So I have seen the new Star Wars movie (twice) and I have lots of thoughts.
For lolz, I found my original thoughts on Revenge of the Sith. I have only seen that movie once and don't really remember about half of what I mention in that post. Whoops.
- I think the movie was good at the things that make Star Wars good. The sense of scale and a huge world that lives and thrives just beyond the edge of the screen. Epic showdowns between good and evil. Thrilling space battles that keep you at the edge of your seat.
- The actors were generally excellent. Part of this was that there was a lot of time to just... do their thing without having to spout expository dialogue every five seconds. This was especially obvious in the earlier scenes where the movie takes its time and lets facial expressions do the talking.
- This is related to the above, but I liked that it was willing to try to mimic the pacing of the original Star Wars movies at times. Just have one person traveling by themselves through this world without comment.
- The humor was well-integrated. It worked well on a character level and situation level. It was fun and funny without being self-referential or mocking.
- I am a sucker for Old Jedi Master Luke Sykwalker and his Obi-Wan Kenobi beard. Always. Even if it took the entire movie to get to that point.
- There are plenty of good ideas floating around here. I hope we get to see them expanded and explored in the next movies.
- I don't think there are enough, and they are probably floating around that mystical 17%, but I am glad that there were so many women in this movie. Not just on Rey being competent and smart and Leia being a general in her own right (FINALLY?) but the way women get to be in so many tertiary roles. They work in comms. They serve on Star Destroyers. They fly X-Wings. It really highlights how backwards the original films were without having to be really heavy-handed about it.
- My biggest complaint is that it's wayyyy too much trying to imitate the first Star Wars movie. I guess, judging by the general reaction, that works for a lot of people. But I'm just sad that it has all these interesting ideas and shoves them into what feels like a Star Wars template without being willing to let these ideas stand on their own.
- Related to the above, the pacing is shot and the characters are totally shortchanged because they are trying to mimic Star Wars Moments™. So much happens in this movie and we're introduced to so many new main characters that none of it really gets a chance to shine. That moment where Rey uses the Force in her lightsaber battle doesn't feel earned at all.
- I only noticed this during the second viewing, but the movie falls apart pretty much as soon as Han Solo shows up. Then the pacing and the character development go all over the place. Up until that point, we get a lot of time with Rey and with Finn and experience their character growth, but after that point it's just so much pointless action and too many skipped steps in the character development.
- There are about 2-3 too many action scenes in this movie. The scene with Han and the two sets of gangs was very unnecessary. So is the fight scene between Finn and the Stormtrooper with his own electricity sword. And the last lightsaber battle.
- M mentioned that J.J. Abrams has a problem with death and blowing up planets. Both are totally true. Even in the first Star Wars, the destruction of Alderaan feels weighty and heavy even if we never spend any time on it. This time it was like 'lol, let's blow up a bunch of planets that you should care about but that you really don't.'
- I could just list out all of the repeated elements that annoyed me here forever until I got blue in the face. Why do we need another Emperor-a-like? Why can't there just be some other sort of bad guy? Why do we need another Death Star? Except wait! This one is A WHOLE PLANET OMG. Why do we need to stealthily sneak through a base filled with Stormtroopers? For as much shit as the prequels get, at least they were willing to try to play with different ideas.
- Such a waste of Gwendolyn Christie. Most of the actors, really. But she definitely felt like she got the short end of the stick in this one.
- Still too many white dudes in this movie. And not enough women of color.
- Finn's arc could be really cool if it were given enough time to really make sense. Alas.
- Not enough Old Jedi Master Luke Skywalker.
- Kylo Ren/Ben Solo (Organa?) is the whiniest whiner to ever whine. At least he comes by it honestly. How old is he supposed to be again? 18-19? Unclear to me.
- I feel like the world-building on a political level is a total disaster. I don't get it at all. So there's The First Order (shittiest name, btw) that is the Empire but not the Empire and there is the Resistance, which is related to the New Republic kind-of, and the Resistance is fighting the First Order even though with two separate governing bodies, it really should just be called a straight-forward war? I hope there's been some sort of Nu-EU explanation for all of this because fuck it if it isn't awful.
- The above strips a lot of the power and fear from the bad guys, because I am trying to figure out who the fuck they are and what the fuck they're trying to do instead of fearing for the protagonists.
- I was waiting for Han Solo's death like 5-6 seconds too long, because it was obvious that Ren wasn't going to switch sides this early in the trilogy. I mean, I get that Harrison Ford is 100% done with Star Wars and they had to pay him a gazillion dollars to get him to even show up in this one, but still. They could have introduced him in Ep 8 and really made the death count instead of giving him about five seconds of being a father figure to Rey.
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