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  1. #1
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    Default The Force Awakens is *underrated* in the real-world narrative of the ST…

    Since I’m always hating on TLJ and expressing disappointment in TROS for being shackled to that film, and since some positivity works better some times, I though I’d start a discussion about how underappreciated, ignored, and sometimes retroactively “suppressed” TFA was as a film and as a story.

    While far from a perfect film… it totally earned its status as the #1 Star Wars film in terms of box office performance of the Saga films after the OT, and I’m going to argue why:

    1. It’s the best post-OT film to combine excellent execution with a competent story, save for Rogue One.

    Rogue One is easily the Disney Era’s best film thus far; I don’t really think that’s up for debate. And RO is easily a film that could be matched up against the PT and be considered a favorite overall, because it combines a strong story concept with excellent execution that the PT lacks.

    But TFA is no slouch in that area either. While RO and the PT can argue equal or greater storyline concepts, TFA has a very competent, well paced and plotted story, and is equal to RO in execution; the acting, directing, visuals, and especially the music are very strong, making a more complete package than the dubiously executed PT and the conceptually collapsed TLJ and TROS. Solo, while also well executed, is also a more modest and less ambitious story.

    TFA should be acknowledged as having hit that sweet spot that Star Wars fans should shoot for - it’s at least on par in the area with ROTJ and ROTS, if nothing else, and those are my favorite movies in those trilogies.

    2. The entire cast is used to perfection… and the characters are deeper than the next film would recognize.

    Here… I would actually argue TFA does even better than the OT. And that’s not because the OT has any weaknesses in the area - that’s because I think Abrams’s skill with casting and Kasdan’s skill with characterization merged to create a near-perfect symbiosis.

    Rey and Finn created a connection with each other and the audience that hadn’t been seen since the OT, Kylo Ren is a pitch-perfect mix of pitiable mess and loathsome personification of everything wrong in the world (and arguably prophetic for its decade of release), Ford cashes in a performance equal to the best in the franchise but in a manner that developed the new characters and got people to buy in on the new story. And even the supporting cats is exceeding expectations; when Jojen Reed and Lady MacBeth are rocking as single-line bridge officers, and Oscar Isaac earned his character a resurrection… you’ve got something special.

    …And the reason that's forgotten is because a lot of that was inconvenient to TLJ’s myopic, Kylo-and-Luke-obsessed desires. Rey and Finn both got characterization retconned by TLJ; Finn already saw the bigger picture and Rey was already self-actualized. Kylo got misinterpreted from a horrifying personification of privilge and affluence into an angsty bad boy. Poe just had his entire characterization ignored. And even poor Domnall Gleason saw his hard work as Hux ignored in favor fo broad comedy.

    If you lost interest in the cast, that’s wholly on TLJ either accidentally or intentionally causing that.

    3. It actually has plenty of originality for a Saga-film… and most of it is character-based.

    Seriously, as much as Starkiller Base is a repeat, and I won’t pretend otherwise…TFA’s actually like a mirror-universe version of ANH, and that’s a twistedly original idea.

    Finn is a reversal of Han and Luke infiltrating the Stromtroopers. Rey’s an inversion of Luke’s wanderlust and loving parents. Kylo is an inversion of Vader. Han is ironically doing Obi-Wan’ role. The First Order is a band of terrorists instead of an Empire.

    And all that creates a radically different story than ANH, save for Starkiller Base. It’s not a copy… but it does get the spirit of *both* ANH and ESB down, and should be recognized for actually doing more original stuff than TLJ, even if it still (*gasp) thought that heroes should be treated like heroes and villains like villains.

    4. It was a perfect combination of crowd-pleasing and foreword thinking for the franchise upon release.

    Listen, I actually do agree that TFA had a lot of “safe” storytelling decisions.

    I just also would like to point out that was neither a bad thing in itself… nor prevented the film from being bold.

    It’s the most progressive of the ST - LFL would chicken out of the paradigm of a female main character and black male lead and try to shove Adam Driver forward as the de facto main attraction instead… and it wouldn’t work. TFA had the balls to have Han Solo killed by his own son, and to argue it should mean something (even if LFL would steadfastly ignore that). TFA had the most complete character arc in any Star Wars film (Finn)m and excelled at developing everyone’s personality and giving four major characters arcs (Rey, Finn, Han, and Kylo) while setting them all up for new ones afterwards.

    And it did all that while still reminding people what they loved about the OT.

    Thoughts?
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  2. #2
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    Default

    It's a promising start but too similar to the original

  3. #3
    Extraordinary Member ChrisIII's Avatar
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    Regarding supporting bridge officers, it's worth noting Hannah John-Kamen (Ghost in Ant-Man 2, Ready Player One, etc) Tomsin Cole (Doctor Who) and Jessica Henwick (MCU/Netflix Coleen Wing) also have short roles in the film.
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  4. #4
    Astonishing Member thwhtGuardian's Avatar
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    Nah, the Force Awakens was every bit as bad as the rest. Only Rogue One, the Mandalorian, Bad Batch, and Solo have been solid efforts under Disney....which isn't a bad track record.
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  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by thwhtGuardian View Post
    Nah, the Force Awakens was every bit as bad as the rest. Only Rogue One, the Mandalorian, Bad Batch, and Solo have been solid efforts under Disney....which isn't a bad track record.
    The Force Awakens doesn’t cloak racism and sexism in hypocritical bullshit like TLJ does. It doesn’t have to deal with TLJ’s bullshit like TROS does. It’s got more ambition than Solo.

    And Finn’s story is amazing.

    There’s nothing like Finn’s story in the other films. That alone makes it radically different from ANH and worth more than the rest of the ST and Solo.

    Kylo reversing ROTJ with Han is a great idea and well executed. LFL screwing it up later is on them, not on TFA.

    And Rey was a worthy new character before Rian Johnson got his hands on her.

    The finale of TFA has three separate new character arcs all climax at the same time, showing how dynamic they are. That’s worth a lot more than anything in the other Disney films save Rogue One.

    TFA gets shit from TLJ that wasn’t TFA’s fault, and people have trouble admitting that. TLJ didn’t just give the crappiest answers to TFA’s questions that it could. It also retconned good stuff out of the story so Kylo would look better in comparison.

    Forget TLJ’s shit and TFA being a worthwhile film becomes obvious.
    Last edited by godisawesome; 10-14-2021 at 03:24 PM.
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