All posts by cinemabadger

Screenwriter and film theorist extraordinaire.

Rogue One Review (Vaguely Spoilerish)

Rogue One was a Star Wars movie for people who hate Star Wars movies.

Star Wars movies are supposed to be fun. They have a sense of joy and adventure. This was a dark, intense, and ultimately depressing film that happened to be set in the Star Wars universe. And because it looked like a Star Wars movie, and people acted like they were in a Star War movie, when it ultimately turned out to be a dark war movie, the tone shift was rather jarring.

There’s nothing wrong with a dark and intense action movie, even one set in a comic booky world. I think movies like Terminator 2 and The Dark Knight are some of the best ever action movies. But they aren’t Star Wars, and they don’t belong being mixed with Star Wars.

Moreover, Rogue One wasn’t even a particularly good intense action movie. An intense action movie succeeds based on three categories: The quality of the action, how much you care about the plot/stakes, and most importantly, how much you care about the characters.

I can’t complain about the action. That was pretty good, so Rogue One did succeed in one aspect. But that was pretty much it.

The problem with the plot/stakes is that when you have a movie that is essentially a minor subplot to the most well-known movie of all time, everyone already knows how it’s going to end. So that takes the plot off the table. We already know they’re going to succeed at their overall goal. All that matters to us (or at least, all that can matter to us) is what happens to the characters along the way.

And for us to care about that, we have to care about the individual characters. And that is where Rogue One completely fails. The characters are so generic, derivative, and forgettable, that I literally can’t remember any of their names. There was knock-off Rey, knock-off Han, the squirrelly guy who wore goggles on his forehead for no apparent reason, the blind guy, the blind guy’s friend, the robot from Big Hero Six/Interstellar, Generic Eeeevil Commander, Grand Moff Uncanny Valley, and Forrest Whittaker who wandered in from Battlefield Earth. (I haven’t actually seen Battlefield Earth, but I’m pretty sure that’s where he wandered in from. Maybe it was Waterworld, Dune, or one of the Mad Max movies.)

On the plus side, it kept moving at a nice pace, and at least it wasn’t boring. So it was a lot better than Episode 2. But it left me feeling pretty meh, and was ultimately pretty forgettable.

Game Show Review – Winsanity

I love general knowledge-based game shows. But what I especially love are game shows where the questions are too difficult/obscure to feasibly know, and you have to use logical reasoning and deduction to estimate an answer.

So I’m enjoying the new GSN show Winsanity. The premise of the show is that contestants will get a list of ten descriptions of numbers, and have to put them in numerical order. The questions will be things like “Weight of the Titanic in pounds,” or “Number of eggs that IHOP uses in a year,” or “Number of active Girl Scouts in the US,” or “Lifetime posts on Kendall Jenner’s Instagram account.”

Obviously you aren’t going to know these facts off the top of your head. So you have to think about them, come up with a basis for approximating them, and figure out how to rank them. And I find that really interesting and fun to play along at home.

The downside of the show is that there is way too much filler padding out the episodes. There’s all this nonsense about people in the audience having light up bracelets, and randomly sharing prizes with the contestants, and blah blah blah… I’m getting bored just writing about it. They only get through one board of ten questions in a half hour show, when they could easily get through four boards if they cut out all the crap. So the show is only watchable if you DVR it and fast-forward through the lame pointless boring stuff.

But I find the questions interesting enough that it’s well worth the six to eight minutes it takes to watch an episode when I skip past the garbage time, and I would definitely recommend it.

GAME OF THRONES SPOILERS – A Yelp Review of Winterfell Kennels

Game of Thrones Spoilers if you haven’t seen Season 6 Episode 9 below.

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Random text to keep spoilers from showing up in previews:

It is a period of civil war. Rebel spaceships, striking from a hidden base, have won their first victory against the evil Galactic Empire. During the battle, Rebel spies managed to steal secret plans to the Empire’s ultimate weapon, the DEATH STAR, an armored space station with enough power to destroy an entire planet.

Pursued by the Empire’s sinister agents, Princess Leia races home aboard her starship, custodian of the stolen plans that can save her people and restore freedom to the galaxy…

Okay, here are the spoilers:

A Yelp review of Winterfell Kennels

By Huge Black Dog

I’ve been a fan of the Winterfell Kennels since I was a puppy. I think they serve the best human south of The Wall. So I was quite concerned to hear that Chef Ramsay had been replaced.

Still, I wanted to give Chef Sansa a chance, and I’m glad I did! I came hungry, and was excited to see my food already prepared for me. There was no chasing down my food like I sometimes had to do with Ramsay’s dishes.

Chef Sansa had prepared a delectable Tied Up Man’s Bloody Face. Let me tell you, I’ve always dreamed of the Face Buffet at the House of Black and White, but I’ve never been able to make it to Braavos. It was amazing to be able to eat face here in Winterfell!

It smelled scrumptious. I took one lick, and I was in love. It was as if she had taken the essence of Chef Ramsay and distilled it into this one wonderful dish. Then the food tried to give me commands, which made it even better! Let me tell you, there’s nothing better than chowing into food that thinks it’s your master! It was still screaming as I ate its face. Even better, the face had been pre-tenderized for me.

In her first try, Chef Sansa managed to top Chef Ramsay’s signature dish, Live Fat Woman With Newborn Baby. This was the best human I’ve ever tasted!

I considered taking a star off for the long wait, but the food was so good that I couldn’t bring myself to do so.

Five stars, must try!

[Someone has asked a question about this review]

That does sound delicious! Can you tell me if the faces are filleted like they are at the House of Black and White?

A Bear

[Huge Black Dog has responded to this question]

No, the face was still attached to the skull. However, some of the bones were pre-broken. Personally, I like a bit of crunch when I’m eating faces.

Huge Black Dog

[A bear has responded]

The crunch is nice, but if you’ve never had a face fillet, you’re missing out. You have to try the House of Black and White some time.

A Bear

[Huge Black Dog has responded]

I’d love to, but it’s difficult for me to book passage to Braavos, because I’m a dog.

Huge Black Dog

Broadway gets more ridiculous than Hollywood – Monopoly: The Musical

Recently my wife and I fast-forwarded through the Tony awards to watch the musical numbers that we found entertaining. After we finished, my wife asked me, “If I had told you a few years ago that a hip-hop musical about Alexander Hamilton would dominate Broadway, would you have believed me?”

I said that I would, because Broadway has churned out so many musicals based on crazy ideas that I’ve ceased being surprised by them. In recent years we’ve seen hit musicals based on Mormons preaching sci-fi tropes to starving Africans, a coal miner obsessed with ballet, a Monty Python movie, making a hero out of the murderous dog-killing psychopathic top-five most hated movie villain of all time, an obscure crappy Mel Brooks movie about a bad play about Nazis, lecherous puppets, and a baby monster that grows up to be a big monster and wants to murder his uncle so he can become a dictator.

I claimed that nothing Broadway did would surprise me. If the smash hit musical of 2018 that has a six-month waiting list for $1,000 tickets turns out to be an opera/honky-tonk mash-up about a duck that plays the tuba, I wouldn’t be remotely surprised.

Apparently the universe heard my claim that nothing Broadway could do would surprise me and said, “CHALLENGE ACCEPTED!” Because they’re making a musical about Monopoly.

I’ll say that again. They’re making a freaking musical about Monopoly. That lame boring board game you got sick of when you were ten. Somehow there will be a musical about it.

I can’t even offer any commentary or joke that is more insightful or snarky than saying that they’re making a musical about Monopoly.

They’re making a musical about Monopoly.

Follow up note: There’s also a Spongebob Squarepants musical.

How Survivor Changed TV

I previously discussed how and why Survivor is my favorite show currently on TV.

I found this article really interesting, discussing how the creation of alliances in Survivor ended up being a game-changer for TV in general.

Anyway, I’m excited for the season finale tonight. (For those of you watching, I’m on hashtag Team Aubry.)

 

 

Scooby Doo and Shared Cinematic/TV Universes

News recently came out that Hanna Barbera is going to have a shared cinematic universe. I’ll get to my thoughts on that specifically in a bit, but this is a good opportunity to talk about shared cinematic universes and shared TV universes in general.

While I did enjoy the Avengers movie, I think that for the most part a shared cinematic universe is a bad idea. It undercuts the focus on who the movie is supposed to be about, creates all sorts of logic problems, and leads to movies being dumb.

Here’s an example: Captain America is someone who is exceptionally strong and athletic, and highly skilled at throwing an indestructible frisbee. You can tell a lot of interesting stories around that. But when Captain America’s buddies are someone who is strong enough to throw around tanks, a super-genius billionaire with high powered armor who can fly, shoot death rays and exploder rays, and psychically control an army of flying killer robots, and a literal god, what’s the point of Captain America? What possible mission could Captain America actually contribute to? Is there anything that the Avengers would be able to accomplish that Hulk, Iron Man, and Thor wouldn’t be able to do minus Captain America?

So Captain America either becomes superfluous to his own movie, or his friends are inexplicably absent during some huge crisis, off eating shwarma while the fate of the world hangs on Captain America struggling to complete some herculean task that would be trivially easy for a higher powered superhero.

And don’t even get me started on how the Avengers also include a chick who doesn’t have superpowers at all and is just pretty good at fighting, and a non-super-powered dude who is just good at shooting arrows.

(This SNL skit kind of sums up my feelings on that.)


<p><a href=”https://vimeo.com/54079263″>JR-SNL The avengers</a> from <a href=”https://vimeo.com/user14827238″>Andrew</a&gt; on <a href=”https://vimeo.com”>Vimeo</a&gt;.</p>

The Avengers was entertaining as a novelty/spectacle, but studios have taken the exact wrong lesson from that and are trying to replicate cinematic universes. Also, note that most of the Marvel movies since The Avengers have been disappointments, as the filmmakers struggle to find good stories to tell that fit into the broader context that has already gotten too complicated to handle.

I won’t bother joining the gajillion people tearing into Batman vs. Superman. But I will point out that because it’s part of a shared universe, it has already ruined the Wonder Woman, Aquaman, Batman, and Justice League movies are are going to come out over the next few years. These movies, which might have worked on their own, will be saddled with the legacy and dreadful story points that Zack Snyder crapped onto them.

On the other hand, I do think that shared TV universes work. TV shows have a broader range of stories to tell, and can take the time to service many characters over many different episodes. Putting The Flash and The Green Arrow together in a movie would be dumb, because there’s absolutely nothing the Green Arrow can do that the Flash can’t do better. The Flash could pick up an arrow, run over, and then stab someone with it, faster than the Green Arrow could shoot it. But in a TV show where there’s more time to breathe, the writers can come up with a handful of stories where it makes sense to put them together, while keeping them separate and in separate cities for most of the stories.

(The Marvel/Netflix shared TV universe shows are on my queue, but I haven’t had a chance to watch them, so I can’t comment. However, everyone seems to think Daredevil and Jessica Jones are pretty good. And it does seem like these shows are using heroes with a similar power level, which avoids some of the silliness from the Marvel Cinematic Universe.)

Then there’s the upcoming Hanna Barbera cinematic universe, which is just bizarre. How does it make any sense for Scooby Doo to meet Fred Flintstone or George Jetson? What would that possibly contribute to a story, and how twisted will they have to make the rules of the world to bring those characters together? This really feels like a studio jumping on the shared universe bandwagon just because it’s trendy, rather than anything that was the result of someone having a good story to tell.

On the other hand, there aren’t any Zack Snyders involved in this. The Hanna Barbera Cinematic Universe is being done under the direction of the creative team behind The Lego Movie, which was excellent. And they’re starting with a Scooby Doo movie directed by the director of the Scooby Doo Mystery Incorporated TV show, which is probably my all-time favorite show that you’ve never heard of and would be shocked to learn is good. (Seriously, check out Scooby Doo Mystery Inc on Netflix. It’s amazing. Unlike every other incarnation of Scooby Doo, it has real character development and ongoing stories. Imagine Scooby Doo done by Joss Whedon, without Whedon’s malevolent sense of life.)

So as wary as I am over the Hanna Barbera Cinematic Universe, I am excited to see a movie follow up to the best version of Scooby Doo.

Men in Black/21 Jump Street Crossover

Men in Black is one of my all-time favorites. And I thought that 21 Jump Street and 22 Jump Street were two of the funniest movies of the last half-decade. But the idea of crossing them over is just bizarre.

I have a lot of reservations about this. There’s nothing inherently funny or interesting about a spoof of an 80s TV show about cops pretending to be teenagers – What made the Jump Street movies so brilliant was the writing and directing. But this has a different writer and director. And the sequels to MIB were, well, I can’t come up with a nicer way to describe them than steaming piles of crap trying to coast on your memories of the original.

But it could be good. This certainly doesn’t seem like a cynical cash grab movie. Usually cynical cash grabs consist of a studio executive saying “Here’s a property people are vaguely familiar with that. Let’s make a movie out of that, plan out the toys and fast food tie-ins, and then come up with a story as an afterthought.” However, the idea of a MIB/21 Jump Street crossover is so strange that I can’t imagine a genesis for it that doesn’t involve someone coming up with a good idea for a story first, and then packaging the movie to support that. (Well, I can imagine a genesis that involves lots of drugs, but they’d have to come up with a good story in order to convince the studio to go along with that crazy idea.)

Hollywood may be out of ideas, but it’s nice that they can at least come up with interesting ways to combine their old ideas. This movie may end up being amazing or it may end up a disaster, but it’s unlikely to be a boring rehash of generic crap we’ve seen a thousand times before.

On Deadpool’s February release

When a movie is released in February, that means the studio executives think it won’t be very good. They’ve seen the movie, so they usually know more about its quality than we do.

Here’s a list of the top 200 February releases by opening weekend domestic box office. Most of them are pretty dreadful.

But sometimes the studio executives are wrong, and a movie they expect to suck will be good/embraced by audiences. The studios are most likely to underestimate a movie when it’s an unusual movie that doesn’t fit into a neat bucket and the studios don’t quite know what to make of it. Examples are The Lego Movie, Coraline, Kingsman, Warm Bodies, and (while this wasn’t my cup of tea) Passion of the Christ.

On the other hand, when a conventional movie is released in February, the studio is almost certainly correct it their belief that it is going to suck. For example, Daredevil, Constantine, Shutter Island, Friday the 13th remake from 2009, Norbit, 50 First Dates, Scream 3, Identity Thief, The Wolfman, Percy Jackson, Jumper, Die Hard 5, How to Lose a Guy in 10 Days, Ghost Rider, Ghost Rider 2, The Monuments Man, RoboCop remake, The Pink Panther Remake, Jupiter Ascending, Dante’s Peak, Shanghai Noon 2: Shanghai Knights, Collateral Damage, Sphere, Hall Pass, and 832 different Tyler Perry movies.

Anyway, I think that Deadpool certainly fits into the “unusual” category. So that’s a reason to be hopeful about it despite its February release. And it’s at 83% on Rotten Tomatoes, and Deadline has a highly positive review. So I’m looking forward to it.

The Personas of the Current Saturday Night Live Cast

My wife and I were recently discussing Saturday Night Live, and she was explaining why she disliked the late 90s/early aughts era cast centered around Will Ferrell, Amy Poehler, and Jimmy Fallon. She felt that they were just so incredibly smug. They had the attitude that the show was lucky to have them, and the audience was lucky to be able to watch them, and they weren’t shy to make you aware of that.

I felt like that was accurate. I wasn’t a fan of that era of the show either. (Though I do love the Celebrity Jeopardy skits.)

But it got me thinking about the personas/attitudes of the current cast. SNL frequently has skits where cast members appear as themselves, and also a lot of light characters where the underlying personality of the performer shines through. For most of them I couldn’t say whether these are their genuine personalities or are carefully crafted personas. If they’re phony personas, they’re consistent enough to be believable. (Except for Kyle Mooney.)

Here is how I would describe the on-stage personas of the current cast:

Vanessa Bayer: She comes across as insecure and ditzy, but manages to use that as a source of comedy.

Beck Bennett: He’s as smug as the late 90s/early aughts cast, without the talent to back it up. (In my opinion, he’s among the least funny of the current cast. Only Kyle Mooney is worse.)

Aidy Bryant: Like Vanessa Bayer, she’s insecure, but instead of being ditzy she’s more indignant about the way the world mistreats her.

Colin Jost: He’s like the overly eager smart kid who has been invited to dinner with his professors and is trying to impress them.

Taran Killam: He can’t believe he’s actually on Saturday Night Live, and is simultaneously thrilled and nervous about it.

Kate McKinnon: She always seems to be in character of whatever she’s playing, and doesn’t really have a persona of her own.

Kyle Mooney: He tries to play the socially awkward nerd, but does a bad job of it, so it seems horribly disingenuous. It’s like he’s playing the socially awkward nerd in an amateur musical. I always feel like at any moment, he could instantly cease his nervousness, say something pithy, wink directly at the camera, and then burst into song. As a real-life socially awkward nerd, I find this obviously fake portrayal to be condescending and grating, and think Mooney is actively anti-funny. Like, he sucks the humor out of any sketch that might otherwise have been good without his presence.

Bobby Moynihan: He always seems like he’s getting away with something, isn’t sure how long it could last, and is terrified that at any moment someone could yell, “Hey, you’re not supposed to be on Saturday Night Live!” and then drag him off the stage.

Jay Pharoah: Like Kate McKinnon, only plays characters and doesn’t have a persona of his own.

Cecily Strong: She shows up as herself, but when she does she’s kind of bland and doesn’t really have her own persona.

Kenan Thompson: Like Killam and Moynihan, he can’t believe he’s on Saturday Night Live, but he finds it ridiculous and amusing that they’re letting him be there. (Even though he’s been on the show for like half his life.)

Sasheer Zamata: Doesn’t show up enough to have her own persona.

Michael Che: He feels like he just doesn’t care and is phoning it in. Like he’s giving a presentation at a job he knows he’s about to quit. He doesn’t want to be a dick about it and is still going through the motions, but in his heart he’s checked out.

Pete Davidson: He shifts back and forth between being terrified that someone will figure out that he’s high on pot while on national live TV, and realizing that everyone already knows he’s high yet somehow he’s totally getting away with being on SNL while high as balls.

Leslie Jones: She’s an odd one because she has two entirely distinct personas. When she’s doing commentary on Weekend Update, she’s high-energy, fun-loving, and amuses herself by making people uncomfortable. (Especially Jost.) Outside of update, she’s angry and won’t take anyone’s nonsense. I have no idea if one or both of these personas are an affectation, or if they represent different sides of her genuine personality.

Jon Rudnitsky: Hasn’t been on enough to establish a persona.

What do you think? Do you agree or disagree with these descriptions?

Review of Star Wars: The Force Awakens (Spoilers)

As I predicted, The Force Awakens was reasonably entertaining, but nothing special. A dumb-but-fun action movie that is an enjoyable way to spend a couple hours, but would be easily forgettable if it didn’t have the Star Wars name.

I try to look at The Force Awakens as being in the same category of Oz the Great and Powerful; more or less a work of fan fiction. If there are any nuances or character beats that add to your appreciation of the original, then you can incorporate those into your view of the work. But anything that detracts from your feelings on the original can be ignored.

If at the end of Return of the Jedi there had been a title card saying, “And then 30 years later, some other stuff happened,” that wouldn’t change how much you liked the original trilogy. So you should try to treat TFA as being the same thing.

Good Stuff

Looking at TFA as its own movie apart from the legacy, there were some good pieces to it:

– I really liked the characters of Rey and Finn. They were well-established, interesting, had clear goals and character growth. These are characters that you could build a great movie around. Creating compelling characters is the hardest and most important part of screenwriting, so we shouldn’t gloss over this. Lawrence Kasdan did a great job introducing characters worthy of Star Wars, even if the rest of movie wasn’t.

– BB-8 was totally dorbs. The animators/puppeteers did an incredible job of conveying emotion and character through movement, head-angle, and beeps. I think BB-8 is cuter and better at inspiring affection than R2-D2, which is some high praise.

– The action scenes were well-shot and visually interesting. They were exciting and clearly conveyed what was going on.

Contrast this to the prequels, where the action consisted of characters running in arbitrary directions like smurfs fleeing Gargamel, and then there’s some variety of meaningless glowing light, and everyone either cheers or is sad.

The action scenes in TFA also had clear stakes. You knew who were the good guys and the bad guys, what each side was trying to accomplish, and what would be the consequences if they succeeded or failed. Whereas with the prequels, you’re watching battle-droids fight clone-troopers, and thinking to yourself, “Uh, which army of unlimited faceless interchangeable sort-of-but-not-quite sentient slaves who have been programmed to kill and are secretly being manipulated by an evil mastermind as part of his eeeevil plan that makes no god-damned sense am I supposed to root for?” (Or when battle-droids fight Gungans, and you think “I know the Gungans are supposed to be the good guys, but they’re so annoying that I kind of want them to die.”)

Unfortunately while the individual scenes had clear stakes, the overall plot did not. But I’ll discuss that in the Bad Stuff section.

– This isn’t so much praise as a lack of a complaint, but I didn’t mind the presence of old Leia anywhere near as much as I was expecting to. For years I’ve been arguing including her in the movie was a terrible idea, because nobody wants to see Princess Leia old and fat and ravaged by decades of heavy drug use. But the way they actually used her in the movie was fine. It makes sense for old Leia to be the wise leader, a minor character showing up in a couple of scenes to dispense sage advice and send the main characters off on their adventures.

Had they limited Han to this role as well, with him and Leia running the resistance and squabbling but clearly still loving each other, that would have been fine. But alas, they didn’t. Which brings me to the problems.

Bad Stuff

First off, I need to make clear that this is the sort of movie where the more you think about it, the more problems you will find. So you really *shouldn’t* think too hard about it, because it will only detract from your enjoyment. (Unless you’re the sort of person who takes pleasure in picking something apart. Which, as I explained in my last essay, is much more common after The Phantom Menace.)

I could keep pointing out flaws all day, but because I don’t want to think too much about it, I’ll focus on a handful of the most glaring issues.

– The biggest problem is that there so many parallels to Episode 4, to the point that it became obvious, glaring, and annoying. You always knew exactly what was going to happen next because you’ve seen this story before. I won’t bother laying out all the similarities, because you’ve probably already thought about them yourself. (And if you haven’t, I suggest that you don’t, because it will just irritate you.)

If I wanted a greatly inferior blatant rehash of Star Wars, I could watch Eragon. I never actually watched Eragon, but I read enough of the book to realize some kid had written down the plot of A New Hope, did a find-replace to change “spaceship” to “dragon,” and hoped nobody would notice. JJ Abrams/Lawrence Kasdan did pretty much the same thing, only without bothering to change anything. This would have been a much better movie if it had its own plot.

– Having old Han in the Obi-Wan role was a huge mistake. Han is supposed to be a swashbuckling seat-of-his-pants devil-may-care cowboy. Not a grumpy old man. And his presence was additionally problematic in that he ended up being the one to drive the plot, with the main characters Rey and Finn relegated to spectators whenever Han was around. The movie would have been so much better if Rey and Finn had been free to make their own decisions, figuring things out for themselves, and moving the story forward on their own.

– Too many wildly implausible coincidences that ended up being hugely important to the plot. I won’t take the time to list them because that would just annoy you. But I will point out a couple of the most egregious: That in the huge vastness of the galaxy, Han and Chewie just happen to stumble across the Millennium Falcon at the very moment that Rey and Finn desperately need their help. And that in the entire vastness of the galaxy, the Mos Eisley Maz Kanata Cantina that they go to for help happens to randomly be where Luke’s lightsaber is hidden.

– The MacGuffin of the Rebellion and First Order both trying to find Luke just didn’t work at all. The movie never established why that was important to either side, so the audience didn’t know what was at stake or why we should care. And there’s no way this even *could* make sense. If the wise space wizard who is interconnected to all things decides it’s best for the galaxy for him to go into hiding, why would the heroes assume he’s wrong and try to find him? Or if he was hiding because he felt bad about himself and not because he believed it was best for the galaxy, that’s much worse. That turns Luke into a pathetic whiny bitch who is willing to let the galaxy burn because he wants to go off and pout. That’s totally inconsistent with Luke’s character in the original trilogy, and would retroactively ruin the good movies if you considered this to be part of the same series. (Which is why I don’t consider TFA that way.)

In practice, because this MacGuffin had zero emotional stakes, the plot ended up getting wrapped around the Death Star 3: This Time It’s Slightly Bigger And Has Longer Range. But we’ve already seen the heroes take on the Death Star twice before, so yawn. Return of the Jedi avoided being repetitive by focusing on the emotional struggle of Luke and Vader trying to turn each other. And the external visual action surrounding the second Death Star was very different from the first Death Star. It was about Han & Leia’s commando raid on Endor, while the space battle was relegated to supporting characters. But in The Force Awakens, we saw all the same stuff happen as had happened in Episode 4, and, well, we had seen that before.

– An untrained former storm trooper who wasn’t even very good at storm troopering holding his own in a lightsaber battle against a sith lord? Come on. If a random schmo is just as good at lightsabering as a master of the Force who has years of practice, what the hell is the point of the Force? And if we as the audience know that, why should we be scared of Kylo Ren?

– It’s just plain annoying that there are characters named Rey and Ren. “Don’t have characters with confusingly similar names” is one of those things they teach you in the first few weeks of an introductory screenwriting class.

Conclusion

The Force Awakens is an entertaining mindless movie if you don’t consider it to be part of the original Star Wars trilogy that you know and love. If you enjoyed the JJ Abrams’ version of Star Trek or the Michael Bay Transformers, You’ll probably like Episode VII. Just don’t think too hard about it.