I was going to do a regular RalphReview of The Force Awakens, but with all the various warring factions picking apart the politics of the filmmakers and the “hidden messages” in the film, I figured it was time for me to switch it up and give my take on all that in a less formal way. I will still give a star rating at the end, but this isn’t a traditional review. I guess the point of the article is to say one thing: shut up and enjoy the movie.

I can understand plot critiques, and even in some of the politically minded reviews of the film, those are included. There’s nothing unfair about all that. But when it comes down to going after something because of the beliefs of the director or screenwriters (in this case both), I don’t support it. Of course it would be easier to come here and rant about the movie having a black lead, or tell you that the female Jedi protagonist makes me sick, but that’s not how the film made me feel. I loved the entire thing and I felt like it channeled the first trilogy in so many brilliant ways.

star-wars-7-force-awakens-images-kylo-ren

Some people are going to say that it was a rehash of the old film, like David Garrett over at Return of Kings

Finn just happens to be an ex-sanitation worked at Starkiller Base, in a galaxy where the First Order forces are now so numerous and powerful that the New Republic has to use the Resistance as a weak proxy to fight it. So he knows where to find the oscillator, which will destabilize and then obliterate the planet if destroyed. Makes perfect sense!

Both in its size and complexity, Starkiller Base makes the two Death Stars look like plasticine renderings. Yet there is no fleet to protect it? And a paucity of very ineffective turbolaser batteries and TIE fighter squadrons? A Resistance member at their headquarters light years away mentions them losing half their X-wings during the battle, as if that was so hard when they launched about, um, three and a half of them.

The amazingly overblown female character Captain Phasma is held at gunpoint and forced to lower Starkiller Base’s shields. These shields can be lowered so easily and without the immediate knowledge of General Hux or someone else? Oh, please, spare me.

Han Solo exits hyperspace no more than a few hundred metres from the surface of the Starkiller planet. And he announces it with “Now!” Hooray! Base infiltrated with common sense!

Finn is likable but nevertheless a glorified white knight. Trained from just after birth to be a fighting machine, he does nothing relative to Rey and devotes the whole film to trying to protect her.

Indeed, some of these plot points are contrived, especially Finn just happening to be an ex-sanitation guy. The shields critique is fair as well, but the white knight thing? Finn is clearly in love with Rey straight away, so it would make sense that he wants to protect her any way he can. I don’t think that’s a very controversial take on storytelling. A man wanting to protect the woman he loves is one of the oldest plot lines in the history of cinema. Also, it’s not very feminist. The only difference here is that Rey doesn’t need much protecting, because she’s a badass. If that makes the whole movie enter SJW territory for you, then I don’t know what to say other than I disagree.

https://twitter.com/rooshv/status/678498698524008448

https://twitter.com/rooshv/status/678655238673444865

Mr. Garrett also has some beef with the Rey character in general, which he details earlier in the review. I would have to agree that The Force powers come easy to her (perhaps too easy), and she does seem to be a mechanical wiz when aboard the Millennium Falcon. Still, I think the mechanical part can be explained with all the hard work she had to do in order to just survive on Jakku. In other words, it’s shown that she’s very skilled even before coming into her Force powers. She’s kicking ass right from the start, in fact. Also, at the end of the day, The Force can make up for an awfully lot. It’s implied that she’s Luke Skywalker’s daughter (or possibly Han & Leia’s), so it’s not insane to think that she would be supremely adept at using said Force. I realize that it took Luke much longer to gain this type of prowess, but to me it’s not a gamebreaker. Others may disagree, but I actually really enjoyed the Rey character and the actress who played her, Daisy Ridley.

Maybe all this has to do with the fact that I was looking to have fun and enjoy this film going in. Yes, it channels a lot of plot points and jokes from A New Hope. However, I don’t think that’s a bad thing at all. Many people were looking for exactly that. It also has a female lead in Rey, but so what? Am I meant to say fuck this movie because it has a strong female character? To me, that’s slipping into bullshit levels of thinking. I can understand disliking it because you didn’t find it logical, and to be fair, Garrett lays out his reasoning on that end. But if you didn’t like this movie simply because J.J. Abrams is a huge liberal/SJW or because there’s also a black guy in a feature role, you’re being an idiot, in my opinion. The same thing happened with Mad Max. If you read my site, you know I think it was one of the best movies of the year, regardless of any kind of signalling that may or may not be present.

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I like that The Force Awakens channeled more of the “realism” that was present in the first trilogy. The lightsaber battles were more grounded and much less prominent than in the subsequent prequel trilogy. There’s an old saying that when you use something less it becomes more important when it does finally happen. Wrestling fans know this is true when it comes to blading and the same holds true for the lightsaber fights. I also felt like they worked in the legacy characters in some brilliant ways. Of course they have the luxury of drawing on the audience’s massive affinity for said characters, so that makes it easier, but I still thought it was very well done. The cinematography and score were also of the highest quality. If I wanted to sit here and pick apart certain plot points we could find some problems with the film. I understand those who do want to do that, but that’s not me and never has been when we’re talking about this kind of outing. It’s Star Wars, not some great complexity that hinges on details like that. That’s just my take.

To put it quite simply, I don’t give one single fuck about the politics of the people behind a film. I only care about one thing: was it entertaining? Star Wars: The Force Awakens fulfilled that criteria in a big way, for me at least. I don’t doubt the sincerity of critics like David Garrett and Roosh. I’m sure they really do have problems with it. I don’t, though, and I won’t pretend otherwise. To me, it was one of the best movies of the year and I would heartily recommend it to anyone…especially those who love the Star Wars franchise.

 

Star Rating (out of 4): * * * & 3/4

41 comments
  1. The other thing Rey’s critics don’t point out are her Vietnam-tier flashbacks when she touches Anakin’s lightsaber the first time. Maybe she does have Jedi training, but has repressed memories of the whole thing because her (in all likelihood) cousin killed all her childhood friends because he arbitrarily decided to become evil. Kind of like pop-pop.

    1. Possibly. This is only the first movie in this era, so there’s still a lot to learn. A lot of the criticism seems to revolve around how flawless Rey is, which does make her kickass but also gives her no room to develop (or worse, makes her unrelatable). But I guess the burden of the first movie is to lay ground work for the later ones.

      Note: I haven’t seen the movie yet, so I’ll reserve my judgement of it until then.

      1. Personally, I think they’re setting up Rey to be the new chosen one, while the protagonist of this new saga is going to be Finn. He’s trying to use the force, and based on the newly released books, Finn appears to have commando training. He’s going to be a Kyle Katarn-sort of figure, screencap this and quote me on it.

    2. I think the main reason Rey’s critics don’t bring that up is because they’re more confused as to how the hell Anakin’s lightsaber was found after it fell into a gas planet.

      Can’t wait to see the Robot Chicken sketch showing THAT chain of events.

  2. I watched the movie with this same attitude, Ralph. When the rebel squadron leader said something about standing up to “bullies” in the first x-wing fight, I winced and continued on with my critical thinking suspended…. Overall I enjoyed it, as long as my critical thinking was suspended. and later when I reflected about the political correctness, there were actually some good parts. For example, Hans and Leia regretted that they weren’t there for their son and that it may have turned him. I thought that was a good message.

  3. The movie didn’t do it for me. Don’t get me wrong, the action scenes are well made, jokes are okay and the production quality is top. But… the story is thin and is just a copy of Episode 4 and it has so many plot convenience that I couldn’t stop myself from doing facepalms.

  4. My only “problem” with the film was that it was, indeed, basically a rehash of A New Hope. Then again little Anikin (Ani) Skywalker was basically prequeling up Luke’s opening story so, it’s not much of a cinematic sin. Plus Starkiller Base was pretty epic, despite the fact watching it in action makes me a sad panda. 🙁 The only super political film I saw that made me angry at both how political it was, but mostly at how SHIT it was would be “Elysium”. The damn movie couldn’t take five minutes to stop preaching to the choir and nothing about it made any damn sense, especially the ending. Come to the think of it the Lazarus Effect also had an agenda and was super bad… the direction/screen writer had a real hate boner for atheists and couldn’t let it go, despite the fact that the bad guy (girl) was basically an uber-christian Carrie rip-off. lol

  5. Ralph, the establishment is using your fondest childhood memories against you, that’s just how propaganda works.

    Search your feelings, you know it to be true.

  6. Excellent writeup. I guess it’s not strange for a work of art to reflect the prevalent mentality in its time. But that doesn’t mean it can’t be enjoyed. Personally this my first time with a Star Wars theatrical, I wanted to be part of that major moment of the saga’s history. I went in looking for entertainment and got what I wanted. It was cool, not jaw-dropping like Fury Road was but still a lot of fun. I wish we saw more of Phasma, though.

  7. Didnt know JJ Abrams was a SJW elite. Still going to watch it. Just like im going to watch the new Mission Impossible, even though Tom Cruise is a fucking nut case.

  8. When it comes to talking about things like Star Wars, in my opinion, it’s always better to remain apolitical about the content of the story, rather then use it to push insert random political agenda here.

    I say this because the usual suspects, TheMarySue, Salon, Kotaku, or whoever, will be trying their hardest to overhype Rey as a character. She’s the first female lead in the series. Awesome. Let’s not blow it out of proportion, okay? I would argue that the film doesn’t necessarily have a singular main character. It’s more so about a group of characters trying to overcome the darkest of circumstances. And it should remain as such.

    Projecting your own personal ideological beliefs (like feminism for example) onto this movie only serves to further divide fans and casual moviegoers. Its a divisive belief that has no place in this medium, and should never be applied to it.

  9. eh

    Ralph, I think it’s a clear sign of progressive values invading a piece of entertainment, ultimately to its detriment. it be what it be

  10. Check: Pauline of the Potomac, or, General McClellan’s spy : an authentic and thrilling narrative of the beautiful and accomplished Miss Pauline D’Estraye, who since the opening of the Southern rebellion has performed some of the most startling and noble deeds that have ever been recorded in history (1862) by Wesley Bradshaw.

    She was the first woman action hero(ine). I say this because Bradshaw had to “beg:” the reader to accept the idea of a action girl. It must have worked because it was the start of a series of Pauline of the Potomac spy novels from 1862 to 1865.

    So a female lead in an action story is not a breakthrough It’s been a done in American fiction for 150 years.

    http://www.worldcat.org/title/pauline-of-the-potomac-or-general-mcclellans-spy-an-authentic-and-thrilling-narrative-of-the-beautiful-and-accomplished-miss-pauline-destraye/oclc/50847898/editions?referer=di&editionsView=true

    Or (1858):
    Did you ever hear of sweet Betsy from Pike?
    Crossed the great mountains with her lover, Ike.
    Two yoke of cattle, a large yeller dog,
    A tall Shanghai rooster, and a one-spotted hog.

    The Indians came down in a thundering horde,
    And Betsy was scared they would scalp her adored.
    So under the wagon-bed Betsy did crawl
    And she fought off the Indians with musket and ball.

    (We) Been There, Done That.

  11. SPOILERS AHEAD

    Rey’s character is one of the few things in the movie that I think brought it down in quality. She was a feminist Mary Sue. From the beginning she was overly competent and didn’t want any help from Fin, even when he had the best intentions. “Don’t hold my hand” – please.

    From the new cast I found Fin to be my favourite, but he seemed to be there to just show how good Rey is in comparison. “Do you have a boyfriend?” – that is how all men are like, right?

    She was better at flying the Falcon than Han Solo and more in touch with the Force than Luke, despite having no training whatsoever. Using Force sense, pull, mind read and even something as complex as a Jedi mind trick. She bested Kylo Ren – someone trained by Luke Skywalker and the new Sith Lord – whithout taking a single hit, unlike Fin who was a trained soldier and got wrecked. I guess this is what the results of 20 years of garbage collecting does to you – make you a Jedi Master.

    I usually don’t care about the politics of the people who make the movie (I saw Avengers 2), but when this sort of propaganda is in the movie it just breaks the immersion.

      1. Jaden at least had the excuse of being the Player Character. Not too many people want to play as a bumbling newbie who’s more of a threat to himself than the enemy.

        A movie however, doesn’t have that excuse. If the hero is super competent right from the get go, it kills a LOT of the dramatic tension and conflict.

    1. I have a few issues with Rey. My biggest issue is that she was basically just generic in every way. You could make the character male and not have to change a single thing about them. Not even their clothes. There was absolutely no reason whatsoever for Rey to be female other than “diversity”.

      She also had these talents that just magically came forward. She’s never left Jakku and all you ever see her use at the beginning is a speeder, but she can somehow pilot the Falcon from the start better than Han Solo who had been flying it all of his life.

      And honestly; if she was really that uber force sensitive I highly doubt the events of this movie would have been the first time she felt the force.

  12. I’m with Ralph on this. I had fun. It’s the tumblrinas and bloggers who look stupid here, glorifying a character who really hasn’t done jack shit compared to the things her (likely) aunt and grandmother have done. The only thing she’s really accomplished is to suddenly be good with the Force, but that’s kind of expected when it’s right there in the title of the movie.

  13. I agree with you on his Ralph my only issue with this movie is Rey…Who isn’t just strong with the force she is also doing things Luke trained years for without explanation.

    I am really hoping that gets explained in episode 8…And Fin while funny did have some unbelievable lines that had me roll my eyes bit damn I do love this movie!

  14. same goes for Age of Ultron too, even though Whedon said 2 things that were retarded just before releasing the film.

  15. Totally agree. Right off the bat, Finn and Rey are fairly compelling and draw you in because they’re solid actors. Ren as well. I was honestly more interested in their scenes than anyone in the original trilogy, which is shocking. Finn was hilarious, and Rey has a solid on screen presence as well. Poe was great too.

    Yes, it was kind of impossible to not notice that the rebel resistance is made up of an exceptionally diverse array of races, genders, and alien species while the first order is almost exclusively white men with British accents. It’s noticeable, but it never ruined the movie for me. Maybe in the next one they’ll show more of Captain Phasma, since she’d be the first female villain in the series that I can think of.

    1. I doubt we’ll see more of Phasma. She’s an overinvolved nod to the fact that Bad Robot picked up the Phantasm remake.

  16. Sounds like the same hoo-huh that happened with Mad Max but the film had top notch action sequences and although Max was a little underused, I never felt that Furiosa was overused or made Max out to be a wimp. They worked together to kick some ass and I’m fine with that.

    Not a Star Wars fan tbh but this film sounds like it might be alright so I’m sure I’ll torrent it at some point.

  17. I don’t give two shits if a movie is pushing some SJW/Liberal agenda, all I care is will I have fun watching it. TFA in my opinion was.

  18. I’m more convinced that the whole butt-kicking babe trope has little to
    do with progressive status signaling, but is instead a form of
    autogynephilia — nerd boys feeling an emotional rush from imagining
    themselves as babes — mixed with standard nerd revenge fantasies against
    vapid jocks (that’s why she has to be a butt-kicking,
    patriarchy-thwarting babe, rather than a housewife babe or a supermodel
    babe).

    I call these types “latent transgenders” because they don’t openly
    present as female (cross-dressing, etc.), but still invest loads of
    psychic energy in a make-believe persona where they’re female (why not
    imagine themselves as butt-kicking dudes?). See example of women’s MMA.

    The butt-kicking babe tends not to engage in any sexual activity because
    the socially stunted nerds are still in the stage of development where
    they’d rather receive a bunch of attention for being awesome (hot),
    rather than get into an adolescent or adult relationship. And seeing
    their avatar get it on might make them feel gay — which I don’t think
    they are. Unless, of course, their avatar gets it on with another girl —
    an increasingly popular scenario for nerd masturbation in 2015.

    If the babe were the object rather than the subject of nerd sexual
    fantasy, meaning someone he wanted to bed, then the butt-kicking babe
    would get it on with a male character with whom the nerd viewer would
    identify. But she doesn’t, so it’s not a typical pornographic portrayal.
    It’s something much weirder, where they identify with the babe herself
    rather than the guy who gets to bed her.

    Progs don’t really care about Star Wars, and besides the creators are
    already fully leveled up members of the prog clan. There’s little left
    for them to gain. And girls are much more amenable to playing with
    boy-oriented toys than vice versa, so they don’t care if the protagonist
    is male.

    The over-riding rationale for making this movie is fan service —
    offering any drug that fanboys are addicted to, and spiking the potency
    to 11. Therefore the point of making the protag a butt-kicking babe must
    also be part of nerd wish fulfillment, i.e. to stoke their latent
    transgender revenge fantasies.

    “Would you Force me? I’d Force me.”

    Lucas, despite having evidently profound emotional problems and nerd
    fixations, never really envisioned much of a role for women in either
    the original or prequel trilogies. He was obviously shaped by the John
    Ford cowboy archetype and blended it with samurai warrior stuff. In
    such stories women only exist to be protected or to egg the men on to do
    their duty, which is basically what happens in Lucas’ Star Wars
    movies. In short, Lucas was your grandfather’s version of nerds,
    retreating into pulp fantasies of masculine heroism.

    http://mpcdot.com/forums/public/style_emoticons/default/currentyear.jpg

  19. Even if there was no sign of any politics in it SJW/feminazis would still claim its a victory for the. The movie made and still makes a shit ton of money so of course they try to exploit it.

    Here is a picture of a typical feminist film critic:

  20. The difference between mad max and star wars is furiosa neede dmax to keep pulling her ass out of the fire, Fin kept getting in Rey’s way.

  21. The point is these feminists have ruined our hobbies by poisoning the well so to speak. Now every casting decision is suspect and fun for the sake of fun, art for art’s sake and genre for the sake of genre is gone. Whether consciously or unconsciously, once you begin to prioritize the social identity of the creator or character over art a rot will begin to set in by compromising story. Genre is not about race and gender but about story themes no other genre does. You don’t see us going to gender studies classes and insisting on more horror and SF stories in their reading assignments.

  22. Fun movie. It got the feel of the original trilogy down right. Don’t look too closely though, or else you’ll see its nothing but plot holes and rehashes of A New Hope. It’s still a good start for the new trilogy, but, please, Disney, for the love of money, take the franchise away from Abrams.

  23. People say that Rey is a Mary Sue (yes she is) but have they not seen the prequels? Anakin is one of the biggest nary sues in Sci Fi history!

    1. Anakin actually has some pretty crippling flaws though. Flaws like a ear of loss, an overabundance of pride, both of which end up leading him to his fall to the Dark Side. Part of being a Sue is a LACK of flaws, or what flaws are there don’t really act as a deterrent for anything plot related. (Like the ever-present “clumsy” flaw in so many chick flicks.)

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