Let’s Talk About Star Wars Episode VII – The Force Awakens
Tea: Sencha Lemon Verbena
Before everyone starts complaining: Spoiler-Alert! The following article will cover The Force Awakens in its entirety and talk about everything that happens. Therefore, do not read this if you have not seen the movie. Thank you. With that out of the way, I will talk about some things I liked and didn’t like in the new Star Wars movie. Let’s get down to it.
The biggest point of debate (apparently) is Kylo Ren and whether he is a good villain or not. First of all, I would not consider him to be the main antagonist (that would be Snoke) and second, I would consider him a good villain indeed. He is a villain with personality and that is indeed a new and welcome change in the Star Wars Saga. He is tempted by the light as opposed to all the other Jedi that have been seduced by the dark. It sheds light on the central dichotomy of the franchise and that they are simply concepts with connotations attached to them, neither inherently good nor evil. Basically just words with nothing behind them. And it ends the time of anger and hate inside a black hood and nothing more. Kylo Ren is given a backstory and struggles attached to them and it made for a refreshing take on the standard-Sith archetype whose character begins and ends with hate and anger.
– While that lightsabre is still a bit stupid, it was a cool visual distinction –
The death of Han Solo may not have had the best dialogue associated with it, but I certainly liked the overall execution. It was obvious as soon as he drew attention to himself, but I respect the move to kill a member of the old cast. I can also buy into the transformation of Kylo at this point, since he actively tries to overcome his inner state of turmoil and sure enough, afterwards he gives off a far more intimidating vibe than before (without the mask that is). Sure, he looks like a wimpy kid before, but that is sort of the point, he is a kid after all and the mask and coat are nothing more than a Darth Vader cosplay for him, without them his personality crumbles away. That is why the shift afterwards and the menacing aura without the mask are well-achieved. He is no longer in need of the mask, since in his eyes he has achieved his transformation. When he was mask-less and Hux entered, he felt agitated, since his mask is his authority. Yet, at the end the mask has become part of his face, if you will. However, I do not discount the possibility of him wearing a mask in the next movie due to the injuries he sustained. I would rather have him proudly wear a scarred face, but we can only wait and see for that.
– Babyface: Yes. Intimidating villain: only later on –
My favourite character was without a doubt Poe Dameron. He is instantly likable and has a great chemistry with Finn and I must admit that I jumped a little inside as he came back from the seemingly dead. He could have been given a lot more screen time, in my opinion at least. But his interaction with Kylo Ren at the start was well-done and set his character in the right direction. Not really that much more to say about him.
Rey is a tricky customer. For one, I really like a strong female character and the fact that she becomes the series’ new Jedi is even better, but there is nothing else to her. Her character IS “strong female character”. She has so little agency and everything is just happens to her. Yes, she deals with it in a good way, but I cannot shake this “right place right time” feeling. Yes, she struggle against her fate, but it is so synthetic and she might as well not even bother, since it is blatantly obvious that she will turn 180° on the decision in the near future anyway. She gets the lightsabre, the millennium falcon, and stronger force powers for next to no effort. She is lucky more than strong and that is a huge missed opportunity. Having a developed female character would have been a nice change, but at least we get so see a female lead for once.
– It all depends how they handle her training in the next movie –
The Starkiller is something I am not quite certain about. First, it is an artificial raising of the threat level by simply giving them a bigger Death Star. Second, I don’t quite understand how this was built. Did no one have any say into this? Was it kept a secret? What influence does the First Oder have? But I do like the fact that is uses the energy of a sun to fire, yet I cannot help but wonder how it will function the next time. Does it move around the galaxy? Can it even move, can you push it? The fact that it is a planet is actually in itself not a bad idea, but how it was built simply escapes my mind.
– That is one slow laser-beam –
And now the overall plot: It was obvious that this movie would be very close to the original trilogy and I can understand that, but I would have appreciated some more risks. The theory that Luke would be evil in this one floated around before the movie’s release and while I did not believe it for one second that they would actually go that far I would have appreciated something in that regard. All of the old characters remained rather stale, as if they had been frozen in ice for the last 30 years. They did not change or develop at all. Luke’s inclusion in the movie was somewhat unnecessary and it would have sufficed to simply show Rey leaving to meet Luke. The ending felt dragged and Mark Hamill was simply there to play the iconic theme again in the background.
The lightsabre fight is something I want to talk about, since it was probably the best one in the entire saga. It was a fight like one would expect, not overly choreographed like the prequels and not sluggish sword touching like the originals. It felt as if they swung a weapon that can cut through anything. Although it is somewhat hard to believe that Finn would survive that sabre slash across the back without ending up in the wheelchair, I thoroughly enjoy the fact that both sides got hurt. This is exactly what would happen if two people swung these things around: People would get hurt and the surrounding would take a beating.
– Amazing fight (sorry, no better images until the movie is out on DVD) –
All in all, I quite enjoyed the movie, but kept my expectations purposely low. The dialogue writing was bloody awful at time, but that might have also been the German translation I had to watch. I am most interested as to how Kylo Ren will develop in the next movies, since he is definitely the most promising character. I believe it was a good move to rip this franchise out of Lucas’ inept hands. He had a great idea with the original, but by now has proven that he cannot write for shit at times and handles the licence like free candy. I would like to know whether the new movie managed to live up to YOUR expectations or left you feeling cold. What did you like and what could have been done better?
Image sources in order of appearance:
- http://www.superherohype.com/assets/uploads/2015/08/kylo-ren-header.jpg (Last date of access: 04.01.2015)
- http://blogs-images.forbes.com/erikkain/files/2015/05/Star-Wars-Adam-Driver.jpg (Last date of access: 04.01.2016)
- http://makingstarwars.net/wp-content/uploads/2015/12/daisy_ridley_as_rey_star_wars_the_force_awakens-1680×1050.jpg (Last date of access: 04.01.2015)
- http://screenrant.com/wp-content/uploads/Star-Wars-7-Trailer-3-Kylo-Ren-Starkiller.jpg (Last date of access: 04.01.2015)
- http://media.comicbook.com/2015/11/star-wars-the-force-awakens-lightsaber-fights-161003.jpg (Last dare of access: 04.01.2015)