Author Topic: Star Wars: The Force Awakens reviewed (with spoilers)  (Read 28851 times)

Offline KIP LEWIS

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Re: Star Wars: The Force Awakens reviewed (with spoilers)
« Reply #15 on: December 21, 2015, 03:25:24 pm »
I think Ren is Luke's daughter not Han's.  I think Luke's daughter fits despite the EU version BC Leia and Han wouldn't be so forgiving of "Ben" if they believed he was responsible for their daughter's death.
« Last Edit: December 21, 2015, 03:33:26 pm by KIP LEWIS »

Offline Emperorjones

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Re: Star Wars: The Force Awakens reviewed (with spoilers)
« Reply #16 on: December 21, 2015, 03:37:12 pm »
Yes. I think that's the case. I mean they made a big deal about Luke's lightsaber (Anakin's lightsaber) belonging to Rey. So it makes more sense for her to be Luke's offspring and not Han's and Leia's.

Offline KIP LEWIS

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Re: Star Wars: The Force Awakens reviewed (with spoilers)
« Reply #17 on: December 21, 2015, 03:43:10 pm »
I think I am the only person who saw Finn differently... As a future Jedi.

Two reasons I thought Flynn is Force sensitive:  when Ren looked at him during the slaughter... He was acting like there was something more there and iirc then when the big guy said there was an awaken it was before Ren started to awaken.  I thought he was talking about Flynn.

Second reason... Somewhere I heard in the original or the prequels that only Force people can wield light sabers, even to the point that it takes the Force to turn it on.    Of course the Abrams could be ignoring that.  It would explain how he could last as long as he did against Ren.

I want to read the novelization but haven't found it yet.

Offline Emperorjones

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Re: Star Wars: The Force Awakens reviewed (with spoilers)
« Reply #18 on: December 21, 2015, 05:51:10 pm »
On the Wookieepedia site, which is an authority as far as I'm concerned regarding Star Wars stuff, they say Finn is non-Force sensitive. Also non-Force sensitive people like Han (TESB) and Grevious (ROTS, Clone Wars) have used lightsabers before.

I think the ebook of the novelization is out but the hardcover isn't out until January. I've heard it isn't that detailed about stuff. I did pick up the Visual Dictionary but haven't really delved into it yet. I do recommend checking out Wookieepedia if you haven't before. There's a ton of info on there about various Star Wars characters, planets, species, etc.

Spoiler (click to reveal)
Rey is the Jedi and the presumptive chosen one for this saga, and maybe the real Chosen One Anakin was predicted to be. I mean Lucas said that Anakin was the Chosen One (even though Luke being the Chosen One made more sense) but Lucas isn't in charge anymore.  So Disney can do what it wants. And in TFA they already showed that Rey, with little or zero training, seems very powerful in The Force. She's doing stuff that we didn't see Luke do (like Jedi mind tricks and winning a lightsaber duel) until ROTJ already.
« Last Edit: December 21, 2015, 05:56:22 pm by Emperorjones »

Offline Emperorjones

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Re: Star Wars: The Force Awakens reviewed (with spoilers)
« Reply #19 on: December 22, 2015, 04:47:36 am »
http://www.comicbookresources.com/article/the-mission-star-wars-the-rey-finn-dance-and-a-post-racial-futurepast

Interesting take on Rey and Finn. I agreed with some, but not all of the points made.

Offline Wise Son

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Re: Star Wars: The Force Awakens reviewed (with spoilers)
« Reply #20 on: December 22, 2015, 05:33:24 am »
Emperor,

Good points, and there's so much we just won't know for at least 2 years. From what we did see, I think Rey and Finn are meant to be a double-act. When they were
Spoiler (click to reveal)
geeking out about their first Tie-Fighter fight
, I was beaming. It was just such a sweet and joyful moment, and wouldn't have worked with a different pair of characters. I really want to see how they develop individually and as friends (I'm one of those people who likes platonic relationships - love interests are so predictable in Hollywood movies, and I really liked the way it was avoided in Pacific Rim). For that to work, Finn has to develop and strengthen as much as her, and if they don't do that, I feel they'd be throwing away the potential of a great performance from Boyega, and great chemistry with Ridley.

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Offline Emperorjones

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Re: Star Wars: The Force Awakens reviewed (with spoilers)
« Reply #21 on: December 22, 2015, 09:53:07 am »
Wise Son,

I definitely feel what you're saying. I mean the romance angle can be overdone and predictable, but for a big budget franchise like this it's rare they are going to not be safe, just like TFA told a relatively familiar story, with some new characters (though inspired by older ones to some extent) and a few twists here and there, but still it was familiar territory.

Spoiler (click to reveal)
I'm torn about a Finn/Rey romance. On the pro-side Finn and Rey have chemistry. The story felt it was moving that way, but Rey was resistant. Now we can chalk that up to many things-on one level there might be a feminist impulse to show Rey as independent, strong, and not wanting to catch feelings like that.
There could also be that desire to be platonic and do something different. However I can't help but look at through a racial lens. And while I think the media is showing more interracial relationships, I can't say we see a lot of black men-white women in sexual relationships.

I haven't seen a black man slob any white woman down like Olivia Pope gets slobbed down for example. Not on the small screen or big screen. I haven't seen Jessica Jones yet so maybe that will happen there. The most I've seen-recently at least-is James Olsen on Supergirl and how he has two white women pining for him. And Diggle on Arrow is married to a white woman. However it seems that the black man-white woman relationship is chaste and the sex is implied but rarely are you going to see a hint of that. To me Denzel, Will Smith when they are opposite white women they generally are not involved in a sexual relationship or one that we get to see much of. Granted there was Smith's Focus, but I don't think that did super great box office wise, which could be an indication of a general reluctance or unease to see black men-white women in a sexual relationship. Even in the sexually charged thriller Obsessed Idris Elba's drugged seduction by Ali Larter is something they fade out on, so you don't know what really happens between them.

Spoiler (click to reveal)
In TFA I saw Finn being way more into Rey than vice versa. He risks his life for her by joining the mission to take out Starkiller Base and he does get a chaste peck on the forehead while he's in a coma.
I sort of reminds me of Star Trek First Contact, where Patrick Stewart and Alfre Woodard just share a kiss on the cheek. That story might have played differently if Woodard's character had been white. That's where the story felt like it was going but then it got detoured.
Spoiler (click to reveal)
Since they've had Finn sweating and shucking (a little) and to use Triple X's words, "white girl crazy" already in TFA why not pair him with her? It would be something different that they haven't done or seen in Star Wars before. I don't want him to just get a pat on the head.
Relationships are not a hallmark in Star Wars, but when I think of the canon stuff and also the expanded universe (EU) stuff, most of the relationships (like most of the human characters) are white. And there was this penchant for redheads in the EU that I never got.
Spoiler (click to reveal)
I'm not expecting a sexual relationship to happen in the new Star Wars films, but I'm okay with it being implied.

Now the opposing view. I did like how things wound up in Pacific Rim, but a part of that was because we see white male characters have sexual agency and license over all women, including women of color and I was glad to see something different.
Spoiler (click to reveal)
As for Rey and Finn they've got a lot of things going on and might not have time for romance to blossom. So far live-action Star Wars hasn't done great in the romance department. The best one developed was Han and Leia and that fell apart by TFA.
As I've written about before, and this might sound hypocritical, but do think there are too many interracial relationships being depicted. It's like the few times they do delve into a black person's romantic or sexual life on television these days their partner isn't black.
Spoiler (click to reveal)
So I'm not super hype about a Rey-Finn romance, even it feels organic from what I saw in TFA. And if they aren't going to get together I don't want him to be the one holding the bag. That it's a mutual decision and not a rejection by Rey.

Hopefully to clarify what I'm saying further. I don't think black sexuality and relationships are explored enough in mainstream media. When it is intraracial it feels that it's something that's wallpaper or dysfunctional. And interracial is put on the front burner. But that doesn't mean those are always going to get explored either. However it does feel to me that the black woman-white man relationship is getting more attention.
« Last Edit: December 23, 2015, 03:10:43 pm by Emperorjones »

Offline KIP LEWIS

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Re: Star Wars: The Force Awakens reviewed (with spoilers)
« Reply #22 on: December 23, 2015, 08:39:20 am »
Concerning Flynn... This review by pluggedinonline, matched my take away after watching the movie:   "Even though his (Flynn's) thoughts sometimes stray to self-preservation (which makes him a bit more like you and me), he proves time and again that hes no coward. And his bravery helps save, perhaps, a good chunk of the galaxy."


Offline Emperorjones

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Re: Star Wars: The Force Awakens reviewed (with spoilers)
« Reply #23 on: December 23, 2015, 02:38:17 pm »
I'm torn about Finn. He does have admirable qualities-brave regarding his friends (Rey) at least and in breaking away from the First Order, has a sense of humor, seems down-to-Earth (or the equivalent in the Star Wars universe), compassionate where the civilians of Jakku were concerned, and I can only imagine that he feels guilt or is haunted by what he's done in service to the First Order in his past. Plus John Boyega has a kind of charm. He's a likeable, fun guy.

And Finn is the first black character (male or female) to be so prominent in the Star Wars universe. Never before have we seen a black face be on so much Star Wars merchandise. Heck, I even have a Finn action figure (though I bought it before the film came out).

So that's a cause for celebration. Yet it also makes me question, why Finn? Why now? On one level there's diversity and the needs/demands of 21st century Hollywood to appear diverse and to appeal to diverse and global audiences. They want as much money, from everyone that they can. And the Fast and Furious films have shown that a multiracial, fun cast in a fun movie equals big bucks. So there's profit but also perhaps a progressive impulse.

Okay, this all sounds good. Now let me put on my other hat....Why Finn? Why this character?

Before I got there let's look at the other two prominent black characters (again both males) in Star Wars: Mace Windu and Lando Calrissian. Finn has it over both because he's a major character while they were both supporting characters, so Finn gets a point for that.

But when you look at Mace, not even counting the now discounted expanded universe (EU) stuff he's one of the best Jedi warriors/masters in the Old Republic. He's wise enough to sit on the Jedi Council (granted this was a Jedi Council increasingly weakened by Darth Sidious and duped by him, but still he was sitting on it). He was a person that met with the Chancellor like it wasn't nothing. He gave orders. He was important in making decisions. He was a leader. In battle he took out Jango Fett, one of the most dangerous bounty hunters in Star Wars universe and he held his ground against Sidious who sliced through like four or five other Jedi Masters before he locked up with Mace. Ultimately even his suspicions about Anakin proved correct and his death was a key turning point in galactic history.

And now Lando. Despite his charm and suaveness, and his shady criminal past, he was running Cloud City and felt a responsibility to protect its denizens, even selling out his old friend Han and the others in the process. It was a betrayal but one for noble reasons. Once he realized Vader wasn't going to make good on the deal and his people were going to be at risk regardless he turned on Vader and became a member of the Rebellion. I don't think he played that important a role in rescuing Han, but at least he was there. He made amends for his mistake. And he became a leading military figure in the Rebellion and led the successful attack on the second Death Star.

Now to Finn...I've read that he's in the Leia role in this new series. I don't agree with that. And I'm not going to get into how I think Hollywood emasculates or feminizes black males. I don't know if that even reaches the level but it is interesting that some see Finn, perhaps need to see Finn in a formerly female role.

Anyway, Leia started out in A New Hope as an Imperial Senator and a Rebel leader. Her important positions and leadership abilities were there from jump. She wasn't the butt of jokes or made many, but there was some humor in her back-and-forth with Han. It took the second movie for her to soften and admit her love to Han and only because she thought she might never see him again (granted Finn hasn't said the love word yet but he's on Rey's jock seriously, going back into his Hell to rescue her). One thing all three characters do have in common are they are all sexless. There's an excuse for Mace. I don't know if the First Order regulates sex or not, but we do see Rey not giving Finn any time. And Lando didn't get Leia, though she probably wanted to.

To me Finn is more like Chewbacca. A loveable sidekick, that provides some comic relief, who was a former slave who owes a life-debt to Han. And it's strange because it reminds me when I was a kid (born in 1975) and in kindergarten some of the white kids wanted me to play Chewbacca. (I guess this was before Empire Strikes Back).

Finn's basically a runaway slave or child soldier (take your familiar milieu for a black character). Furthermore they made a cheap laugh out of him working in sanitation (hold up I thought he was a Stormtrooper?), but of course didn't care or didn't know about the demeaning history of blacks being cast as domestics for quite a long time in Hollywood. So they took this soldier and turned him into a janitor (nothing against real life janitors), but in this universe of kick ass characters, the main black guy is a comic relief, ex-janitor. So runaway slave, child soldier, and janitor. I'm a little surprised that JJ allowed that to happen. I've generally been okay with his depiction of black characters in other stuff, so how they depicted Finn felt off.

Though I will also say that with Mace and Lando there was a danger about both of them that is lacking in Finn. We see him rejecting the violence of the First Order (though he has no problem later on inflicting such violence on his fellow compatriots). He doesn't have much of an edge. He's likeable, very open, funny, and very devoted to Rey. There isn't really an ideology or belief system that motivates him from what we see beyond protecting Rey and self-preservation. Granted his rejection of The First Order might be something of an ideology or belief system, or at least the beginning of it. Though we don't really see nor do I recall Finn articulating why he wanted to leave. We can infer that he was sick of the atrocities he was ordered to commit. Maybe also the regimentation, but I don't recall him actually voicing why he wanted out.

Further, with Finn we don't see any goals beyond survival, even at the end of the film (because he's not even conscious). Finn is the edgeless, safe, agreeable 21st century Negro or maybe the "New Black" that I think Hollywood likes. Lando had charm and sexuality and his own agenda. Mace could be blunt and straight kick your ass. He basically went to arrest the freaking Chancellor of the Republic and to me it was implied if he didn't go quietly then Mace would use force. And at the end Mace was prepared to assassinate him-f the courts.

To be fair Finn did play some role in taking out Starkiller Base. But at the end of the film he's in a coma and we don't know where the story with him is going to go. We can assume that Rey will get trained by Luke and Poe will continue being a dashing pilot. Finn has questionable-storyline dictated fighting ability-and he's an ex-member of the First Order. How long, if ever, can he gain the trust to become a valued member of the Resistance? Even if that's what they will do with the character. Or they might have him traipse after Rey like a lovesick puppy.

I even have to wonder if there's a kind of cheap or empty feminism at play here when Rey rebuffs Finn or seems not to be all that into him, or he is way more into her. While it might be refreshing to see that in a female character, are there any racial dynamics at play? Is it easier for a white woman to rebuff a black man for audiences? Is that preserving the sanctity of white womanhood in a way? And if one of the problems or concerns is the over representation of white men in these kinds of roles or in many roles period wouldn't Rey be more subversive or revolutionary a character if she rebuffed a white man, a white Alpha (or seemingly Alpha) male? And not a possible black Beta male?

My opinion of Finn might change by Episode VIII or the end of the trilogy. But I can't help but see how some are praising what JJ Abrams was able to do regarding the depiction of Rey and how she is a positive representation for women, though I could narrow that a bit to white women, since we only see these kinds of characters so far played by white actresses (Jennifer Lawrence, Charlize Theron, and now Daisy Ridley), and I think its dismissive to ignore racial differences among women when the white beauty standard has been a destructive thing in the lives of many non-white women.

While Rey is getting praised in some corners (and perhaps rightfully so) we don't see any article praising Finn. Because he's not that breakthrough-outside of his larger presence in marketing. It's sort of the same old, same old with him...so far.

« Last Edit: December 23, 2015, 07:43:17 pm by Emperorjones »


Offline KIP LEWIS

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Re: Star Wars: The Force Awakens reviewed (with spoilers)
« Reply #25 on: December 23, 2015, 03:22:43 pm »
My thought is Fynn is Han Solo.  Someone who doesn't start on the Resistance/Rebel side,  and he starts helping them for himself,  leaves when things get hot,  comes back and makes it possible to destroy the Death Star/Starkiller.  Han even provides the humor.

I think it is unfair to compare Fynn to Mace, because Mace is a fully developed character.  He doesn't change throughout the series.  Fynn however is only in the beginning of his development.   This isn't what he will be when the series ends.

Offline Emperorjones

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Re: Star Wars: The Force Awakens reviewed (with spoilers)
« Reply #26 on: December 23, 2015, 04:17:59 pm »
In my previous posts I said I don't know how I will feel about Finn by the end of the trilogy. That being said why can't I judge Finn comparing him to whomever? These characters, TFA itself begs to be compared to what came before because it owes so much to what did come before. It is an homage, a remix, a reboot, or whatever so its going to invite comparisons.

Mace wasn't a fully developed character in the films (not counting the discounted EU). How much screen time did he get? Finn has gotten a lot more in one film than Mace probably did in all three. Mace was a visible and important supporting character. The fact that he doesn't change makes him not a fully developed character. Now that's something that we might see Finn do more of. Then again, he did a major change in this film by leaving the First Order. I'm not sure if they will work on developing his character more. But from what we've seen already Finn has personality. Mace was generally reserved and had an edge to him. We've seen more sides to Finn than Mace already. We really didn't see Mace doubt (except for his ominous warning about the Chosen One prophecy being misread; not sure if his concern about Anakin hanging out so much with Palpatine was doubt or him just trying to talk sense to his fellow Jedi), or laugh, or cry, or even have much attachment to anyone on screen. He was tight with Yoda. He cared about the Jedi Order and democracy, he didn't trust Anakin, and that was about it. That being said, I think Mace is a better character when it comes to black characters in Star Wars than Finn. I want to be Mace or Lando, I don't want to be Finn.

But if you want to just look at Mace solely in The Phantom Menace in comparison to Finn in TFA. He sat on the Council, he judged Anakin, and he found him wanting. He played a part in seeding Anakin's distrust and anger against the Jedi that would come back to bite them big time in Episode 3. And when we are first introduced to Lando we get a little but actually a lot about him and we see him work with and then turn against the Empire. He got his character arc pretty much completed in Episode 5. I don't think Mace even had a character arc. Finn, just from TFA, had more of a character arc than Mace did in three films.

As for Finn's future development...I can easily see them just becoming more committed to the Resistance cause and perhaps falling for Rey or just going into the trusted friend zone. So his development could dead end. Doesn't mean he isn't a stalwart, trusted friend, and might even win some fights and be 'important' just not a vital character that few people want want to dress up as for Halloween unless its probably some black nerd like me starved to be some black Star Wars/sci-fi character. Finn's not as cool as Mace or Lando. Maybe he doesn't have to be, but with his ex-soldier background, the possible blood on his ledger, he could be a cool anti-hero even. Or a straight bad ass, but he's not going to be that, because that's reserved for Rey. And Poe will likely continue to be a bad ass pilot. So where does that leave Finn? A politician? A member of the Resistance bureaucracy? Or he could go back behind enemy lines to help stir up dissent and revolt among his fellow Stormtroopers. Now that might be neat.

Finn as Han Solo....hmm, I could see some parallels there. I mean Han started off as selfish and eventually joined the Rebellion, perhaps mostly to stay close to Leia, though he never said as much I don't think. Then again, staying in the Rebellion gave him a purpose and maybe kept him away from Jabba's men as well. I haven't seen the OT in a while but Han comes off never really losing his cool, sure he's thrown in all kinds of situations, but he's not sweating and huffing and puffing like Finn. And he's not the butt of jokes from what I can recall, and he trades jibes as quick as he received them.

However Finn starts off in a much different, starker place than Han in a sense. Finn was an enemy soldier to the Resistance. Being a deserter actually might not even win him many friends among the Resistance because they might think if he betrayed the First Order he might betray them. Plus I can see his loyalty being questioned a lot more than even Han Solo's would be, since Finn was an active soldier against the First Order. There might even be Resistance fighters who seek payback for First Order crimes that Finn participated in or just because he's a convenient person for them to vent or get revenge on. So he's in a different place than Han. And if they make the black guy suspect, they've went down that road before with Lando.

Finn's charming, though not roguish. He might be snarky, but more in a nerdy kind of way than a swashbuckling way. I think Poe is a little more like Han. His smart ass reply to Kylo Ren is an example in addition to his great piloting skills. I also see Poe getting more screen time the next time out. And it's guaranteed that Rey will get more screen time. And Luke is bound too. Maybe Leia as well. I definitely could see a need for more Luke, Leia, and Rey getting more screen time and Kylo Ren and likely Snoke. I see Poe and Phasma getting that screen time because they were short changed in TFA. So where might that leave Finn? I don't know. I mean to me his story might already be completed, yet they'll leave him hanging around because of Boyega's charm and diversity.
« Last Edit: December 23, 2015, 04:50:20 pm by Emperorjones »

Offline BmoreAkuma

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Re: Star Wars: The Force Awakens reviewed (with spoilers)
« Reply #27 on: December 23, 2015, 05:53:33 pm »
I think I am the only person who saw Finn differently... As a future Jedi.

Two reasons I thought Flynn is Force sensitive:  when Ren looked at him during the slaughter... He was acting like there was something more there and iirc then when the big guy said there was an awaken it was before Ren started to awaken.  I thought he was talking about Flynn.

Second reason... Somewhere I heard in the original or the prequels that only Force people can wield light sabers, even to the point that it takes the Force to turn it on.    Of course the Abrams could be ignoring that.  It would explain how he could last as long as he did against Ren.

I want to read the novelization but haven't found it yet.
Nope anyone can wield a lightsaber. It just that it takes some skill to use it properly. Just like anyone can pick up a sword but if they don't know how to use it shows. BTW Han Solo used it on film
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CXmp1hLK0tY&ab_channel=TaekoCheng

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Offline Emperorjones

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Re: Star Wars: The Force Awakens reviewed (with spoilers)
« Reply #28 on: December 23, 2015, 07:30:35 pm »
I thought this was an interesting article about Finn and the role he really served in The Force Awakens.

http://blogs.indiewire.com/shadowandact/hyper-tokenism-the-force-awakens-while-the-black-man-sleeps-20151223

Offline KIP LEWIS

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Re: Star Wars: The Force Awakens reviewed (with spoilers)
« Reply #29 on: December 24, 2015, 05:40:35 am »
Another reason why I think Flynn is more Han than Chewie.  You could remove Chewy from any of the movies and nothing important would change.  He is there only to help Han.  However without Flynn, everyone is dead.  He is absolutely essential to this movie. 

The problem probably if partially arising from having a female lead.   After Leia, they don't want any hint damsel in distress.  Everything is being written to avoid that.  Rey saves herself from being captured.  Then Flynn holds his own against KR long enough and provides the imputus to wake her up to fight.  It overshadowed the fact that Flynn held his own against a someone who injured or not would have cut anyone else down in seconds.  That is not a trivial feat, but it is being lost in Rey's awakening.  He has done what no one in the SW movie history has ever done.