16 votes

How The Last Jedi Defies Expectations

56 comments

  1. [7]
    RapidEyeMovement
    Link
    I have had reservations about The Last Jedi since I watched it, and admittedly I have only seen it once so take my opinions w/ that in mind, not someone who has had the time to analyze every frame...

    I have had reservations about The Last Jedi since I watched it, and admittedly I have only seen it once so take my opinions w/ that in mind, not someone who has had the time to analyze every frame but only a general overview of the film.

    The Author states that TLJ defies expectations, but my question is should it?

    Should a single movie in a Star Wars trilogy define expectations? Because the first movie in this trilogy didn't, it followed the same type of story arc and structure as the 1st Trilogy (almost directly copying A New Hope's flow).

    There is a certain suspension of disbelief that the audience has to buy into when they watch a Stormtrooper (the elite soldiers of the empire) miss for the thousandths time. Or when the heroes escape death by a hair yet again. But if the director wants to take us into a more tactical/realistic view of the Universe where action have consequences outside of the immediate, where grand gestures are chastised and characters who are propped up as heroes to the audience are sent on missions that are ultimately of no consequence other than to move them away from the action for the whole episode.

    And to nitpick for a second, I think they did a horrible job of showing how futile Finn's last gesture was. Because I did not come away thinking his heroic act was going to be futile. From where I sat in the theater it was going to be successful and give the rebels the time they needed to escape. It was going to give Finn a reason to exist in this movie, without that sacrifice Finn's character has no reason to be in this movie at all. He could have died in the opening sequence and no one would have know he was gone, because he had no effected the outcome.

    I generally liked TLJ, it was interesting world to explore and fun to watch, but the director broke the Star Wars Universe on multiple occasions. Which directly resulted in the audiences inability to buy into what they are watching. When you break the laws of the Universe it lessens the ability the audience to suspend disbelief, which makes your story less believable and takes away from the magic of the experience. To me this is the issue with TLJ, the director broke the Universe on too many occasions which took me out of the movie and made me question what I was seeing, lessened my enjoyment of the movie and the magic of the Star Wars Universe.

    7 votes
    1. [6]
      Catt
      (edited )
      Link Parent
      The funny thing for me was that I didn't like the movie because I don't think it went far enough, and also that it was boring. I'm totally up for them shaking things up, but I felt like they...

      The Author states that TLJ defies expectations, but my question is should it?

      The funny thing for me was that I didn't like the movie because I don't think it went far enough, and also that it was boring. I'm totally up for them shaking things up, but I felt like they sorted did, but then went back to status quo, so I got a bit of a - what's the point? - feel.

      And to nitpick for a second, I think they did a horrible job of showing how futile Finn's last gesture was.

      I actually thought this was one of the better done parts. For me, it was pretty obvious. Poe, who's experienced and all about taking crazy risks, pulls back, that's a pretty good indication it's time to pull back. But I do think they may have focused a bit too much on Finn's belief that the act wasn't futile, which could be why different people saw that part differently. This is not a bad thing either, since you really can't be 100% sure what the exact outcome of something will be.

      but the director broke the Star Wars Universe on multiple occasions.

      Just wondering what parts you thought did this?

      Edit: fixed some grammar mistakes.

      3 votes
      1. [5]
        RapidEyeMovement
        (edited )
        Link Parent
        I have no problem with most of these events by themselves, but what they do is pull the audience out of the story and the flow of the movie and raise questions about what they have seen...

        I have no problem with most of these events by themselves, but what they do is pull the audience out of the story and the flow of the movie and raise questions about what they have seen previously.

        Leah using the Force, to escape death from the vacuum of space.
        Using a force power that has never been shown in any version of the Star Wars Universe, one that could have been helpful on multiple occasions. Being used by a character that in this version of Leia is only force sensitive.

        There being a tracker on only 1 ship, so once we know that why not have all the rest of the ships escape?

        Lord Snoke being a non character This feel like Chekhov's gun "never place a loaded rifle on the stage if it isn't going to go off. It's wrong to make promises you don't mean to keep."

        Canto Bight subplot, lavish interesting world to explore. Yet we get nothing from this sub plot. Like you could edit out the entire thing and you have the same movie the audience spent all that time their and they felt like they got nothing from it.

        I went over this already, but Finn consistently being removed from having any meaningful effect on the story.

        BB-8, a droid, driving a walker to save the day. (again make you question past events when this would have helped other characters in other situations)

        The one that truly breaks Star Wars Universe is using a single ship, piloted by one person, to destroy multiple other ships much larger then itself. This is the Ultimate weapon for any small resistance force against a larger more well equipped force. You can do this over and over again. In multiple scenarios to great effect.

        Edit: Wording, grammar

        There are other that I thought at the time of watching the movie that I cannot remember now

        2nd Edit:

        This is what is wrong with TLJ, said better then I ever could hope too

        7 votes
        1. Autoxidation
          Link Parent
          Much of the humor was god awful as well. The whole opening scene with the call between Poe and the First Order commander was embarrassing.

          Much of the humor was god awful as well. The whole opening scene with the call between Poe and the First Order commander was embarrassing.

          2 votes
        2. [3]
          Catt
          Link Parent
          All really fair points that did really stand out to me too. Yeah, a lot of those I felt were a bit jarring too, though with the exception of the last point, if presented better a lot of those...

          All really fair points that did really stand out to me too.

          Yeah, a lot of those I felt were a bit jarring too, though with the exception of the last point, if presented better a lot of those could have worked.

          Leah is force sensitive, though I thought the pure drama they tried to inject into that scene made it difficult to take seriously. I would have preferred maybe something a bit more subtle, where we're not sure if she was using the force or just got a bit lucky and managed to grab a loose cable or something and pull herself back.

          Canto part and Finn being removed from action in general would have been fine with me, because sometimes people do end up on meaningless missions. However, I felt they lost his character in the Casio, it was too weird to have this "we have to save everyone narrative to whoa shiny" that really didn't work for me.

          I can't agree more with Snoke or the single ship thing.

          2 votes
          1. [2]
            SleepyGary
            Link Parent
            The bit with Leia flying through space was a force pull, it's not unseen before except she's using it to pull herself to an object rather than pulling an object to herself. Holding on ones breath...

            The bit with Leia flying through space was a force pull, it's not unseen before except she's using it to pull herself to an object rather than pulling an object to herself. Holding on ones breath for a long time is not unseen for force users either, i.e., phantom menace when obiwan and quigon get gassed. The only bit we've not really seen before is surviving explosive decompression... for a human, though in the cartoons we've seen Jedi in the vacuum of space, I can't remember if that was a trait of the race or his mastery though.

            1 vote
            1. Catt
              Link Parent
              To be honest, I don't have an issue with the force pull, just the way it was framed. We see her floating in space (like you said somehow survived the explosive decompression)..Oh no, is she dead?...

              To be honest, I don't have an issue with the force pull, just the way it was framed. We see her floating in space (like you said somehow survived the explosive decompression)..Oh no, is she dead? Then suddenly Mary Poppins her way to safety. Just felt too cheesy.

              2 votes
  2. [7]
    eladnarra
    Link
    The backlash against TLJ (and to a lesser extent Force Awakens) really confused me. I've been watching the original trilogy since I was 3 years old, and to me neither felt like they were a...

    The backlash against TLJ (and to a lesser extent Force Awakens) really confused me. I've been watching the original trilogy since I was 3 years old, and to me neither felt like they were a betrayal or weren't really Star Wars. I found them fun and exciting, and while I totally get that not everyone liked them, the vitriol from some people was startling.

    So... this video makes intuitive sense for me. The backlash felt different, and it wouldn't surprise me if he is at least partially correct that it stemmed from having women in positions of institutional and moral authority over the main male characters. People seem to hate Holdo and Rose. And to be frank, I think if you could magically replace them with male characters fulfilling the same plot functions, you wouldn't see as much hatred. I can still see folks arguing that a male Holdo made the wrong decision in not telling Poe the plan, but I can't as easily imagine people utterly despising the character because of it.

    6 votes
    1. [3]
      Comment deleted by author
      Link Parent
      1. eladnarra
        Link Parent
        Yeah, I don't think the video is claiming that everyone who thinks TLJ is bad is sexist (and I'm definitely not saying that). Opinions vary, and even though I liked both films I know plenty of...

        but I and others I know to not be sexist think TLJ was pretty bad. That's why TFA's backlash was more muted, since it was still mostly competently executed movie even if a retread, which may have motivated Rian to "subvert expectations" with the sequel. I wasn't concerned so much about it being unfaithful to the nebulous concept of Star Wars-ness, but it was a bad sequel and a bad movie.

        Yeah, I don't think the video is claiming that everyone who thinks TLJ is bad is sexist (and I'm definitely not saying that). Opinions vary, and even though I liked both films I know plenty of people have perfectly valid reasons for disliking them. However, I do think the excessively virulent response to certain female characters often has, at the very least, sexist undertones.

        I was trying to find a clip from the movie on Youtube with Holdo, and most of what I found were pages upon pages of videos with titles about how Holdo was THE WORST CHARACTER IN STAR WARS EVER, with her face in the thumbnail often crossed out or even photoshopped to look disturbing.

        Of course, Jar Jar Binks was also hated to an extreme degree, so gender isn't not the only factor. But I think it's important to analyze how we critique female characters within a story; are people critiquing male characters that are "bad" in the same way? Are the things female characters are being slammed for at least partially to do with defying gender roles/expectations? Do people fall back on gendered insults, or even go so far as to harass the actresses? Etc :)

        4 votes
      2. RapidEyeMovement
        Link Parent
        I think Rogue One is the best Star Wars movie of this decade

        I think Rogue One is the best Star Wars movie of this decade

        1 vote
    2. [4]
      Catt
      Link Parent
      Holdo not telling Poe the plan was kinda stupid to me, but I also don't understand why it bother people so much. Poe's a main character in the story, not the universe itself. It makes sense to me...

      Holdo not telling Poe the plan was kinda stupid to me, but I also don't understand why it bother people so much. Poe's a main character in the story, not the universe itself. It makes sense to me that someone who didn't trust him didn't bother trying to argue with him.

      I do agree the women take an unfair amount of hate considering the men are particularly well written either.

      2 votes
      1. [3]
        RapidEyeMovement
        Link Parent
        I was totally for not telling Poe, the empire was somehow tracking them, and they didn't know if it was an insider giving their position away. He was not in a need to know position. His job was to...

        I was totally for not telling Poe, the empire was somehow tracking them, and they didn't know if it was an insider giving their position away. He was not in a need to know position. His job was to follow orders, which he couldn't even do that well.

        The problem is, he is the lens the audience see the world from, so we as audience expect to be filled in and not left grasping at straws trying to find out what is happening in the story that is being told to us.

        4 votes
        1. eladnarra
          Link Parent
          That's a good point. I wonder how much of the backlash was due to people not feeling like they were being included in key parts of the plot.

          The problem is, he is the lens the audience see the world from, so we as audience expect to be filled in and not left grasping at straws trying to find out what is happening in the story that is being told to us.

          That's a good point. I wonder how much of the backlash was due to people not feeling like they were being included in key parts of the plot.

          4 votes
        2. Catt
          Link Parent
          Agreed. I felt it was missing one good scene where instead of Holdo doing the "I know flyboys like you" sort of thing, she professionally tells him she has a plan, he's not needed and will find...

          Agreed. I felt it was missing one good scene where instead of Holdo doing the "I know flyboys like you" sort of thing, she professionally tells him she has a plan, he's not needed and will find out when he needs to. Basically whatever they were trying to do, but better.

          3 votes
  3. [31]
    Moonikun
    (edited )
    Link
    In response to the video. I feel like the social commentary and the push toward strong female leads in this case sometimes came at the cost of continuity with the Star Wars Universe. If it was...

    In response to the video. I feel like the social commentary and the push toward strong female leads in this case sometimes came at the cost of continuity with the Star Wars Universe. If it was another movie that was separate from already established canon I could enjoy the movie more and appreciate the strong female roles. Take Aliens for instance, a good movie with strong female characters. The movie was written in a way that any of the role could be interchanged with male or female roles truly showing that men and women are equal while giving the audience a good movie to enjoy. Replace any of the strong female roles of Star Wars with men, or replace any of the men's roles with women and the movie in my opinion is still a bad movie. But now you have a bad movie that's pushing the idea that "movies need more strong female roles" and you get a bunch of backlash because at times those two will intersect. The movie sacrifices something in order to make the women stand above the men. Haters will ultimately dwell on that and blame "the push towards feminist representation" for ruining something when really its just that bad movie but with added social agenda sprinkled in. This is why I wish Last Jedi was actually good because then it would be a good movie showing that good movies can also have good strong female characters. As it stands because it pushes an agenda but fails at its primary function for the audience. There's a lot of different criticism of the movie and it all seems to be balled up together eventually. When you push an agenda though it makes some viewers wonder if those criticism aren't at least in part because of the agenda that's being pushed. The most vitriol will latch on to that. I can give credit to the way in which they made the female characters stand out in the movie but standing out wasn't a good thing in this case. That's just my opinion though. Ultimately when there is true equal representation in movies you'll have equal number of good and bad movie with equal parts for men and women but we're not there yet. When it becomes the norm then the character roles that are being emphasized in this movie will be a non factor. But it will still be a bad movie.

    5 votes
    1. [11]
      Comment deleted by author
      Link Parent
      1. Ellimist
        Link Parent
        It doesn’t. There have ALWAYS been strong women in Star Wars, both on film, the new Expanded Universe, and the old Legends canon. Nothing in TLJ breaks continuity

        It doesn’t. There have ALWAYS been strong women in Star Wars, both on film, the new Expanded Universe, and the old Legends canon. Nothing in TLJ breaks continuity

        13 votes
      2. [9]
        MADAtron
        Link Parent
        I don't think having a strong female lead in the movie itself caused the rift with established canon, but the way in which Rey and Leia's force powers manifest contrasts harshly with what we've...

        I don't think having a strong female lead in the movie itself caused the rift with established canon, but the way in which Rey and Leia's force powers manifest contrasts harshly with what we've seen before in the movies and series. This gives the impression that the writers chose to ignore (or were instructed to ignore) canon to re-write the rules of the universe, at the expense of the known and expected hero's journey arc that we want to see with a protagonist.

        In previous iterations it's always been implied that Jedi powers take years to hone, but Rey seems to have near immediate and complete command of her force powers from her first confrontation with Kylo in the Force Awakens. Those who delved into the expanded universe at all shouldn't be surprised that an aged Leia would have developed some significant expertise though, so that one is fine other than the goofy optics of the outer space shot.

        I was initially optimistic about Rey's character at the end of TFA, as they had carefully dropped threads earlier in the movie that could have been used to explain an instant unlock of something that should take time to master. In TFA, the First Order specifically takes time to mention how stormtroopers have their memories wiped to ensure compliance, which I figured they could use to account for Rey's rapid advancement as a Jedi (suspected she had previously learned the abilities but had them locked by some form of brainwashing).

        Instead, TLJ backtracks on those threads and creates the new dark-light balance paradigm where any unexpected rise in power for either Kylo or Rey is due to the innate desire of the universe to balance the light side with the dark.

        The rewriting of how the Force works with respect to Rey means that she was robbed of the expected development arc that people had become accustomed to, with no real payoff for having subverted people's expectations.

        2 votes
        1. [8]
          Batcow
          (edited )
          Link Parent
          I don't understand how Rey's force powers manifested any differently to Luke's. Luke blew up the Death Star with an impossible shot on what... his second day of knowing the force? And then only a...

          I don't understand how Rey's force powers manifested any differently to Luke's. Luke blew up the Death Star with an impossible shot on what... his second day of knowing the force? And then only a year or two later he held his own against Darth Vader with barely any further training. Rey suddenly understanding and tapping into the force was her Death Star moment, and it's not that unbelievable that she was able to beat a physically wounded, emotionally traumatised dark side apprentice.

          EDIT: I just wanted to add, I think the prequels and expanded universe have tainted peoples' perception of the force in an unhealthy way. It's not a skill, it's... well... a force. Sure you can learn to tap into it better, but it has a will of its own, and when it wants to lend you its strength, it does. Star Wars is a universe of mysticism, it's not an RPG where you have to level up and unlock skills methodically.

          5 votes
          1. [4]
            papasquat
            Link Parent
            It wasn't an impossible shot at all. Difficult, yes, but not impossible, and Luke was already a skilled amateur pilot. If it was impossible, they wouldn't have tried the run in the first place....

            It wasn't an impossible shot at all. Difficult, yes, but not impossible, and Luke was already a skilled amateur pilot. If it was impossible, they wouldn't have tried the run in the first place. Luke even says he used to bullseye womp-rats in his t-16 that were close to the same size as the target, it's not like he's doing something he's never done before. The force assisted him, but it didn't give him a skill he didn't already have.

            Rey defeated a powerful and highly skilled lightsaber duelist the first time she used a lightsaber. Compare that to Luke, who could barely block a single blaster shot from a practice drone the first time he used one.

            3 votes
            1. [3]
              Batcow
              Link Parent
              Rey already knew how to fight with a melee weapon, just like Luke already knew how to pilot. The force just guided them. And Luke's shot makes an almost 90° turn at just the right moment, I've...

              Rey already knew how to fight with a melee weapon, just like Luke already knew how to pilot. The force just guided them. And Luke's shot makes an almost 90° turn at just the right moment, I've always interpreted that as part of him using the force.

              1. [2]
                papasquat
                Link Parent
                I don't think that was the force. After all, the rebellion didn't know luke was force sensitive when they came up with the death star bombing run, and I don't even know if the original plan was...

                I don't think that was the force. After all, the rebellion didn't know luke was force sensitive when they came up with the death star bombing run, and I don't even know if the original plan was even for luke to make the shot.

                1. Batcow
                  Link Parent
                  I don't think they realised just how impossible the shot was to be honest, they thought their targeting computers could handle it but in the moment that turned out to be wrong, the movie spends a...

                  I don't think they realised just how impossible the shot was to be honest, they thought their targeting computers could handle it but in the moment that turned out to be wrong, the movie spends a bit of time showing us that.

          2. [3]
            MADAtron
            Link Parent
            Ignoring any portrayals in the prequels or EU, take the original trilogy; it's the training/practice in the ways of the Force that allows Luke to conquer his inner demons and remain faithful to...

            Ignoring any portrayals in the prequels or EU, take the original trilogy; it's the training/practice in the ways of the Force that allows Luke to conquer his inner demons and remain faithful to the light side. Part of his journey was that he had to experience the toil of genuine labor in order to steel himself for his final confrontation with Vader and the emperor. Yoda's big fear was that not taking the training required to mentally prepare himself left Luke vulnerable to falling into the Dark path - specifically referenced multiple times as 'the easy way', or 'quicker' path to power. The emperor himself refers to Luke's feeble "skills" being no match for the power of the dark side.

            Interpreting the force as a mystical magic that can activate in anyone at any time robs the heroes of any true accomplishment of their own and ignores the fundamental role it plays in character development in the OT as well as the prequels and non-canon EU.

            2 votes
            1. [2]
              Batcow
              Link Parent
              You're right that Luke went through that inner turmoil and emotional labour to better use the force, but my point was more that neither Luke or Rey went through 15 years of grueling skills...

              You're right that Luke went through that inner turmoil and emotional labour to better use the force, but my point was more that neither Luke or Rey went through 15 years of grueling skills training to get where they were. And Rey did go through the emotional labour too - she had to come to terms with forgetting the mysteries of the past and focus on the future, she had to accept that no-one (neither Kylo or Luke) was going to hand her a place in the galaxy on a silver platter, she had to learn to deal with the force on her own terms. There's definitely a problem across Star Wars that the "will of the force" potentially robs characters of agency or of external development, but it's made up for by the fact that the force represents internal developments. In the OT and ST it's not earned by external work, but by bravery, acceptance, belief, etc. Essentially, it's a physical manifestation of the character's arcs, and I think that rings true for both Luke and Rey.

              2 votes
              1. MADAtron
                Link Parent
                That's an interesting interpretation, that improvements in the ability to use the force could be unlocked by achieving some sort of emotional turning point or catharsis, though I'm not sure the...

                That's an interesting interpretation, that improvements in the ability to use the force could be unlocked by achieving some sort of emotional turning point or catharsis, though I'm not sure the existing movies bear that out - mastery of the light side powers takes time (not necessarily 15 years though) and requires a level of mental maturity or discipline. The force isn't earned through bravery, acceptance, etc. Luke already had bravery and political motivation at the start of ANH, and wasn't able to start using the force even in a minimal fashion until Obi-wan started showing him the ropes. Learning the truth about Vader was the big obstacle in his life, which training allowed him to ultimately overcome. Rey's powers manifested at the end of TFA prior to her having any kind of emotional resolution for her past, which ended up being detailed in TLJ.

                So the light side powers in the force are (or used to be) a reflection of the efforts they've put in to preparing themselves mentally for challenges ahead, often implying that the result is extreme longevity or good health (i.e. Obi-Wan, Yoda).

                Conversely, on the dark side, powers are amplified by succumbing to one's base urges and emotions (anger, rage, etc). The emotions are increased when some emotional trauma occurs to the dark side user. These increases in power are always accompanied by some sort of physical change in the character themselves, as a physical representation of the corrupting influence of their power (Palpatine's aged appearance, Vader's lost limbs and scars, Kylo's scarred face).

                My point being that the sequel movies so far have stayed true to how powers are shown on the dark side, but Rey is an exception to every light side user that has been seen before, in that she hasn't had to go through a mental training regimen before having her abilities appear. This significantly changes what the light side represents within the universe, and for viewers of the series in general.

                1 vote
    2. [3]
      jauntyharrison
      Link Parent
      You're slightly misremembering, and I think there's some granularity in the differences between Ridley Scott's film and and James Cameron's film that is useful in this conversation. As the script...

      Take Aliens for instance, a good movie with strong female characters. The movie was written in a way that any of the role could be interchanged with male or female roles truly showing that men and women are equal while giving the audience a good movie to enjoy.

      You're slightly misremembering, and I think there's some granularity in the differences between Ridley Scott's film and and James Cameron's film that is useful in this conversation. As the script for Alien was coming together, Scott made a bit of an eleventh hour decision that Ripley should be a woman. Not much was changed, they didn't go back over it and add a heap of 1970s sexism to the character's details. The lead was a bit underwritten by the fashions of the day, but it holds up because all of the human elements of Alien are presented in a Robert-Altman-esque naturalistic mode. Ripley remains fairly androgynous because the whole film emphasizes subtlety and humanity.

      James Cameron has never made a subtle film. The character of Ripley in Aliens doesn't benefit from a series of genderblind drafts, the way she did in the first film. She's explicitly written to embrace or respond to 1980s attitudes of what a woman should be. She's a mother, literal and surrogate. She's patronized by people and institutions in the story. She's objectified by Burke, who literally tries to use her body to smuggle an alien off of LV-426. Where the conclusion of Alien is framed as a sole human struggling to survive, the conclusion of Aliens is explicitly framed as a tough woman struggling to protect a child.

      9 votes
      1. Moonikun
        Link Parent
        I'm going to just assume you're right about this. I'm not super familiar with the details and I've only heard it talked about in a few conversations and maybe a video on Youtube. I never really...

        I'm going to just assume you're right about this. I'm not super familiar with the details and I've only heard it talked about in a few conversations and maybe a video on Youtube. I never really studied it extensively and it's just something that I half remembered someone staying too me once so I could either be misquoting, misremembering or given bad information (any of the combination of the three as well). From what I do remember it was more how the characters' dialogues with each other never denoted if they were female or male as to be able to cast anyone in those roles. I might be misconstruing or stretching that to thin extent but my point is that each of the characters were strong on their own right not because of their casted gender roles but just because they just are strong characters both well rounded and developed. I feel like this is the best way to show gender equality and strong female roles. While we are discussing demonstrates how each of the female roles is strong in their own way I feel like the characters in Star Wars: TLJ are just not very good to begin with. They're not well rounded, they're flawed but not in a humanizing way.

        3 votes
      2. Pilgrim
        Link Parent
        Aliens 3 was even more blatant. Thanks for sharing the story about Alien - didn't know that.

        Aliens 3 was even more blatant. Thanks for sharing the story about Alien - didn't know that.

    3. [16]
      Catt
      (edited )
      Link Parent
      Curious, why do you think that? Strong female characters already exist in the universe and these are new movies. It wasn't a gender swap of an existing character or anything. This is pretty much...

      I feel like the social commentary and the push toward strong female leads in this case sometimes came at the cost of continuity with the Star Wars Universe.

      Curious, why do you think that? Strong female characters already exist in the universe and these are new movies. It wasn't a gender swap of an existing character or anything.

      Replace any of the strong female roles of Star Wars with men, or replace any of the men's roles with women and the movie in my opinion is still a bad movie. But now you have a bad movie that's pushing the idea that "movies need more strong female roles" and you get a bunch of backlash because at times those two will intersect.

      This is pretty much how I felt. I honestly didn't think TFA or TLJ were particularly good movies. And swapping any of the genders there weren't going to help that. The characters themselves were shallow.

      7 votes
      1. [15]
        Moonikun
        (edited )
        Link Parent
        Sorry I'm not really familiar with how to quote so this is going to look messy (which it is): I feel like Ray's abilities to wield the force and her lack of background makes for a Mary Sue type...

        Sorry I'm not really familiar with how to quote so this is going to look messy (which it is):

        Curious, why do you think that? Strong female characters already exist in the universe and these are new movies. It wasn't a gender swap of an existing character or anything.

        I feel like Ray's abilities to wield the force and her lack of background makes for a Mary Sue type scenario when there is long history of established required training to get to know and wield the force. Even in previous movies there was an emphasis on being strong with force as an inherited trait. In the canon different species interact or react to the force differently thus suggesting some sort of genetic influence to force interaction. How hyper space functions also becomes a plot point that differs from how I and many others understood it. Princess Leia's ability to save herself from the vacuum of space using the force when never having demonstrated any proficiency with the force prior or at least to the same degree. We all know she is strong with the force which is where it is assumed Kilo Ren inherits his strength with the force. While none of these were probably made specifically to booster the female roles specifically because they were female, that you have these roles filled by females and then break the continuity means the characters must shoulder the burden of these flaws with the movie.

        3 votes
        1. [10]
          Ellimist
          Link Parent
          So why is Rey a Mary Sue when her path was virtually exactly the same as Luke’s in the OT? Every criticism leveled at Rey could also be applied to Luke but Rey is the one treated like it’s a bad...

          So why is Rey a Mary Sue when her path was virtually exactly the same as Luke’s in the OT?

          Every criticism leveled at Rey could also be applied to Luke but Rey is the one treated like it’s a bad thing.

          You’re debating from a flawed premise. The Force as an “inherited trait” is specific to one family, so far. In the old EU, it absolutely manifested as a more genetic trait, like the Horn family, but in the new canon, the Skywalkers are the only ones I can think of, off the top of my head anyway, who have exhibited this. And the Skywalkers are an exception to the rule as it is since it’s heavily implied that Anakin was literally “born of the Force”. But I can think of no other characters where this applies.

          Rey’s character is an attempt to break that mold. That you do not have to be a Skywalker to be powerful and naturally gifted in the Force. I believe that it’s possible Rey is another “Chosen One”. I also believe that TFA Rey is as powerful and gifted as she is because the Force is literally working through her, guiding her, in ways we haven’t seen before. Just my personal HC/theory so far.

          4 votes
          1. [9]
            Moonikun
            Link Parent
            The difference between Luke and Rey is that even when Luke was strong with the force he required guidance and training, he was still unable to utilize it in the way we see Rey is able to to even...

            The difference between Luke and Rey is that even when Luke was strong with the force he required guidance and training, he was still unable to utilize it in the way we see Rey is able to to even without proper training. Even beyond just the powers Rey's character does not grow in the two movies, she's seemingly the same person she always has been. Contrast this with Luke from the original story. His character changes, his is experiences in the movies leave their mark. He grows in the force as well as a person. Where is that in Rey's character either in powers or in character? How is she not the Mary Sue? Luke Skywalker in TLJ experiences more personal development and growth than she does. I actually think the movie is more about him than her since he really is the last jedi.

            The power difference even between Rey who is noted as a "nobody" and Anakin Skywalker, the first and only case I've known of to be born directly from intervention from the force is vastly on a different scale. I'm not a huge follower of Star Wars in general though I did enjoy the original 3 movies, so a lot of what I'm saying is just based upon the world established from the movies and since this is a continuation of the that specific series I feel like the ground work the those movies made should be applicable.

            3 votes
            1. [8]
              Ellimist
              Link Parent
              If we break it down movie by movie, Luke doesn’t have any more reason to be as talented as he is, particularly if we base it solely on what we see in the films themselves. In ANH, Luke’s...

              If we break it down movie by movie, Luke doesn’t have any more reason to be as talented as he is, particularly if we base it solely on what we see in the films themselves.

              In ANH, Luke’s “guidance” amounts to one training session with Obi Wan against a remote. That’s it. In TFA, Rey has a similar encounter with Maz Kanata minus the training remote. Even the language used was similar. “A Jedi can feel the Force flowing through him” “I am no Jedi but I know the Force. It moves through and surrounds every living being”. But both Obi Wan and Maz are telling their respective pupils that the Force guides them. That’s pretty much the extent of Luke’s training in ANH.

              In ESB, Luke does spend a significant amount of time with Yoda and failing at everything Yoda challenged him with but do we ever see anything resembling lightsaber practice? Other than Luke’s brief duel against himself in the Cave, no. There’s nothing to imply Luke could go toe to toe with Vader in a lightsaber duel. But he does. Even landing a blow on Vader that would’ve killed anyone else.

              There’s also a bigger time gap between ANH and ESB than there is in TFA/TLJ. This could explain some of the Luke’s growth between the two films but it also justifies why Rey would have less. TFA/TLJ are literally within days of each other whereas ANH/ESB spans two years, iirc. People don’t usually change much over the course of days but years?

              Beyond that, I absolutely agree that TLJ is about Luke, not Rey. Perhaps the reason Rey experiences little character growth is because she’s the catalyst for Luke’s “Redemption” as Luke was once Vaders.

              Anakin was vastly more powerful than Rey has shown to be having done pretty much everything Rey has at the age of 9. Gifted pilot? Talented mechanic? Instinctive use of the Force? By the time Anakin is the same age as Rey, a gifted lightsaber duelist.

              5 votes
              1. [7]
                Moonikun
                Link Parent
                Power by power: Mind control Used by Obi Wan, a Jedi Master in ANH. Used (attempted) by Qui Gon Jinn, a Jedi Master that should have been sitting on the Jedi Council in PM? Used by Luke Skywalker,...

                Power by power:
                Mind control
                Used by Obi Wan, a Jedi Master in ANH.
                Used (attempted) by Qui Gon Jinn, a Jedi Master that should have been sitting on the Jedi Council in PM?
                Used by Luke Skywalker, a self professed Jedi Master in RTJ
                Used by Rey, have never been trained and having never believed in the force prior in FA

                Telekinesis
                Used by pretty much all Jedi Knight, Masters, Siths
                Semi successful/ failed by Luke Skywalker having not completed his training in ESB
                Used by Rey (I would say masterfully) having had 1 actual lesson from Luke in TLJ

                So Rey is basically just a plot devise at this point more than an actual character cause she moves everything around her but is herself never moved. This makes her a terrible example of strong female roles in the movie (going back to the video).

                When comparing Anakin to Rey I disregard the age basically because the training and time to become familiar with the use of their powers is the very thing we are discussing. To compare based upon age is to ignore that by the time Anakin was Rey's age he had been training as Jedi for years. I don't agree that age 9 Anakin has shown to be more powerful than Rey but this is due to them not displaying the same power. It could all just be chalked up their power manifesting in different ways since neither demonstrated the same force power. I do think precognition is a more advanced power that even Yoda didn't have mastery over, so you may be right.

                4 votes
                1. [5]
                  Comment deleted by author
                  Link Parent
                  1. [2]
                    Catt
                    Link Parent
                    I honestly don't agree with this. You can't just toss one word in the title of a movie and excuse all bad writing. Within the Star Wars universe, Ezra and Anikin were showed to already be using...

                    Rey's force was...awakened. Hence the title. She struggled her entire life, fighting and scrapping for everything, learning how to be strong and resourceful. Luke was a fucking farmer. This isn't a canon issue, you just seem to be unwilling to update yours.

                    I honestly don't agree with this. You can't just toss one word in the title of a movie and excuse all bad writing. Within the Star Wars universe, Ezra and Anikin were showed to already be using the force even before training or understanding that was what they were doing. This was not the case for Rey. She was pretty much good at everything as soon as she tried it. Mind control in particular is shown in the universe itself as not something necessarily easy. Can't remember the exact episode, but Ezra tried it for the first time (after he started his training) and failed.

                    5 votes
                    1. [2]
                      Comment deleted by author
                      Link Parent
                      1. Catt
                        Link Parent
                        Hmm...I can see this, though I'm not sure if the writing does support it. To be fair I walked into TLJ with expectations, so I may just need to watch it again and see.

                        I see no problem with this, as long as the surrounding writing is there. And I think it is in TFA, and somewhat in TLJ.

                        Hmm...I can see this, though I'm not sure if the writing does support it. To be fair I walked into TLJ with expectations, so I may just need to watch it again and see.

                  2. [2]
                    Moonikun
                    Link Parent
                    I think this is where just a difference of interpretation comes in. I am just giving examples of established abilities and proficiencies in the previous Star Wars as to the reason why I feel Rey...

                    I think this is where just a difference of interpretation comes in. I am just giving examples of established abilities and proficiencies in the previous Star Wars as to the reason why I feel Rey is a Mary Sue when it comes to being able to do everything with very little to no training or effort. I don't believe your counter argument does anything to change this basis though. In fact it might even support it because now she's a lady that has super genius intelligence that can reverse engineer and use powers and abilities she only briefly get introduced to. She can do to people things they can't do to her (extract information). How is this note a Mary Sue?

                    4 votes
                    1. Catt
                      Link Parent
                      She's definitely a Mary Sue. For me it's more that I don't think her being a Mary Sue is a problem in TFA because I was expecting an explanation on how or why she could magically do all the things...

                      She's definitely a Mary Sue. For me it's more that I don't think her being a Mary Sue is a problem in TFA because I was expecting an explanation on how or why she could magically do all the things she does. This is why, for me, TFA was okay, but TLJ was bad. They didn't explain anything that could justify her abilities.

                      4 votes
                2. [2]
                  eladnarra
                  Link Parent
                  Are you referring to his attempt to mind control Watto? I may be wrong, but I remember Watto saying that he's a species that's unaffected by it. (Doesn't really change your point.) Since I'm much...

                  Mind control
                  Used (attempted) by Qui Gon Jinn, a Jedi Master that should have been sitting on the Jedi Council in PM?

                  Are you referring to his attempt to mind control Watto? I may be wrong, but I remember Watto saying that he's a species that's unaffected by it. (Doesn't really change your point.)

                  Since I'm much more willing to give the movies the benefit of the doubt than most, I'm fine with assuming that perhaps Rey has used mind control unconsciously in the past (such as to get BB8 at the beginning of the film). But that's on the fan theory side of things rather than anything particularly supported by the film itself.

                  2 votes
                  1. Ellimist
                    Link Parent
                    You are correct. Toydarians are unaffected by Jedi mind tricks as are Hutts, which we learn in Return of the Jedi. It doesn't affect his point but it does alter the context. Qui Gon didn't fail...

                    You are correct. Toydarians are unaffected by Jedi mind tricks as are Hutts, which we learn in Return of the Jedi.

                    It doesn't affect his point but it does alter the context. Qui Gon didn't fail because he wasn't as powerful as Rey. He failed because he didn't know a Toydarian was already naturally resistant. Rey succeeded because, yes she's powerful, but also because a First Order stormtrooper isn't going to be the most strong willed individual to begin with and was likely easily manipulated

                    4 votes
        2. [4]
          Catt
          Link Parent
          Ah, I can see that. I do agree that those parts could have been done a lot better. Rey, I would have liked to see her use the force at least a little bit before, which we do see other nontrained...

          Ah, I can see that. I do agree that those parts could have been done a lot better. Rey, I would have liked to see her use the force at least a little bit before, which we do see other nontrained characters, like Ezra (Rebels) do before starting their training. Or that why she could have such a strong connection needed explanation in TLJ (and not the wavy half one we were given). Leah, is for me more an issue with the framing of the scene more so than her abilities, since she is established to be force sensitive.

          I still believe there is some sexism in the reception, since I feel the bad writing is being blames more on adding women than on writing them poorly.

          3 votes
          1. [3]
            Moonikun
            (edited )
            Link Parent
            Oh I definitely agree that there is sexism laden in the criticism of the movie. Whether consciously or subconciously people will add in their own biases in their interpretation and of even and we...

            I still believe there is some sexism in the reception, since I feel the bad writing is being blames more on adding women than on writing them poorly.

            Oh I definitely agree that there is sexism laden in the criticism of the movie. Whether consciously or subconciously people will add in their own biases in their interpretation and of even and we all have these biases.

            When the main focus of this critique is the strength of the female roles and what they add to the movie comes out it makes me wonder if the strong female roles add to the movie or not? Was developing these strong female roles intentional and why was it not a better movie then? Should this effort not have been put in to reworking the story to make it a better movie? Was the movie made this way specifically just to highlight the strength the female roles? This is why I wish TLJ was a better movie because these things aren't brought to mind.

            One of the problems I had with TLJ is that it's full of social commentary, much of which I feel is needless and detracts from the main story. I felt much of the movie was spent on extra bits that didn't really have anything to do with the main story line or anything for that matter. Much of Rose's and Finn's side excursion felt like an excuse to comment on the evils of war profiteering, animal abuse, the wickedness of slavery and then them... falling in love? None of which actually added to the story or had anything to do with what their original goal. The precedence this sets is that the main story is sacrificed for a chance for some cheap commentary on social injustices affecting their (and our) society.

            Is gender equality in the film the same? Was the story just a backdrop for commentary on how woman are equal to men or even better than them? All the men are evil in TLJ, all the women are good. The Last Order is mostly men with the exception of Captain Phasma and even she has most identifiable aspects of her femininity removed from the character. All the male good guys are misguided and are in need of guidance or a reprimand from their female counterparts. Is the story just their to as a back drop to all this?

            While I don't believe this to be the case. Like I stated before I believe it's just a bad movie that just has social commentary sprinkled in. But when there are so few films out there with strong female roles and this one comes out with such an emphasis on those role but is just a bad film it really hurts. When we reach true equality this won't matter because it'll just be another bad movie with bad character and bad story but right now we're not there. We're at a point where we need strong female character in good movies where their roles actually matter because we're still struggling for equal representation.

            2 votes
            1. [2]
              Catt
              Link Parent
              This is a really good point. And the reaction really sort of proves that we're not there. And it sort of comes back to the question of if it's better to have no representation or bad...

              When we reach true equality this won't matter because it'll just be another bad movie with bad character and bad story but right now we're not there. We're at a point where we need strong female character in good movies where their roles actually matter because we're still struggling for equal representation.

              This is a really good point. And the reaction really sort of proves that we're not there.

              And it sort of comes back to the question of if it's better to have no representation or bad representation. For the record, it doesn't really apply to TFA or TLJ because the women weren't walking stereotypes. Just a side thought I guess.

              1. Moonikun
                (edited )
                Link Parent
                I think that it's okay to have poor representation but because we have so much of it good representation is what we look for. It's what we need most to balance everything out. We have a full...

                And it sort of comes back to the question of if it's better to have no representation or bad representation.

                I think that it's okay to have poor representation but because we have so much of it good representation is what we look for. It's what we need most to balance everything out. We have a full spectrum of characters but it's not the same with female representation in media. There are lots of troupes but no diversity. The diversity is what is missing, not that we can/ should only have good female characters now. That's not equality or a good representation of the spectrum of women in this world.

                1 vote
    4. MADAtron
      Link Parent
      I agree with a lot of what you said in the post above, and specifically in response to the video, I think the creator lumps a lot of the visceral response the movie received into the 'males not...

      I agree with a lot of what you said in the post above, and specifically in response to the video, I think the creator lumps a lot of the visceral response the movie received into the 'males not used to seeing their role models learning from women' category. He does not however take into account a large number of significant plot flaws and continuity criticisms that other people have made.

      The movie sacrifices something in order to make the women stand above the men.

      I find it tough to agree or disagree with this point - having seen movies or long-form tv shows with strong female characters that ALSO have strong plotlines, character development and internal continuity, I have to assume that in the hands of better screenwriters, TLJ could have gotten the points across that it wanted to, while still respecting the core aspects of what people liked about the characters in previous iterations. To me, having the movie's plot or overall quality suffer by including well written female characters would assume that a well-designed script existed first, and then was unintentionally degraded through having to redesign the character arcs and plot points in a way that degraded its overall fidelity within the Star Wars canon.

      4 votes
  4. [11]
    Catt
    Link
    Interesting little break-down. It's a bit of a stretch in some points for me, but I thought it was still worth the watch. Transcript: not yet available :(

    Interesting little break-down. It's a bit of a stretch in some points for me, but I thought it was still worth the watch.

    Transcript: not yet available :(

    4 votes
    1. [10]
      eladnarra
      Link Parent
      I'm curious which points you thought were a bit of a stretch~ I sort of just went along for the ride while watching the video, so I probably didn't engage with it as critically as I could have.

      I'm curious which points you thought were a bit of a stretch~ I sort of just went along for the ride while watching the video, so I probably didn't engage with it as critically as I could have.

      2 votes
      1. [9]
        Catt
        Link Parent
        I watched it a few days ago now, so just off memory... I think the main issue is the author does a lot on toxic masculinity and such in general, so his videos do generally tilt in that direction....

        I watched it a few days ago now, so just off memory...

        I think the main issue is the author does a lot on toxic masculinity and such in general, so his videos do generally tilt in that direction. They're good videos, but biased for better or worst.

        So I can buy his reasonings as he's giving them, but didn't actually feel that watching the movies. I do believe the writers made a very conscious effort to write both the men and the women in nontraditional roles, and plot the movies themselves in a new direction. I just didn't think TLJ, especially was good, which makes saying men didn't like it because of women in power and such a stretch for me.

        I also believe the hate gear towards Rose is in large part because she's not a traditionally attractive female Asian sidekick. Historical, Asian women, in scifi especially (think cyber punk) are overly sexualized. If it was the same character, still Asian and female, but thin and dainty, I don't think she would have received so much hate.

        For me, all of this is also because her role and her mission with Finn is ultimately not a plot driving detour, but a character building one, and that it was boring. So I can see men hating a Asian woman because she's the moral compass/teacher, but also because her parts felt long and meaningless and boring.

        4 votes
        1. [6]
          cfabbro
          (edited )
          Link Parent
          Yeah that line of reasoning in defense of critically and fan panned movies (e.g. TLJ and the new Ghostbusters) always irks me. I didn't like Ghostbusters or TLJ because they were pretty...

          men didn't like it because of women in power

          Yeah that line of reasoning in defense of critically and fan panned movies (e.g. TLJ and the new Ghostbusters) always irks me. I didn't like Ghostbusters or TLJ because they were pretty objectively horribly written, directed and edited movies not because women were portrayed as powerful in them (I absolutely love strong female leads that defy gender stereotypes, as do many other men). And it also certainly doesn't help that their series predecessors are regarded as some of the best movies ever made which makes these new ones seem ever worse by comparison.

          All my gripes with TLJ were perfectly summed up by the Red Letter Media review of it. TL;DW - The tone, plotting and pacing is a total mess, the characters made monumentally retarded decisions resulting in disastrous outcomes that could have been avoided had they simply talked to each other, Luke's actions and motivations made absolutely no sense given his portrayal in the previous films, all the loose ends and mystery from the previous movie wound up being complete letdowns, and it honestly felt like the director was trolling fans just for the sake of "defying expectations", etc. etc. etc.

          7 votes
          1. [2]
            Pilgrim
            Link Parent
            I always thought that Ghost Busters got such a bad rap because they set an expectation that they were bringing back the original cast and then didn't. If they had stared out by saying "hey we're...

            I always thought that Ghost Busters got such a bad rap because they set an expectation that they were bringing back the original cast and then didn't. If they had stared out by saying "hey we're going to do a new GB with all female SNL cast" then I think it would have been better received.

            I personally enjoyed that movie and my kids like it. It's fun if you don't take it too seriously and don't let your expectations be set by the first two movies (which are not nearly as goofy).

            3 votes
            1. cfabbro
              (edited )
              Link Parent
              Yeah my cousin and nephew whom I watched it with both loved it too. And I didn't hate it like some people did. I laughed quite a few times during it and don't regret watching it or anything, but...

              Yeah my cousin and nephew whom I watched it with both loved it too. And I didn't hate it like some people did. I laughed quite a few times during it and don't regret watching it or anything, but much like TLJ it was just really disappointing and felt incredibly sloppy, overall. Especially compared to the literal film-making masterclass that was the original Ghostbusters movie. It was passable... but not a classic and I doubt I will ever watch it again, unlike the original.

              3 votes
          2. [2]
            RapidEyeMovement
            Link Parent
            oh god he RedLetterMedia is still doing these!!!! I love these soooo much!!! I'm not getting anything done in the next hour now.

            oh god he RedLetterMedia is still doing these!!!! I love these soooo much!!!

            I'm not getting anything done in the next hour now.

            1 vote
            1. cfabbro
              Link Parent
              Indeed they are... I <3 RLM! Their other series are pretty great too, particularly their Best of the Worst series, where they watch absolutely horrible B movies and strange VHS tapes they get sent...

              Indeed they are... I <3 RLM! Their other series are pretty great too, particularly their Best of the Worst series, where they watch absolutely horrible B movies and strange VHS tapes they get sent in the mail, then get drunk and review them.

              1 vote
          3. Catt
            Link Parent
            Just wanted to add RLM's review was perfect. Everyone should watch it. It really did sum up my issues with the movies too.

            Just wanted to add RLM's review was perfect. Everyone should watch it. It really did sum up my issues with the movies too.

            1 vote
        2. [2]
          eladnarra
          Link Parent
          Oh, yeah, I definitely agree with that. It's true that because of his channel's focus, he misses other contributing factors like racism (at least in this case). Hm, I wonder if Holdo hatred is...

          I also believe the hate gear towards Rose is in large part because she's not a traditionally attractive female Asian sidekick. Historical, Asian women, in scifi especially (think cyber punk) are overly sexualized. If it was the same character, still Asian and female, but thin and dainty, I don't think she would have received so much hate.

          Oh, yeah, I definitely agree with that. It's true that because of his channel's focus, he misses other contributing factors like racism (at least in this case). Hm, I wonder if Holdo hatred is influenced by ageism (although to a lesser extent than racism with Rose)...

          So I can buy his reasonings as he's giving them, but didn't actually feel that watching the movies. I do believe the writers made a very conscious effort to write both the men and the women in nontraditional roles, and plot the movies themselves in a new direction. I just didn't think TLJ, especially was good, which makes saying men didn't like it because of women in power and such a stretch for me.

          Yeah, that's fair. It's been a while since I've seen it, but I do remember feeling some of what he talked about. The introduction of Holdo really stood out to me the first time I saw the film; Poe is skeptical of her as a leader from the start, and in that moment I identified with Holdo much more than him. I can just imagine that if someone identified more with Poe in that scene, that skepticism would carry on throughout the film.

          And I'm pretty open about actually liking both movies, so I likely underestimate how disliking the films impacts people's reactions to particular characters :)

          4 votes
          1. Catt
            Link Parent
            Yeah I don't really get the hate. I liked TFA and was really bored with TLJ, but didn't feel all that strongly one way or another. And I honestly don't understand hating a character so much that...

            Yeah I don't really get the hate. I liked TFA and was really bored with TLJ, but didn't feel all that strongly one way or another.

            And I'm pretty open about actually liking both movies, so I likely underestimate how disliking the films impacts people's reactions to particular characters :)

            And I honestly don't understand hating a character so much that ends up directing the hate at the actor herself, who honestly played the part as well as it could have been.

            3 votes