Like my Grandpappy Cletus used to say, “Opinions are like assholes: everybody has one and, they all stink.” Well, dear readers, here is your opportunity to sniff my asshole! Er… Well, you know what I mean.
I’m what I would describe as a middle-tier Star Wars fan. I’ve watched all the movies, played several video games, and have even purchased replica lightsabers with which to whack my friends. I have not delved into the books and other media that make up the extensive body of “Star Wars Legends” (what Disney now calls the former “extended universe”), as more hardcore fans have.
When The Force Awakens premiered, I enjoyed it more than the die-hard fans did. There were some plot holes, but I felt it adequately opened a new saga in a beloved line of stories. It ended with many intriguing questions I thought would be answered, or at least further addressed by its sequel. As it turns out, I thought wrong. Confusion begins to build literally seconds into the runtime. The first words of the iconic yellow expository text wall are “The First Order reigns.” What? How? As I recall from the last movie, the First Order’s main base exploded… It goes on to explain that the Resistance is on its last legs, indicating that the rebels who victoriously overthrew the Empire in the original trilogy are apparently all dead or otherwise powerless to stop this splinter group of Imperial holdouts.
A major mystery left by Episode VII was Rey’s parentage. Honestly, I felt this was one of the movie’s least problematic scenes. The explanation that she “came from nothing” is your classic “heroes can be anyone” back-story and I felt this was cool and good. The next mystery, which I feel was vastly more important, is who the hell is Snoke? Guess what! We still don’t know, but now he’s dead! WHAT?!
The dumbest part of the movie was undoubtedly Leia’s dramatic (and outlandishly stupid) death-save. Carrie Fisher, God rest her soul, has passed. Why, why, WHY would you not give Princess Leia a meaningful death? Why, instead, give her immortality that no character seems to question or even be particularly shocked by?
I could go on for hours about these issues and others (Kylo Ren and Rey’s Force video chats, the pointlessness of Captain Phasma’s character, the fact Po Dameron nearly wipes out the whole Resistance and his commended as a war hero by his superiors, etc.), but at this point there’s no use crying over spilled milk. It’s a fun enough movie that should be watched as a standalone film rather than as part of a series. Bottom line: if you want to enjoy the viewing experience, don’t think about it too hard.