These new Star Wars movies sure do bring out my analytical side. I’ve already done my review of The Last Jedi, but in this piece of over-thinking I wanted to focus more on Rey, who I find one of the most frustrating protagonists in the recent times. No don’t run, this is not another article on why Rey is a Mary Sue, or why it’s wrong and/or sexist to think that she is. I have zero interest in comparing power levels and skills and why this character shouldn’t have beaten that character, I’m more interested in examining things like motivations and character arcs, and why the writing for this trilogy so far has been letting Rey down.
“This isn’t going to go the way you think.” This line from Luke Skywalker is a pretty good summary of the film (sadly I have no will and read most of the spoilers beforehand). If The Force Awakens was like a bowl of comforting warm porridge sprinkled with cinnamon and nostalgia, The Last Jedi is proving to be more of a divisive dish. Since I’m on a silly food metaphor track, for me it was a bit like a bowl of salad; some ingredients are tastier than others and occasionally you bite on a piece of raw onion (I can’t stand onion), but it’s overall delicious and there’s an excellent dressing binding it all.
With books and movies, I don’t usually try to predict where a story might go, and to be honest I never expected to get analytical about a series I’ve only been a casual fan of before. However, many people who love fiction have their personal storytelling catnip, and mine is the theme of redemption. I can’t explain exactly what it is about redemption that moves me so, but it surely can’t be a coincidence that the last time I got an urge to write long in-depth speculations was after the sixth Harry Potter book and that ending, which made me certain that, despite all appearances to the contrary, there was some powerful story going on.
Contains spoilers about Star Wars: The Force Awakens, if you’re one of the ten people on the planet who haven’t seen it yet.
I went and saw The Force Awakens again. My first reaction was incredibly mixed bordering on negative, but then I found that some of the better elements got stuck in my head in a way a merely mediocre movie simply wouldn’t manage. So I wanted to find out if this was a movie with huge massive problems I could still really like (like Prometheus), or whether its good aspects are ultimately overwhelmed by the flaws. After watching it again I think it’s definitely the former, because otherwise this giant post wouldn’t happen, but I also got a better idea of why so many things about it feel unsatisfying, particularly in the light of some discussions on the internets that sprung up after the movie’s release.
MASSIVE SPOILERS AHOY!