Saturday, December 26, 2015

Rybuttal - Negative Star Wars VII Criticisms - SPOILER ALERT

It's time for another Rybuttal. This time, it's not about a particular article or note. Rather, this is responding to criticism I've seen regarding The Force Awakens.

So I'm using this picture for the third time on this blog? You bet I am...

This will contain some hefty spoilers, so please stay away if you have not seen the movie and/or do not want to be spoiled.

You've been warned.

Spoiler grace period.

Everyone gone?


It was obvious that die hard fans might pick holes, but these particular holes didn't need picking, poking, or prodding. So let's run down a few, shall we?

1) The plot of The Force Awakens is just a rehash of A New Hope

This is a pretty common critique, and I thought it myself upon exiting the theater. You have a lonely sand human who gets involved in a rebellion (resistance) plot with a droid carrying vital information. The sand human escapes on the Millennium Falcon and get's Anakin's lightsaber. There's a cantina scene, there's a death star-like structure that just blew up some planets, there's a scene where good guys invade to rescue a girl from the death star-like structure, and there's a trench run thing. Oh, and the mentor dies.

What the hell is an aluminum falcon? [1]

Pretty similar. But guess what? THAT'S WHAT EVERYONE WANTED! This entire time, people have been complaining about the prequel trilogy and lauding the originals. They kept saying that they want a return to form here, whatever that means. And so, to keep fans happy, they made re-hash of the first movie. And surprise, surprise, it worked! People love it.

And plus, if you dig into the details, this is still pretty different. The prequel trilogy highlighted the recurrence of destiny in the Star Wars universe, and there was already tons of parallelism between Anakin and Luke. So is it so surprising that the galaxy is making the same mistakes it did 30 years ago?

It's not like they haven't repeated themselves before...[2]

And look at the makeup of the characters. Rather than a whiny boy from Tatoonie (like both the originals and prequels), we got a badass girl from Jakku. Instead of R2-D2, we got BB-8. who was voice coached by Bill Hader and that dude who played Jean Ralphio. We also got a villian with depth (oh, so he's not just a 100% evil dude? What? Is this even Star Wars?) And if you want to complain about Vader turning in VI, then rewatch IV and tell me how he has any redeeming qualities.

The characters are completely unique and new. The plot, while a bit reminiscent, shakes things up and does a good job at nodding while still staying fresh. Rey saves herself from capture, we have a non-jedi wield a lightsaber, and we have several key action scenes that have no correlation to A New Hope.

2) Rey is a Mary Sue

Seriously, do you know what a Mary Sue is? It's an author self insert. It's not a blanket statement for a relatable female character. She has skills as a pilot and mechanic because that's how she grew up. And in the likely event that she's a skywalker descendant, it's also kind of in her blood. Same with the force. She's friggin' powerful. And that was kind of the point. Kylo Ren was wounded and conflicted. She was fighting for her life and full of force adrenaline. She deserved to kick ass.

I'm sure she could kick my ass [3]

I think most people complaining about her are people who don't want a female lead in a movie. Have you ever stopped to think how much of a Mary Sue Luke is? (although, strictly speaking, some people call that a Marty Stu, but that sounds so silly I've confined it to parentheses) Seriously, he was much more whiny, and had much less reason to be a badass.

3) Kylo Ren should have kicked Finn and Rey's asses

First off, Kylo was shot by a bowcaster. A rifle that the movie proved (on numerous occaisons) was quite powerful. Not only that, but he just killed his father and was probably still not 100% okay with it. So he went in with a cloudy head and a wounded body. Finn had combat training, and he had already beaten a vibrobladed stormtrooper (was is a vibroblade? I have no idea). And he was still beaten pretty easily. He held his own against a wounded force user.

And Rey was just discovering her powers, and as I mentioned in point 2), she had adrenaline. Plus, she is skilled with her staff, so she also has some melee fighting background. And she was getting her ass kicked too until Kylo accidentally reminded her she could use the force. Pretty stupid, Kylo.

4) Kylo Ren is a weak villian (and/or character)

I want to emphasize that while his performance in that last battle is damning, Kylo Ren is not weak. He stopped a freaking blaster bolt in the beginning of the movie. As I said, he was injured and conflicted. But when he wasn't killing his father or trying to have a mind battle against Rey, he was really damn strong.

And how could he possible be a weak character? He has depth, he has emotion. Darth Vader had strong "oooo he's bad" moments in A New Hope, but he had basically no character development in that movie. Kylo Ren was real; he was a conflicted villain trying to do as his master commands and not sure how to do it. He was aching to turn to the dark side (a quality we have not really seen on screen), and his tense moment with Han was tremendous. He is easily the most compelling villain this serious has ever had.

*Gasp* A villain with emotions!?! Well I never! [4]

5) The Force Awakens doesn't feel like Star Wars

I'm assuming this is coming from the same people who don't like the new Star Trek movies. And do you know what?

JJ Abrams made Star Trek watchable.

Old Star Trek is terribly campy and damn strange. The Next Generation improved it a bit, but it's still pretty goofy. JJ Abrams did wonders for making it a) appeal to a wide audience, b) exiting, fun, and suspenseful, and c) a strong re-envisioning of old characters.

For this, guess what? I doesn't feel like Star Wars to you because it's a well made, well written movie with good acting and pacing. And I'm not just referring to the damn prequels. The original trilogy also had some terrible lines, bad cuts, and awkward pacing. They're classics, but they share the same problems as the prequels.

The Force Awakens has some tremendous acting, great special and practical effects, and captured the whimsy of the original trilogy. If this isn't Star Wars, then you need to watch a bit of the canon television shows or read some of the canon novels/comics, and then let's talk.

Seriously, I'm loving the fuck out of this show [5]

Let me know what you think about these points or any other criticisms you've seen or have yourself!

Until next time,


Images courtesy of Wikipedia except where sourced

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