So, The Force Awakens:
-Terrible villains. Phasma is a complete joke and Kylo Ren is a spoiled brat who throws temper tantrums and does the usual “ooh villain is really evil because he kills his own men out of rage” schtick. Dude, if you keep doing that people won’t want to work for you.
-Snoke looks stupid as hell. He’s an overgrown Gollum/Voldemort love child.
-TONS of plot conveniences, everywhere. I’m interrupting this review to go over every plot convenience I could catch in a single viewing, from memory.
Plot conveniences (tons of spoilers of course [not chronological]):
-Han’s new freighter happens to be magically drifting above the single spot on the single planet in the entire galaxy where his old ship, piloted by the new heroes, will be flying. And why the hell would he risk going by there anyway if he owes the locals cash. Sure, you can argue he picked the Falcon up on a scanner and would recognize his old ship anywhere, but then, in the years the Falcon has been handed from thief to thief, why does Han only now choose to appear and take it back?
-First Order lets a single trooper that just showed documented signs of disobedience transport their most valuable hostage of the moment BY HIMSELF, and no one notices what they’re up to until the heavily populated hangar is already lit in flames.
-Luke’s lightsaber is conveniently stored away at a friend of Han’s bar and yet only when force-sensitive girl comes does the owner of said bar feel the need to talk about it; not during the many assumed times that Han, best buddy of Luke’s, has strolled by.
-The Rathtars conveniently wipe out every single enemy aboard the Millenium Falcon and are only weak to Rey’s amazing button mashing skills.
-Phasma actually shuts down the alarm just because she got captured by a few goofballs. So you’re telling me the First Order does NOT have any sort of subtle code you can punch in to trigger an alarm? There’s no way Finn and co. would know. The fact that just pointing a gun at Phasma earned them an instant shutdown of the most powerful weapon in the galaxy is a joke. Besides, aren’t troopers supposed to sacrifice their lives before betraying the cause? Basically, for all their resources and “might” the First Order has been really incompetent this whole movie.
-Every situation lines up perfectly FOR Finn to capture Phasma and shut down the aforementioned weapon even though he doesn’t have the force (so he can’t cheat like Rey) and only worked as a janitor before, pfffffft.
-On the green planet (please tell me the name, I forgot), the only lightsaber resistant Storm Trooper we’ve seen yet just happens to be present when the only good guy light saber crops up, meaning he just happens to be perfectly equipped to throw down with Finn.
-The Resistance magically knew to attack the First Order on that green planet but not when, I dunno, Poe was boned at the beginning of the movie or any of the other times when the Resistance’s assistance would’ve been greatly appreciated.
-R2 magically wakes up when Han dies because “let’s finish this fucking movie”. Nevermind that he was on low battery and “dead”, did Luke program him to just snap awake when Han ate the dust? That’s fucked.
-Luke conveniently leaves a map of his entire mission even though he supposedly wants to be missing, leaving just a single literal holographic puzzle piece to be found to complete R2’s map.
-During Kylo and Rey’s showdown, Kylo just pauses for a solid ten seconds while Rey finds the force within her or some shit. No, Kylo, that’s when you kick her into the pit, not stand there.
-And virtually every time Rey does anything. I’ll let the initial Falcon battle slide because Star Wars is full of characters beating the odds out of sheer luck in aerial combat, and I’ll let anything she did after the interrogation go, too, because “foooooorce”. But in between, Jesus, did she get a lot of narrative favors. I give her leeway on the Falcon bit because she shows familiarity with it when she calls it junk, so you can assume she’s studied it before. Plus, luck. But when she magically knows how to stop the gas leak inside of it AFTER the big fight? Or knows exactly how to find the security room to close the door to stop Finn from being eaten? Or when she repeatedly finishes Han’s tech sentences for him? Sure, scavenging might get you one of the above, but not all of them. It doesn’t mean she’s seen every ship in the galaxy crash landed on a desert.
-If Luke had simply TOLD HIS NEPHEW ABOUT VADER’S FINAL ACT OF GOODWILL, Kylo Ren wouldn’t be a villain at all. This movie wouldn’t exist. The writers smartly omit the backstory of Luke saying a single fucking sentence of lesson learning to his apprentices.
Aaaaand that’s all memory allowed for on a single viewing. But really, if all of that is point-blank obvious to me after one showing, I can’t even imagine how many I’d find after a second.
–The CGI is so over-saturated that it looks like Attack of the Clones. Seriously, Revenge of the Sith had better visuals.
-Plot is, like I predicted, just a nostalgia tickling rehash of Episodes 4, 5 and 6 rolled into one. Lone force sensitive person whisked off a desert planet by the Millennium Falcon? Episode 4 reporting for duty. Character having an emotional catwalk “I am your father” heart to heart which ends with one of them getting fucked up? Episode 5 present. Giant finale with two force users lightsabering it out in an isolated location while a spaceship fleet blows up the Death Star (“oooh but it’s different this time,” the fans said, “because it’s bigger” pffffffffffffft that means every Transformers movie invented the wheel)? Episode 6, we missed you.
-How much more pandering can this movie be? It’s written like a bad SJW fight-the-patriarchy ad. Female heroes can and have been well done in the past, but the writing for Rey is downright contrived. *Slams random buttons on everything she pilots or operates* “Best pilot in the galaxy!” *Saves Jon Boyega’s ass repeatedly* “She doesn’t need a man!” *Knows Han’s ship better than he does* “She’s so tech-y and smart!”. Christ, J.J., we get it. It just feels forced (that pun though).
-A lackluster score. This is, ahem, STAR WARS and the MUSIC BLEW. It’s a by-the-numbers space opera fanfare OST. Now, I know Williams invented that, but that’s exactly why he needed to surprise us here. If an artist isn’t growing, he’s dying… and I think Williams is literally dying so I guess that makes sense.
-Forced Hitler imagery and generic evilness. Ooh, the First Order all raise their arms in a nazi fashion when lame-ass overly asshole-ish Domhnall Gleeson’s “we’re so villainous” speech is over. And isn’t it just great how they invent a bigger Death Star that wipes a dozen inhabited planets out, just ’cause? Killing random races and species and sectors of space life in one button press is fun, bad guys, we get it.
-Han dying for artificial emotional resonance. Oooookay, Abrams, since the rest of your movie is boring and emotionally hollow as shit, just kill off the best character in the series for some forced gasps. It’s the only playing card you have, apparently. At least Harrison can stop bitching about not liking the role anymore.
-The 3D was fucking lame. Not a single scene stood out or did any sort of 3D popping of noteworthy quality. I had to go with the jacked up 3D pricing because 2D showings weren’t time-accommodating for me, and I’m assuming that’s what’s forcing most other viewers into the 3D screenings. Even though it’s total shit.
Seriously, this movie is well behind the original trilogy and even Revenge of the Sith. It’s only better than The Phantom Menace and Attack of the Clones, and that isn’t saying much. Star Wars may be back, but only in a weak, regurgitated form because Disney and Hollywood can’t let good things rest.