• The Force Hits Snooze:125 things wrong with The Force Awakens

    SPOILERS everywhere ahead.

    A list of plot holes, inconsistencies, failings and just plain nonsensical bits in Star Wars: The Force Awakens. This is not a review, just a list. I am focusing on bits that undermine storytelling, not merely nits to pick or sci-fi tropes.

    Get ready for some murder-y Pew-Pew-Pew!
    Get ready for some murder-y Pew-Pew-Pew!

    I am not the only one to scrutinize the new movie, but I did not read these until I was done with mine:

    10 Unexplained Plot Holes | Screenrant

    Is Star Wars: The Force Awakens the most ludicrous of all time? | DailyMail

    40 Unforgivable Plot Holes in ‘Star Wars: The Force Awakens’ | HuffPo

    20 More Plot Holes in ‘Star Wars: The Force Awakens’ | HuffPo

    Star Wars: The Force Awakens – 9 Plot Holes That Almost Ruined The Film | What Culture

    And this video by “Emergency Awesome”-

    We overlap in some places, obviously, but I do not agree with all of their items or I would have added them here (with credit). For example, I don’t care if the superweapon is unrealistic.
    Star Wars fans have fired back at some of these critics:

    The biggest ‘Star Wars: The Force Awakens’ plot holes explained | BGR.com

    Matty Granger’s response to the “40 Unforgivable Plot Holes…” HuffPo article by Seth Abramson | Facebook posting

    I do not retract any points rebutted above because I found the rebuttals weak and inadequate.  I don’t care what is explained in the book or anywhere else. This is about the movie. If one needs to read a book  to enjoy a movie, the movie is still poorly made. On to the list, in roughly the order of events in the film.

    The title

    1| A title should tell us something critical and definitive about the story of a movie. Consider the orig: A New Hope. The new hope is Luke. The movie is about his rising to challenge the Empire. The Empire Strikes Back. The movie is about the Empire striking back. Return of the Jedi. See a pattern? These titles are about the central people and specific concrete events in the story. The Force Awakens does not clearly refer to any person or concrete events. It anthropomorphizes a mindless energy field. Every SW film has Jedi and Sith, so the Force being awake tells us nothing.

    2| It also makes no sense. The Force isn’t something that comes and goes, “life creates it” Yoda once told us. It’s also not like there weren’t Jedi and Force-using people around. Kylo, Luke (wherever he is), Supreme leader Snork, and probably a half dozen others we will find out about in the next movie. Ostensibly, the “awakening” has to do with the presto-chango Jedi-fication of one character, but this is more their personal awakening, not that of “the Force.” Still, it beats the first draft title, “A Newer Hope: Newier and Hopier.”

    The opening crawl

    3| “The FIRST ORDER has risen from the ashes of the Empire”

    A. It is not “First” in any sense.

    B. The Empire/FO is getting to be boring at this point because of repetition. The problem started in ROTJ. You blow up the biggest space station ever made, kill hundreds of thousands of troops in a blink, but then a couple years later the Empire is back, bigger than ever, like nothing happened. Then, the Rebels blew up an even-more-ultimate Deathstar and killed all of the top leadership, and a few years later everything is right back where it was, as if nothing happened.

    You need to feel like something is at stake for a story to have dramatic tension. But nothing is at stake here. It’s a jack-booted Groundhog Day. No matter what you do, they’ll just be back in a near-identical form in no time.

    4| “will not rest until Skywalker, the last Jedi, has been destroyed.”

    A. There’s no reason to think he’s the last Jedi. Jedi and potential Jedi are born constantly. Look at  how many different alien species were and are Jedi in the 7 films. Humans, Twilek, whatever Yoda is, and a dozen more. We find out during the film nobody needs extensive training to discover, use, and practice all the Jedi skills. So exterminating “the last Jedi” as a political goal makes little sense.

    You don’t even know who I am. Which makes me a lot like the main characters.

    B. Luke’s not around and not doing anything. He could be dead, or maybe just doesn’t want anything to do with space politics anymore. Kylo could be motivated by hate or revenge, but his motivation is never clear to the audience. A character isn’t compelling if we don’t know what drives them and what they want. In contrast, old school Vader’s desires were always clear. Bring me the plans. … He will join us or die. etc..,

    5| “Leia has sent her most daring pilot on a secret mission to Jakku, where an old ally has discovered a clue to Luke’s whereabouts”

    A. Why does someone need to be sent? We see people in SW communicate over vast stellar distances, often with holograms. Sometimes this is done with wrist-mounted devices, or on ships. If “an ally” has information, he could just contact them.

    B. Why send a conspicuous resistance “daring pilot” to do a short meeting? Jakku is an “isolated desert world” with nothing of note on it. There’s no reason to think the First Order is paying attention. It’s as if Leia read the script in advance and knows what incredibly plot-convenient choice must be made. The sensible thing to do would be to send an inconspicuous agent who wasn’t obviously a rebel at all, instead of an instantly-identifiable X-Wing.

    6| The Republic, the de facto government supports Leia et al, which call themselves “The Resistance”. Resistance fighters are opposing their government.

    The opening scenes

    7| The Star Destroyer eclipse in the first scene.

    A. It’s a re-hash of ANH’s opening. I am okay with repeating SW elements, but this is not an element, it’s the same shot.

    B. It fails to do what the scene did in ANH: tell us what the hell is going on. In ANH, the Empire is chasing down a ship to get stolen plans back. We know this within minutes. Now back to TFA. We can see the First Order is here at Jakku. How did they know some guy in an isolated world found a tiny trinket? Unlike ANH, nothing was stolen from them by a spy. When the actions of main characters are confusing and unexplained, it’s hard to get invested because we don’t know what the rules of the universe are.

    8| Old Guy’s cryptic and redundant monologing at Poe

    A. This is exposition at it’s most artless as Old Guy lectures Poe with Jedi cliches about order he’d have heard before. He is needlessly cryptic, “this will begin to make things right,” without telling Poe or us, the audience, make what right? How? This movie absolutely does not want you to know why anything in the plot matters or is important. The screenwriter does not want to risk the chance that we might start caring about what is happening.

    B. Old Guy repeats the god-awful sin from the prequels, the idea of “balance in the force”.  Pointless, boring, and confusing in a movie where we already have little idea what is going on.

    C. Poe’s dialog is more clunky exposition. “The general’s been after this for a long time.” Obviously, Old Guy would know that already. This repeats what we already learned in the opening crawl.

    9| Stormtroopers land, guns blazing

    They’re after information about Luke. They probably shouldn’t kill people who possess it or know who does. We know stun weapons exist in Star Wars. Or, Kylo could have just waved his hand and disarmed all the rebels in 3 seconds.

    10| Poe boards his ship, then sees on a display that troopers have shot his engine so he can’t take off. Poe shoots back from the ship, then gets out and look at his engine. This makes Poe see Kylo kill Old Guy.

    A. This segment is long, drawn-out, and unnecessary. The idea here is that the situation forces Poe to see Old Guy’s murder. In ANH, this same scene was accomplished with the hero simply catching a glimpse on the way to the ship. TFA needs to create a clumsy cinematic Rube Goldberg machine to do the same thing.

    B. More artless, unnecessary ANH rehash. Unlike ANH, where we knew and cared about the two men the hero is watching, we know nothing about either of these men and only just met them. In a couple lines of dialog, we’re supposed to think they are old acquaintances like Vader and Obi were, but this is far too thin emotionally, and far too cheap a copy of the iconic ANH scene. It’s a poster for the J.J.A school of sci-fi: Symbolism and allusion for the sake of symbolism and allusion.

    11| Nobody saw Poe with the droid, even though he was close enough to see the alien accosted a moment before? Several troopers attacked Poe’s ship, and he returned fire, killing a couple. Then he has time to watch an alien get accosted and put the mystery object in BB-8. None of the other ~50 Stormtroopers noticed the exchange between his ship and them?

    12| Carbon copy of ANH’s “stash the intel in the droid” is carbon copy.

    13| Flame troopers just start lighting everything on fire because they’re somehow sure that the object or person they have come to obtain is non-flammable.

    14| The troopers just started shooting and lighting everything on fire immediately. Yet, unarmed Old Guy (apparently with no Jedi skills) survived …how? We saw him out in several shots; he was not hiding.

    15| Cringe-worthy dialog: “Look how old you’ve become…” “Something far worse has happened to you.”

    16| More terrible dialog: Old Guy says to Kylo that he “can’t deny his family”, a truly terrible bit of dialog because it suggests that good/evil is a matter of what family you came from, instead of individual heart, courage, and choices. This begins to un-make a central idea of SW: that we choose our fate by resisting temptation and dark emotions.

    17| Kylo is a crappy Vader knock-off. Vader’s voice was part of his story, a disability born of battle wounds during a personally transformative moment. Kylo is just wearing a Halloween mask because it makes him feel cool.

    18| Kylo kills the only man in the camp he is sure knows something about Luke without interrogating him, as he does others.

    19| The troopers randomly shoot and kill people. Except the guy who fired a shot directly at their leader. Him, they inexplicably do not shoot and decide to take for questioning.

    20| Kylo knows Old Guy gave Poe the thing. How? He never used his mind powers on Old Guy. They traded barbs, then Kylo killed him. The troopers who grabbed Poe don’t know he came from the X-Wing, because they didn’t even know he was there until after he fired.

    21| Kylo is revealed as more of an all-powerful demi-god than a Sith or Jedi, by freezing a bolt of energy mid-air. This weakens him as a character because now he just seems like an invincible video game character and we can’t relate to him at all.

    General Babyface and Kylo Ren break into a line dancing routine as part of a First Order stress management program.

    22| The hero can sarcastically mock the god-like villain without any consequence to him, which tells us nothing is really at stake here. Just 8 minutes into the movie and already Kylo’s character is hopelessly bungled. He’s incompetent, reckless, inexplicably set in a silly costume, and he makes childish remarks and impulsive decisions. Worst of all, we don’t really have any idea why it matters to him that he find Luke or not. I want to care about him, but the movie has not told me why he is doing this.

    His amazing force powers just make his other failings as a character even more glaring.

    Finn’s battlefield trauma

    23| Kylo “feels” Finn’s conflict on the battlefield. It’s not clear why he’d care. Or, if he cared enough to note it in his own thoughts, why he didn’t just immediately kill Finn with a flick of his wrist. As far as he knows, Finn is just one defective Stormtrooper out of thousands. The dark side should compel him to cull the weak.

    24| Finn gets blood smeared on his helmet, even though we’ve almost never seen a Star Wars weapon draw blood.

    25| Somehow both Kylo and the captain know which trooper # Finn is. How? There are no marks on their uniforms. I get that Kylo has force powers. Is one of them memorizing the serial number of all troops? Think what a kickass accounting administrator Kylo would make.

    26| Would an evil militaristic empire really refer to people by numbers? Can you imagine how cumbersome and awkward this would be? “Hey FN-1284, follow FN-1184 and FN-3221 to FN-4112’s post.” Great idea.

    27| Finn’s encounter with the Captain is a big ball of nonsense.

    A. The captain orders Finn to submit his “blaster for inspection”.  This is a military tradition which means “hand it to me right now”. Finn doesn’t, but the scene proceeds as if she had never mentioned it.

    B. Finn refuses to look at his superior officer who is giving him direct orders. This is disrespectful, but she says nothing of it.

    C. The Captain chastises Finn for removing his helmet, which he acknowledges. But he doesn’t put it back on until she has left.

    D. The Captain does not execute or arrest Finn on the spot. In spite of all of the above, and the First Order being a ruthless, pitiless military machine obsessed with rank and power, the Captain doesn’t execute him on the spot or order other troopers to haul him off to a cell. Instead, she says he must report to her division. Conveniently lenient, under the circumstances.

    E. Captain Shinypants is incompetent and dumb. She failed to conclude that trooper who is obviously having some sort of breakdown and entirely unwilling to kill in battle just might be about to defect or cause other problems.

    F. The only armor more worthless than white trooper armor would be chrome trooper armor.

    28| The FO’s training program makes no sense. Finn was brain-washed from a child to follow orders without question. But he fails to do so on Jakku, then defects outright. A program designed to create obedience would have checks and tests regularly to establish successful results were obtained. The FO must have the worst training program in the galaxy. Even when starting training in early childhood,  A) the training can fail entirely and B) it fails without them knowing it because they have no reliable tests in place.

    Enter Rey

    29| Rey has a hovering vehicle, but decided not to use it to scale the hill to the wreckage of the Star Destroyer for some reason. She trudges up a steep bank in the blazing sun(s). She also left the vehicle far away and easily stolen on a planet where salvage and theft are commonplace.

    30| The wreckage makes you wonder what happened here. Why did Jakku host a major battle against the old or post-old Empire? The scenery hints at a story that sounds better than the one we actually get to see about scavenging scraps in a desert.

    31| In six minutes of screen time we learn just two important things about Rey. First, her name should be “Grit”. Most of the time we see her, she is stoically struggling against adversity. Second, she feels compassion for a random droid, so we know she’s one of the good guys.

    Unfortunately, we do not learn who she is, why she is there, or what she wants. Other than empathizing with droids (a bit that felt quite contrived), we don’t learn much about her as a person either.

    Rey is supposed to mirror Luke in ANH. Except that, almost immediately, we learned all sorts of things about Luke. His dreams and desires. We knew they’re about a great war being waged and galactic liberty and justice were on the line. We’re shown the obstacles preventing Luke from pursuing his desires. We’re not told or shown anything about Rey. Just like Kylo, we have no reason to care about Rey because we don’t know what she wants, why,  or what is stopping her.

    Darth Petulant interrogates Poe

    32| Kylo says that he had no idea they had the “best pilot in the resistance” on board, proving they spared, arrested, and chose to interrogate Poe for absolutely no particular reason, versus anyone else in the camp they raided.

    33| Kylo is completely incompetent. It takes Kylo about 20 seconds to learn where Poe put the intel. But this occurred after some duration of conventional torture and interrogation failed. Why did they bother with it then? They’ve lost valuable time in tracking the droid. If Kylo had mind-raped Poe immediately, the droid would have been found in minutes.

    34| An officer says to Kylo that if the droid is on Jakku, they’ll soon have it. Kylo says, “I leave that to you”. Because Stormtroopers have always proven very effective at recovering fugitive droids in the past. And why take care of it himself? It’s only his most critical goal that he is pursuing with relentless, single-minded determination.

    Meanwhile, on Jakku…

    35| The screenplay gods bless us with 10 words of Rey exposition. She’s waiting for her family to return , “one day”. Oh. We get to wait for people we don’t know who are gone for some reason to come back at some time. Now I am really excited.

    36| She refused to sell the droid, even for a suspiciously high offer. Rey had lived on planet Thunderdome for a long time. The too-high offer should have clued her in that someone wants the droid badly, and that she was in great danger.

    Escape (from boredom)

    37| The TIE Fighter is tethered somehow. What and why? This must be the most durable filament in the universe because TIE Fighters can accelerate to 1200 kilometers per hour and are 15 tonnes.

    38| The First Order officers have to wait to be told to fire ventral guns at the escapees. Why? They were already shooting at the craft in the hanger, trying to destroy it.

    39| The First Order is a massive operation, but doesn’t have a single fighter, bomber, scout or any other craft out that can immediately pursue Poe and Finn. They also dispatch none immediately after them. Why not? They could have been 10 minutes behind them at most. This kind of nonsense is why it is hard to take the villains seriously in TFA.

    40| How did Poe manage to land so close to the droid? They lost all control even before entering the atmosphere of a large planet.

    41| Why didn’t they burn up or Poe die on impact? You generally need to be at the correct angle, or be able to use thrust to slow you down. Maybe the sci-fi metal of the hull would survive, but it strains belief to think it wouldn’t have baked the interior. One or both might’ve ejected, but a super-heated re-entry would mean they would have been burned to a crisp instantly when bailing.

    42| Why did the desert swallow the Tie Fighter but not Finn or Poe? This is the area of the planet that Rey warned BB-8 not to go near, as it might swallow him. BB-8 is a small droid and has to worry, but Finn doesn’t?

    43| If Poe had escaped and run off, why couldn’t Finn see his tracks?

    44| How did Finn have any idea about which way to go? He managed to go just the right direction right away.

    Luke’s map

    We find out Luke’s secret intel is a map. BB-8 has part of it, and we later find out R2 has the rest.

    45| Why is a map necessary at all? People in the SW universe have had faster-than-light travel for eons. There are no close star systems that aren’t charted. We have star charts of our galactic super-cluster and we can’t get to any other stars. A map is totally needless. A simple location name, or, even if the planet is not on common charts, a coordinate location.

    46| Why make a map? In TFA we do not know what Luke’s intentions are. It’s unlikely any such exposition will make sense of this map business. A convoluted plan where the First Order could easily have found it first, and in which he couldn’t control when his location would actually be discovered by the Resistance. How can it be critical to get word to the Resistance, but not be important when?

    Back to the settlement

    47| Heaping unbelievable coincidence upon coincidence, Finn shows up in just the right time and place to see Rey assaulted by droid-nappers.

    48| Rey is inexplicably devoted to BB-8 right away. BB-8 told Rey Finn stole the jacket. Rey chases down Finn, hits him, and menaces him with her staff as BB-8 shocks him. There’s no reason for Rey to do any of this. She met BB-8 a couple hours ago. She has no reason to instigate a fight and hit someone because of some crazy-sounding story from the soccerbot. In Star Wars, droids can be good or bad. It’s as if Rey read the script and knew BB-8 is good and special.

    In TFA, relationships materialize out of nothing for no reason.

    49| One minute Rey and BB think Finn is a thief or murderer, then he says he’s not. So they believe his story and subsequent lie about being in the Resistance right away. Rey’s life of being deserted by family, then barely surviving in an austere world of thieves and cutthroats has made her trusting of strangers.

    50| This is another Rey scene where we learn nothing about her, but that she is credulous and incomprehensible.

    51| The Falcon can fly even though it has sat idle for years. Complex machines require regular upkeep, cleaning, fuel, oils, and other sundry items to remain flight-capable, even in Star Wars.

    52| How does gravity work inside the Falcon when it is on a planet? BB-8 is floating and bouncing all over the place, but nothing else inside the Falcon is. It’s been sitting unused for years, but there’s no unsecured equipment or cargo? No dust? Not even Rey’s bangs fail to drape down about her face.

    53| They escape Jakku with no pursuers. Was the Mega Star Destroyer really not monitoring the attack on the settlement? They weren’t watching for escaping ships? What’s the point in having a Star Destroyer again?

    Jakku’d off

    54| Kylo was staring into some miscellaneous monitor when bad news arrives. Apparently he “left it to” the troopers, so that he could see to the important business of staring into a screen for a few hours. Good thing he didn’t lead the search, or, say, monitor the battle at the settlement.

    55| Kylo has a temper tantrum; this solidifies his character as a pathetic, petulant baby.

    56| Rey- shows us lots of struggle under adversity in these past two scenes. But not much else. She has no particular emotional investment in the Resistance/FO struggle. Before today she’s never met a member of either and thought Luke Skywalker was a myth. She wants to return BB-8 to the Resistance base, but this seems like more of a favor for an (inexplicable) friend.

    Most of what she says is about repairing broken stuff and other kinds of struggling against adversity. This screenplay is determined to make her as boring and irrelevant as possible.

    Flying Solo

    57| More heaps’O coincidence: Han Solo just happens to find the Falcon minutes after their departure, 13 years after losing it.

    58| Rey somehow speaks Wookiee. This is the fourth language we see her know. All those language classes as Jakk-U really paid off for Rey.

    59| Rey knows who Han Solo is, even though Han has been out of the game just as long as Luke, who she thought was a myth. She even knows, roughly, about the famed Kessel run bit. Rey’s knowledge is weirdly spotty.

    The gangs that come for Solo are not there to talk. They know Solo doesn’t have their money. Then they see the droid that the First Order is desperate to have.

    60| Therefore, they stop at the threshold and explain all of this slowly, for no reason, giving Solo et al time to react.

    61| Even if they wanted to chat first, why stop 30 yards away?

    62| The script ruins a good call-back line by having Han say “I have a bad feeling about this” in a totally inappropriate moment because this is his ship and he knows what the sound is. The point in the line in the other films was expressing trepidation in the face of uncertain events.

    A mess of rathtars

    63| Did you think the film would not be marred by ugly CGI? Think again.

    64| The sequence is confusingly shot. I have seen it several times now. I can’t really tell what the layout is, who goes where, how the critters are moving, or where people are trying to go. It’s a confusing, chaotic string of shots of people running around.

    65| Rathtars immediately eat everyone, except Finn, whom they drag around for no apparent reason. I guess it’s so Rey can save him, and therefore we know she likes him. That is necessary because Rey is not permitted to express emotion other than grit.

    66| The gang who came after Han radios their ship to contact the First Order and tell them Han has their droid on the Falcon. This is apparently one of the only radios in the universe.

    Snoke ’em if you got ’em

    67| Supreme leader has a huge hologram, revealing that he may be as emotionally stunted as his protege, Kylo Helmetshrine.

    68| General Babyface says the Republic is the problem. If they destroy it, the Resistance will fall.

    This is curious considering the First Order’s force of a huge Star Destroyer, a godlike Sith lord, legions of troopers and TIE fighters, and one of the 3 or so working radios in the galaxy, were separately bested by: one TIE fighter, a dilapidated aging freighter, a janitor, a scavenger, and a mechanical ball. All on a remote outer rim world, without any help from the Republic at all. Hey First Order, maybe the Republic isn’t your biggest problem here.

    This one line of dialog from General Babyface is the movie’s justification for using their solar genocide cannon. It’s flimsy and nonsensical. We’ve not seen the Republic do a single thing for the Resistance.

    69| Rey and Finn are amazed at the revelation that the Force and Jedi are real. This makes no sense at all. Is there no record or recollection of momentous events like Anakin killing the Emperor, or how Luke destroyed the first Death Star by using the force and not his computer? Did nobody ever talk about how a Jedi took down Jabba the Hut and killed Boba Fett? There is still a Republic, presumably libraries, records, schools, media outlets etc..,

    Remember, Rey knew in detail, about Han Solo and the Millennium Falcon. But she wouldn’t know that he helped destroy the Empire thanks to his Jedi pal Luke?

    70| Rey turns down Han’s job offer for no apparent reason. She has a fanatical need to remain on a planet she seems to hate, and where she may be killed. This has never been explained to the audience, and the coming explanation is far from adequate.

    Darth Helmetshrine

    Kylo is talking to a burned-up Vader mask, asking it for advice about his light-side cravings. Presumably, he hears Vader answer back, that if he failed to murder today he must say three Hail Palpatines and put a few puppies through a wood chipper to show proper contrition.

    71| There’s no reason anyone would have Vader’s burned-up mask. Luke would not have wanted a ghastly reminder of his father’s fall. You set fire to things you don’t intend to keep.

    72| Why consult Vader’s totem to help you kill the good side in you? Vader failed to do that and the Empire was destroyed. If you’re going to be a sadsack fanboy, at least pick a master that actually succeeded.

    J.J. Abrams answered almost this very question in the following video:

    Which I find inadequate to explain Kylo’s behavior. You can admire Vader (not Anakin, but Vader) but you still can’t get away from the fact that Vader (not Anakin) was “seduced” back by Luke. The person Vader failed. It’s still fine to admire him, but Kylo doesn’t just admire him. He worships him. He has a shrine, he tries to dress, sound, and act like him. He goes all Single White Sith-male. Sorry, Mr. Abrams, this doesn’t really make sense.

    Back on Planet Greenzo

    Our heroes meet a cartoon dried apricot named Maz

    73| Maz is another fake-looking CGI character that will not age well.

    74| Maz’s bar is supposed to be one of these “rough cantina” joints. But that makes no sense here. This planet is both isolated and, from the fly-in shots, extremely sparsely populated. Bars in rural areas are only frequented by well-known locals and the occasional out-of-towner. Other busy cantinas we’ve seen were part of busy spaceport hubs and population centers. The First Order spies would never go unnoticed here.

    75| Finn tells Rey when they met she looked at him “like no one ever has”. It’s not clear what could have moved him. At first, she looked at him like a thief or worse. Then with bemusement.

    76| In the vision we learn Rey was very young when abandoned. She would’ve eventually gotten over it and left Jakku. As an adult woman, she had no reason to think anyone was coming back.

    Inauguration of the Death Star III

    77| The ceremony looks a lot like a Nazi rally, complete with red and black banners, ranks of Stormtroopers, black-clad officers, and Hitler-esque war propaganda. OK, the Empire always borrowed heavily from Nazi symbolism. But this goose-steps past inspiration and right into bland rehashing.

    There is such a thing as subtlety and nuance in films, but neither George Lucas nor J.J. Abrams used it in Star Wars.

    78| The (potential) death of the Republic has no bearing on anything that has happened in this film. It seems like shameless destruction porn and a tawdry attempt to one-up the Death Star for no purpose in the story. [Edit: we now know from deleted scenes the Republic did interfere with the First Order. But this doesn’t change the nonsensicality of the final product.]

    79| The scale of the mass genocide is incomprehensible. It strains belief that Han Solo would try to reason with his son, who has caused it. Similarly, there’s no chance Kylo has some good in him, as he has said.

    Fightin’ words

    80| Why does a Stormtrooper have a melee weapon? Why doesn’t he shoot Finn? Finn has no training with a light saber. Either the trooper knows Finn isn’t a Jedi, and a few blaster shots will take him down, or he looks like a Jedi, who can push, disarm, or choke him any second. Either way, the melee weapon should be useless.

    81| Finn, Solo, and Chewy are taken prisoner. Why? Seconds earlier, it was a chaotic firefight. The troopers somehow always know when they aren’t supposed to shoot because shooting would ruin the script.

    82| All the troopers standing near our heroes get killed, but not them.

    83| Finn’s very emotional response to Rey’s kidnapping is incommensurate with the quality and quantity of interactions the two have had. The romance feels rushed and forced. That is a Star Wars tradition, as of the prequels.

    84| Finn tells Leia he has to get to the Starkiller base fast to rescue Rey. How does he know this? He has no way to know where Kylo is going. The base had its ceremony and fired its weapon without Kylo around, so his presence isn’t required. There’s no reason for Finn not to imagine Kylo plans to immediately interrogate Rey on board his ship, as he did with Poe earlier.

    85| C3PO has a red arm just to sell TFA toys.

    86| Vadery-echo storyline is ripped off, nonsensical, and makes imbeciles of otherwise beloved heroes. It is everything wrong with new Star Wars. Han and Leia want their genocidal kid back, and believe he can be saved. No. Billions of people are dead at his hands. In this situation a parent’s responsibility is the same as the rest of humanity: kill him to protect the entire galaxy. Lots of other people have sons and daughters.

    Rey’s interrogation

    87| Kylo’s gross incompetence now takes center stage. Snoke is exasperated a scavenger resisted Kylo’s Force mind probing. General Babyface shows up to say they’d have the plans, except that Kylo insisted they didn’t need the droid, only the girl.

    88| General Babyface smugly rebukes Kylo, but remember he diverted the effort of tens of thousands of troops just to have a big ceremonial blasting of irrelevant worlds.

    89| The General says they know where the resistance is because they tracked a recon ship to its location. This proves that at the start of the movie when they knew just where Poe was going, they could have just tracked his “Look at me! I’m a Resistance Pilot!” model X-Wing to the Resistance base instead of going in guns blazing to murder their way to victory; because Leia stupidly sent Poe.

    90| Every villain in TFA is so bad at their job, so stupid and ineffectual, we have to wonder how they ever got promoted at anything.  They make the story weak because they’re not formidable. They make such bad decisions and fall on their face so regularly they don’t seem like any real threat to the heroes. The only real success the First Order has in the entire film is shooting at the Republic, worlds we almost never see and which have nothing to do with the struggles between the characters of this story.  They might as well be shooting down Middle Earth or the USS Enterprise for all the difference it makes.

    91| Rey is instamatically a Jedi after no training, making a hash of the orig trig. Also, Kylo’s “kill Luke, the last Jedi” plan is further made rubbish, since Jedi can just pop up, training or no. And any janitor can pick up a light saber and be awesome with it.

    Image copyright NBC

    92| Darth Hissyfit goes apeshit on the walls again.

    93| The film has to show us visually that the new superweapon is much larger than the old one so that we know this movie must be better. Because bigger thing = more important thing.

    94| Han points out that there’s “always a way” to blow it up. This is played for a laugh, but it highlights how tired and cliché all of this is now. The story is officially boring.

    95| The villains, including Snoke, have repeated exactly the error the Empire made twice. The superweapon is vulnerable to attack by a small force because Storm Troopers and TIE fighters are generally useless. Every villain is required to be a bumbling stooge in TFA.

    Assault on the Death Star III

    96| The Falcon somehow lands without being noticed. Earlier when flying about in space, Han said they better get lost because if he could track the Falcon, so could the First Order. But not when it needs to be undetectable, it is for some reason.

    97| Chewy uses his uber-bowcaster on a single Stormtrooper. This is a dumb idea because it’s overkill and the noise caused by this powerful weapon is the last thing they need when trying to quietly infiltrate a garrison of enemy troops.

    98| Phasma, alleged badass, is immediately captured without a fight. After that she complies with all their orders. She whines that they won’t succeed. Every villain is required to be a bumbling stooge in TFA. To prove this further, they toss her down a garbage chute. That joke would have been so much funnier if we’d ever seen Phasma be a real obstacle or threat to the heroes.

    99| The Resistance fighters go on a bombing run against the Death Star III’s requisite suicide button, sans bombers. They use the term “bombing run”. Except they only brought X-Wing fighters. Y-Wings are the bombers. They didn’t bring any.

    100| Rey knows which do-hickey to rip out of a console to open a locked door. Her experience as a scavenger somehow has made her an expert mechanic and technician over all electronics in the galaxy. This is campy nonsense of a sonic screwdriver level. As if working at a junkyard for a few years would mean you could repair any car, truck, boat, plane,  etc from any manufacturer or design.

    101| Han and team recreate the “blow up the shield generator” plotpoints from ROTJ. Thank goodness they didn’t try to give Han an original adventure or role.

    102| Han has a chance to kill Kylo and doesn’t. Kylo is on the bridge and unaware. We know the bowcaster does him serious harm. A few bolts would finish him off. But he doesn’t, because he is suddenly an idiot and unmoved by the murder of billions of people.

    103| Kylo whimpers to Han about pain and struggle. The actor, Adam Driver, conveys the emotion well, but it still feels hollow because we don’t understand it. He betrayed Luke and the other Jedi. We don’t know why, or what went down. We have no idea why he went to the dark side or feels conflicted. His character has to tell us his emotions, because the movie refuses to show us why he has them.

    104| Han dies like a punk. This is the biggest sin in TFA. The coolest character in all of Star Wars makes an ineffectual plea to someone who is clearly beyond empathy and redemption. It makes Han seem dumb, naive, and responsible for his own death.

    Unlike some flaws, this one can’t be undone in the next movie. It is forever.

    105| Kylo idolizes Vader, but Vader refused to allow his son to be killed by the Emperor. He put family ahead of politics, and the Empire was destroyed as a result. Kylo should hate Vader for that.

    106| Kylo is unable to freeze Chewbacca’s bolt in the air for some reason. In the opening of the film, Kylo cuts down an unarmed man prompting Poe to shoot at him, which he was able to freeze in mid-air. Granted, he’s just killed his father, but Chewy is quite a distance away and telegraphs his shot by growling loudly first.

    107| Chewy only fired once. Why? He often fired several times at other foes. The troopers in the area would not have had time to turn and fire on Chewy before he got 3-4 shots off, enough to finish off Kylo, who has just murdered Han.

    108| Finn and Rey escape from deep in the FO base in a minute or two. We know this because of the cuts back to the Resistance HQ giving us a countdown and the sun being extinguished during the Han/Kylo confrontation. It took much longer for them to get into the base, and they did that without alarms going off and troopers filing into every corridor.

    Showdown with Darth Angstypants

    109| Lord Helmet dramatically brandishes his saber, but he clearly doesn’t need it. He force-tosses Rey against a tree effortlessly. He decides not to do the same to Finn for no apparent reason, opting instead to have a sword duel.

    110| Kylo wrongly calls Finn a traitor.  Finn was abducted and forced into brainwashing and servitude. He’s a slave who escaped his shackles, not any sort of traitor. “Traitor” is only an insult to someone who sympathizes with the betrayed entity.

    111| The janitor who only began using a lightsaber some hours ago somehow puts up a decent fight against a trained master. We know this because we see Kylo get hit by Finn’s saber, which injures him.

    112| Finn and Kylo do the “push on each other’s swords” bit for drama. This is a general flaw in Star Wars and other sword-y movies. There’s no reason this would ever happen in a real sword fight. If you push hard on your blade, your opponent can easily pivot and turn away as you fall flat on your face shortly before being skewered.

    Lindybeige explains why you never push on your opponents sword:

    113| First-day Jedi Rey can out-force a trained master at saber-retrieval. Again, this lets us know that the primacy of the master-apprentice Force training that has been a core idea in all of Star Wars, is actually a bunch of bullshit. Way to un-make core Star Wars mythology, J.J.

    114| The first time Rey has ever held a sword and she is badass.

    115| Kylo is officially a video game boss. Let’s run down the checklist.

    [X] Over-the-top comic-booky evil

    [X] Runs big evil organization with limitless resources

    [X] Big evil plans thwarted by ragtag group of misfits

    [X] Has a weak spot to shoot at that causes him to become vulnerable when he was otherwise invulnerable. Perhaps he is low in MANA and HP.

    We’re supposed to believe non-Jedi Rey and Finn have a shot against him because he is wounded. Except that we see him use the Force without effort to toss Rey like a ragdoll. Then we see him fluidly and acrobatically wage two sword duels. If you’re a master swordsman, being wounded means either you can’t move properly (we see this is untrue), or you’re not wounded severely enough for it to matter for the 60 seconds it should take to kill your opponent.

    It’s even more confusing why he doesn’t use his Force powers to end this. using the Force isn’t a physical exertion, it is a mental and spiritual one.

    This defect attempts to un-do the mistake created at error # 21.

    116| TFA has to have a trench scene because otherwise, you, the idiots in the audience, wouldn’t know that this is Star Wars.

    117| Rey and Kylo do the swords-pushing thing, right next to a giant crevasse that has opened up. In the wide shot, you can see how dumb this bit really is, as Kylo is pushing with all his strength in the direction of the cavernous hole. Rey is literally the only thing keeping him from plummeting to his death. All she has to do is drop down or spin away:

    Kylo is pushing toward the chasm as Rey gamely holds him up.
    Kylo is pushing toward the chasm as Rey gamely holds him up.

    118| Rey defeats Kylo in their duel. No.

    119| The ground opens between the two, preventing a proper end. This yet another unbelievable coincidence. Some argue Kylo opened the ground, but we know the ground shifting is happening for other reasons. Besides, if he had enough Force power to rip the ground like paper, why is he not using it in a duel he is losing?

    120| The Falcon just happens to be nearby, just in time and space to rescue Finn and Rey with only seconds to spare. The screen-writing Gods really like these characters.

    121| R2D2 decides to wake up for no apparent reason. This might be explained later, but it doesn’t make this movie any better. It’s just more random crap that happens for no reason we’re told.

    122| The completed map has a path indicating Luke’s location, as if it were Google Galactic instructions. Why? All you need to know is the end point.

    123| Rey finds Luke hiding in Ireland. Why isn’t Leia with her? Leia was the one who was searching for Luke for years. He is the key to defeating the First Order. Literally nothing in the universe is more important than finding him. Rey didn’t know any of these people until two days ago.

    124| The shot with Rey holding Luke’s light saber aloft is neat, but it goes on way too long. How long did they stand there, wordlessly staring at each other?

    125| Marvel syndrome: Invincible characters are boring. The primary characters are all invincible action heroes. Crashing out-of-control fighters, dodging giant space monsters, assaulting an incomprehensibly vast enemy base, squaring off against god-like Jedi or collapsing planets… none of these kills anyone that matters except for Han Solo. But this movie is about the new gang, not the old. Kylo Ren escapes the planet. So does Phasma, in spite of being tossed in a trash compactor minutes before the end.

    There’s never any real tension because we know the principals won’t die. The ultra-deadly dangers just make this worse by proving early and often how invincible they are and how their efforts are actually as dangerous and exciting as digging a ditch. We might call this Marvel Syndrome, and it sucks the excitement right out of a film.

    Category: Featured IncSci-fi

  • Article by: Edward Clint

    Ed Clint is an evolutionary psychologist, co-founder of Skeptic Ink, and USAF veteran.