Lucien’s First Take: Star Wars Battlefront II Reveal Trailer

EA’s Battlefront sucked.  I am pretty sure that this game will suck too.  I have no intention of playing it.  But here’s the thing I want to talk about – why I think this game could have had potential.  Because it really could have.  For a little while there I am actually invested in what’s happening.  I don’t get how a trailer can go from engaging to bullshit in seconds.  Maybe it’s because Disney decided to fuck the Expanded Universe.  I don’t know.  Whatever the case, this game goes from looking really cool to looking really dumb in seconds, and that’s amazing.  Let’s take a look at this trailer.

You know what I miss – the Rogue Squadron games.  Those were awesome.  I keep hoping that EA will do something with that license, but they would probably fuck that up anyway.  I bring this up for a reason.  There was this incredible animated short that was done in the style of Gundam where you have Imperial fighters duking it out with the Rebels and kicking their ass.  I have always really wanted to know what the Empire’s story is.  I mean, all we ever see of them is them being evil.  In the old Tie Fighter games, you get to play as an Imperial pilot.  It would have been kinda cool to see things from their point of view.  I mean, when you think about it, the Rebels are some hardcore terrorists.  How many innocent people got killed when they blew up the original Death Star?  They condemned the Ewoks to obliteration when they blew up the second one.  The Rebels are all about peace and justice, but you really do have to wonder how many innocent people’s deaths are on their hands.

So this game has you in the role of an elite stormtrooper.  Cool!  We get to see the war from the Empire’s side!  And especially after the fall of the Emperor.  Awesome!  So is it like a civil war?  Is the Empire collapsing and you get to see from the side of a lost soldier who can’t leave her duty behind?  That’s kinda neat.  We even get to see the Rebels getting their shit messed up.  Really did remind me of that animated short.  Wanna watch that again.  You all should too.

But then the trailer decides to fuck all that cool build-up and go into the stupid.  Every time I see Emo Vader’s stupid lightsaber design I laugh.  The most impractical weapon ever, and they still want us to think that it’s cool.  They are trying WAY too hard.  We also get to reenact the battle with Darth Maul?  Like, from Episode I?  The second-worst film in the entire franchise? (I argue that Episode II is the worst.  The cringe level was so much worse than Episode I) Okay?  Hell, can we PLEASE get some of the cool characters from Cartoon Network’s show?  I’d love to get to play as Cad Bane, who is one of my favorite anti-heroes.  Or maybe a cool General Grievous like in Clone Wars.  Maybe some Ventress action?  Oh, right, that would be cool.  And if it’s cool, it’s not in this game.  Instead, we have Emo Vader and Boring Girl who is played by an actress who can’t act (not even going to see Episode VIII) doing stuff.

If the story of this game is what I think, and you get to play as the Empire on the losing side of the war with the Rebellion, this game could have at least some potential.  But this is EA and DICE.  How much hope do you really have that this game won’t suck?

Initial Verdict
6 out of 10

Peace out,

Maverick

Lucien’s First Take: Rogue One: Story Trailer

I hated Star Wars: The Force Awakens.  I honestly think that movie sucks and it gets so many free passes from people due to how bad the prequels were.  This wasn’t an original movie.  It was a damn-near shot-for-shot remake of the original film.  What I was hoping for was a Star Wars film that actually felt like I was back in the universe of Star Wars.  That wasn’t what I got.  Now, there is a new contender to the plate, and let me say, I’m VERY excited.  For once, I may actually see this movie on release.  Finally, it looks like I have a Star Wars movie that is worthy of the license.  But enough talking.  Let’s show it to you, and then talk more about it!

This trailer looks awesome!  I am so damn happy!  The first shot of a city with Imperial fighters coming into port.  That feels like Star Wars!  Every part of the establishing shots of this movie make me think that this is a movie in the Star Wars universe.  However, we then go into my biggest gripe with this trailer.

Anyone who knows my thoughts on the last one knows that I am NOT impressed by this chick they have in this new film.  They way they introduced her was with one of the cringiest lines I’ve heard in a while.

I thought this was a rebellion.  I rebel.

That line is awful!  It’s terrible in every way.  Now, we have her being introduced with another terrible line.  Let me make something clear – I want to like this chick.  She certainly looks the part.  But the dialogue coming from her is just awful.  It’s the most try-hard character I’ve seen in a while.  Like Katniss Everdeen in space.  And you know my opinions of the Hunger Games films (they sucked!).  I am so hoping that we get to see her with some flaws that serve to humanize her a little.  Please don’t let this character be as bland and boring as whats-her-name in the last movie.

Back to the trailer, we get to meet some of our side-characters.  There is a crusty looking old dude, who has clearly been fighting the Empire for a long time.  There’s an Asian dude who is badass with a stick, who believes in the Force.  That’s also cool.  Then there’s pessimist droid.  That’s pretty cool too.

We then have some action sequences.  As I said, it feels like Star Wars!  Gritty Star Wars!  A Star Wars universe that has some pretty ugly fights in some not-so-picturesque places.  Given some of the settings, this reminds me of the Rogue Squadron games.  We are seeing the beginning of them in this movie, after all.  It’s so exciting!  I am gleaning that this isn’t going to be a movie exclusively about stealing the plans of the Death Star.  It’s going to be about the formation of Rogue Squadron, and that is going to be one of their missions.  I’m done with that.  It’s exciting!  Seeing into the past of a movie that I love.

There’s some inspirational shit from this protagonist, and we get to see a shot of her limping while holding a blaster.  Okay, so maybe she actually takes some damage.  I could grow to like her.  So long as her dialogue has less cringe than it has so far.  We can dream.

Finally, at the very end, we see a brief bit with Darth Vader!  Yay!

All things considered, this looks really good.  The visuals are fantastic.  There is actual sets used in addition to the CG stuff.  That’s nice.  We have cool action sequences that make me long to watch the original films again.  Or play one of the old Rogue Squadron games.  Not sure.  Probably the latter.  The characters all look like fun.  And we get the story of the founding of one of the Rebel Alliance’s most daring outfits.  Color me impressed.  Will definitely be waiting to see if it lives up to my expectations.

Initial Verdict
8 out of 10

Peace out,

Maverick

Your “Comedy” is Cancer, Willy (A response to Wil Wheaton)

Hey Wil, can you please take Captain Picard’s advice and shut the fuck up!  Every time I get to hear about you, it reminds me that everything you say is cancer, and you are the anti-thesis of funny.  Now you want to go and “mansplain” the new Star Wars film, making any detractors out to be stupid dudebros who hate the movie just because there’s a chick in it.  Oh, and they hate Rogue One because there’s a chick in it too.  Why does Wil think this?  Because his succubus wife tells him to.  Just like Steve Shives, it is clear that this “man” is his wife’s bitch and has no ability to think on his own.  So he takes SJW talking points that they use to stereotype and strawman the people they don’t like and have Wil make a “comedy” video about it.  This is supposed to be funny.  I am going to post the video here, so you can see I’m not taking this out of context.  I’m sorry if you get cancer for this retardedness on the screen.

Oh Groj, kill me now.  Alright, let’s talk about this visual-equivalent of butt-rape.

So he starts off saying that he will explain everything that is wrong with Star Wars: Rogue One.  And, because he has to make this pander to the SJW confirmation bias, the biggest problem he assumes that all the strawman detractors have is the fact that there’s a female protagonist.  Um, no, Wesley.  My biggest problem is that they have thrown the Expanded Universe is the trash and the actual story about the beginning of Rogue Squadron was not this.  Nor was the story of how the Death Star plans came into the hands of the Rebellion.  I get that Disney is fucking canon like a $6 whore, but that doesn’t make it any easier.  Believe it or not, but I really like both the story of the origins of Rogue Squadron, and the game that tells the story about how the Death Star plans ended up in the hands of the Rebellion.  Now that story has gotten fucked, because Disney decided that instead of trying to make good characters, they were going to make “empowered ones.”

I already did a post (linked here) about how making a character with the intent of them being empowered is flawed because modern views of empowerment are characters who are complete Mary Sues with no flaws and just totally awesome all the time.  They ignore actual female characters who are empowered, having to overcome adversity and grow.  Plus, the new chick is REALLY cliched bad.  That line, “I thought you were a rebellion.  I rebel” was fucking terrible.  That was every bad acting job I have ever heard.  See, this is what people like myself are talking about.  To be clear, I do want to see this film.  Unlike the more recent Star Wars film, this actually feels like it belongs in that universe.  A pity that other movie couldn’t have this same feeling.  Speaking of…

You then go into The Force Awakens, and you make the STUPIDEST assumptions about what men think about it.  Yes, we hated Rey because she was “fully clothed!” (he emphasized that line, not me)  Or maybe, it’s because she is BORING.  She’s one of the most boring characters I have seen in a long time.  Not to mention the fact that her winning the fight against Kylo Ren is fucking stupid.  She had never used that weapon once in her life, and she is able to beat somebody who is a skilled combatant with a lightsaber.  That’s retarded.  Kylo Ren should have kicked her ass seven ways to Sunday.  Her defenders will be like, “but it’s the power of the Force!”  Bullshit!  Did the Force magically give Luke the ability to wield a lightsaber?  No.  In the first film, he was getting his ass beat by a floating droid!  Oh, but then there are the people who are like, “she wielded a staff, so she knew how to fight!”  Let’s find someone who is skilled with a staff.  It is the only weapon they have ever used, all their life.  Now, let’s give them a sword and tell them to fight someone who is very skilled with a sword.  Who do you think is going to win?  The trained swordsman!  Duh!

And is it true that Leia wasn’t wearing a bra throughout all the original series of films?  I honestly did not know that.  I don’t really care, it’s just that Wesley brought it up, so I thought I would ask my audience and see.

Every argument that Wesley makes is strawman after strawman.  It’s so ridiculous.  And he makes sure to get a “joke” in about Ghostbusters.  Did you watch the new trailer for that, Wesley?  Did you see the “comedy” in that film?  Did you see how amazing these “characters” are?  How they are all so blatantly stereotypes that the trailer actually goes out of its way to tell you what those stereotypes are.  That’s amazing, in its own little way.  But no, I’m sure that all of us just don’t like it because it’s got women in it.  Of course.  You keep peddling that strawman.  Maybe your wife will give you a cookie when you get home.  Maybe you’ll actually get to touch her hoo-hoo with your pee-pee too!  A boy can dream.

Finally, we get to Wesley’s real opinion.  Now we can end the “comedy.”  So, what are your actual thoughts, Wesley?  His first argument is that The Force Awakens is instantly good because the prequels are bad.  I despise this argument.  It is the argument that so many Star Wars fanboys/girls use to justify the fact that the new film was nothing more than a popcorn film.  If I were capable of turning my brain off, maybe I would have liked it.  But I’m not, and it is a VERY mediocre film.  No surprise.  It’s JJ Abrams who made it.  He can make a good popcorn film, and nothing else.

Representation does matter, but here’s the other thing that matters, Wesley – making good characters.  Rey is not a good character.  She’s just not.  She’s bland.  She’s boring.  She’s “empowered” in the same way that Katniss Everdeen is empowered – as a complete Mary Sue.  In the films, at least.  In the books, she was a good deal more interesting.  Partly because she was deaf by the end of the first.  By defending this sort of “empowerment,” you are saying that we can ignore flaws and character growth and instead just have them be strong all the time.  Because that’s how strength works, right?

Let’s look at the original films.  Was Luke just strong because he was?  No.  The first time he fought Darth Vader, it was all over his face that he was afraid of him.  When it becomes clear to him that Vader is playing with him, Luke has several moments where he realizes that he is very likely going to die in this fight.  Then, he loses his hand and his weapon, being pushed to the brink and losing everything.  At that moment, Vader informs him that he didn’t kill his father, but that he is his father.  It breaks Luke’s spirit.  It tests his faith in Obi-Wan and what he knew about his life.  The pain on his face when his father is reaching out to him is palpable.  But he overcomes that in the next film and finds the determination to confront his father and bring out the good in him.

Now, maybe this is because Daisy Ridley isn’t a terribly-good actress.  Though maybe it comes from Abrams being a mediocre director so he just isn’t giving her enough of a way to express herself as a character.  But the thing is that Rey is just awesome and strong and can do no wrong.  Oh, sure, she tries to run away, but that lasts for all of five minutes, and then she just comes right back.  It’s supposed to be a moment that tests her faith in what she’s doing, but because this wasn’t a better film with a better director, we never got a chance to see that.  It just folded in to the next set-piece moment.  Because that movie is not well made.  It’s a bland movie.

And people like you, Wesley, have to come out and defend it because you want to please your SJW mistresses who give you all your ideals.  Because you don’t have the guts to tell these people that they might just be wrong.  Representation is important.  But I will be damned if I take bland, boring stereotypical “empowered” characters over someone who is a genuinely good character.  I would rather have a flawed female character who has to overcome her personal weakness, rather than Rey.  I would rather have a complete dick female character who has to be humbled through life experience than, “I thought this was a rebellion.  I rebel.”

But you don’t care.  Your wife keeps your dick in a Mason jar under the sink.  And I have nothing left to say to you.  I think I’m going to let someone who you REALLY should have taken some cues from close this out.

Until next time, a quote,

“Shut up, Wesley!”  – Captain. Jean Luc Picard

Peace out,

Maverick

SIONR: Disney’s “Empowered Females” in Star Wars

We’ve all seen the new Ghostbusters trailer, haven’t we?  We’ve all seen this film being made with one goal in mind – girl power.  That’s it.  It isn’t about making a good movie.  It isn’t about making good characters.  The entire goal is about making a movie that will inspire the females.  And it looks like shit.  It looks like complete shit.  The jokes aren’t funny.  The characters are cardboard cut-outs.  It all looks terrible.  All because the film decided that they are going to start with a political ideology first, and a good movie second.

The new expansion that was released for Baldur’s Gate had some similar ideas.  They had a character who they introduced who is trans.  But rather than that being part of a larger tapestry of this character, the problem was that it was done for a political reason.  The conversation with this character about their orientation is as awkward and preachy as can be.  It was so bad that the people who did the expansion were able to see the errors in their ways and changed things.  They also got rid of a stupid GamerGate meme that was shoe-horned in there too, but that’s just an amusing thing.  Point is – we didn’t hate the character because they were trans.  We hated them because that was it.  It’s just “I’m trans!”  We wanted an actual character.  The expansion suffered in a profound way because of this.  It’s image is forever tainted because of it.

Point of all this – politicization of characters is always for the worse.  Always.  Because when you start with a goal that isn’t to make good characters, but instead make ones that fit into an ideological agenda, it always comes back to bite you in the ass.  Because if you want a character to fit into an archetype, then they can never go outside of that.  At no point can they be anything but that ideological point of view that you have put them into.  This is what is happening right now with Disney and Star Wars.  And this is by their own admission.

In an interview done with one of the people involved in Disney (linked here), they talked about the new Star Wars films, and the female leads.  It seems that their “empowerment” was no accident.  This was designed.  Intentionally so.  And naturally, I take umbrage with this.  For all kinds of reasons.

I didn’t like the new Star Wars film.  I thought that Rey was boring as fuck.  How is she empowered?  Because she wielded a lightsaber?  And won a battle that there is NO reason to believe she should have?  Seriously, she had never used that weapon once in her life, and she then uses it and wins against someone who has been trained extensively.  That’s retarded.  She had no character, outside of being a strong, virtuous female.  It was boring.  The only character I really liked in that film was Finn.  His character was the only one whose motivation I understood.  He was part of a massacre, and wanted to get away from that environment.  That makes sense to me.  Rey?  She’s just super awesome and the Force wills her to be part of the plot.  That’s it.

The new film, Rogue One, has another female protagonist.  This one looks to have some more personality than Rey, but now I am finding out that this wasn’t done to make a good character.  It was done to fill an ideological base that Disney wants to pander to.  This tells me that future films are going to be done with this in mind.  This tells me that they are going to sacrifice any potential major flaws in characters because that isn’t “empowered.”  After all, if we’ve learned anything from the bitching of Anita Sarkeesian, it’s that any female character that isn’t a complete Mary Sue is bad.  And make no mistake – their films are going to suffer for them.

I made an entire Critical Examination post about how I see an empowered female character.  Truly empowered characters aren’t ones where you have to be told that they are empowered.  They just are.  They are just good characters.  But what’s more, they are also characters who have to overcome personal weakness.  They have to grow.  Strength isn’t just something you are born with.  It’s something you gain through hardships.  I talked about a bunch of characters in that other post, but let’s bring up a few other examples here.

Maybe you remember that fantastic cartoon Recess from the 90’s.  Back when kids shows were good.  Or existent.  Now cartoons have died.  It’s a bummer, really.  But my second-favorite character after TJ was Spinelli.  Her first name is Ashley, but if you call her that, she’ll beat your ass.  She was a tough in every sense of the word.  She was a girl who took shit from no one, and wasn’t afraid to throw down with whoever got in her way.  But she wasn’t perfect.  Her war with her own femininity was the central drive behind how she grew over time.  There were several episodes that forced her to confront that part of herself, and the answers she got weren’t always the ones she wanted.  I like that.  Not all answers in a series need to be cathartic.  Sometimes it can just be something to think about as you move forward.

Next up, let’s look at Kallen, from Code Geass: Lelouch of the Rebellion.  She’s the ace pilot of the Black Knights.  This girl is Zero’s right hand in battle.  She has proven herself an incredible soldier, able to face down insurmountable odds by not faltering.  However, she has a personal flaw that is pretty glaring, and often shined in her face in very harsh way.  Kallen has very little will of her own.  She is a soldier in every sense.  If she doesn’t have someone to give her orders, she has no direction.  When Zero gives her an ability to prove herself in battle, she becomes totally dependent on him.  Through Zero and the Black Knights, her life has meaning.  There is a literal point where she tells Lelouch that to serve Zero, she would have become his slave.  There are multiple points in the series where her dedication to Lelouch is shown to be unhealthy.  But she is still a strong character despite this.

A series with good character needs to have good characters first, ideological bias second.  Disney has outright said that they have their bias first.  This is a problem for me.  Mundane Matt disagrees.  He says that as long as the film is good, then it’s fine.  But quality is suffering.  We’ve seen it already, and we’ll see it again.  And now I have to constantly question how good their upcoming films will be because they have an ax to grind.

Here’s my thought – can we have good movies?  Can we please have a good movie without the need to pander?  If they could do that in the 90’s, how come we can’t do that now?

Until next time, a quote,

The relationship between the public and the artist is complex and difficult to explain. There is a fine line between using this critical energy creatively and pandering to it.” – Andy Goldsworthy

Peace out,

Maverick

Lucien’s First Take: Star Wars: Rogue One Teaser

I’ve made no secret of how much I think the new Star Wars film is a bland movie that only gets the praise it gets because of the fact that the prequels sucked.  If the prequels hadn’t been so bad, that film wouldn’t nearly have the popularity that it does.  It would likely be regarded in the same way as Jurassic World.  A movie that is basically a complete rip-off of the original, with a fresh coat of paint.  Were it that I was capable of turning my brain off when I watch movies, I’m sure it’s a good popcorn flick.  Sadly, I can’t do that.  I am too busy over-analyzing.  Which brings me to the trailer for this new film.  When I heard they were doing a story about Rogue One, I was certain that it was going to suck.  After all, they’ve thrown out the Expanded Universe timeline, so how can they capture the beginning of Rogue Squadron?  Well, let’s see if it looks any good.

Alright, so we’ve got these cool sets.  That’s the first thing I notice.  That’s something I really love.  I hate to be one of the people who gets on it, but after how CG everything in the prequels was, sets are a great step up.  It also looks like the Rebels that I missed.  Something the new film butchered, because they had to have some stupid bullshit First Order, when the reality is that the Empire would not have just up and died because the Emperor did.  So much dumb.  But yeah, this feels more like a Star Wars movie just from the settings and the look.

Sure, there is also this TERRIBLE exposition-dump about who is going to be our main character.  Some female rebel.  With a lame joke about her being a rebel to boot.  But I guess this gives her some character traits.  Something Rey could have used a few of in the new film.  I don’t like this scene introducing her, but she’s alright as a character.  Bad exposition is what bothers me more.

Then they get back to show-casing the visual design of this movie, and I am very impressed again.  It feels like Star Wars!  The Empire is being all Imperial.  I kind of hope that we get to see some of the evil this group supposedly had.  That’s one thing that I will fault the original films for.  You never really saw the Empire being evil.  Sure, there was the Death Star, but that was kind of it.  Now, we get to see a much uglier side to the war against them.  It’s closer and more civilians are involved.  We get to see some people with hand-to-hand fighting skills.  Some fallen Jedi, maybe?  One can dream.  Who is Forrest Whitaker’s character supposed to be?  He’s cool and all, but I have no idea who he is.  We have some Imperial guy in black.  Any chance for a voice-over of the man himself?  I mean, they got James Earl Jones to do his voice in Star Wars: Rebels.  Let’s have a cameo, for old time’s sake.  That would be kinda awesome.  Just sayin’.

Overall, this looks pretty good.  Finally, I feel like I am about to watch a Star Wars movie!  This is definitely a step up from where we’ve been thus far.  Finally, I have a chance to get excited about something.  Since the plot is kind of in the dark about the details, it could go anywhere.  I mean, we know how the story ends, but I figure it’s the getting there that is where the fun is had.  Can’t wait.

Initial Verdict
8 out of 10

Peace out,

Maverick

SIONR: F*ck Disney and Star Wars, In Memory of 1313

For those of you who didn’t know, before Disney bought and bastardized Star Wars by making everything family-friendly, there was a game that was announced that looked fucking amazing.  It was a game about a young Boba Fett, where you followed him on some unknown job to sub-level 1313 on the capital of the Empire (at least I think it’s the Empire by the time of that game).  It was a game that took the mechanics from Uncharted and translated them to outer space.  Did it bother me that this game was basically a direct rif with different weapons of another game?  Fuck no!  Watch this demo and tell me if it bothers you.

Did that not look like the most awesome thing ever?!  Did you not want to see that?!  After how bad Lucasarts games had been, this was almost a breath of fresh air.  You had these fun characters.  You had a great design.  The gameplay looked smooth enough.  I will say that the physical fighting was much less impressive than the games it was riffing off of, but still.  I would have played that until the cows came home.  Especially if there were the hidden collectibles that the Uncharted franchise has.  Let me collect and analyze stuff from the Star Wars universe!  Let me get to know this character who has such a huge cult following, even though he did nothing cool in any of the original films.  His character got so popular that he became a complete boss outside of the main films.  Hell, the prequel films sucked, but then you get Cartoon Network’s series: The Clone Wars.  And in that, we also had a badass Boba Fett.  It’s weird.

Then Disney decided to buy the franchise.  And what happens when they buy something – they make it family friendly.  Cartoon Network’s series?  Gone.  A dark and serious war series (that was getting really grim by the end), that’s not family-friendly.  Now they have this bullshit “Rebels” series, which just retcons the history that Star Wars: Force Unleashed set up.  Oh, wait, they are choosing to ignore the Expanded Universe.  Of course.  And this amazing-looking game died with it.

This is what Disney does.  See, they are an evil corporation that doesn’t give a fuck about creating good content.  They want to make money.  The newest Star Wars film was proof of this.  Unpopular opinion: I think the new film was boring.  It was a movie I had already seen before.  The effects were better, and the new Death Star could blow up lots of planets instead of just one.  But the plot was almost beat-for-beat.  I was bored.  If only that film had had the guts to do something moderately-original.  Like you know what would have been cool – if the “Resistance” had lost the battle.  Like they are doing so well, and then fail.  That would have been a nice change.  And would have gone well with the deal with Han Solo being killed (I’d say spoiler alert, but come one, you’ve already seen it).  A grim first act would have set the stage nicely.

Disney can’t just let a good thing be a good thing.  They took their marvelous animated film, Fantasia, and turned it into a piece-of-shit Kinect title.  Pixar has become a shell of what it used to be.  The Marvel movies are getting REALLY boring.  There’s a reason that Deadpool was such a breath of fresh air to superhero films.  These movies are getting boring and predictable.  I liked Guardians of the Galaxy, but even I will admit how consistent that film is to the superhero formula.  The difference is that it was funny enough for that to work.

Maybe this is just me getting older and my inner child dying, but I feel like I am gradually losing the ability to let this slip past me.  My favorite comic book films this year is the one about the merc with the mouth, the superheroes fighting each other, and a group of villains saving the day.  That’s how sad this is getting.  Meanwhile, stuff that is original and interesting gets cut off because Disney doesn’t want to risk that their squeaky-clean family image might get damaged by a video game where you have swearing in the Star Wars universe.  Oh no!

Though maybe, since people still buy into this garbage, Boba Fett said it best.

Until next time, a quote,

“Fresh air is overrated.”  – Boba Fett, Star Wars 1313

Peace out,

Maverick

Lucien’s Review: Star Wars: The Force Awakens

Star Wars The Force AwakensFor the not one single person who was waiting for it, here is my review.  I have finally seen the new Star Wars movie.  Let me tell you, I have a lot to talk about.  Given that all of you have already seen it, this is probably going to be me talking to myself, but my comments section is wide open, people.  Feel free to jump on board and hate or like what I have to say.  I know that I am going to polarize some people.  I have some positive things to say, and some negative things to say.  People who know what kind of story I like might see my issues coming.  For the rest of you, let’s get going.

For the one person who hasn’t seen this movie, this movie is pretty much just a REALLY nice re-skin of the original film.  You have a secret McGuffin that a droid has, and the droid is on a desert world, hiding out from the Empire.  Wait, never mind.  It’s the First Order in this movie.  It’s the Empire.  Complete with stormtroopers and everything.  We’ll get to them in a moment.  For those who want to come at me for saying that this is a re-skin of the original film (I’ve noticed that nerds take that a little personally), I’m not trash-talking this movie for that quality.  As I said, it’s a good-looking re-skin.  If you gotta play to nostalgia, at least they did right by that.  It actually did feel like Star Wars.  That is a point in this movie’s favor.  Anyway, you get a new protagonist named Rey, and another protagonist named Finn, and now the race is on to get the information to the Rebellion (oh, I’m sorry, Resistance) before the evil dudes are able to destroy the world.  For real, this movie is not that complicated.  It wasn’t made to be.  Believe it or not, I don’t have a problem with that.

What did I like?  There are things to talk about there.  First, there is the fact that this movie definitely learned from the prequel trilogy.  There were honest-to-Groj sets in this movie!  That was so refreshing.  There were puppets and other kinds of actual creatures that were made with practical effects.  I loved that!  It was nice to see a Star Wars film that actually felt like it was part of a universe that you could feel and touch.  That was a real step in the right direction.  One that I hope they will continue.  The only time I was ever taken out of it was when Han and Kylo were on that bridge, and the obvious green-screen effect was there.  Other than that, this movie was able to combine practical and digital very well.  Props to them for that.

Next up is the action sequences.  Well, some of them.  To be specific, I mean the lightsaber stuff.  The battle between Kylo and Finn was one of the best action sequences in the film.  His fight with Rey was also not bad, but it had less weight, I think.  Partly because of my issues with Rey’s character.  Which brings me to the bad stuff.  I need to get some stuff off my chest.

Let’s head off a talking point – Rey isn’t a Mary Sue.  For those of you who want to know what that archetype is, go to Urban Dictionary or TV Tropes.  Either source will work.  For her to be a Mary Sue, that would have required her to have a personality.  Now I get to piss off the people at Vice and The Mary Sue who wrote about how empowered she is.  She’s not.  Rey isn’t as boring as Luke was in the original films, but that REALLY isn’t saying much.  She is definitely the most boring character in this film, but the truth is that the problem with her is the problem that I have with almost every character in this movie that isn’t ones from the previous movies.

You know what this movie could have used – some quiet time.  Some time for us to get to know these characters on the screen.  Some time for us to really dive into their personalities.  Why?  Because this film was DROWNING in plot!  They kept going from set-piece to set-piece, and the whole thing just gave me whiplash!  Like, they have this Mega Death Star.  Okay.  What’s that?  That whole deal is solved by the end of this movie?  Alright.  We have a TON of characters, all with what are supposed to be complicated motivations, but the fact is that we have almost no time to get to know them.  Like Kylo Ren.

Let’s talk about Kylo Ren.  This guy was cool, until he took his mask off.  My ability to take this character seriously ended there.  The people in the theater I was in looked over when I started laughing.  It was funny!  He’s so…gay.  He’s so fucking gay.  He’s the gayest villain I’ve seen in a while.  Almost all of it was tied into that stupid-ass haircut.  Who could take that seriously?  Millennials?  I guess so, since there were WAY too many young people in this movie.  Half the characters looked to be around the age of millennials.  Why?  Because they wanted to appeal to a target audience?  Yeah, that makes sense.  Like the other commander of the First Order.  This guy looks younger than me.  I’m 27.  How on Earth is someone with the rank of General that young?  Not to mention – he isn’t the least bit intimidating.  The casting for this movie’s villains was fucking awful.  Not one of these character had a discernible personality that I could describe via the Red Letter Media test.

Why did none of these characters have any personality?  Because there was way too fucking much happening in this movie.  This film had a plot that should have been stretched out to two movies.  This movie should have ended with the scene where the Mega Death Star attacks the bunch of planets.  That would have been a good stopping point.  It would have had the tension at its peak.  Rey would have been discovering her Jedi side.  Finn would have been leaving, but then deciding to stay when he sees what the First Order is capable of.  But more than any of that, it would have made it so that we had time to get to know these characters.  Some quiet time, you know?

Like, we see Rey and Han starting something that is almost paternal.  I would have liked to see more done with that.  Especially given some spoiler stuff with Han and his own family.  That would have made a nice dichotomy.  It also would have allowed us to get in his head.  Getting into the heads of these characters would have been nice, but to do so would have detracted from the set-pieces.

I want to like this movie, guys.  I really do.  From a production stand-point, there’s nothing inherantly wrong with it.  But because I didn’t go into this with nostalgia goggles on, I was able to look at this objectively and say that this movie could have been so much better.  Maybe have the film end with Rey getting kidnapped, after Mega Death Stars blows shit up.  Then everything’s going to shit, and it sets up the next film.  We would even have gotten to see some lightsaber stuff, which was cool.  But this movie had WAY too much going on, and we never got a chance to breathe.  Between all the things that were OBVIOUS throw-backs to the original films, and the characters who lack any depth, I just can’t say that I think this is a movie that was worth my time.

If you like this film, I don’t blame you.  If the nostalgia and seeing lightsabers and X-Wings gets your jimmys off, good for you.  I have made no secret that I like character-driven narratives more than plot-driven ones.  And here was a plot-driven one that almost-never gave you a chance to think.  Do with that whatever you will.  Which brings us to the most controversial part.  This isn’t going to make me any friends.

Final Verdict
6 out of 10

Peace out,

Maverick