Let's Talk Star Wars: The Force Awakens... (long note)
I sat down yesterday, to watch Empire Strikes Back and while I loved and will always love that film, I realised the flaws and issues every one screams about with "Awakens" has been sitting there in the franchise ever since, but the magic of Star Wars affords for these perceived flaws to be rationalised, hypothesized and even novelised, hereby placating the gnawing beast of fandom. And we were fine with it; in the late 70's-early 80's, this was a blow-mind adventure unlike anything we'd seen. Superman told us a man can fly (and spin the world backwards) and Star Wars told us that we have great power [to overcome any obstacle]. Star Wars... the franchise... not any one isolated film. But back to the matter at hand, like: Yoda telling Force Ghost Obi-Wan, "there is another" and it took us a few years [Return of the Jedi] to realise that the "other" was Luke's sister. When Luke uses the Force's telepathy to contact Leia, we knew they had a connection but it wasn't fully realised then; Uncle George had a vision, spanning three tales... we just had to wait it out.
The set pieces of Empire are similar to Revenge of The Sith. That scene where Vader throws parts of the ship at Luke, breaking the glass and sucking the air out... that's the scene with Chancellor Palpatine, cowering at the edge, under the blade of Mace Windu. Return of the Jedi gave us the understanding that Leia remembered her mother's smile... which Uncle George then removed from the equation by killing Padme in childbirth. These things can be rationalised. Perhaps Leia remembered Lady Organa's face before SHE died. All of it could be rationalised and that's the SAME TRUTH about Force Awakens.
Side-Bar: Here's a fun factoid: Return of the Jedi could've been called REVENGE of the Jedi. End Side-Bar.
Let's quickly look at a few issues raised with the Force Awakens.
1). "It's the same story!" - I find it quite hilarious, that in a world where EVERY Batman tale has to start [and creep in in further instalments] with the death scene, the rethreading of Star Wars is an issue. BY NOW, even the noobiest of humans knows that Bruce is this way because his parents were killed in front of him; yet here we are. Yet even in the upcoming B v S, there are shots that hark back to the death of the Waynes. Force Awakens on the other hand shows us that we cannot escape the inevitability and life choices of our biology. What do I mean? There are decisions/actions that our parents made that we find ourselves making. It's almost inevitable. The Jedi met a young boy on a desert planet who was special; he lived in the outskirts of the empire and was thus undetected by both Sith and Jedi. Years later, when said boy becomes Vader, the Jedi - to protect his children from dark influences - take the boy to a desert planet, where he lived virtually undetected. Isn't it logical to therefore assume that if Luke realised that darkness was coming to infect ANOTHER of his students [daughter?] that he too would follow what SEEMED right and ship her to a desert planet outside of the First Order's/Snoke's grasp? Inevitable.
2). "Oh gosh, they blow up another death star?!" ... yes. this too can be rationalised. Any great empire does not simply roll over and die but will rebuild [what they think] is their prized asset. In real life, after the fall of the Towers, plans went straight into the development of an even BIGGER tower. This is what people do to show that they will not be defeated. Also, lest we forget, this death-star has been destroyed in Star Wars and Return of the Jedi [when they started rebuilding it]. If the Empire/Order wants to prove a point, they will rebuild Star-Killer base. Why? Because human history dictates it.
3). "What's the deal with canon!" - a line I borrowed from #ColliderJediCouncil. Yes, Jacen Solo is his name and yes, the film called him Ben but then again, he hasn't been called Darth Caedus yet either. There are times where film messes with [written] canon so as to tell the story that the FILM needs. A good example: Dr. Hank Pym created ULTRON NOT Tony Stark and Bruce Banner but it works for the film's universe. A BAD example [sadly] is B v S. For those who aren't aware, Clark and Bruce DO scuffle when they first meet but their MAJOR fight was when both heroes were much older - a la Frank Miller's Dark Knight Returns. The upcoming film has a 33 yr old Superman fighting an older, retired Batman and a 200 yr old Wonder Woman. All of which matches NOTHING concrete but is an amalgamation of stories. Force Awakens hasn't done that. Jacen, Jaina and Anakin Solo worked for the written word but it's not necessarily needed for the films. What if [plot twist] Rey isn't even a Skywalker at all? What if - like Anakin - she's from a totally different family who has an incredible handle on the Force. The novel (in stores January 5th) tells so much more about Rey [like her fight with the dark forces; she could've killed Kylo if she wanted] and given that the film is a trilogy; i suspect we'll know more with even more surprising twists on canon.
4). Race and Gender [because i know somewhere in the interwebs, it will/has pop/popped up] - I wanted to see more of Phasma. Having followed the articles and comic-con panels, i suspected that there was more to Phasma and given that Ep. 8 has a bigger role for her... we'll get that. As for the race issue, in a world of 1. Calrissian and 1. Windu [who, though second to Yoda, gets cut down by Palpatine and Anakin that easily?], I was glad that Finn's character had actual merit to him and wasn't there for diversity's sake.
5). "Disney ruined everything!" - no, that was Uncle George. And i wouldn't say he "ruined" it either. I will admit, i was one of those who thought the purchase would bring the reign of Darth Mickey but nothing in Force Awakens made me feel like Disney at Work. And lest we forget, Disney isn't just Miley Cyrus. It's Daredevil and Jessica Jones (Disney owns ABC Television... and Marvel, who partnered with Netflix).
J.J.'s FORCE AWAKENS may have been a love letter to Uncle George and he himself admits that he LOVED STAR WARS [the first] more than any other in the franchise. But I've seen love letters go wrong. Cue, Bryan Singer's "Superman Returns". No eh.
Everything in that film can be rationalised, hypothesized and read up on. Star Wars has also given us, Introduction, Revelation and Vindication in three stories; stick around for the Revelation part of the new Wars.