every day? No matter how naturally talented you are, hard work beats talent every time. Anyone who has worked at a craft knows this. This notion that because she is a strong-willed person and is "in control" she is able to fight back is ridiculous. It's outlandish in the extreme. Again, I will give you every point except this: the mind reading scene, while well-acted, was out-of-bounds, and it strips Kylo Ren of all his presence and power as a villainous threat. Hopefully the eighth movie will be better.

The idea that Ren loses that encounter cuz he gets angry or out of control is counter intuitive. In fact, when he is hitting his injured side, it is too fuel his pain and make him more angry. The light side of the force controls their emotions, trying to reach a zen-like state, above emotions. The dark side of the force embraces their emotions. This "control" you speak of is not universal to both disciplines. It is the main difference between them. The sith are more powerful when they are out of control emotional. Go watch episode III again and look at Sidious' facial expressions. He is straight up out of control, and powerful. Look at episode 5 when Vader is pissed at Luke and throwing everything at him and cuts off his hand. In episode 2 when Anakin gets emotional and kills the sand people, that is a dark side moment. He is out of control and powerful. When Luke uses his anger to overpower Vader, he is giving in to the dark side. When Obi Wan kills Maul, he does so out of vengeance, again, the dark side.

Again, Lucas has been extremely inconsistent in his storytelling. He contradicts himself at every point, and it's one of the reasons people hate the prequels. However, it is obvious that the light side of the force is always stressing the importance of controlling your emotions and the dark side is always seeking to embrace them.

Kylo is emotional because he is encouraged to be so.

These are all basic points. If you are going to refute them, I am convinced you are just arguing for the sake of winning. That's pointless, and if that's your end game, then I'm done here.

Corps I AmJanuary 15, 2016 12:05 AM

"I'm at a loss for words here. You are rationalizing everything that happens in order to justify your position that it's ok for her to be overpowered."

I don't think she's overpowered. Everything was explained right in the movie and much of it was better than what we saw with Luke in A New Hope. There is no rationalization. There is only what the screen showed.

The realization of this for you will be in Episode VIII. She obviously has a past with Luke. Whatever she was learning on screen, she was obviously also remembering a past that we don't know yet.

Noosh VaderJanuary 15, 2016 12:06 AM

I agree. But, I do also feel that the Force is more complex than just a tool to 'tap into'. It's that...... & more - beyond any entities' complete understanding.

The force itself created Anakin. It 'acts' & 'reacts'. Like 'nature' in general.

"......for my ally is the force, and a powerful ally it is." - Yoda. Yes he could be referring to it as a 'tool'. But again I believe it is a little more than that.

In real life - Obviously somebody guiding me, or lecturing me won't lead me to jump over tall buildings or to do the ridiculously impossible. But I have had 'mentors' give me words of encouragement or very tactful lessons that led me to do things I didn't think I could do. Or do that well. Their words put me at a level of comfort ........harmony even.

But as you said, "one has to have harmony with it...." - and I totally agree.

Lastly, I have always felt that the only way Luke defeated Vader was because of the 'conflict' that had peaked inside Vader. The good vs the evil inside him. The compassion for his son didn't sit well with the evil inside. Yeah sure Palpatine tells Luke - "Your hate has made you powerful !" And i'm sure it gave him a burst of power, but in my mind not enough to defeat Vader. It's like before any fight, whether it's boxing, martial arts, whatever......if the fighter is not mentally ( & emotionally ) sound he's not going to be fighting at his optimum. Vader was dis-harmonious...............

IsaacJanuary 15, 2016 12:24 AM

I am hoping for that same thing.

Anyway it's been fun debating this with you. I respect your opinion. Take care.

GuestJanuary 18, 2016 7:16 PM

A staff is a drastically different weapon than a beam of energy. A staff has weight that you can use to create force and speed, a blade of energy does not. The fact that she is so well versed in staff fighting would make little difference when fighting with a weapon she had never energy seen a few days before.

tony smithJanuary 20, 2016 11:12 AM

That's the difference between the lightside and darkside. Lightside (there is no emotion) - darkside instead use their emotions to give strength

tony smithJanuary 20, 2016 11:21 AM

worst SW movie thus far.

Corps I AmJanuary 20, 2016 12:24 PM

You should start with "I'm a Prequels fan" and then declare the recent installment as the "worst." That way people know where you are coming from.