After many discussions with friends, and considering all angles, I’m not ashamed to say it loud and clear: I didn’t like Ep VII of Star Wars, even though I’ve enjoyed watching it – nostalgia and some details made it worth nonetheless. Why the disappointment then? Because it looks like a lost opportunity.
(By the way, let’s leave aside any consideration about physics – we already know Star Wars is not SF, but Fantasy in space, and that space doesn’t work that way. It was made clear since Episode IV and has never changed. Other things did, and not for the good.)
I assume the plot of The Force Awaken is universally known by now, so I won’t waste time talking about it. I would rather say why I would have hoped for something different.
First of all, it’s not simplistic, it’s worse. If one of the (unwelcome) novelties of Episode I and sequels had been overcomplicating something that was admirably simple (where did all those people in the trade dispute of The Phantom Menace come from? For more, see this from IO9), here we can notice that things get back to simple again, but in a way that looks idiotic. What happened to the Empire? And the Jedi? And…? Have a look at this post of Il Tredicesimo Cavaliere for a good list. (In Italian only, but Google Translate can help).
Second, but the most important in terms of infamy: Kylo Ren. It’s not (just) him to cry in front at Darth Vader’s broken mask (to make things worse, not the right one – or so it seems: see this. They must have sold the idiot a fake); it’s me, and all old Star Wars fans. Kylo Ren is not a bad guy: he’s a whiny emo teen that can’t even manage to be nasty, only a goddamn coward. Poor Anakin Skywalker /Darth Vader will roll over in his grave for the eternity.
Finally, the girl; this doppelganger of Katniss Everdeen has the lightsaber of dear daddy Luke (you bet) instead of a bow, for the rest they look like sisters. With a difference: Katniss is a badass that at least has hunted for years and is skilled at her trade. Rey looks blessed by the Force like a sort of magic power, for which differently from her illustrious predecessors she has not need whatsoever to train for: she can fight as a pro managing to kick Kylo Ren’s ass (OK, that was not that difficult, but still…) without having ever handled a lightsaber before. Old Yoda would have been out of business with this one.
There are many other things that don’t add up or sound so trite that you wonder what you have spent million of bucks for if you can’t even bother to hire a decent screenwriter; considering all people on board of this one, the only explanation is that all the mess was intentional – even though the endgame eludes me.
What remains to save the day? Two things: one is the delightful BB8 with the expressions and the body language of a Walt Disney pet more than of a droid. A huge success (unsurprisingly). The other – the fighters of the Resistance and Poe Dameron, which reminded me somehow of Maverick in Top Gun, fighters’ scenes included. Which could make any sense if, and only if, you assume an atmosphere around the Starkiller Base, granted. But considering all you had to swallow until that moment, who cares?