OPINION: The Kylo Debate (SPOILERS!)

//DAVID ROBINSON//

 

This article contains massive spoilers about “Star Wars: The Force Awakens” (2015)  and it’s predecessors. If do not wish to see “The Force Awakens”, “A New Hope” (1997) or “The Empire Strikes Back” (1980) spoiled for you, I highly encourage you to leave NOW. You have been warned.

We are always encouraged to respect everyone’s opinions, but sometimes, people’s’ opinions can be painfully obnoxious and nonsensical and you just have to call them out on it. No, before you close out of this, I am not talking about the presidential election; I am talking about “Star Wars: The Force Awakens” which reigned in $2.068 billion for Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures and received a 92 percent on Rotten Tomatoes, an 81 on MetaCritic and an 8.2 out of 10 on IMDb. The overall consensus on “The Force Awakens” was “half-and-half” and what I mean by that is half of the  people who saw it enjoyed it while the other half did not. If you are a part of the half who did not enjoy it, I respect your opinion since films are subjective and no movie is perfect. I myself had the following complaints about “The Force Awakens”:

  1. Maz Kanata’s appearance reminds me of the prequel trilogy’s overuse of CGI.
  2. While I am on the subject of Maz Kanata, her possession of Anakin Skywalker’s lightsaber confuses the daylights out of me. How on earth did she get that?! In Episode V, that thing fell down Cloud City after Luke got his hand chopped off by Darth Vader. I do not get how she was able to come across it.
  3. Supreme Leader Snoke confused me. Is he actually that big or is he just being displayed that big? Furthermore, the motion capture work done on his character is inexcusably mediocre.
  4. Starkiller Base is basically another Death Star which means that it is nothing more or less than something for the heroes to go blow up.
  5. Poe Dameron’s explanation for how he survived the wreckage and found the Resistance is lazy, rushed and unnecessary to the story.
  6. The story itself is fairly predictable.

Those are about the only legitimate criticisms I can pinpoint on “The Force Awakens”. I enjoyed every other aspect of this movie and thought it was the best “Star Wars” movie since “The Empire Strikes Back”. My love for this movie is what has forced me to defend it from the ridiculous criticisms I have heard people express. I will now cover all of the ridiculous complaints I have heard about “The Force Awakens” and justify why they are nonsensical:

 

  • There is a black stormtrooper in the movie.

 

So what?! In the prequel trilogy, the clone troopers are all based off Maori actor Temuera Morrison and nobody complained. Why does that matter at all? “Star Wars” is a story about different galaxies and universes so why it is bad that Finn is black? If you are going to complain about Finn being black, you might as well start complaining about the fact that Chewbacca is a Wookie too because that’s equivalent to that argument.

 

  • Rey is “too perfect”.

 

Screenwriter Max Landis uploaded a video on his YouTube channel (uptomyknees) on December 19, 2015 in which he said he did not like Rey’s character in “The Force Awakens” because she is a Mary Sue (a fictional character who saves the day through unrealistic abilities). Anyone who has this complaint about Rey needs to go back and watch the movie again because there are multiple instances in the story in which she is vulnerable and broken. Take her introduction into the story for instance; we learn that she is lonely and struggling to make her way in the desert planet of Jakku. What more do you want?! And if that’s not enough for you, later in the story we also see her get captured, loose her father figure and nearly fail against Kylo Ren. I thought Daisy Ridley was surprisingly vulnerable and relatable in this movie, so I do not understand how people could call her a Mary Sue.

 

  • Han Solo is killed by his own son.

 

Tell me, what is it exactly you thought was going to happen when Han started to approach Kylo? It was pretty obvious and predictable that he was going to kill him. Plus, Han Solo getting killed by Kylo is quite possibly the most shocking death ever to unfold in “Star Wars” and it adds so much more definition to Han’s, Rey’s, Chewbacca’s, Leia’s and Kylo’s characters. Han Solo getting killed by his son is the most interesting thing to happen to him since he said “I know” in “The Empire Strikes Back” after Leia confessed her love to him.

 

  • Kylo Ren’s character development sucks.

 

Compared to Darth Vader? Of course his character development is not going to be as good as his! Vader’s character has been fleshed out in six films while Kylo has only appeared once. It is more accurate to compare Vader in “A New Hope” alone with Kylo because in that case, Kylo actually has more background and character depth than Vader. All we know about Vader in “A New Hope” is that he is evil and he has some kind of beef with Obi-Wan; that is the deepest Vader’s character gets in “A New Hope”. In this movie, we see Kylo torn between the Light and the Dark Side, his hatred for his father and uncle, his determination to destroy the Jedi, a brief explanation of why and how Snoke seduced him to the Dark Side, a flashback of him and the Knights of Ren killing Luke’s Jedi apprentices and his fear over Rey’s abilities. Again, what more do you want?!

 

  • Luke Skywalker does not say or do anything in the 30 seconds of screentime he has.

 

Do you understand now why Luke was never shown in the trailers? Do you get now why Mark Hamill never participated in any press events for “The Force Awakens”? Luke Skywalker’s absence throughout the film builds up anticipation and suspense for his character’s appearance and the story’s events as well as  leaving plenty for Episode VIII. Oh and for those who think that Luke did not do anything; he actually did do something pretty powerful in that scene; he was hesitant to accept his lightsaber from Rey because he knows the pain and struggle that will come from doing so and he is scared that he might make the same mistakes he did with Kylo again if he chooses to come back. While I am on the subject of the ending, let’s move on to the next point:

 

  • The ending sucks.

 

Um, no it really does not. You are just saying that because you are used to the “happily-ever-after” endings that have been shown in all “Star Wars” films except “The Empire Strikes Back” and “The Force Awakens”. Seriously, if you go back and watch the endings of all the “Star Wars” films, all of them have a happy ending except for the fifth and seventh ones. Do you know what this means? It means that “The Force Awakens” is trying to pay homage to “The Empire Strikes Back”, it means that there is so much to look forward to in Episode VII just like there was in “Return of the Jedi” (1983) and it means that fans can debate over the unanswered questions that were brought up in “The Force Awakens” and anxiously await their answers. People are only saying that Episode VII’s ending sucked because they have not experienced a “Star Wars” ending like that since 1980.

 

  • It is EXACTLY like “A New Hope”.

 

In case you did not notice the similarities between “A New Hope” and “The Force Awakens”, let me point out events, themes, characters and symbols that unfold in both films to you:

  1. A droid is given an object of great significance to the protagonists that it must keep away from the antagonists and get to the protagonists as soon as possible.
  2. Shortly after giving the object to the droid, the distributor is captured by the antagonists, taken to an antagonist base and later rescued.
  3. An orphan character is stuck on a desert planet that he/she hates because of how boring it is and desperately wants to escape from so that he/she can experience adventure.
  4. That same orphan character receives Anakin Skywalker’s lightsaber at some point.
  5. The orphan character leaves the desert planet on the Millennium Falcon with a new ally/new allies.
  6. The Millennium Falcon is eventually caught in a tractor beam and seized.
  7. There is an evil general/admiral-like figure.
  8. The Siths/antagonists both wear robotic masks/helmets.
  9. There is a father figure in both films who guides the orphan character. (For Rey, it was Han Solo and for Luke, it was Obi-Wan Kenobi.)
  10. The Siths/antagonists both hate the orphan character’s father figure.
  11. The father figure is later murdered by the Sith/antagonist.
  12. The antagonists both possess a planet/universe-destroying weapon/base.
  13. The protagonist’s air/flight militia blow up the antagonist’s biggest weapon.

So, yes, it is exactly “A New Hope” and there is absolutely nothing wrong with that! “Star Wars” is a franchise; they are all supposed to be like one another. Do you know why people hated the prequels? Because they did not feel like “Star Wars”! And now that you have a film that pays tribute to the original trilogy, you are going to complain and whine about it? It is coming to my mind that “Star Wars” fans might just be virtually impossible to please. Director J.J. Abrams himself said in the press for this movie that this was not a completely new story and it was a soft reboot of “A New Hope” because it is his favorite “Star Wars” movie. If you do not remember him saying this, you obviously were not paying attention to this movie’s press and therefore have no right to complain about it being exactly like the fourth episode.

Excuse my boasting, but I can not see any rational person reading this and then trying to bring up these criticisms ever again. These criticisms are completely nonsensical and are 100 percent responsible for “The Force Awakens”’s bad reviews. You are entitled to your own opinion, but I believe that “Star Wars: The Force Awakens” is one of the best sci-fi and “Star Wars” films ever made.

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