I was one of those who contributed to the money the franchise made over this holiday season. I couldn’t help myself. The nostalgia of the trailer hit me so hard I was reeling. But I’m feeling a little ambivalent about the $13 spent to see this movie in the theaters.
Let me preface this by saying that I haven’t seen the prequels. Based off of the horror stories I had heard from Star War fans (…Jar Jar Binks…), I decided to stay away from the prequels and just read the plot synopsis of movie II and III to have some Anakin context.
I liked the vastness of the galaxy inherent in all the different places the characters travelled to. I liked the special effects (it was as if this movie got to do everything the original trilogy was incapable of doing due to the budget/technology available). I liked the adventure feel of the movie. I liked BB-8 and Finn (kind of a less spunky Han Solo). I even liked Rey’s character for the most part (except in the middle part when she was a little too weepy for my personal taste).
My biggest issue was with the narrative of this movie. I felt like there were too many gaping holes in the plot and in the motivation of some of the characters. How did the bad guys get into power again; I thought the rebellion was successful? Who is this supreme leader, where did he come from, and why is he so well versed in the dark side? Why did Luke decide that the most logical thing to do when the dark side was coming back to power and he was the only fully trained Jedi left to go into hiding? How can force sensitive people suddenly read each other’s minds? Feelings are one thing, even Emperor Palpatine could read Luke’s feelings in the sixth movie. And how did Rey, who was never trained suddenly kick Kylo Ren’s butt, who not only trained with Luke, but also had moved to the dark side.
Why is Kylo Ren such a loser? His motivation makes zero sense and he’s such a bad antagonist. I can’t get behind disliking him. I can’t even get behind sympathizing with him. He just annoys me. His entire driving force is to be like Anakin, which I can’t really understand. At the end of his life Anakin succumbed to the light in him, so how is joining the dark side fulfilling the man’s goals? The man didn’t really have goals; he was just tossed from the light side to the dark side and just kind of did whatever his emotions dictated or his master dictated. I don’t even get why he has such a massive problem with Han Solo but not Leia. Han’s death was effectively known from the moment we found out who Kylo Ren’s dad was (I can’t say I still wasn’t bummed when he died…I was bummed for the entire day), but I don’t get why Kylo (a.k.a Ben) hated the man so much. Maybe everything will be explained in the future movies, but for now this loop holes and giant gapping holes in logic really bothered me. I’m not sold on Kylo as an antagonist; he’s just a Vader wannabe. The movie was just a rehashed A New Home (5X death star + luke going into hiding till conveniently there was a new jedi to be trained similar to obi wan + han solo dying and pissing off the new jedi equivalent to obi wan dying and triggering Luke’s rage).
Despite my rant, it was still pretty fun to watch and I will inevitably watch every other Star Wars movie that comes out. Most of my issues were with the narrative (how it was told and some of the plot/conflict points). Maybe it was just because they had to somehow set up 30 years worth of happening in an hour and half movie, but I’m not going to lose hope yet. With the new three main characters (Finn, Rey, and Poe) things could just be getting good….if Kylo Ren stops whining.