Author Topic: Star Wars: The Force Awakens reviewed (with spoilers)  (Read 28850 times)

Offline Emperorjones

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Re: Star Wars: The Force Awakens reviewed (with spoilers)
« Reply #30 on: December 24, 2015, 03:15:34 pm »
Regarding Finn's stand, we did see Jango Fett take on Obi-Wan. Granted Obi-Wan wasn't out to kill him and Jango had a lot more weaponry and likely was much better trained than Finn but we did see that. And General Grevious was non-Force sensitive. On the Clone Wars Cad Bane was also non-Force sensitive I believe and he took on the Jedi. In the expanded universe (EU)-discounted I know, but still non-Force sensitive Mandalorians and Yuuzhan Vong took on the Jedi and were quite formidable opponents, so Finn's stand isn't without precedent. But I do think you bring up a good point though. There hasn't been a stand like Finn's really in a live-action film. I've never questioned his bravery-in that instance. However I'm questioning his overall depiction and his future relevance.

I actually think you are overstating Finn's importance. They could've written it differently without Finn and still destroyed Starkiller Base. It wasn't like there was an insider for either Death Star to take either of those out. If they really wanted to make him integral to destroying Starkiller why not make him an engineer instead of a janitor for example? He really didn't even rescue Rey from Starkiller Base. She engineered (pun not intended) her own escape, granted Chewbacca helped her get to the Falcon. Finn was unconscious. And as it stands now, Finn's basic importance is at an end. He's superfluous now to the main action.

It will be interesting to see what happens with him next. I can't see them killing him off since they injured him so badly in TFA. Plus it might not look good on the diversity front. He's a great ambassador. Sort of reminds me of how Uhura is very prominent in the new Trek marketing or how Halle was prominent in the X-Men marketing, as Storm is in the X-Men comics, though none of them are the main characters.

But beyond that I don't see where he goes. A relationship with Rey is problematic because many are entranced with the idea of her being independent (i.e. her not needing a man or maybe damn sure not a black man), or there being a platonic relationship between them (at least between her and Finn), and we don't know how audiences would respond to that and Disney is not about to risk any money. There were reports already about how Finn's picture was minimized on the posters in China and I'm sure you're well aware of the internet meltdown over his mere appearance in Stormtrooper armor.

Basically though he's not the best at anything really in a tightly knit circle of overachievers or eventual overachievers (even Han is one of the best smugglers and pilots in the galaxy). Rey has the Force and the Millennium Falcon. She might also be a Skywalker and the heir to the Jedi. Poe is the new best pilot in the galaxy. Chewbacca is still around so he can handle the ass kicking, not to mention Luke as well. Leia is the military leader. What skills does Finn bring to the table? He's a good marksman, but it's not like any of the other people I just named aren't also crack shots (maybe not Poe, but then again, I don't know. He's lethal as hell in an X-wing or space craft though).

Even Lando, who I think is a better black character than Finn had problems. He basically isn't as good a pilot as Han and likely isn't as good a leader or administrator as Leia (though that might be debatable because in the OT I can't recall Leia actually running anything). But still I would think Lando is somewhat redundant. However Lucas found a way to make him important, as a military leader in ROTJ. It was a way to have him prominently featured and in key action scenes but also keeping him off the board in a way. We don't learn much about Lando at all in ROTJ. Even the expanded universe (EU), with budgets unlimited by their imagination, found little for Lando to do. It's curious that Han, Luke, and Leia have often been called the Big Three by some fans (totally ignoring Lando, Chewbacca, Threepio, and R2D2). It was one of the issues I had with the EU, the underuse of Lando.

Regarding a female lead. I'm glad they did that. I think it's cool. Though we have seen antecedents to Rey in the EU (Nomi Sunrider, Bastila Shan, Mara Jade Skywalker), and more recently Ahsoka Tano on Clone Wars, but never in live-action have we gotten a female character in Star Wars like her. I don't think it has to be, or should be an either/or, a zero sum game between underserved characters. I don't we should lessen Rey to elevate Finn, though I do feel that Rey at times was elevated at Finn's expense.

I also would like to see black villains in Star Wars. Not something along stereotypical lines. But David Oyelowo voices an Imperial officer (a white character) in Rebels. Why couldn't he have been black? Why can't the First Order have black officers? Why couldn't Hux have been black for example? Heck, Oyelowo could've played him easily? Why are there no live-action or canon black Sith or Sith Lords. By my count there was one black Sith, a female called Dician in the EU and she was a minor character. But it was cool to know she existed. To me, with representation black characters don't all have to be heroes. If it's a well developed villain, one that is formidable I wouldn't mind seeing more of that as well.
« Last Edit: December 24, 2015, 03:29:31 pm by Emperorjones »

Offline KIP LEWIS

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Re: Star Wars: The Force Awakens reviewed (with spoilers)
« Reply #31 on: December 24, 2015, 03:49:37 pm »
Yeah, my focus on Fynn standing against KR being unique and their approach to Rey was focused on the live action movies.  Cartoons and EU trend to have a different audience and the producers of this series have dismissed the EU.  Only the movies and some (?) of cartoons are considered canon.

On a completely different topic; what where your thoughts on KR stopping an energy bolt in mid-air?


Offline Emperorjones

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Re: Star Wars: The Force Awakens reviewed (with spoilers)
« Reply #32 on: December 24, 2015, 04:43:29 pm »
Before I answer that question Kip there is a new canon in Star Wars which includes all live-action movies, Clone Wars (CGI series not the microseries), Rebels, and basically all the novels and comics that have come out since 2015.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Star_Wars_canon

While I agree with you that there might be different audiences-to some extent-for this material, basically the people who are buying novels and comics and video games and watching Rebels are going to be watching the films as well. But that doesn't mean every film watcher is going to then take the next step of going beyond the films into that stuff. Similar to comic book movie watchers. I mean we read the comics and stuff while the vast majority of people who see those films don't. But that could also be said for movies adapted from books, video games, or whatever IMO.

I would argue that fandom does play a role in getting the word out, in spreading buzz, in buying all the merchandise. Just me personally I've bought comics as a run up to the movie and a Finn action figure and several books (Before the Awakening-post watching TFA, Lost Stars (can't remember now if I bought this post-TFA; probably did, Aftermath, and Lords of the Sith), also the Visual Dictionary and just today The Art of the Force Awakens and I didn't even think TFA was the next greatest thing to sliced bread. Heck some fans keep the flame's for nearly dead or dying franchises alive. I mean there are probably still Firefly fans and old school BSG fans out there (well not so many, though I am one). I hope there are Gil Gerard Buck Rogers fans out there. While Marvel's movie revenues dwarf the comics the comics still play an important role and so do fans. I have to wonder how great a gateway Rebels is and Clone Wars was in roping in new generations of Star Wars fans? Which will then go see the movies and on and on it goes.

And while the EU has been decanonized I don't think it's been completely dismissed. I mean they did mention "The New Republic", which came from the EU. Also the First Order could've been inspired by the EU's Imperial Remnant. Kylo Ren to me felt like Jacen Solo. And Rey might wind up being similar to Jaina Solo. I mean in the EU, Jacen turned dark and Jaina had to face off against him. From what I recall Luke assisted her, though from a distance.

I actually thought that it was cool when Kylo Ren did that. I was hating on him before the film. I thought his name was stupid, I thought his lightsaber was stupid. But when he first appeared I was starting to eat my words. But it only took a while and then he pulled off his mask and then he started having tantrums. And then he got his ass kicked. So it's like Ren's powers waxed and waned based on the story's dictates. That's not unique to Ren. I think Star Wars has committed that crime before with the Jedi. What did you think?
« Last Edit: December 24, 2015, 04:57:25 pm by Emperorjones »

Offline KIP LEWIS

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Re: Star Wars: The Force Awakens reviewed (with spoilers)
« Reply #33 on: December 24, 2015, 04:59:11 pm »
If I am guessing this right, rather than a fully developed villain like Vader in a storyline that is basically about the heroes journey from novice to master, we are going to see parallel journeys of both the hero and the villain. 

KR is still in apprentice stage (basically a teenager). This the temper and the loss.  Meanwhile Rey is the novice, with more raw untrained power.

I wouldn't be surpassed in the second movie KR wins the fight and someone/thing has to save her (like Luke falling away from Vader in ESB) and the final key victory in the third movie.

My only question is, will he be redeemed in the third movie?

Offline KIP LEWIS

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Re: Star Wars: The Force Awakens reviewed (with spoilers)
« Reply #34 on: December 24, 2015, 05:15:26 pm »
As far as "That's not unique to Ren. I think Star Wars has committed that crime before with the Jedi. What did you think?"

Yeah, Star Wars hasn't been very consistent in power levels.  Despite Darth Vader's claims that the Force surpasses the Death Star's power, we didn't see him do much in the first movie.  In ESB, his, Luke's and Yoda power displays grew.  (If size doesn't matter, why didn't Darth knock Luke's X-Wing aside by using the Force during the first movie?). By the time we get to Prequels, the Jedi are super heroes but in episode 3 they were slaughtered like amateurs with only Yoda beating back the Clones.  Yeah I know their explanation for it but basically it is inconsistency.

Offline Emperorjones

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Re: Star Wars: The Force Awakens reviewed (with spoilers)
« Reply #35 on: December 24, 2015, 05:19:20 pm »
I agree with you that it looks like there will be parallel journeys for Rey and Ren. Maybe both will get training montages next film. And it's likely that Ren will defeat her next movie. Though I can't see them having him chopping off a hand or arm a la Anakin or Luke. I mean I don't know how Disney would feel about portraying violence against women. I think Lucas soft pedaled Anakin's abuse of Padme in ROTS, with the lame she 'died of a broken heart'. It was a disservice to a character that had been pretty brave and intrepid. With Anakin going dark it made sense to me that she would fight like hell to protect her kids, not give up like that.

The thing is I can't see Luke saving Rey either. I think some might feel that it's a regression, that it's sexism to have Luke save Rey after her kick ass introduction in TFA. In-universe it makes sense for Luke to intervene and kick some serious tail. He could check Ren easily. But there are larger, outside universe concerns about representation and I don't see them doing anything that would seriously imperil Rey's standing or sense of agency now. I'm not going to say she's going to be untouchable from this point on but I do wonder if she might be in danger of that. I think they are pushing for Rey to stand on her own. Just like Obi-Wan was dead by Empire and Yoda remained on Dagobah while Luke ran off to face Vader, the OT also made moves to have Luke stand on his own. And the PT did the same with Anakin. Dooku took out Obi-Wan twice, leaving him to face Anakin alone in AOTC and ROTS.

I think Ren's journey, and his struggle is going to be an ongoing issue in these new films. I'm not sure. I mean can he be redeemed for what he did? To me Han might be more revered than Obi Wan, particularly by the time of TFA versus where Obi-Wan was in ANH. I mean we barely knew Obi-Wan then, but still I felt his death. Han has been an icon for thirty years. Plus we've seen some other brutality that Ren has done, or they've alluded to it. Perhaps he has gone too far. In the EU, the
Spoiler (click to reveal)
Ren-like Jacen faced off against his sister Jaina and she killed him
. I wish they would take some inspiration from the EU and have Rey maybe strip Ren of the Force. I read that happened once in the Tale of the Jedi comics, with Nomi Sunrider versus Ulic Qel-Droma I believe.
Spoiler (click to reveal)
I had wished that Jaina had done the same thing to Jacen. It would've kept him around, depowered but still dangerous.

Offline Emperorjones

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Re: Star Wars: The Force Awakens reviewed (with spoilers)
« Reply #36 on: December 24, 2015, 05:22:55 pm »
As far as "That's not unique to Ren. I think Star Wars has committed that crime before with the Jedi. What did you think?"

Yeah, Star Wars hasn't been very consistent in power levels.  Despite Darth Vader's claims that the Force surpasses the Death Star's power, we didn't see him do much in the first movie.  In ESB, his, Luke's and Yoda power displays grew.  (If size doesn't matter, why didn't Darth knock Luke's X-Wing aside by using the Force during the first movie?). By the time we get to Prequels, the Jedi are super heroes but in episode 3 they were slaughtered like amateurs with only Yoda beating back the Clones.  Yeah I know their explanation for it but basically it is inconsistency.

I agree with you. It made no sense when the Jedi were super powered or hyper aware in once instance and then weak in another. I mean the prequels didn't do a great job with the Jedi. They were duped by Sidious, were admittedly weakened by the dark side, etc. And it seems the general public was ready enough to assume the worst about them, that they had attempted a coup. I mean I think Mace and those other Jedi Masters were willing to assassinate Palpatine. They came, with their lightsabers.

Offline KIP LEWIS

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Re: Star Wars: The Force Awakens reviewed (with spoilers)
« Reply #37 on: December 24, 2015, 05:35:17 pm »
If Rey losses an arm, it would be only to keep the tradition going, second movie in each trilogy.  I hope not and I agree, it is harder to brutalize women on screen.  Yeah Disney might not want to use this echo.  I know they had those concerns on Supergirl.  They went ahead with the fight but they acknowledged it.
« Last Edit: December 24, 2015, 05:40:12 pm by KIP LEWIS »

Offline Emperorjones

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Re: Star Wars: The Force Awakens reviewed (with spoilers)
« Reply #38 on: December 24, 2015, 05:46:35 pm »
Which fight on Supergirl?

Yes, having Rey lose a body part would rhyme with the other second films in each trilogy, but that being said both Anakin and Luke lost their body parts because they were each rash in a way. Luke was little trained and driven by emotion, concern for his friends. Also Luke might have wanted revenge on the man who had killed Obi-Wan and who he thought murdered his father, or to avenge them. Anakin was better trained, but still driven by emotion and perhaps arrogance. Maybe Anakin wanted even a little payback for the crap Dooku had just put him, Padme, and Obi-Wan through.

I could see Rey maybe wanting payback for Han. The movie made sure to have Rey see Kylo Ren strike down Han. The film also gave Rey and Ren scenes together to build on the enmity. It might wind up being even more personal than Anakin v. Dooku.

Spoiler (click to reveal)
I read that in the novelization Rey hears a voice that tells her to kill Ren, yet she rejects it. Now if they continue with this line of thinking in the movie that would be unfortunate. Because it shows that she can resist the dark side, and the temptation of the dark side is one of the most important struggles that faced both Anakin and Luke. We see what it's done to Ren already, to some extent, though we really don't know the why yet behind it.

About something you had said earlier. You are right that Ren is at the apprentice stage, however Ren isn't a teenager. Ren is in his late 20s, born a year after the Battle of Endor I believe. Rey is about ten years younger than Ren. So Ren has had some training by Luke (enough to either kill by himself or assist in killing Luke's other padawans) and he's had some training by Snoke. Plus he leads the Knights of Ren (though we don't know if all of them have Force powers or not), and he's pretty much the enforcer for the First Order. This guy shouldn't be getting cut by Finn or getting beaten by Rey, injured or not.
« Last Edit: December 24, 2015, 05:54:41 pm by Emperorjones »

Offline KIP LEWIS

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Re: Star Wars: The Force Awakens reviewed (with spoilers)
« Reply #39 on: December 24, 2015, 06:03:13 pm »
Which fight on Supergirl?

Yes, having Rey lose a body part would rhyme with the other second films in each trilogy, but that being said both Anakin and Luke lost their body parts because they were each rash in a way. Luke was little trained and driven by emotion, concern for his friends. Also Luke might have wanted revenge on the man who had killed Obi-Wan and who he thought murdered his father, or to avenge them. Anakin better trained, but still driven by emotion and perhaps arrogance. Maybe Anakin wanted even a little payback for the crap Dooku had just put him, Padme, and Obi-Wan through.

I could see Rey maybe wanting payback for Han. The movie made sure to have Rey see Kylo Ren strike down Han. The film also gave Rey and Ren scenes together to build on the enmity. It might wind up being even more personal than Anakin v. Dooku.

Spoiler (click to reveal)
I read that in the novelization Rey hears a voice that tells her to kill Ren, yet she rejects it. Now if they continue with this line of thinking in the movie that would be unfortunate. Because it shows that she can resist the dark side, and the temptation of the dark side is one of the most important struggles that faced both Anakin and Luke. We see what it's done to Ren already, to some extent, though we really don't know the why yet behind it.

About something you had said earlier. You are right that Ren is at the apprentice stage, however Ren isn't a teenager. Ren is in his late 20s, born a year after the Battle of Endor I believe. Rey is about ten years younger than Ren. So Ren has had some training by Luke (enough to either kill by himself or assist in killing Luke's other padawans) and he's had some training by Snoke. Plus he leads the Knights of Ren (though we don't know if all of them have Force powers or not), and he's pretty much the enforcer for the First Order. This guy shouldn't be getting cut by Finn or getting beaten by Rey, injured or not.

Sorry I wasn't clear;  I didn't mean KR was literally a teenager but a "teenager" in his training.  He is more than a novice/child but not yet a master/adult.  Still ruled by his emotions,  but with power and skill.

The fight on Supergirl was the pilot.  The villain punched and beat TV on her hard because at this stage of the game she didn't have a handle on fighting.

Offline Emperorjones

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Re: Star Wars: The Force Awakens reviewed (with spoilers)
« Reply #40 on: December 25, 2015, 01:39:03 am »
Yes, Ren by the end of the film does appear to not be trained that well. TFA even inserts a line from Snoke to highlight that, when Snoke says he must complete Ren's training. But to me that's contradicted earlier in the film by Ren stopping a blaster bolt. Even Vader never did that. No live-action Jedi did that from what I recall. Also his ability pull information from people's minds using the Force. Or stopping Rey in her tracks. I mean he was powerful in the Force and I can't see that being all just raw ability. There was some training there. It's just I think TFA wanted to have it both ways. Ren needed to be powerful enough, but yet weak enough to make Rey beating him seem legit, however I don't think they quite pull it off.

Arguably Rey was emotional and defeated Ren. Obi-Wan was emotional and defeated Maul. Anakin was emotional and defeated Dooku. Obi-Wan was emotional and defeated Anakin. In turn I'm sure Vader found ending Obi-Wan somewhat satisfying too. And Luke was emotional when he defeated Vader. It's just a thin line between the light and dark side and how those emotions might cross you over.

And when you look at canon Star Wars (which does include Clone Wars and Rebels), Ahsoka was a literal teenager and a padawan and still had lightsaber skills. I don't know how Ezra is doing on Rebels right now, since I haven't seen season two. Anakin was a teenager and padawan in AOTC and was good enough to stay somewhat in the game with Count Dooku.

On Supergirl I thought they've handled her fighting well enough, though I was underwhelmed by the winter finale. I do like that she's had to learn how to fight. And not just rely on her natural gifts. It's something they are slowly doing on Flash, more slowly than on Supergirl.
« Last Edit: December 25, 2015, 01:42:03 am by Emperorjones »

Offline KIP LEWIS

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Re: Star Wars: The Force Awakens reviewed (with spoilers)
« Reply #41 on: December 25, 2015, 06:10:47 am »
Ezra isn't doing bad but wait till you see Asoka fight... Yeah... That was great!  While the series hasn't impressed me, that fight did.

On Asoka...I thought it was a clever way to save her from the Jedi Purge.  It was the one thing I didn't like watching the Clone Wars series; the thought was always in the back of my mind that she had to die.

Offline Emperorjones

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Re: Star Wars: The Force Awakens reviewed (with spoilers)
« Reply #42 on: December 25, 2015, 06:22:04 am »
Read this article on Salon. I thought it was interesting.

http://www.salon.com/2015/12/24/from_a_new_hope_to_no_hope_at_all_star_wars_tolkien_and_the_sinister_and_depressing_reality_of_expanded_universes/


I think the writer overstates how the Expanded Universe was without hope. Yes there was nearly constant warfare post-ROTJ, and I believe the Yuuzhan Vong was more devastating than the Galactic Civil War. That being said I still think there remained some hopefulness and the heroes didn't give up. Leia and Han remained married, even if Han bugged out for a while after Chewbacca's death. Luke got married, raised a son, and yes became a widower and was tempted by the dark side and even fell in the EU but by the end he remained a great hero and the legit successor to Yoda. The New Jedi Order became almost as powerful as the original, maybe even more so in the post-ROTJ books. Granted the far flung Legacy comics did have the Sith and the Empire returning and taking over, but that didn't last.

I look at it as the nature of the business. They've got to keep introducing conflicts/wars to give our heroes something to do, to test them, so we can see their heroism again and again.

Compared to TFA I thought the Abrams future was a bit too grim with where the took Luke, Leia, and Han. It felt a bit more grim to me than what we got in the EU, even if there are similarities where Kylo Ren/Darth Caedus are concerned.

Offline Emperorjones

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Re: Star Wars: The Force Awakens reviewed (with spoilers)
« Reply #43 on: December 25, 2015, 06:25:13 am »
Ezra isn't doing bad but wait till you see Asoka fight... Yeah... That was great!  While the series hasn't impressed me, that fight did.

On Asoka...I thought it was a clever way to save her from the Jedi Purge.  It was the one thing I didn't like watching the Clone Wars series; the thought was always in the back of my mind that she had to die.

While watching Clone Wars that was in the back of my mind. How it was going to end for her. I liked Ahsoka but I was okay with it ending for her. Especially if it was epic and if she had to face off against Vader. But the way she left the show was pretty neat. And it made sense why Anakin or Obi Wan never spoke about her in ROTS.

In the Lords of the Sith novel (which takes place eight years after ROTS) Vader does think of her. But it felt odd to me. His remembered calling her Snips. Just felt strange coming from Vader, in a novel  I guess. It worked better on a cartoon.

I wasn't that impressed with Ezra from Season 1, nor Kanan for that matter. However the Kanan comic, I've liked what I read of it, so I might give him another chance.

Offline KIP LEWIS

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Re: Star Wars: The Force Awakens reviewed (with spoilers)
« Reply #44 on: December 25, 2015, 06:31:56 am »
Yeah... I never thought EU was hopeless.  Some like Zahn's Thrawn Trilogy was some of best SW I ever read.  But I ended up stopping when I found it becoming repetitive.  (I may not have stopped too soon, but by then I missed too much.)

Though, eventually I did come back to Dark Horse's Legends series.  I really liked that.

But yeah, JJA's SW was more hopeless than anything I read in the EU.