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Rating History

Star Wars: Episode VII - The Force Awakens
19 months ago via Rotten Tomatoes

The Force Awakens has great visuals, great action sequences, and likeable characters. I like Rey and Finn and Poe and Kylo Ren. I like that the bad guys look like Stormtroopers and that The Millennium Falcon is still the fastest, most maneuverable ship in the galaxy. I like it that Rey ends up with the Falcon with Chewie at her side. I like Finn's character and how funny he is.

But I'm torn by this movie. I want to like it. I want to love it. But, just like Star Trek, it has so many flaws that take me out of it. Finn's change is so abrupt and so badly handled. It takes effort for me to buy it and that is never a good thing. I love his personality and he was really funny, but he shouldn't be. He was taught nothing but fighting and obeying orders since he was a child. Are all Stormtroopers loveable goofs on their downtime? I love watching Rey fly the Millennium Falcon, but how is she able to do this as well as she does? The Force? Mmm okay, I guess. But does the Force also allow her to know more about the Falcon than Han Solo, to use the Jedi mind trick (or even know that there is such a thing as a "Jedi mind trick"), to become an expert at using a lightsaber. I get it, Kylo Ren was "severely wounded" when they fought but Rey was just thrown into a tree trunk. She should not have beaten him. They should have her maybe barely holding her ground before the crevice appeared to separate them. I also have a problem with Finn using a lightsaber, or rather being so proficient at it. And Poe flies way better than Luke ever did even using the Force.

I can rationalize all of this to allow myself to enjoy the movie. I wasn't thrilled that this movie was just Star Wars from '77, but I can get past most of this too, except when it comes to Han, Luke and Leia. Their story arcs have all been erased for no good reason. Remember Luke's journey from a whiny farm boy to a Jedi strong enough and so in tune with the Force he is able to beat and redeem Vader and stand up to the Emperor? Would that Luke run away and hide for years because one of his pupils turned to the Dark Side and killed all his pupils? Or would he stay and fight him, stop him before he could do more harm? I would buy it if he were out looking for Kylo Ren or Snoke, but he's just sitting on an island because... I mean, if he's hiding, why create a map? Is he waiting for a promising young Force sensitive girl to find it and come to be trained? But what if Kylo or Snoke finds the map? There is no reason for him to hide away from the Rebellion (Resistance, whatever) unless you think he is devastated because the pupil who went bad was Han and Leia's son (why call him "Ben"?). But then why make the map if he fled in shame? And if he did flee in shame, he only did so because the writers of this movie made him do so.

Han is a worse character. "Han shot first!" Remember that? Everyone is still up in arms because Lucas made Han let Greedo get off a shot at him before Han retaliated. Everyone agrees this is stupid and people argue it ruins Han's character arc. But no one seems to mind that this movie just resets that arc. Again, I loved watching him interact with the new characters, but why is he a smuggler? Because that is what he was in '77 Star Wars. What is so painful about this is that there is no reason for it. You can have every scene with Han be the same (except the awful scene on his barge with the giant mynocks) by just having him be out looking for Kylo Ren and Luke. If my kid had gone bad and I didn't know where he was, I would never stop looking for him, and I didn't go from a selfish smuggler to a selfless Rebel Alliance hero. The way Leia greets him, it's like they still care for each other. So make them still care for each other! Have them still be together! Having Han desert his family is not a brave move, especially when your motives were to play it safe by having him be that crafty smuggler we all remember. Having him staying with Leia would not only be true to his character but it would give some weight to him trying to redeem "Ben" instead of seeming like he was only doing it because Leia asked him to.

For me, now there are two Star Wars universes. In one, Han blows Greedo away before the alien knows what hit him, Darth Vader goes through a silent, internal battle before killing the Emperor to save his son, Boba Fett sounds like a badass, and Luke sees his father's ghost the way he looked when he died. Obi-Wan and Anakin's friendship and adventures sound fun and exciting and Yoda is way too powerful with the Force to even think of picking up a lightsaber. And Han, Luke and Leia's future remains open. Maybe they continue to have adventures but they remain friends.

In the other universe, Obi Wan doesn't befriend Anakin so much as have him thrust upon him. Anakin is whiny and trouble from the start and the Jedi see this but do nothing. Han lets Greedo try and shoot him in the face, Vader screams "No!" a lot. And Han and Luke run away from adversity instead of facing it.