The Force Awakens – Why It’s Not As Good as You Think

Written by Christopher Diggins

force-awakens

I loved Star Wars as a kid.

I know that doesn’t exactly make me special, but it’s true. I watched all the movies over and over again. I built Lego figures of R2-D2, Darth Vader, and a massive AT-AT. I read up on all kinds of different Expanded Universe things online. My love even survived watching every prequel movie in theaters. My passion cooled over the years, but my love remained under the surface, always ready to bubble back up again. To this day I can throw on one of the original trilogy and sink right back into that world. I try to look at movies in a more critical way than I did back then, but even with that level of scrutiny I still find so much to love about Star Wars: its wonderful characters, its sharp plotting, its perfectly executed dramatic beats. And when Disney bought the rights to the property and announced that a new trilogy was coming out, I was thrilled. People cautioned that it could go bad, but I had faith that, with the prequels as a warning, Disney could craft the follow-up to the original trilogy we’d always wanted. As it got closer and closer, as more and more intriguing trailers were dropped in our laps, my excitement only grew. I bought a ticket for opening night, and I could barely contain myself when the day arrived. And when I sat in that theater, and the music blared, and the opening title rolled by, I had chills. I was so ready to love again.

This is my long-winded way of saying that, while I certainly intended to look at Episode VII with a critical eye, I was inclined towards leniency. I was not (and am not) trying to be a killjoy who sneers at the popular movie and looks down on you for liking it. Honestly, if you do like it I’m not even trying to convince you not to. But, as I’m sure you can guess by now, I did not like it. As it went on, my excited grin slipped further and further down my face. I kept hoping that it was just a rocky start, that the movie would soon straighten itself out and I’d have a grand old time, but it never did. Other than a handful of errant chuckles from some funny lines, I really had no fun at all watching The Force Awakens. So when I see people talk about how much they loved it and how much fun they had, I’m genuinely confused. I don’t mean this in a condescending way either! I really want to love it the way they do. I want to understand what about it works so well for them. So consider the following not just as an extensive critique, but as the beginning of a dialogue, one in which I fully lay out my point of view so I can be prepared to hear others.

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