Monday, December 28, 2015

What A Twist!: Star Wars: The Force Awakens Spoiler Discussion

Alright, it's been about a week and a half now, I guess we can freely talk Force Awakens spoilers.

Here we go...

Han Solo is dead. Long live Han Solo.

So yeah, Han Solo is officially dead in the Star Wars universe. And barring a surprise twist in Episode VIII that there's a Han Solo clone created on Kamino, it looks like Harrison Ford got his thirty year old wish and got to get a tragic send off from the galaxy far, far away. I had a strong hunch that Solo would die in this outing (I actually thought he, Chewbacca and the Millennium Falcon would all perish in a blaze of glory, but hey, one out of three ain't bad), and his demise at the hands of Kylo Ren ensured that Adam Drivers bad guy is officially beyond the point of redemption.

I do like the visual landscape of Solo confronting his son, Kylo Ren, on that catwalk, with Chewbacca, Rey and Finn being on one side of the catwalk and Rens master Supreme Leader Snoke, allowing for Kylo Rens internal struggle between the light and the dark side of the Force to become physically manifested. Even better is the small detail of him committing this nefarious deed with his mask off; Ren himself wants to prove to himself that he is the one executing this atrocity, he can't hide behind a mask. Speaking of that big o'l bad guy, I couldn't go into detail on Kylo Ren in my proper review due to how much of his personality hinges on uber spoilery details, but yeah, he's a great bad guy. He's no General Grievous or Darth Maul (i.e. visually interesting villains with nothing of substance to do), he's actually a fascinating foe whose inner moral dissension spurs some of the films best moments.

Also worth noting; in the days since my initial review went up, the lead character of this film, Rey, has been dubbed a "Mary Sue" by Max Landis and other individuals due to her being "perfect" in the film and lacking a character arc. To those folks I say....bwuh?? I actually thought Rey had a mighty interesting character arc in the film, one that immediately separates her from Luke Skywalker and solidifies her as an interesting character in her own right. Her arc of learning to let go of the family that abandoned her and embrace the new individuals (like Finn, Han Solo and Chewbacca) who care about her is handled mighty well, and the concept of her being perfect strikes me as even more bizarre. Remember when she inadvertently unleashed a bunch of squid monsters?

One final scene I wanna talk about; that ending, where Mark Hamill shows up in a cameo. Not a word is spoken by him or Rey as she confronts him, and while it's certainly different from what many may have expected, I actually think it's one of the films smartest choices to keep Luke hidden for so much of the film. Similar to another 2015 franchise revival Creed, The Force Awakens is not interesting in just poking your nostalgia buttons, but rather wants to blaze its own narrative path. A bold move that pays off in the film itself, with our new characters working like gangbusters and me and millions of audience members across the planet being giddy at the prospect of what future sequels will bring to the likes of Rey, Finn, Poe, BB-8 and Kylo Ren.

Hopefully Episode 8 actually gives Captain Phasma something to do next time. That'd be reeeeallly nice.

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