Star Wars: The Force Awakens

star-wars-force-awakens-official-poster-691x1024Yesterday saw a return to a tradition Mom and I hadn’t observed in some several years. No, not Christmas. For years, we would go see a movie after opening presents, having a huge meal and needing time to get out of the house and relax for a bit. Attendance varied from Mom, myself and my son to sometimes include several members of our extended family. For the last few years, real life seemed to keep us from our Christmas Day trek to the theater. Yesterday, that changed. Mom got the two of us tickets to see the new Star Wars movie at our local Movie Tavern and, much to my surprise, in 3-D.

Now, if you don’t want spoilers — and I am going to try to keep them to a bare minimum — don’t read any further. I won’t promise not to spill some of the plot simply because it is difficult to talk about how I felt about the movie without talking a few specifics.

I’ll start with the theater itself. Our local Movie Tavern is in its last throes in its current location. In a month or so, it will move to a newer, more modern location in the same shopping center. So some of the amenities at the theater are, well, a bit run down. But that didn’t take away from the excellent service and comfortable seats. Add to the fact we chose a time to see the movie when most folks were still doing their family Christmas lunch/brunch/whatever, and the theater was probably only 3/4 full. (Note: the line was already starting for the standard def showing an hour and a half after our showing.) Good food and brew was ordered and we settled back to watch the film.

I will admit I was a bit worried about seeing it in 3-D. It’s been years since I’ve been to a 3-D movie and all I remembered were the headaches and fuzzy images, even with the funky glasses. Whether we hit the right position in the theater or technology has improved or both, I left with neither the headache nor grousing about fuzzy images or the inability to focus where the action was. There were a couple of times when objects seemed to come into view from my peripheral vision, there were no real “oh crap!” moments.

As for the movie itself, I went in with little in the way of expectations. I hated the prequels. Anakin Skywalker was, in my opinion, a spoiled, whiny brat. Then there was the stiff acting and even stiffer dialog. The fun of the original trilogy had been lost. With it, a generation of possible fans were left with a big “meh” because they saw the prequels in the theater but the original trilogy only on their home TVs where much of the awe was lost.

All I wanted was for The Force Awakens to be better than the prequels. After all, that shouldn’t have been that difficult. I doubted it would come close to the original movies. I even told myself to act as though I had never seen any Star Wars movie, read any of the books or seen any of the other related media.

Maybe I was helped by the fact that I haven’t read a great deal in the Expanded Universe. So I wasn’t as invested in what came before, especially once Disney announced that the EU would no longer be canon. Maybe, as a writer, I realize that what is written often bears little resemblance to what winds up on screen. Still, I had stood in line to see Star Wars on its opening day. I did the same with Empire Strikes Back and with Return of the Jedi. So there is a bit of a fangirl in there that can’t be denied.

J. J. Abrams drew me in with the familiar. When the scroll started across the screen and the fanfare began, I settled back and waited, hoping not to be disappointed. I smiled when the first few scenes brought memories of the first movie. Oh, it’s not a remake but there are echoes there to be seen. That is part of what I liked. It gave it a sense of familiarity.

I loved seeing Han Solo and Chewbacca back together again, wise-cracking and growling and howling. Han was older and grayer and even more worn — as he should be. You know there is a backstory to the two of them, especially when it comes to the Millennium Falcon, and you want to know what it is (don’t fret. You’ll get at least part of it during the course of the movie.) Princess Leia, now General Leia Organa, wears her years and her worries on her face and in her posture. I have to give it to Carrie Fisher for not having major work done and the studio for not doing major Photoshopping to make her look 20 years younger. She looks the appropriate age for the time that has passed since Return of the Jedi.

It was interesting to know that not all stormtroopers are created the same. Finn’s backstory, as it unfolds and you have to listen carefully for it, gives some hints into the changes between what we last saw with Return of the Jedi and (gag) Revenge of the Sith. I’m curious to find out what else will be revealed in the subsequent movies.

Odd little things I noted as I watched the movie was that I saw more female pilots for the Resistance that I remember seeing before. There is one notable female stormtrooper — Captain Phasma. I have a feeling we may be seeing her again and our heroes will rue that day, should it come. She didn’t strike me as someone you’d want to piss off and, well, they did. Now, I’ll admit that I don’t sit in a movie trying to figure out if the casting director got the right proportion of sexes and races and whatever. However, it was nice to see a more representative mixture in some of the scenes because crowds should not be one-dimensional, especially in a future where we have so many different species and races, etc.

My one disappointment was, to be honest, the villian. Kylo Ren in a lot of ways reminded me of Anakin (yes, yes, I know. There is a reason — maybe, kind of, sort of. Nope, not going there.) He pitches fits any pouty, spoiled 13 year old would be proud of. That weakened him, in my opinion, especially since there were times when he could have given us more evil and didn’t. Of course, I know why some of this is (it’s revealed in the movie) and can guess other reasons. Still, that sense of evil we had from Darth Vader and the Emperor wasn’t quite there in the new movie.

My pleasant surprise was Rey. I’ll admit to being worried about her. From what I’d read, Rey is Daisy Ridley’s first major role. That is always something to worry me. How will a relative unknown handle the leading role in a movie such as this. I am pleased to say she didn’t disappoint. Is she a great actress? No. But she was much better at conveying her character than either of the leads in the prequels were. At least I felt that way.

Now, in case you’ve read the reviews and posts saying she is a Mary Sue, I can say this. Yes and no. Yes because things do happen that make it so she can prevail, in a way, at the end. But then, if you look at that sort of plot manipulation as Mary Sue-ing it, so was Luke Skywalker. However, a lot of the criticism falls short when you really look at the specifics. I’ve seen reviewers and bloggers complain because Rey knew how to pilot a certain ship when all she was was a junk collector. First, we have already seen her piloting a skimmer-type of vehicle. Second, when she and Finn are racing to a ship to make their escape, she says she is a pilot and then, when they get to the second ship you can see her fumbling and making guesses as to what to do. And, hey, if the world is blowing up around me, I’d find myself a ship and try my best to get off, even if I’d never flown anything like it before.

Then there is the criticism about how she was suddenly able to fight with a light saber. Those complaints claimed she was “proficient” with it and was, again, being a Mary Sue. Well, if you have ever trained with sword or staff, you would see how wrong their complaints were. Yes, she activated a light saber — but so had another character earlier, also someone who had not been trained in its use. Yes, she fought with the light saber and she did eventually win. However — and this is a big however — if you looked at her fighting style and compared it to earlier scenes in the movie where she was fighting with her staff, you would see that she fought with the light saber in much the same way as she had the staff. No proficiency and a lot of blundering and stumbling as she figured it out.

One last criticism that I’d seen before going to the movie was about the culmination of the fight between Rey and Kylo Ren. It ends in what is basically a draw (although one was winning by that time) when a fissure in the ground opens between them. Oh, the cries of Mary Sue again by some bloggers. Nope. Not really. We had already seen fissures opening up and the reason for it. Sure, J. J. Abrams could have insisted the fight come to an end but, had he done that, there wouldn’t really be any need for future movies.

As for the denunciation of the Expanded Universe as canon, that was Disney’s call when it bought the rights to Star Wars. However, if you pay attention, you can see the movie tipping its hat to the EU in several places. I won’t say where, not yet because I’ve already come too close to spoilers as is. But if I, someone who didn’t follow the EU after the first few years, could see them, the real fans of the EU should be able to as well.

Over all verdict, a fun movie that kept me entertained for the duration. I didn’t look at my watch once and even my mother, who isn’t a real fan of the series, loved it. The Force Awakens is definitely much better than the prequels, in my opinion, even if it doesn’t quite rise to the level of A New Hope and definitely not to Empire Strikes Back. If you can suspend memory of the prequels and go in not expecting too much, you should enjoy it. I did and I will be going back later this week with a friend. It will be interesting to see what, if anything, I missed the first time through.

(Reposted from Nocturnal Lives.)

56 Comments

Filed under AMANDA, SCIENCE FICTION & FANTASY

56 responses to “Star Wars: The Force Awakens

  1. I don’t think I’ll have to suppress the memory of the prequels. I’ve been actively repressing it since I returned the disks to the rental shed. (Although I have a clear memory of rolling on the floor laughing [literally] when I recognized Col. Wilma Deering’s uniform on Padme in the second film. Which speaks volumes about how poor the film was, that the costume yanked me right out of the climactic battle scene.)

    • I had forgotten about the uniform. LOL. As for the prequels, I’ve been apologizing to my son for years for making him see them. At least he saw the original trilogy first, even if it was the “amended” version Lucas put out.

  2. Draven

    IMO if you think of a certain shot as being representational instead of being an inaccurate representation of scale, the film improves.

  3. Great review – and Merry Christmas to everybody here.

  4. I stood in line with my brother to see the first film.
    http://www.ncobrief.com/index.php/archives/once-upon-a-star-wars-movie/
    Being jaded by experience, I think I’ll wait to see this one on streaming video.

    • That was how I felt but Mom bought tickets and then said that it was part of my Christmas gift. I’m glad she did. I thoroughly enjoyed it. Of course, unlike certain folks who are now doing their best to point out everything wrong with the film — hint, many of them are the same ones who feel the Hugos belong to “Fandom” and not to the fans — I go to the movies to be entertained and The Force Awakens did just that. Was it perfect? No, but it was 2 hours of entertainment, enough so that I didn’t glance at my watch once.

      • Paul (Drak Bibliophile) Howard

        If a person wants to, they can always find faults. [Sad Smile]

        • The faults shouldn’t jump up and down in front of you, waving and yelling “Me! Me!” No, I’m not referring to The Force Awakens, which I’ll likely not see. But finding the faults in a Hallmark chick flick was so easy my wife banned me from the rest of the movie.

  5. I saw it on Christmas as well. 4:30 showing. That was a “nominal” time. They apparently built into their schedule that it would take a while for people to get through the lines, get their popcorn (or in our case, Pizza for Athena and cheese sticks for me) and drinks and get to their seats.

    Came in to a dark screen. No previews or ads running. Theater was packed. Literally sold out. There were three empty seats and I had three tickets (my wife was not feeling well and did not accompany us.)

    About 4:45 the screen lit up with the opening of the movie. Just boom, a logo and the crawl.

    What can I say, for the next two hours I was 16 again.

    Yes, there were a lot of echoes of A New Hope. Both were “Hero’s Journey” tales although the similarities go beyond that.

    The trailers, while strictly accurate, were also very deceptive in a good way. Very nicely done.

    I’d probably slide it right behind A New Hope in the “best of Star Wars” making it third best. (Empire, remains #1.)

    • forgot to click the “notify”

    • I hadn’t given much thought to previews. There were a couple before the movie started but I couldn’t tell you what they were other than the one for World of Warcraft and an ad for Halo V. I remember the first because the 3-D aspect didn’t really work with it and the second because I sat up, wondering if there was a Halo movie coming out that I hadn’t heard about. As for where the movie ranks, it looks like you and I pretty much agree.

      BTW, how did Athena like it?

  6. I liked Kylo Ren as a villain, for much the same reason that you disliked him. To me he came across as being dangerously unstable and unpredictable, a genuine loose cannon. His crew showed that in their interactions with him–he could go from being perfectly reasonable to berserk rage in an instant, and there was no way to predict what might set him off. People like that are terrifying.

    I thought it was the best Star Wars film made to date.

    • Patrick Chester

      His crew showed that in their interactions with him–he could go from being perfectly reasonable to berserk rage in an instant, and there was no way to predict what might set him off. People like that are terrifying.

      Even without Force powers. 😮

    • I see what you’re saying. I guess I was looking at it from the point of view of wondering why in the world anyone would send someone like that out on a mission without a controller closer by. He is so unstable that you couldn’t guarantee he would stick to the battle plan. Then there is my bone-deep dislike for whiners. Eh.

      • “I guess I was looking at it from the point of view of wondering why in the world anyone would send someone like that out on a mission without a controller closer by.”

        Right there with you. Ren displayed all the self-control of a pre-pubescent on uppers. Not exactly an impressive bad guy.

        That said, I had the impression that the…Colonel?…General?…whatever his rank was…the guy who briefed Snoke alongside him all those times…was his keeper. Because that guy spoke to Ren and Snoke both as Ren’s equal, and called him out regularly without apparent fear for repercussions. And he never suffered any repercussions.

        The whole movie I couldn’t help but wonder if he was Ren’s pal, or his brother, or what, for that reason.

    • *helmet off*

      “Five points for Slitherin!”

    • Sara the Red

      The scene with the two troopers rounding the corner, spotting that Kylo Ren was throwing a mother of a tantrum, and wisely booked it elsewhere was beautiful. And told me, more than anything else, that Ren being a pretentious, spoiled brat was NOT an accident–everyone knows he is.*

      And I loved the fact that General Bill Weasley was not at all impressed by Ren’s crap. Nor afraid of him in the least. For all of Ren’s obsessions with Vader, he is far from living up to it…

      *I also don’t think for a minute Kylo Ren is meant to be the ‘Big Bad.’ I think he’s more an expy of what Luke would have been if he’d gone Dark Side, and is either going to get redeemed or die, but in neither case is he going to amount to much.

  7. Rey had a lot of Sue-ish problems. Despite initially fumbling it turns out she’s not just a pilot, but an EXPERT! pilot of a ship she’s never flown before. Despite being a slim woman, she is able to beat off four full grown men because she had a stick. She yells contemptuously at Finn for “holding her hand” when they run and never bothers to thank him when he grabs her and pulls her away just before a ship (if I’m remembering correctly – something like that) literally crashes into them.

    I can sort of maybe forgive her winning the duel with Kylo Ren (and I loved Kylo Ren) because he had been injured both by Chewie and Finn, but she manages to master the Jedi Mind Trick so well that not only can she read Kylo Ren’s mind, she can force people to do her bidding, something Luke wasn’t able to master until “Return of the Jedi”, after extensive training with Yoda.

    Face it: Rey was a completely ridiculous character. Finn rocked though. And we needed much more Poe in the movie.

    • I’m going to disagree with you. Sure, Rey did things Luke didn’t. I sort of chalked that up to the fact Rey had to learn to rely on herself a long time ago (by implication) where Luke was basically a whiny teen — not as whiny as his father, mind you — during A New Hope and was just starting to learn to trust himself in Empire. Part of the problem Yoda had when training Luke was tat Luke was more apt to run off to do whatever his emotions told him needed to be done than to finish what needed to be done (running off to rescue Han and Leia vs. finishing his training). Rey was more goal oriented — she made a commitment to get BB-8 to the base and she was going to do it, even though it meant leaving her home, something she didn’t want to do.

      As for Finn, well, he redeemed himself toward the end of the movie but I didn’t much care for him for a lot of it because he was too conflicted and too quick to turn and run, not because he didn’t want to get involved but because he didn’t want to have anything to do with the Order. But you are right about Poe.

      All that said, sure, there was Mary Sue-ing in the movie. Not only with Rey but with Finn (funny, no one seems to care that he could use the light saber and yet they are up in arms that Rey could) and even with Poe. But none of that took away from a fun movie that was a great way to spend an afternoon.

      • See, the problem I keep having with Rey is that everybody can come up with reasons for how Rey is so good at *everything*. They just all come up with different reasons.

      • By the way, Finn LOST. Kylo Ren was injured, but Finn lost the fight. That’s the big difference.

        • Finn lost the last time. But he used the lightsaber earlier in the movie without problem.

          For all you’re picking apart why Rey was such a Mary Sue, the same can be done with Luke or with Anakin. To me, it comes down to this: did I enjoy the movie? Yes. Was it great cinema? No. But it was an entertaining couple of hours. Were there questions left unanswered? Sure. If everything was answered in the first movie, there would be no need for sequels.

          • Oh, I liked it a lot. It’s a good movie.

          • Robin Munn

            Finn lost both lightsaber fights he was in. He was just about to take a killing blow when Han* shot the guy he was fighting, saving his life.

            * I think it was Han, but maybe it was Chewie. One of those two, anyway.

            • Robin Munn

              Forgot to say that that was Finn’s first fight I was talking about there.

              Also, I never had much problem with Rey knowing how to use a lightsaber. Rey fights with a staff, which would be a different set of holds but a lot of the basic principles (like “here’s how to not hit yourself with your own weapon”) would carry through. And besides, she wasn’t shown as particularly skilled with it: she was losing until she started listening to the Force and letting it help her with her moves. Until that point, she was pretty unskilled, and she was losing the fight. She was just lucky that her opponent was trying to capture her rather than kill her.

            • Actually, he had already taken down or gotten past several before then. Sorry, but you can’t have it both ways.

              • Robin Munn

                That was lightsaber vs. blaster, which is like sword vs. bow. Doesn’t matter how untrained you are with a sword, if you know “pointy end goes in the other guy” and you’ve gotten within arm’s reach of the archer who doesn’t have a melee weapon of his own, he’s toast. Even I, with no training, could probably kill someone with a sword if he didn’t have one of his own (and wasn’t a skilled martial artist, I should add).

                So Finn being able to, untrained, use a lightsaber to kill people who couldn’t parry? No problem. Melee weapon vs. melee weapon is where skill comes in, and Finn only fought two of those fights, both of which he lost. Again, not something that has me going “Marty Stu!” at him.

                • Robin, it is clear that you and I aren’t going to agree here. I don’t know your background and you don’t know mine. I will say that I have seen people who have never trained to use a blade (long or short) who have picked one up and used it much more effectively than someone who has trained for years. But that doesn’t matter. This was a movie that used tropes well-known in fantasy, both film and print. Maybe that’s why I have no issue with what Rey was able to do. Shrug.

      • “funny, no one seems to care that he could use the light saber and yet they are up in arms that Rey could”

        That would be because Finn was a Stormtrooper. He’d been trained since the time he was taken away from his parents in the combat arms, from rifles to hand-held weapons. And he apparently was far from the best of his peers (remember his comrade who almost killed him with a halberd before Han shot him in the head)?

        Whereas Rey had been trained by….nobody….ever.

        So yeah. Totally reasonable for Finn to have a clue about a sword. Rey? Not a chance in hell.

        • Draven

          And Rey never would have had to use that staff to defend herself, ever,, and clearly had no skill with it.

          (and if you watch Rey’s saber technique, she’s clearly used to having a staff.)

          • *blink*

            What are you talking about? We saw her use the staff to fight off some attackers early in the movie.

            But using a staff with self-taught techniques against unskilled thugs and using a sword against a skilled opponent are two very different things.

            • Draven

              exactly my point, look at the technique she uses

            • against a skilled opponent

              What makes you think he’s so skilled? This is no Vader. This is a petulant teenager (okay, Tween) throwing a tantrum against his parents whose being used by the big bad behind the scenes. Powerful, yes. Skilled? Not hardly.

              • Exactly. I started wondering just how well trained he was when Snoke at the end of the movie said it was time to finish Ren’s training. (And, before anyone jumps on this, I know he trained at least for awhile with Luke. But one of the unanswered questions is how long he trained with Luke and how well-trained he happened to be.) There is also something else to think about, you can be very well-trained in the use of anything but when you let your emotions get the better of you, a lot of that training can go right out the window.

                • Look at the way Vader uses the Force. While he’s strong, there’s a certain subtlety to his use. Force Choking requires finesse, the highly controlled application of power. (I don’t recall Ren force choking at all. Someone else metioned a scene where he does, but I don’t recall it–just him grabbing an immobilizing a people.) When Han starts shooting at him, he uses just enough force to block the blaster bolts without the big, ostentatious show that Ren made.

                  Ren’s use of the Force is all about flash and braggadocio. This suggests to me an innate insecurity in his own ability. He’s strong, but unskilled. And, basically, he’s a stalking goat for the big bad behind the scenes.

                  • Sara the Red

                    ^ This. That’s exactly what I got from Ren. Especially once we’d learned his backstory, and he went from ‘dangerously unstable probable Sith’ to ‘pretentious brat who is throwing a huge tantrum because he has daddy issues’ and I realized he was not–and likely never would be–the actual villain.

    • Robin Munn

      I could almost buy Rey’s piloting skill, because:

      1) She has a Rebel pilot helmet that she uses as a kind of “safe place” when she needs to relax, and she has a hand-made doll in her house wearing a pilot’s uniform. Implication: she wants to be a pilot. Conclusion: she probably dreams about piloting, reads any piloting manuals she can get her hands on, and would have trained on any simulators she could get time on.

      Problem: WHAT simulators? On THAT planet, she could get access to simulators? Not likely. Still, there ARE working ships on the planet (e.g., the quad-whatever they were heading for before it was destroyed), so it’s not completely implausible that she might have gotten to fly one from time to time.

      Also,

      2) Who did she get that helmet from? Probably her father, who was clearly a pilot for the Rebellion era. And given that she is also strong in the Force, well, the last scene of the movie didn’t have words, but if it did, they would have been, “Hi, Dad.” We’ve seen in previous movie canon that being an instinctual pilot is something that can be passed on from father to son (Anakin age 6, anyone?). So why not father to daughter as well?

      So, given who her father is, I’m not too surprised that she has raw piloting skill. The real problem is, how did she get the training? It’s not an insoluble problem — Abrams could have stuck in a scene where she found a working simulator on one of the crashed ships, and powered it with batteries (which is why she’s not getting much money from her scrap, because she’s hoarding all the batteries to get simulator time). So it’s not totally implausible… but he never shows us any training time.

      And same thing for her Force powers. Given who her father is, it’s totally believable that she can has a strong connection to the Force. But where did she get her training? Not just in the Force, but also in piloting?

      This is the biggest problem with Rey as a character. That she has inherited raw ability from her father (and from whoever her mother is), I can easily buy. But Abrams shows us absolutely zero scenes of her training as a pilot or Jedi! Her skill as a mechanic, I have no problem with, and I could also buy her piloting skill if only we’d been shown even a HINT of how she trained. But that a Force-sensitive could pull off a fully-fledged Jedi mind trick, on a stormtrooper who has every reason NOT to do what she’s saying (because he’ll probably be executed for letting the prisoner escape)… Nope. I don’t buy it. It took Luke months of training to learn to do that, and she learned to do it in a few seconds? Mary Sue.

      • Exactly.

        Also note: The complex fansaving required to salvage some of Rey’s scenes.

        I liked the actress but the character itself I couldn’t stand.

        • I don’t have a problem with Rey having abilities that she would not naturally have because they are, within the canon of the film, miraculous. The Force, with is presented in the films as being a deity, was using Rey to accomplish Its ends.

          In the same way I see Finn as having been chosen by the Force (he was anointed with blood, fergoodnessake) which is why he was able to shrug off his conditioning.

          I see this as a positive. In the earlier films the Force is seen as a kind of magic trick that some people can do. Abrams made it a God.

      • Or, more able to instinctively use the force. You are right about there being plot holes, some big enough to drive a truck or three through. But, as I said upthread, it comes down to whether or not you enjoyed the movie. I did. I can forgive some of the plot holes with the assumption they will be answered in the next movie(s). If they aren’t, that falls on the writers and directors. I also say that you can’t call Mary Sue where Rey is concerned if you don’t do the same with Luke and Anakin. Just my opinion, of course.

        • Robin Munn

          Yeah, Anakin also fits the Mary Sue / Marty Stu category (flying a starship at 6), which is part of why he was annoying. But Luke was explicitly shown training hard for his abilities, so he avoids the label.

    • Robin Munn

      Despite being a slim woman, she is able to beat off four full grown men because she had a stick.

      Four? I remember her beating off two men in the scene where she meets Finn for the first time, but not four. When does she fight four men at once?

  8. I shall make precisely two observations on The Force Awakens in regards to Rey and Leia, then immediately cease and desist:

    1. Disney has always been big on princess movies.
    2. Rey’s last name is likely Gunn..

  9. I actually really liked Kylo Ren. I don’t really think it’s fair to compare him to Darth Vader when he’s really more of a Revenge of the Sith type Anakin. He’s immature and angry, and I think that actually works in his favor. Because of that, he’s unpredictable. That scene between Han and him really could’ve gone either way (I mean, I was pretty sure it was going to go the way it did, but I’m pretty good at calling plot points). Obviously, the really evil villain is Snoke. I think Ren is a better character than he is a villain, so they did have others to fill in the “villain” slot. I look forward to seeing his story progress.

    • It will be interesting to see how they develop his character. For now, he is still just an emo “kid” I can’t see anyone sending off in charge of a mission. I agree the real villain is Snoke but I would have liked a bit more information on him than we got.

  10. “Well, if you have ever trained with sword or staff, you would see how wrong their complaints were.”

    Haven’t read the other comments.

    But I HAVE trained with both sword and staff, and this analysis is full of hooey. They are vastly different weapons and skill with one will not necessarily translate into skill with the other. But even if they did…

    Finn had a chance against Ren because, as a Stormtrooper, he had extensive training in all manner of combat arms, so that he could be considered at least proficient in them.

    Ren was an expert with the sword.

    He handled Finn relatively easily.

    Rey had no training except what she taught herself in the staff over the years (because really, how many weapons experts could there be on Tatooine…I’m sorry…Jakku?), and yet she’s supposed to magically be able to fend off and then defeat an sword expert in…less than 5 minutes when she had never even considered such combat before?

    *snort*

    But that’s not the worst of her Mary-Sue-ness.

    Consider the force. She, like Luke, had no notion of the force before the beginning of the movie. Luke had a guide, but that guide’s input consisted basically in telling telling him to believe in himself. This resulted in his making a shot he already knew he could make at the end of Star Wars, and then getting his ass kicked by Darth Vader at the end of Empire, despite 4-5 years of self-training and some unmeasured amount of training at the hands of, you know, an ACTUAL Jedi Master before recklessly heading off to fight Vader before he was ready.

    And yet we’re supposed to believe that Rey can not only muster the ability to use the Jedi mind trick on a hapless guard (despite not even knowing such a thing is possible), but also defeat a trained dark-force wielding warrior with only minor effort after at most 2 days’ knowledge that the force even actually existed????

    Forgive me for crying BS.

    She was a novice both in the sword and in the force. Even wounded, Ren should have taken her easily.

    So yes. Mary Sue. Completely.

    Don’t get me wrong. I like Rey. I think she’s cool. I liked the new movie. But the way her character developed is completely, 100% BS, and serves only to diminish the great characters who preceded her.

  11. Pingback: What is . . . . | madgeniusclub

  12. “Now, in case you’ve read the reviews and posts saying she is a Mary Sue, I can say this. Yes and no.”

    No.

    She might be a Canon Sue. (I haven’t seen the movie yet, so I can’t say yea or nay with any certainty.)

    It’s not fanfic, so it’s categorically not possible for her to be a Mary Sue. That’s a fan fiction specific term. I don’t *care* that it’s gotten misused by everyone and their dog to the point that it’s misapplied across the board to any and every character in anything.

    Yes, my Inner Pedant is showing. No I don’t care. Sometimes, the Pedant Matters, dagnabbit. 🙂

    That outta the way, I’m looking forward to seeing it. I really don’t care much what all the reviewers are saying: I’m not reading many of them. I’ll decide whether I like The Force Awakens or not after I see it. On the big screen…

    I’m really kinda hoping that it’s good. The Movies That Shall Not Be Named (They are not “prequels”. There are no “prequels”. There are only three Star Wars Movies) left a really bad taste in my mouth that I’m hoping this one will rid me of.

    The fact that it’s JJ Abrams, and I was not thrilled with what he did to Star Trek doesn’t leave me much hope, but I’m prepared to be pleasantly surprised if he can manage it.

  13. Robert

    So I finally saw TFA yesterday and read this article with comments today. So here’s my $0.02 (don’t spend it all in one place).
    Several commenters have claimed that Finn was trained as a stormtrooper in all forms of combat, such as swords. What in the movies supports this idea? Considering the marksmanship displayed by stormtroopers in the movies, I certainly would not expect them to be even decent at fencing!
    Same argument applies to Kylo Ren. We see him behead Max Von Sydow and savage a control console, but no real fighting except against Finn and Rey. I recall Finn doing pretty well until Kylo used his crossguard to burn Finn’s shoulder. And he was trying to capture Rey, not kill her.
    As for Rey, we really know very little about her background. She grew up alone, but not completely isolated. There is the town where she sells her salvage and she lives close enough to the village where Max Von Sydow lived for BB8 to reach her. Commenters claim she had no training (pilot, fighting, etc), but the movies don’t say anything one way or the other. Even worse are the claims that she is completely ignorant of the Force since the movie is clear that she knows the stories, just that she didn’t believe they were real. (I know a lot about zombies, werewolves, and vampires. If any of them showed up for real, I would have a pretty good idea how to deal with them).
    I do have a couple of issues with the movie though:
    1. If the Falcon is a piece of garbage, yet can evade tie fighters by flying through a star destroyer carcass, what must that star jumper have been capable of?
    2. If Chewbacca was cold on the Sun Killer planet, how was Rey able to walk around sweaty in her desert clothes?
    3. Why would Chewbacca walk right past Leia when they returned to base after Han was killed?