Star Wars was actually kind of a crappy movie.
Like many of you, I saw the new Star Wars movie this past week. Unlike many of you, however, I am not gushing over the epic awesomeness of what I saw. Not at all.
On the contrary, I nearly fell asleep.
First, I suppose I should start with the boilerplate "Don't read any further if you don't want to see potential spoilers" nonsense. At this point, there have been so many articles and reviews out there that you should know better. I almost hesitate to even bother, largely because I feel like I'm insulting your intelligence, but for that one moron who will get angry otherwise, here you go. Consider yourself warned. If you bothered to click on this link and didn't expect a spoiler or two, there is no hope for you. Just leave now.
I keep hearing the same comment made about Star Wars: The Force Awakens. "Of course I loved it, it's Star Wars!" What I am not hearing people say is "I loved it! It was such a good movie!", and with good reason. Everyone is giving it a pass because they were so excited and were going to leave the theater giddy simply because they've waited so long for it, regardless of the fact that it was a crap movie. Most were so overly enthusiastic that they didn't notice until much later. Those who are admitting that are doing it quietly, saying things such as, "I almost feel like I have to turn in my Star Wars Fan status, because looking back it was just okay." Again, they are saying it in whispers, and I'm here to break the silence for us all. You're opinion is valid, and we shouldn't have to apologize for it.
This movie was nothing short of bad fan fiction. The problem is that the giggling fanboy in this instance was JJ Abrams, so he was capable of making really pretty bad fan fiction. Two hours of fight/chase/battle scenes involving ships and light sabers with about eight minutes of plot thrown in was pretty. The special effects were wonderful, I'll give you that, and I'm sure there were fans out there trying not to piss themselves every time a saber was unleashed (smirk), but that doesn't make it a good film by any means.
Episode VII pulled out a bunch of Star Wars ideas and ran around with them for a while without really offering anything incredibly new. That's fan fiction for you. Sure, they killed off a key character, but again, that's a very fan fiction thing to do. It shocked everyone, but they didn't do anything more than that with it. Just like how Episode I was basically a boring movie about trade agreements that everyone thought it was interesting because they cared about who the characters become, Episode VII was an incredibly slow movie that may be setting up for Kylo Ren to be a bigger villain than his grandfather, Darth Vader. Neither instance makes the solitary movies any better, all it does is explain why everyone likes them anyway. Again, everyone gives it a pass because it's Star Wars.
What's better than a Death Star? AN EVEN BIGGER DEATH STAR! However, let's make sure it does the exact same thing just on a bigger scale, all while ensuring it can be defeated in pretty much the same manner, because anything more creative than that is just not something fan fiction is capable of. Even Han Solo noticed. "So it's a bigger. So what?" Had he added, "So all we have to do is shoot it in a specific location? Seriously? Are all villains in the galaxy that predictable?", I would have stood up and applauded right in my seat and then died happy. I might have even thought it was a decent movie for that line alone. Maybe.
The character development throughout was incredibly disappointing. We have a girl whose probably an orphan though we never learn much more about her meet up with a former storm trooper whom we never learn how long he has been struggling with that role. The only reason said storm trooper is even around is because he got help from some other random dude name Poe who has been given a map, though we never really know why he got to be the one to carry it out of there in the first place because we really don't know who he is either. Why? Because plot. However, they end up running around with Chewbacca and Han Solo, but only because there has to be at least a few Star Wars characters in the story, right? They must be good guys, huh? Leia flits in and out of the story, mostly to argue with Han, though short of knowing that they have a son and that things went south between that son and his uncle Luke, there is very little of their past that is filled in. In the midst of everything, token past Star Wars characters fill in the crowds and tertiary roles, but nothing is really done with them. Once again, all of that is nothing more than a fan fiction level of story development, and it was unfortunate. If someone has commented on all of this to you and you've responded, "Well, they are just setting up...", you are making excuses for the movie. You probably don't even realize it, but that's what you are doing.
Is anyone going to need information in Episode VIII? Just power up R2-D2 sooner next time. Yes, he was in "sleep mode" and no one knew if ever wake up again, but he's a robot, for crying out loud. Flip the switch and save everyone a lot of time and trouble, and the movie-goers an incredibly slow film. The only thing slower was Rey's climb up a million stairs. This was the point in the movie where I, quite literally, rolled my eyes. All I could hope was that something was at the top, because otherwise I was going to feel really bad for both of us that she had to climb them and I had to watch.
At least we now know why Luke Skywalker wasn't in any of the trailers. He really wasn't in the movie. I personally believe the fact that Mark Hamill was listed second in the credits should be a much bigger scandal, and imagine he spent more time in make-up that actually shooting. If he lingered more than an hour on set during all of filming, it couldn't have been for anything other than to grow a beard, hang out with old friends, and make a serious dent in the Craft Services table. My only hope is that with all of the time he had on his hands, he help them set it up.
Who do I blame for all of this? Jar Jar Binks. The last time anyone tried to introduce something new and different into the Star Wars universe, everyone hated him. The result was an incredibly safe, exorbitantly slow Episode VII. Mr. Abrams, you have got to be braver than that. Shock us, thrill us, annoy us all you want with the next one, but at least give us a good film. I can only hope that everything that was potentially set up comes to fruition in Episode VIII, and I'm rooting for you.
Agree with me? Think I'm wrong? Let me know! You can find me on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.