star wars: han home

The Force Awakens

Not seeing this movie on opening weekend is the biggest sacrifice I've ever made in my marriage. Just so we're clear.

This post contains ALL THE SPOILERS. Just so we're clear.


Annoying yet forgivable plot issues

  • I wish they hadn't ripped off quite so much of the plot from A New Hope. A droid with much-needed information, a battle station of incomparable force, a band of misfits sneaking around to disable the shields, a ragtag group of pilots destroying the station at the last possible moment... Yeah, I've seen that movie before.

  • WTF with the map, Luke? You seriously left 90% of it in your R2 unit, who just forgot to show it to people because he was suffering from a case of robot depression? This situation does not make sense.

  • More explanation of the political situation, please! How long exactly has passed since ROTJ? At what point did Luke disappear in a fit of man pain? Did the Empire split into a Republic and a dictatorship lead by the First Order? And that dictatorship is now trying to crush the Republic because the Republic supports rebels within the First Order? I think that is the most likely explanation, but I need a little more to go on.

  • Leia, why are you not a Jedi? I am 100% willing to support your choices, girl, but I need to understand them first!
  • I really don't think the shiny metal storm trooper lady would have been quite so willing to cut the shields to save her own life...





    • A non-exhaustive list of things I liked

      • Khylo Ren! I like that he is Han and Leia's son and not Luke's. I like that having a son forces Han into emotionally vulnerable places that we wouldn't ordinarily see. I like that he is basically a dude with an anger management problem having a bad day at the office, and the mask is just a prop to make him feel more eeeeevil. Most of all, I love his inversion of Luke's storyline from the original trilogy. Instead of being a good guy tempted to the darkness, he is a bad guy who feels the pull of the light and views it as a sinful temptation.

      • Rey! I LIKE HER SO MUCH BETTER THAN LUKE. She too is filled with glorious purpose BUT ALSO does not whine about her lot in life even once. Take that light saber, girl! Fulfill that destiny! Seriously, though, do you have any idea how many movies I've watched where I really, really thought the woman was going to pick up the weapon and be the hero? And then the dude miraculously woke up from his fit of unconsciousness and saved the day? THANK YOU MOVIE, FOR GIVING ME THE THING I'VE WANTED FOR MY WHOLE LIFE.

      • Fin! The sympathetic storm trooper angle was, for me, one of the most interesting and unexpected parts of the movie. The shell shocked soldier wandering around the battleground felt very relevant to what's happening in Iraq and Afghanistan now, and our general post-Vietnam understanding that war is maybe not glamorous fun for soldiers on the ground. Like Han in A New Hope, he stumbles into heroism and never really loses his selfish motivation -- I mean, he lied to the entire rebel alliance just so he could go to the Battle Station of Evil and rescue his girl (who needed a vehicle, but not really a rescue).

      • Han! I'm sorry, man, but you had to die. Your character is far too distinctive. With you around, the torch could never have been passed to the next generation. I like that your last moments were silent, and though I'd hoped you were experienced enough to know better than to confront the bad guy over a giant pit, I think you knew what was going to happen -- but you did it anyway, because you love Leia and you love your son.

      • The wrong person gets the light saber (for awhile, anyway). I knew Rey was the hero of the film when she refused the call (way to live out the hero cycle, honey!). I did not expect for Fin to take the light saber, or to mistakenly believe that he had a glorious destiny.



      • Now accepting fic prompts. You know what I write and what I don't.
Seriously, though, do you have any idea how many movies I've watched where I really, really thought the woman was going to pick up the weapon and be the hero?

IN THAT MOMENT I THOUGHT OF YOU.

Your quibbles are my quibbles. I had also been annoyed by one of the most beautiful people I've ever seen being relegated to voice acting (I was afraid it was playing into an unfortunate trope or three) until I heard that she deliberately wanted a mocap part to extend her range.

IN GENERAL I AM MUCH WITH THE EXCITE. (Also, Poe Dameron, so dreamy.)

A fic prompt: I would love it if Finn woke up between the return to the Resistance and Rey's departure, for a little while in that bleary badly injured going back to sleep soon way, so Rey can tell him she's going to find Skywalker. I want that convo and I'd love it from your keyboard.
Poe is indeed quite dreamy! Though I'm glad he "died" early in the movie. They set him up to be the hero, so I really enjoyed how he ended up accidentally passing the torch to an extremely hapless misfit...

Though I am a little puzzled how he was actually thrown out of his tightly fitting jacket, but I guess that's not the point...
Sorry, jumping in, but I seem to recall Poe getting out of his jacket before getting on the pilot chair of the TIE fighter? So there's that... ;)

I had exactly the same plot problems. I was especially confused by the political landscape.

I think if I got it right the Empire was dissolved and disarmed and the New Republic- which came out of the Rebel coalition from Return- is in charge and slowly The Order crept back from what few folks who thought the Empire was a good idea were left. And while the New Republic keeps neutral against The Order, Leia founded a private army (The Resistance) to keep them in check.
Regarding R2 having the map all that time and being in some kind of depressed sleeper mode....I was super pissed about that, but I've come to believe that R2 was under direction from Luke to wait to reveal it until a certain amount of information came to light, or certain events happened. Because, there is no way Luke, if he was comfortable enough in the Force to be training Jedi, wasn't having Force visions (we know he could and did before) and didn't have an inkling of what may come to pass.

Threepio is never in the know - R2 always is. I'm going with it (either that or seriously going mad at the deus ex machina)
My hope (which may be disappointed) is that Han got fridged so that her character could develop more, and she'll get to play a significant role in either defeating or redeeming her son.

I'm not sure whether Finn is meant to be force sensitive. I'm thinking not? I just assumed he was reasonably competent with the light saber because his training included some hand to hand combat skills.
In Before the Awakening they explain a bit more the political background: after the Empire came the New Republic, which years later turned a blind eye to the First Order* as it grew and the New Republic lost more and more territories to them. So the Resistance grew as a response, as sort of Leia's private army, co-opting personnel from the Republican Navy and veterans of the Rebellion.
Put like that, it makes sense to me and I can see Leia focusing her attention on this task rather than becoming a Jedi - plus I guess she didn't have much chance to learn the ways of the Force after Luke's disappearance...

* Partly out of corruption, partly out of fear and disbelief, seeking the Chamberlain way and much like, say, in Harry Potter the magical world didn't want to believe in Voldemort's return at first.

Edited at 2015-12-28 09:04 pm (UTC)
It does make sense to me that Leia would have other priorities besides becoming a Jedi - I just wish we'd gotten a little more information in the movie itself.
Eheh, maybe it's all just an evil ploy to make us (me) purchase all the available tie-in materials LOL...
From the thing Kylo Ren also said about the map, which is apparently backed up by some offline Word of JJ thing, the map minus the piece BB-8 ended up with was the Empire's map of the old Jedi temples or something. R2/Luke must've picked it up at some point from their archives, so maybe they thought it was also in the Republic's records after they took Coruscant? Then at some *later* point Luke must have found the Key Piece that some unknown person had clipped out of it in times long past. That part, the only thing that makes sense is that he left it so somebody *could* find him when the need was dire enough, but not otherwise?

As far as R2 not waking up until the Plot Convenient Moment, though... *sigh* That's also Word of JJ that he deliberately turned Luke into the McGuffin, and decided that was the plot-convenient moment to reveal it so that all the New Folks could be introduced without Jedi Master Luke stealing all the audience focus. Hopefully fandom will come up with some better in-universe reason to explain it.

And as far as the Plot Xerox issue ... well, that's why I'm glad JJ is not in charge of the *next* movie in the trilogy. He did his job and brought the nostalgia for the OT; now, hopefully, we'll tread some newer paths as the series goes forward.

... Including more motivation/characterization for Shiny Stormtrooper Lady. Supposedly she has a bigger role in the next one? *crossing fingers*
It does make sense to me that the Empire would have had a huge chunk of the map... I wish they could have come up with something a little better than the R2D2 thing. I mean, it would have been really simple for that flash drive to just contain the whole map, and then they could do away with the annoying deux ex machina bit with R2...
There are some useful comments upthread, mostly by people who did their own research. It makes more sense when I read it, bu the movie didn't do its job if outside resources are required to understand it.
Poor Han. I knew he was going to bite it as soon as he was revealed as Kylo Ren's father. And I'm pretty sure Harrison Ford wanted out of the whole franchise. At least he got to mentor the young 'uns before dying.

(I was really worried that Poe was going to die, and in fact his reprieve didn't make much sense to me. But I DON'T CARE. So long as I get to keep looking at Oscar Isaac, I'm willing to hand-wave a lot.)

My quibbles were pretty much the same as yours. I enjoyed it, but thought it relied too heavily on "A New Hope" plot points. But I'll take it.
It was definitely a million times better than the prequels but every time I think about that map, I get irrationally angry lol

WHY is there a map?! Did Luke leave it? WHY!? Why did he scatter it around because clearly they spent quite some time and resources to get all the pieces.

And speaking of why... why did no one mention to Kylo-Ben that Vader redeemed himself in the end by destroying the Emperor? Every time broody!Ren (I really like the character but man the plot holes) is all "I will finish what you started", I'm all "Vader finished and destroyed what he started because he realized it was wrong".


That being said, I love the new characters. Rey, Poe, and Finn are an amazing trio. Kylo-Ren is creepy as hell. General Weasley was fantastic. And while criminally underused, I love Captain Phasma.
My "WTF?" and "Yay!" lists pretty much matched yours exactly. The map was a big, "Er, huh?" for me. And Captain Phasma or Phantasm or Phatass or whatever her name was -- she so should not have been such a pushover!! I kept waiting for her to turn the tables on them. I guess stormtrooper squad leader doesn't demand much in the way of independent thought.

One general thing that I absolutely adored was the re-introduction of humor. The first three movies had some moments/lines that were just so damn funny, but the second three were pretty much entirely humorless. I was so glad to get some laughter back into the mix.

Funny what you said about Han and the pit :) Mr Psmith and the two other people we saw it with said afterwards that they totally saw his demise coming the minute he walked out on the bridge. I, however, did not, and was traumatized no little and quite some >:|
> Yeah, I've seen that movie before.

That is my main beef. This movie played it safe and conservative to not upset the franchise money flow. I don't see this as a movie or any kind of creative endeavor, but a calculated offering to keep the franchise going.

I found it a beautiful movie, well made, but it had no "magic". Even when Han died I felt nothing. I just felt, "Huh, I guess they made the same choice Lucas made when he apologized to Alec Guiness and said, 'Someone has to die so you know the Death Star is a real threat.'" Even _death_ was non-original.

I will probably see the next one; the new characters are interesting enough, and the movie pretty enough to justify an evening. But actual like? Not there. This was a miss for me, alas.