【Warning】 This post contains some spoilers. Proceed no further if you have not watch the movie.
Be warned! Spoilers lead to the Dark Side
I share a friend’s opinion that if you take too long to to watch Star Wars: The Force Awakens, then it is your own fault to come across spoilers. Otherwise, there will be other spoilers that will come your way sooner or later.
Last reminder that this page contains spoilers! Leave now!!!
Anyway, back to the movie. I was disappointed when I was told that Disney has thrown out the entire Star Wars expanded universe. On hindsight, it is a good move because it puts an end to all the speculations, and the unrealistic expectations of the fans. When no one knows the storyline, they will not have too much expectations on it and thus there also won’t be as much criticism about the deviations from the novels. It also isn’t far fetched to say that even if one had not watched any of the prequels, one can still watch Star Wars: The Force Awakens and enjoy it.
However, for those who have read the novels, they will be able to see traces of the now defunct Star War expanded universe in the movie. For e.g. A scion of the Skywalker family turning to the dark side, the death of a main character, the destruction of the Republic capital planet, and a star and planet destroying weapon all reminds me of Jacen Solo, the death of Chewbacca, the Yuuzhan Vong capture of Coruscant, and the Sun Crusher from the Star Wars expanded universe. In fact, even the use of the name Ben would reminds me of the novels of the expanded universe. Perhaps, the script writers were paying a tribute to the expanded universe in a subtle way to appease the old fans. (And no, Chewbacca didn’t die in this movie like he did in the novel “Vector Prime”.)
There are however parts of the movie that one would consider ridiculous. For e.g. the Resistance trusting defector First Order Stormtrooper Finn without even minimal background check, and then acting on his information without asking for the details. Perhaps it was to reinforce the impression of Han Solo as a person who often shot from the hip, and to add some humorous moments to the movie, but in a desperate situation whereby complete destruction is imminent this in my opinion is utterly ridiculous even when we considered that the Resistance didn’t have much time to think it over. Also, exiting light speed at what would consider point-blank range into a planet and not smack right into it clearly defies physics. Either way, a movie is a movie and there’s no need to slavishly attach to certain facts.
For those who would expect a Master Chief like character from Halo, Captain Phasma would be a complete disappointment. I actually end up considering her nothing more than moving decoration, and perhaps a character that is added as an afterthought such that whatever crazy stunt Finn and Han Solo’s was going to pull on Starkiller Base would work. However, if that is the case she wouldn’t be needed either since Rey appears to have an aptitude for technology and it would enforce our impression of her attachment to the Force. Hopefully Captain Phasma will play a greater role in the next two episodes instead of being just a shiny looking stormtrooper.
General Hux doesn’t appear to be much either, except to give some less than inspirational Nuremberg Rally style speech to the troops before the firing of the First Order’s secret weapon, which did very little other than to remind me that the First Order is very much modelled after Nazi Germany.
There’s also much in the movie that is unexplained. Who is Rey? A part of her recollections seems to suggest that she was once a Jedi Padawan, perhaps in Luke Skywalker’s new Jedi Order. How does she suddenly know how to utilise the Force or certain Force skills without formal training? For e.g. Jedi Mind Tricks appears to be something that needs some practice and not some idea that suddenly come to mind to someone who for her entire life has thought of the Force and the Jedi as some kind of myths. Then again, that’s probably meant as a kind of bait to keep the interests of the fans going for the next installment of this trilogy.
Even so, I enjoyed the movie. Though at the same time I am also sad to see one of the main characters die. It was rather painful to watch that scene, and the way this episode ended almost make it certain that there’s no way for his return other than in the form of Force Apparations. Though how that is going to happen for a non-force user would be hard to explain. Fortunately, in the Star Wars expanded universe someone has pointed out that there is often a reason for bad feelings…
I’ll leave it at this, since I believe I have already given too much away.