Fuck spoiler alerts. You should have seen it by now.
I finally saw Episode VII today, and I liked the movie. It was a decent film and a vast improvement from the Prequel Trilogy. It fixed the problems of the Prequels, such as the overreliance on special effects, weak plots, little emotional impact, and flat characters. Here, the special effects are made to add to the story, and they blend well with the animatronics and real environment. The plot is simple, very similar to that of Episode IV, which I will get to later. The actors expressed actual emotions so you could actually connect with the characters. And the characters themselves were people you could emphasize with.
The synopsis? Before the film begins, Skywalker goes missing out of guilt and shame after his apprentice becomes Baby Vader and slaughters the new Jedi Order. Baby Vader, now commander of the Neo Nazi Order, slaughters innocent village people because the village robot R2-D2 knows where Skywalker is. Finn N00b, a novice stormtrooper, betrays the Order after experiencing war for the first time. R2-D2 and Finn N00b end up in Tatooine where they meet Rey Sue, a scavenger impossibly gifted in piloting, engineering, and combat with no formal training.
The Neo Nazi Order arrives to Tatooine and bombs some Middle Easterners, so Finn N00b and Rey Sue hitch a ride on the Millennium Falcon. They meet Ham and Chewie on the way and arrive to the Occupy Wall St. base to meet Princess Leia. Unfortunately, Baby Vader captures Rey Sue along the way and takes her to the Death Star. Finn, Ham, and Chewie go to the Death Star to rescue Rey Sue, while Princess Leia commands an attack with the Occupy Wall St. squadron.
Rey Sue escapes by herself because she’s a Strong Independent Woman who doesn’t need a man. She meets the rest of her party, but Ham faces Baby Vader, who is revealed to be a whiny, greasy-faced teenager. Baby Vader kills Ham because he is a jerk and pwns Finn N00b in short order. Baby Vader is close to pwning Rey Sue, but Rey Sue calls upon the Deux Ex Machina to beat Baby Vader. The Occupy Wall St. squadron destroys the Death Star and our heroes live to fight another day. Rey Sue climbs up an oriental mountain to begin her martial arts training under Skywalker.
Now I really did enjoy the movie and I really do like Rey and Finn, but I did find two major flaws in the movie.
I. The movie borrows way too much on a New Hope. It would make sense if the movie made some homage to a New Hope, but J.J. Abrams copied and pasted the entire plot from Episode IV to Episode VII. That comes across to me as unimaginative and they should have come up with a completely new and unique plot. I get that J.J. Abrams is trying to regain the shattered trust of an audience so betrayed by the Prequel Trilogy. But he would have done a better job at that had he been more original.
II. Rey has Mary Sue glitter on her. Don’t get me wrong. I really like Rey. I really do like the fact Episode VII has a woman and a black man as strong and relatable main characters. She’s a well-developed character. She has a past of being abandoned and being forced to survive on a remote and hostile world. During the story we watch her struggle with her feelings of abandonment, with her vain hope that if she returns to the desert planet Jakku, her family will return to her. Unlike a typical Mary Sue, Rey does experience genuine loss and failure. She struggles to fly the Millennium Falcon at first and only masters it after learning from Han Solo’s example. Kylo Ren, a trained user of the dark side, subdues Rey and takes her prisoner.
However, I do feel Rey’s abilities were too great for a mere scavenger. When I watched the film I thought Rey’s talents would make a lot more sense if she had a military career before the film. That way she would get the training and experience to refine her talents. It would have been better if Rey’s character were like this: Rey’s family surrenders her to the Order when she is a child. Rey is rigorously trained as a soldier, allowing her intelligence and talents to flourish as a pilot, engineer, and warrior. However, she deals with deep feelings of loneliness and abandonment. Eventually, she deserts the Order, fleeing to a remote planet to live in obscurity as a scavenger to run away from her past. After several years in exile she eventually meets Finn, another deserter, and she is forced to confront her past. I’m no film expert but something like that would have been much better.
I also want to make a point against all the nerds who say Episode VII sucks because it’s not the Original Trilogy. A lot of reviewers see the Original Trilogy through rose-colored glasses and put it on a pedestal. That sets up any new Star Wars movie for failure in their eyes because the new movie can never be like the old trilogy. Nor should it try. A new movie can outdo the Original Trilogy, but to do that it will need to do something new, and that is heresy to die hard nerds. The Prequel Trilogy had the potential to completely outdo the Original but George Lucas pissed away his chance because of his greed and indolence. The Original Trilogy itself is actually kind of stupid when you take away all the nostalgia and pop culture legacy surrounding it. Obscurus Loopa did a review a few years ago where she made fun of A New Hope as if it was just another obscure 70s film. It really puts a perspective on things.
Overall, Episode VII, in spite of its flaws, definitely corrected all the problems in the Prequels. I had almost as much fun watching it as I did watching the Original Trilogy when I was a child. I want to see where Rey and Finn continue their journies in Episodes VIII and IX.