Seriously, there are spoilers below. If you haven’t seen Star Wars: The Force Awakens yet you should probably just stop reading now and go to a movie theater. Everyone else saw it this weekend, why didn’t you?
You had to know that at least one of the Force Awakens naysayers would get ripped apart by the social media mob. Turns out that Episode VII’s sacrificial lamb was filmmaker Max Landis, who had the temerity to tweet the following completely accurate statement:
they finally did it they made a fan fic movie with a Mary Sue as the main character pic.twitter.com/gwO5PatXYc
— Max Landis (@Uptomyknees) December 19, 2015
What, you might be asking, is a Mary Sue? Wikipedia, you want to handle this one?
A Mary Sue or, in case of a male, Gary Stu or Marty Stu is an idealized fictional character, a young or low-rank person who saves the day through extraordinary abilities. Often but not necessarily this character is recognized as an author insert and/or wish-fulfillment.
Landis explains the problems with Rey’s characterization in greater detail here:
Simply put, Rey is just too perfect: she has no real struggles and just keeps on winning. And there’s nothing wrong with that, exactly. But it gets to the heart of what I found to be the biggest/most annoying plot hole in the film. Just briefly, for a moment, consider the following two questions:
How does Rey know about the Jedi mind trick?
How does Rey know about grabbing the lightsaber with the Force?
Please note the phrasing. I’m not asking:
How does she do these things?
Here’s what I am asking:
How does she even know these are things?
You may not have even thought about this in the theater, because of course they are things. They are things we’ve known about forever—almost our whole lives, some of us. Those are cool things that Jedis do! They use the force to trick people and grab stuff.
But Rey is not a Jedi. Rey has not undergone any Jedi training. Rey only very recently in the film learned that she’s Force adept at all. And yet this total novice who has no reason to know anything about how the Force works or how any of its various tricks are done is able to beat a guy who has been training for a long time in the dark arts of the Sith.
But of course she does. Of course she knows about all those things. She knows all about those things because she’s just wish-fulfillment, because she’s a stand-in for the author of the film who has himself basically just made a fan film mashing up elements of Episodes IV through VI.
Because she’s a total Mary Sue.
Here are some other niggling complaints I had about the film. Some of these are legit plot holes. Some are just annoyances.
What’s the deal with Rey’s flashback/forward at Maz Kanata’s joint? Is Maz’s temple on top of a force hot spot, like that cave on Dagobah?
If this is a force hot spot, then why does the flashback/forward only happen when Rey touches the lightsaber? That didn’t happen when Luke touched the lightsaber in the original film. Why isn’t she faced with a test?
What is the deal with the Republic and the First Order and the Resistance?
Why would the Republic be lying about funding/supporting the Resistance?
Why wouldn’t the Resistance simply be the army of the Republic?
What is the Resistance Resisting?
Does the Republic have a truce with the First Order?
Is that why Hux is mad about the Resistance’s activities? Because he (and the rest of the galaxy) is being lied to by a state claiming to be a trustworthy partner?
Does that mean that the Resistance is a terrorist group funded by a state doing the dirty work the state can’t do?
Is the Resistance like Hezbollah?
Does that mean Leia is basically Hassan Nasrallah?
Why doesn’t Finn tell anyone about the giant multiple-planet-killing death station?
Did he just forget?
Why was he on the mission to capture the piece of the Skywalker map anyway? Did they decide they needed a janitor from the Starkiller base to hop aboard Hux’s Star Destroyer?
Death Stars, Star Destroyers, Starkillers. What does the Empire have against stars?
Why would the Empire think “third time’s a charm” with regard to giant, planet-killing bases?
How did the Starkiller base have an atmosphere? Wouldn’t firing that weapon off have destroyed it?
Where did Poe Dameron go? Why did he show up right in the nick of time? Why was he totally wasted in this movie?
Speaking of characters that are totally wasted: Has any character gotten as much interview time/press attention with as little screen time as Captain Phasma?
Were they worried that little girls wouldn’t go see a movie where the main character is a little girl so they were like “hey let’s add another girl character”?
Did Captain Phasma remind you of getting a Topps Chrome card in a pack of regular baseball cards? “A TK-821, a FN-928, ugh, another RX-871, I’ve got like seven of those…oh man, a Chrometrooper! YES! YES! I wonder what Beckett says it’s worth.”
Why is R2-D2 such a dick? Wouldn’t it have been helpful to give Hezbollah the Resistance the rest of the Skywalker map when BB-8 showed up?
Why does he turn himself back on at the end of the movie?
Was it because that’s what the plot needed him to do?
Was it because this is a lazily scripted movie replete with holes that could’ve been fixed with a few extra lines of dialogue?
I’ll let you know for sure after my fifth viewing.