HomeMoviesThe Force Awakens - Why It's Not As Good as You Think

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


Of course, regardless of all these problems, The Force Awakens was obviously a huge success. It delighted most audiences, made tons of money, and even sits at an astonishing 92% on Rotten Tomatoes. How could this be when it is so deeply flawed, when its story functions so incredibly poorly? Honestly, I think it’s pretty simple: the movie’s really good at being fun. I know I said at the beginning that I had no fun at all watching it and I didn’t understand why people liked it, and those both remain true. These story problems were so glaring to me that I couldn’t enjoy it, and I don’t understand how people can look past them. But I do know that, if you can look past them, The Force Awakens is a very fun, slickly made movie. The visuals are gorgeous, the dialogue is sharp, there’s just the right touch of humor thrown in without being distracting. But it’s all a sweet candy coating over a rotten core. And The Force Awakens is far from the only big Hollywood movie with this problem. In fact, studios have gotten adept at making movies that feel and sound fun and give the appearance of having all the right story beats, all while not actually doing the work to have a well-written story. The result may be enjoyable, but it’s also insubstantial, something that is less than the sum of its parts, that will never bring a greater joy than the momentary smile while watching it.

Maybe I’m just crazy to care this much about the story choices in what is ultimately a lighthearted family sci-fi movie. Maybe Star Wars doesn’t need to be emotionally resonant or grounded in great character work. Maybe it just needs to be fun and make money. And there’s no denying it did both of those things in spades. But I truly think that we’re missing out on something when we get another big Hollywood blockbuster that coasts by on nostalgia and empty spectacle. That’s enough to be successful in the moment, but nobody remembers the movie that was meaningless fun years down the line. If A New Hope had the same problems as The Force Awakens, we wouldn’t have a new trilogy, or a prequel trilogy, or even an original trilogy. Star Wars is a merchandising empire, a juggernaut that reaches kids and adults across multiple decades, precisely because it has the weight behind it to remain resonant long past when it was originally made. There is greatness in A New Hope, and Empire Strikes Back, and Return of the Jedi, that can inspire and entertain no matter how far into the future we go, in the same way that people still read Shakespeare (yes, I did really just compare Star Wars to Shakespeare. Pretentious and hyperbolic? Maybe. But it’s a perfect demonstration that a great story told well will always be popular). The Force Awakens doesn’t have that greatness. We’ll always remember it because it’s Star Wars, the same way the prequels will always be remembered because of their attachment to the property, but without that connection, it would never stand on its own. At the end of the day, that really just makes me sad.

Chris Diggins
Chris Digginshttps://alittleperspective.substack.com
"Lord" Chris Diggins, "Grand Prognosticator of ThePopBreak.com" is a staff writer and incorrigible layabout for The Pop Break. He usually reviews TV and movies, although he sometimes writes ludicrously long pieces of critical analysis and badgers the editors to publish it. He cannot be stopped.


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