Star Wars Episode VII - The Force Awakens Reviews

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Star Wars Episode VII - The Force Awakens Reviews

Post by Tavish McFini » 2015-12-20 01:53

Before I begin, yay me for actually seeing a movie within a respectable time frame and not the 2 to 5 years since the initial release.

So yeah, I watched Ep. VII last night and... well, lets just say I wasn't as blown away as I was hoping to be. It's better than Ep. I, II and III in my mind, but it still felt lacking.

For those who saw it, or don't care for spoilers, go ahead and read the spoiler tag. Otherwise skip it.
Let me start off by saying that, going into Ep. VII, I was already preparing for the worst, and not just because someone in World of Warships decided to spoil a major element of the movie.

If anyone recalls, Ford had suggested during the shooting of Ep. VI - Return of the Jedi that Han Solo should die. Well, he finally does...

Another thing was the decision regarding the starfighters. First, the design. TIE Fighters and X-Wings... Sure, they're iconic, but why? The TIE Interceptor looked far more menacing than the Fighter and was vastly superior in every way. The X-Wings, sure, they were used pretty much throughout the entirety of the (legends) novels, so they're pretty iconic but the whole "half engine" design.

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Okay, so maybe they weren't turbines per se, but still, I have to agree with the spirit of that comic if not the wording.

Going back to the new TIE Fighters for a moment, another thing that bugs me about them was one aspect of their design that served purely as a plot element: during the escape, Poe and FN jack a TIE Fighter, Poe piloting it and FN manning the gunner station. So, it's a two-seater now, okay, no big deal. FN uses the TIE's guns to take out some turrets and destroy a missile chasing them, implying that the guns on the TIE could pivot around and take out targets behind them. So why is this purely a plot element you ask? Because in the other scenes when the TIEs are being attacked by X-Wings, not a single one used the rear guns to even take a shot at the X-Wings chasing them. Maybe there's two different TIE Fighter designs but they all look pretty much the same to me. Maybe chalk it up to the idea that the good guys, once again, need to win because that's what cinema is all about...

Then there's the lack of variety in the ships, or just a lack in the number of ships. No epic space battles. Really, the only capital ships we see, aside from the crashed vintage Star Destroyers on that desert planet, was the one used by the First Order, Death (Planet) Star 3.0 not withstanding. In fact, this movie had a lot of call backs to Ep. VI - A New Hope...

Desert planet? Check. Droid searching for someone while being searched for? Check. Destruction of seemingly random world at the hands of a planetoid sized weapon of mass destruction? Check. Infiltrating/Escaping form aforementioned planet sized superweapon? Check. Death of pivotal person in cast? Check. Destruction of superweapon by a small, crack team of Rebelestance pilots just in the nick of time before it destroyed the rebel base? Check. The list could go on, but I'd like to think I got my point across by now. Honestly, when I reflect back on the movie some more, there's a lot of parallels or outright copies from the plot of A New Hope.

Then there's the other thing I'm struggling with for Ep. VII: Context. It's no secret that I suck at reading in-between the lines but I feel this movie needed more context. Who is the First Order? Why does the Resistance exist if the Republic is in power and rules the galaxy? Does the Republic not have it's own military or does it approve of, what is essentially, vigilantism? Why is it so important to find Luke, which happens at the tail end of the movie, if the big superweapon is gone? Perhaps this struggle is due to the fact that I didn't invest the money in the new novels that were to serve as the tie in between Ep. VI and VII. Maybe they would have explained a lot, such as why so many Star Destroyers were wrecked on that desert world? It feels like a cheap cash grab by Disney to further recoup their investment in the shortest time possible... I feel things could have been elaborated on more. Maybe not the Star Destroyer graveyard but the whole thing behind the First Order, why there Resistance exists if the Republic has been reestablished, etc. etc.

Speaking of Luke and the Force... here's my next complaint: how the eff does a teenager get to pull off a Jedi Mind Trick on her third try, after never having used the Force, ever, before?!?! And, on the subject of that, how is it that people who have never before touched a lightsabre, are able to wield it with enough skill to 1) not chop off their own limbs and 2) actually best more practiced melee fighters? When I saw FN wield the lightsaber, I pretty much dismissed everything after that point and sighed heavily. Then seeing that First Order Stormtrooper use that- for wont of a better term- electrically charged mace which actually deflected the lightsaber blows without being sliced in half made me both a little happy (that maybe there's a way to give people a measure of protection against OP Jedi/Sith) and sad (that it was probably done for the sake of creating tension in the scene rather than hold true to the notion of what lightsabers are capable of).

Then there's the superweapon. Again, I know it's for plot reasons, but you'd think, after 2 previous failed efforts, that the solution to the issue isn't simply to build something even bigger!!! Personally, I think a better bet would be to mount a torpedo launcher to an ESD that fires those sun crusher torpedoes. Modify the torps so they can be fired through hyperspace so when the sun goes supernova, the ESD isn't anywhere near enough to suffer the consequences. How hard is that?!? Maybe not as much fun and tension building as a death star the size of a small world.

That said, I did find the technology of the new superweapon intriguing. Suck up a sun and then shot it out at other worlds. How did they manage to get the beams to split up like that though?

... Wait... sucking up a sun... OMG! That's what they should have called the weapon! The "Nostril of Palpatine"!!! I've been waiting for years to use that one!!! Yes, seriously...

Anyways, such a weapon was either very nifty or very stupid. Could the Death Star 3.0 suck up a star and then travel somewhere else to fire it at a world or cluster of worlds or did it have to suck up the star in the same solar system before it could turn around and fire it? If it's the latter, if you've already sucked up the star, why bother shooting the worlds with it? They're going to die when they freeze over. If its the former... WHY THE HELL DID THEY NOT SUCK UP A STAR FAR AWAY FROM THE REBEL BASE AND THEN HYPERSPACE TO IT AND FIRE IT IMMEDIATELY!?!?!

And, on that very topic, is it just me or did that 15 minutes seem like the looooooooooongest 15 minutes of anyone's life? Seriously, it took 15 minutes to charge the superweapon and in that time, Solo traveled to the planet, blew up the shields, the Rebels were then able to scramble, travel through hyperspace to reach the world and then finally destroy it. I know, I know, plot, tension, yadda, yadda... But seriously, all that in 15 minutes?

All those coincidences too. Just happened to find Solo's ship. Solo just happened to retrieve his ship just as the fugitives were escaping in his ship. Finding Luke's lightsaber on that seemingly random world. The Swiss Cheese theory has nothing on this movie...
Everything about the movie that isn't plot related was pretty good in my mind. Special effects were nice. Music was, as one can expect, bang on though it too felt old. Maybe the goal with Ep. VII was to cash in on nostalgia and build up the hype to also get new people to come out to see it in order to allow Disney to recoup their investment as soon as humanly possible.

Regardless, while the movie wasn't horrible or even bad, I just found myself unable to really get into it. I feel like I basically watched Ep. IV but through the lens of a different generation who didn't grow up on Ep. IV. I really feel this was A Newer New Hope or something like that... Not quite what I had hoped for but maybe I shouldn't be surprised?

So, after all that, what's my final take? The TL;DR version: Ep. VII, while nowhere near as bad as Ep. I in my mind, really just felt like Ep. IV 2.0. I wasn't wowed by this movie, though at the same time, maybe I've become far too jaded to have really been able to appreciate what I watched.

EDIT - Maybe, after reading only the spoiler free version of my post, I too fell into the same trap that Ep. VII fell into in my mind: lacking context. Still, trying to provide a spoiler free synopsis isn't as easy as I'd like and you all know how I tend to ramble on and on. :P

EDIT 2 -
Oh yeah, I hate BB-8 but I like his spunk, especially the flame-thrower thumbs up. How does that droid climb up stairs? And don't tell me it never had to go up any stairs in the movie: the "pseudo-cantina" comes to mind and it's basement!
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Re: Star Wars Episode VII - The Force Awakens Reviews

Post by Xanis Sorannan » 2015-12-20 22:33

Well, my review goes along the same general lines as Fini’s, namely…

(Mostly) Spoiler-free version! (I can’t get any less-spoilery without becoming vague beyond the point of uselessness)

THE GOOD
1. The casting was great, in my opinion. I felt like there was really great chemistry between the new members of the cast, and also between the new and the old. If anything, my complaint with casting and acting goes to the sort of stilted and awkward interactions between Han and Leia.
2. The effects and sets were also really beautiful and well done. It was a good mix of real and CGI effects, with none of the green-screened glory of the prequels, but also no need to smear the camera lens with Vaseline to hide the wheels of a landspeeder.
3. The music. While I agree that it was really similar to the Episode IV score, I feel like this is probably the one area where it is fine to do that: It gives the classic Star Wars feel to people familiar to the old stuff (just like the sound effects for blasters, TIE fighters, lightsabers, etc.) while not being overly disruptive to a new audience. Plus, with how similar the two movies are, it’d almost be a crime for them to *not* include an homage to the classic soundtrack.
4. On the whole, the new/old cast were weaved together really well so that the torch can effectively be handed off to the new cast as the movies go forward.

THE BAD
1. A lot of major plot elements seem to be lifted straight from Episode IV. For anybody who’s familiar with the rest of the Star Wars movies, there’s nothing really exciting or new about this movie.
2. For a movie that only exists because several decades and thousands of pages of material was deemed non-canon because it supposedly would make it difficult to tell a story that people could catch on to, this one was particularly lacking in the “context necessary to understand the movie” department.
3. Unlike its clone template, Episode VII is incapable of existing as a stand-alone movie. Episode VI could have just been a heartwarming story about how the Rebel Alliance blew up the Death Star and saved the day, but there are so many things thrown into Episode VII that are there *only* to entice viewers to watch Episode VIII, and that seems far too money-grabby to me, in addition to making this movie suffer.

And if you’ve already seen the movie or don’t care about spoilers…
This section is most appropriately titled THE UGLY, even though there are some things in there that are good.
From the opening scroll onward, I didn’t really feel like I was watching a new installment of the Star Wars series (go ahead and tack this up to the fact that what I consider to be canon doesn’t line up with what Disney wants to be canon), but I was willing to follow along through most of the first half of the movie in spite of its blatant copying of the tropes of Episode IV. There was just enough tantalizing mystery to keep me involved, such as the oddly robotic behavior of the Stormtroopers. (Are they droids? Are they clones? What are they? How come that one is questioning its orders? I also felt like this particular mystery was resolved rather well throughout the course of the movie.)

The movie was sorely lacking in any sort of capital ships or big battles in space. Even Episode IV started off with the big shootout between the Devastator and the Tantive IV in the first scene of the movie, which incidentally was the first scene anyone anywhere ever had of the Star Wars universe. One line in particular really irked me about this too when one of the ground controllers at the Rebelsistance base said something along the lines of “We just lost two more X-Wing, that’s half our fleet,” since the implication of that is that they don’t have any capital ships. (Fighter craft aren’t described as traveling in “fleets,” so if they’ve switched to that nomenclature it likely indicates a fundamental shift in their force structure.) If that’s the case, then it’s even more worrying for the prospects of the Resistance, since it implies that those fighters are all that they have. There’s the possible explanation that could be given whereby they were only talking about that particular group of fighters, but still…

I also found it odd that the EmpireFirst Order continued to use the TIE/ln model as its base fighter since the TIE Interceptor was vastly superior, but I liked the new design that they had for them and I was intrigued by the two-seater model. (Which was sadly conspicuously missing in all of the ones not flown by a Rebel, but oh well.) The “half-engine” X-Wings were odd to me too, for all the reasons Fini stated.

Now, since I’m an international relations/political science/economics guy compared to all of you engineers, on to the political realities of Episode VII:

First of all, what is the First Order? Is it the newest evolution of the Galactic Empire? Is it a totally new organization? If it’s a totally new organization, what happened to the rest of the Empire? If it’s not a new organization, why the need to call itself the First Order? None of those were adequately explained in the film and it feels like by writing off the EU in the hope of crafting their own world that didn’t require knowledge of all the in-universe machinations that have happened, they created their own world that is just as confusing as a movie set 30 ABY in the EU would’ve been, except without any of the context to explain how or why it got that way. In spite of the fact that the First Order is only shown as having one Star Destroyer, one Death StarStarkiller Base, a ton of TIE fighters, and some landing ships, they very clearly still possess massive resources at their disposal. (Note: They turned an entire planet into the next Death Star. There has been a spat of articles recently about the impact of a Death Star on the world economy, so I’m scared to even look at how many zeroes would be involved in the conversion of an entire planet into such a station.)

Next up, the relationship between the New Republic and the Resistance is very odd to me, and seems disturbingly like the model used by state sponsors of terrorism today. If the New Republic exists it presumably has a military that is fighting against the First Order, but for some reason the Resistance exists as a separate organization with its own military wing that operates independently of the New Republic… Then there’s the bit that when the Death Star III fires its main weapon at maybe a dozen systems, people remark that the New Republic has been destroyed…which isn’t a good sign for the viability of any sort of galactic governance in Disney’s Star Wars universe.

In a nutshell, the whole political and economic order of the galaxy is a mess, and there’s no semblance of a reason why it should be that way. For another example, if we take Jakku as a 1:1 conversion of Tatooine, (which is probably a safe assumption: Both are desert planets, both feature moisture farms, both appear to be on the fringes of galactic society, both appear to be economically underdeveloped with residents needing to scavenge to survive, etc.) there is a handy comparison that can be drawn throughout the movies. In the prequels (under the Republic), Tatooine was as lawless a place as any, beyond the reach of the Republic’s laws or authority. In the original series however, the Empire appears to assert at least a moderate degree of control there: Slavery has ended, there are Stormtroopers stationed on the planet, and basic provision of law and order, however flawed it may be. Jumping ahead to Episode VII, Jakku is back where Tatooine was in the prequels and all law enforcement personnel are the Stormtroopers who came down from the Star Destroyer hunting the droid (gah, that droid…), and simply engage in public spectacles and widespread violence to get their way. The verdict: Whatever government(s) exist(s) in Episode VII, it’s not as effective as that of the Empire and likely indicates that the galaxy has been locked in perpetual conflict and civil war for decades.

Lastly, there’s the cardinal sin from which I cannot forgive this movie: Its depiction of the Force. For all of Disney’s mumbo-jumbo about wanting to restart the canon to maintain consistency, the nature of the Force was very clearly laid out in the original series and again in the prequels. How on earth does Rey go from not believing the Force exists or knowing anything at all about it to performing mind tricks and telekinesis over the course of the movie with absolutely ZERO training?!?!? Not only that, but Rey was able to get the best of Kylo Ren, who clearly is among the most powerful Force users we've seen so far. (His ability to freeze blaster bolts in mid air comes to mind. Others previously settled for deflecting them with a lightsaber [everyone] or absorbing the bolts in their hand [Vader and Dooku].) Everything after that point in the movie was complete garbage in my mind. Add in the use of lightsabers, since both Finn and Rey were somehow able to use Luke’s lightsaber without lopping their own limbs off, and somehow held their own against Ben Solo, who presumably had been trained in the ways of the Force and with a lightsaber since an early age. Luke spent all of Episodes IV and V mostly dumbfounded by the Force and it took extensive training by both Obi Wan and Yoda to train him to use and control it—particularly because he was so old. In Episode I we even saw that Anakin was considered too old to start studying the Force, and he likewise took years to train.

Okay, I lied…one more gripe. What is all of this with the search for Luke? Why is he so important to the exclusion of anyone else? Is it to destroy the First Order’s new superweapon? Is it because they want him to try training Jedi again? What’s his importance? I found that whole plotline was the central plot of the movie, and yet didn’t actually relate to anything, nor was it resolved. In Episode IV the impetus to get the Death Star plans to the Rebels was clear: That was the only shot they had to defeat it and save themselves from total annihilation. In Episode VII, it seems like neither the Resistance nor the New Republic knew that the First Order even had a new superweapon, yet they were still searching for Luke…which led to that wholly unfulfilling scene at the end of the movie that was only meant to keep people tied in to the next one and be able to say that Luke was actually in Episode VII.
In the end, I’m still not sure where I would rate Episode VII. It’s definitely worse than any of the originals, but I’m not sure how I rate it vis-à-vis the prequels. There are some aspects of it that are better, and others that are definitely worse. At best, it’s equal to the prequels in my scoring, and at worst they’re better than it.

Edit: New thoughts
I really enjoyed the scene where Rey and Finn stole the Millennium Falcon, and it was nice to sort of see her learning curve with figuring out how to fly it, as painful as it was to watch.
Edit #2: More new thoughts
With regard to the First Order's new superweapon, I was under the impression that it was absorbing the energy from a star in one system and shooting it at planets in other systems...this is a process that should have taken decades or centuries to happen if the laser is traveling at light speed, which implies that they have found a way to destroy systems from lightyears away without delay. That could possibly explain the sudden lack of capital ships, but I feel like that should have been a MUCH bigger part of the plot if that's the case.
Edit #3: A thought on Kylo Ren
I honestly really found him to be rather intriguing. In what was a good lesson taken from Episode IV, enough information was given as to who he is/how he got where he is to make things interesting, but not so much as to spoil the story.
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Re: Star Wars Episode VII - The Force Awakens Reviews

Post by jacenwesiri » 2016-02-01 02:12

I think I'll use a good the bad and the ugly format, like Xanis.
Good
  • The Visuals were amazingly well done. Everything looked cool, and seemed to have that Star Wars feel. A lot of the effects were dramatically improved. For example, what they did to the lightsaber blades was amazing.
  • The Music was handled very well.
  • Rey.
  • Han and Chewie somehow seemed even better than they were in the original trilogy.
  • The dialogue didn't seem too stilted, a vast improvement over when Lucas ran things.
Bad:
  • How much of the movie wasn't just a rehash of something from the original trilogy? Sure, a lot of it seemed to come from A New Hope, but it seems that there were quite a few things that seemed to have been gratuitously lifted from the other two films. LIke the ending, seriously, they had Han and Chewie going in to plant explosives just like they did in Return of the Jedi with taking out the shield generator on Endor. On an aside, why did they send X-Wings in on a bombing run? Couldn't they have sent in, I don't know, bombers?
  • Sort of related to the last point and touching on something Xanis commented on. I also cringed at the mentioning of losing some X-Wings, and then that was half their fleet. After I was thinking about it, the only way that terminology kinda made sense to me was using the word fleet in the sense of a group of vehicles. Basically, sometimes, a group like the USAF, would use the word fleet to refer to an entire class of fighters. So, the F-16 fleet would be referring to all F-16s, or perhaps just one type of F-16, not so much a formation. In that case, we're talking about the Rebelistence having apparently no capital ships, perhaps no bombers, and only a few dozen fighters. And somehow this was the great threat that they had to go blowing up Republic worlds to stop them from supporting? Perhaps it made sense syntactically, but it seemed to destroy the plot even more in my mind.
  • Except for one caveat, I agreed with Xanis on casting. That caveat is Kylo Ren. Seriously, no wonder that guy wore a mask. But it wasn't just the casting of him by any means. It was the very character. He seemed hard to take seriously, with him jumping between some genius who was several steps ahead of everyone else with nice Jacen-like qualities, to randomly breaking things because something didn't go his way. I guess in my mind, Kylo Ren seemed so underwhelming to my own conceptions of Jacen Wesiri, Kane, Crystala, Thrakis, or any of the DJ we came up with here. Any of those I think would have been stronger for the story than Kylo Ren, and I'll leave it at that. Believe me, there's a lot more I could extend the rant with.
Ugly:
  • What is the Republic? What is the Resistance? What is the FIrst Order? It seemed like a lot of them were trying to rehash the themes in the original trilogy with the clever use of similar names. I feel like they could have done so much better if they would have only used the original names.
  • Leia
  • Deus Ex Machina much? Really, you're going to press a button and then destroy the Republic?
  • What was up with shiny chrome coatings on so many Imperial, I mean First Order Uniforms? Why does it have to be shiny?
Overall, as far the various Star Wars Movies goes, I think I rate this one as easily behind the Original Trilogy, leaving the Prequel trilogy and the Clone Wars movie. I think I would rate it behind Revenge of the SIth, but easily ahead of Attack of the Clones. So, perhaps slightly behind The Phantom Menace. So, 6th out of 8.
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Re: Star Wars Episode VII - The Force Awakens Reviews

Post by Medusa » 2016-02-04 22:05

This is J.J.Abrams for you. For Trek all he is doing is taking the original movies, shake a little, swap places and some characters and here you have The (slow) Motion Picture and Wrath of Khan, remade but not refreshed.

I expect someone to lose a hand in Ep.VIII. And someone to suffer a long, long fall in Ep. IX.

I enjoyed the movie. But had that distinctive `fan-made´ feeling to it. Maybe it was some bad acting on the part of so young a cast.

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Re: Star Wars Episode VII - The Force Awakens Reviews

Post by Kane » 2016-02-28 18:25

So I finally got around to watching TFA properly, on the big screen (whose bright idea was it to put four concerts in the shortest month of the year?)

The parallels to the first Star Wars film, A New Hope, are many and obvious to an old fan. I thought the film was quite enjoyable, and the cast all did a good to great job - including what I consider the hardest part, Kylo Ren. He came out as believable and a character you could both empathize with and detest, with obvious flaws and strengths. But then again, after the prequels I don't have a particularly high bar on acting. On to details.
So for the spoilers... technical side first. Yes, that solar-powered (environmentally friendly yay! uhm not really) superweapon was a giant space planet/gun that chould shoot through hyperspace. Not sure what the point was of that. It had to be able to move to suck up more stars, right? Other sources seem to indicated that it was indeed mobile (erh, what happens to the surface when there's no star around? Can't be good for living on it). But anyway, it could fire all the way from the unknown regions into the major regions of the galaxy.

TIE fighters were shown to be quite rugged, I think. No obvious shields (lore has it that they have them tho), but they got missiles and magpulses (missiles?) in addition to quite powerful laser cannons. They're flying quite fine in atmosphere, so that particular EU bit was dropped. SW ships in general seem to be very rugged and resilient; crashed relatively intact Star Destroyer, TIE Fighters breaking up rather than vapourizing, flying the Falcon through the forest, etc.

The shield protecting the Starkiller Base planet was noted to block anything under lightspeed, but I have to question if that really was a lightspeed landing. More like high speed landing. This is opposite of the "slow knife penetrates the shield" theme from the Clone Wars cartoon, or stepping through Gungan shields in TPM. The conclusion is different shields for different speeds... literally. I'm not a fan of bringing in the idea of shield frequencies from Star Trek, but that's basically what was done, apparently. Starkiller was a hyperspeed weapon, but it also split its beam into several, each capable of hitting a separate planet. However, unexplained by the film, it also seems that it had a mystical element to it with Dark Side overtones to it.

Stormtroopers were confirmed to be regular humans trained from early age but they also had clonetroopers, hinted at being more elite.

Finn, stormtroopers don't have any problems with poison gas. They were in the vacuum of space in ANH for crying out loud. Then again, what does a sanitation technician know. Anyway, people have pointed out this so apparently the TFA novel says that they don't have toxic filtration as standard equipment.
Next to him, Rey was working hard to undo the results of her earlier repair. {{ to get the poison gases }} “This’ll work on stormtroopers?” she wondered as she manipulated the tools she had used earlier and left behind.
“Standard issue helmets are designed to filter out smoke, not toxins. To cope with the latter, a trooper needs to engage one of several special filters, depending on the specific contaminant. Identification is the province of one or two squad leaders. Having brought this ship on board theirs, I doubt anyone will think to check for airborne pollutants. It’s not like leading a ground assault, or forcing entry to an enemy warship. This is just an old freighter. Any kind of internal defense, much less something as nebulous as a gas counterattack, would be the last thing a squad sent to take its crew into custody would expect.”
I have to call that a flawed rationalization. There's no reason they shouldn't have toxic filtration too and rather every reason that they should, otherwise what's the point of full-coverage helmets?

Speaking of flawed, how did they take out two turrets on the Resurgent-class Star Destroyer? Ever heard of shields? Or the fact that there's another 3000 weapons on the thing?

Plotwise... we're thrown in medias res per standard SW film protocol. We're not given any explanation whatsoever for what happened in between, though. What's the First Order, how did they come to rise, and why does it seem like there's a Republic, The First Order, and then the resistance to the First Order too? Why would blowing up half a dozen planets end the New Republic? (Apparently the Empire survived and the New Republic signed a peace treaty with it, but these are things you're left guessing at from the film alone).

Also, who knew that Voldemort was in Star Wars? Apparently The First Order consisted of Imperial hardliners who violated the treaty repeatedly, but they also don't seem to be part of the Empire remnant proper. They're more like an extremist darkside successor state to the First Galactic Empire. So what we're seeing is not really the New Republic vs the Imperial Remnant, more like Sith vs Jedi 2.0 (or rather, 3 786.5) plus some imperial and rebel extras.

Realistic hologram of Snoke. That's a first, I think, although the fact that holograms were demonstrated to have colour already back in the original trilogy proves that they were capable of full colour and high fidelity too. At a guess, flickering bluish holograms are for distance communication were bandwidth and interference may be a concern.

Finn could use Luke's old lightsabre pretty well. Maybe this was just a case of being a stormtrooper, since they (or some, at least) obviously had training with melee weapons too. But the lightsabre, at least Luke's, was also reinforced as a mystical weapon with seemingly a will of its own. He was however defeated by Kylo Ren though he got in a couple minor hits - think Ren had some kind of light but potent armor.

As noted, TFA doesn't make it as a standalone film, but I'm sure it's not intended as such either. I wish that they had connected the story better to the past trilogy, rather than just glorying over the long gone semi-mythical past. There's some increased maturity in it that's good for our age, like having a black stormtrooper (who cares about human skin variations in a setting with bug people?). Rey makes for a fine strong female lead, too. We'll never see Han Solo again, but he was thematically right the whole way.

Kylo Ren demonstrated Time Stop (well probably more like a different application of telekinesis, which he proved very capable with). We also got several demonstrations of mind reading, mind control, foresight and stuff. Cool.

Not a mention of Tatooine anywhere. Should I celebrate or cry? Not sure, but we got our fill of Bartertown, excuse me, desert planet anyway.

More plotholes large enough to drive a speeder through. For example, what happened with the stormtrooper that dies in the beginning? She was apparently the last connection that kept Finn with the First Order and when she died he no longer had any reason to stay. That was before the villagers were shot, even. There's obviously missing backstory and characterization here... and it all comes down to later monetization, I fear.

I shouldn't be nitpicky, but finding Luke was apparently so important that they made it a main theme and final scene out of it. Thematically, they're right, of course... he's The Last Jedi Jesus and will now go on to train Rey and she'll be the one to carry the torch of light against Darkness, et cetera.

I liked the ground scenes with the Stormtroopers. I suppose it would be asking for too much with some capship battle and armoured vehicles, let's be happy the infantry got as much screentime as they did. I'm guessing that's for later films.
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