4 comments on “Star Wars: The Force Awakens

  1. First of all, nice fairly in-depth review, though I don’t completely agree with everything you said. I do appreciate the two character analyses. I myself thought that Rey was a bit of a Mary Sue since she can do so many things, including fly even though she hated the thought of ditching her vigilant post, and so I really liked your take on her weaknesses. I still think she’s in the gray area because Mary Sues often have a minor, understandable weakness or two. I also appreciate that you mention how well the movie captures the emotion of characters, although it sounds a bit anime-y, capturing everyone’s reactions. But now that you’ve mentioned it, I do recall that characters’ reactions were expressed and in a tasteful manner

    The reason I appreciate these things are because I’m a big Star Wars fan and wanted to like this movie a lot but left disappointed, for reasons I couldn’t quite piece together immediately. Sure, there were a lot of little things that bugged me, but I convinced myself those were nit-picky. I still hold to my lack of enthusiasm, but your review at least eased the sting. And don’t get me wrong, I’m still excited for the next one.


    • Your feelings on the movie are valid. Not everyone liked it and that’s okay. I just don’t agree with Rey being a Mary Sue as her weaknesses in my opinion were not minor — they hurt her and her friends and escalated things to dangerous levels more than once. That’s definitely not a minor weakness. Her faults are glaring; they almost get her and her friends killed. She also can’t do everything at first — she has to learn and grow in some areas. Her backstory does a great job of making an effective case of why she’s able to survive dangerous situations, so the set-up was solid. Because let’s be honest, she had a lot more training than Luke did when it came to survival in dangerous situations, and sure, Luke was just as quick of a learner and able to master most things easily, but his cushy home with his aunt and uncle wouldn’t have provided him with nearly the same skill set as Rey. Yet I don’t see folks calling him a Mary Sue when he’s able to do surprising feats in a short amount of time. Or Anakin — he’s the child prodigy who could do anything, far more than what Rey can do, and I don’t see folks calling him a Mary Sue either.

      I made the argument that the skills she uses throughout the movie is all based on her survival skills, with which she is incredibly good at, and the movie kept her in situations where those skills would aid her the most. Outside of these arenas, she’s not really at her peak. She can’t do what General Leia does, nor is she even the best pilot. She flies well enough to get the job done, but she can’t do what Poe does. Her knowledge of ships is based entirely on her survival skills, where she needed to understand how to fly them to get to scavenging places and how they worked so she knew what was best to take from wrecks. Also, guy protagonists are rarely held to the same litmus test as women protagonists. I’ve been meaning to do further analysis on the use of Mary Sues actually, because often it seems that women protagonists are held against this standard of what folks think a women should be and act, and if she doesn’t hold enough of what is desirable feminine qualities and skills (if she is too masculine in her skills), she’s without a doubt called a Mary Sue. But guy protagonists (Jason Bourne, Captain America, Neo from Matrix for starters) aren’t hold to this same high standard and rarely called Mary Sues mostly because their skillset is seen as fitting and right for a guy and alarms people less than when they see a similar skillset in women.

      Calling her a Mary Sue just because she’s good in the fighting/survival arenas of life just feels like a cop-out to me. That’s just my thoughts on Mary Sues. We may not agree on it, and that’s fine.


    • Oh, I agree with you that male protagonists are rarely called Mary Sues, and for sure Jason Bourne and Neo (and Paul from Dune, though I’m not so sure with Captain America) are prime examples of them, but just because male characters aren’t called out on it doesn’t make a female character not guilty of it. And I highly disagree that Anakin was a Mary Sue. Mary Sues are close to perfect with some understandable flaws to throw you off and like them more without them rubbing off as a perfect being, but they are also a character that the creator is pushing for you to love. You could argue that the creator wanted the audience to love Anakin, but I don’t think that is the case. If it is, then he (Lucas) failed as miserably as he failed with the whole prequel trilogy. That isn’t out of the realm of possibility since he failed majorly with all of that mess, but I don’t think it’s the case because the audience knows what Anakin becomes by the very nature of the order in which the material is presented. Anakin becomes the bad guy, and audiences aren’t typically pushed to like the bad guy. So while Anakin is skilled in a ridiculous amount of areas, I disagree with him being a Mary Sue because he’s so blatantly unlikeable.

      I’d give you in return that Luke may be a bit of a Mary Sue, on the other hand. The only issue I take with that is that he isn’t brilliantly skilled. He can barely hold his own in a fight, and he’s basically only really good with piloting. He falls for simple, obvious tricks at least two, major, notable times (Cloud City and Jabba’s Palace). These could be seen as minor flaws, like how I see Rey’s, which contribute to him being a Mary Sue; I just don’t see them as minor enough nor him as skilled enough for the claim.

      As for the movie itself, I liked it better when it was called A New Hope. 😉 That doesn’t mean I didn’t enjoy it at all.



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