Of course I'm not going to list them, and quite frankly I think anyone capable of hating this film has got to be too dainty to sustain any of my well-considered backhands. But there were people who found Indiana Jones shooting the man with the sword anything but funny. They are the Worst Critics Ever, and it looks like there's some fraction of an army forming to pile on the latest Star Wars film. We know why, because some people see a barrel and they immediately go fishing with their shotgun, not realizing that it's a barrel of monkeys. I am as disgusted by such triumphal screeds as I would be at monkey meat. Let's face facts, Star Wars is a Disney PG13 movie, a merchandizing vehicle for kids toys and a bit of nerd fun. We should all be a little bit embarrassed that anyone bothers to criticize the movies as if they were films. I am, which is why I don't think I can do much more that heave all of my snide regard at this guy, which is the only review I have ever read about the latest installment. It's probably the only one I ever will read, because really, I do know how to think about Star Wars. Trust me.
There's only so much criticism Star Wars can bear. And then when you think about it, Star Wars was *always* just a Disney PG13 movie. And guess what? The books are better than the movies. So I was hoping that I might hear something comparing the actual Star Wars literature to the arc of the story because there is no way any story with this much inherent death and destruction can be done in a PG13 vehicle. Guess, what? A bunch of fascists just destroyed a planet and four moons. Gosh. What'll we do now? This is the only way a PG13 movie can handle genocide. If we accepted it with Alderaan, we should accept it now. So if there ever was an enjoyable Star Wars movie, then they all are by the standards of Star Wars, which are by definition, nerd fun fanboy standards. Yes FTL travel is possible and explosions make sounds in space. No matter what kind of unobtanium and extreme chemicals are used, when they explode it will all be the color and speed of gasoline explosions, OK? If you can get past that, please don't bore us with your insights about gender roles and father son relationships. Disney, remember?
Star Wars is not a guilty pleasure, it's a simple pleasure, and it's something that we ought to have on the regular. There's no reason there shouldn't be as many Star Wars movies as Bond films, and if the producers at Disney don't understand that, then they are even dumber than George Lucas, who actually thought he was smart enough to control his comic book universe. Hello, Marvel took 60 years to figure that out, and they didn't need as much help as George did.
There is something to be said about the kind of heroes we find heroic, because there is always something interesting to be said about the way power is used for moral or immoral ends. That's the only real stuff of criticism I can bear for this particular universe, and it's true that in the films, all too much nuance is only implied by plot and never fleshed out in the acting. But I speak as someone engaged in the the universe of games and fiction-lore along with the films. Sith vs Jedi is actually interesting once you get to know them. There remains , I think, excellent elements in Episode VII that could segue very nicely into interesting expositions in VIII. So let us explore a few things to anticipate cynically...
A. Kylo Ren as Aimless Emo Brat
I really like the idea that Kylo Ren is not a fearsome warrior out to control the Galaxy. He's a great analogy for the Millenial Occupiers having all the attention and the merest of talent, their whiney desires and sloppy indiscipline leaving them full of self-doubt when it comes to their destiny. So they must debauche themselves to prove themselves truly 'real', and it is only from that most ugly hunger can they become truly the empty uncaring loathsome creatures that deserve to be called evil. The character Fernando Vera in Mr. Robot, the psycho drug dealer is that evil. Kylo Ren has no spirit, only hunger. When he finally possesses the hunger rather than the hunger possessing him, we will have a crackerjack soulless badass. He will always be a wildcard, a madman who ultimately believes his own luck.
B. Rey as Hardnosed Heroine
There's a couple places to go with Rey. She either becomes Ripley or she becomes Wonder Woman. I think it will be the latter because if I'm reading her right, she's got the skill for visions and mind control already without any Force training. She's terribly self-possessed but needs to have something more specific to love than BB8 and Finn. Otherwise she will run away from all the fighting, like any sensible person would. I say she finds the courage that Luke Skywalker did not. But of course the big question is who are her parents and why did they leave her on Jakku. If she becomes Ripley, then you can expect some Darth Maul skills emerging. Dual saber, coming next. She's a loner.
C. Finn as Improbable Commando
It's nice to have an actor in the middle of all this rabble. He makes the simple lines sparkle like nobody ever quite has in the entire series. And oh by the way, it's time for Chewbacca to die. Finn is pure headstrong bravery without being overly stupid or clumsy; he's the natural quarterback ready for any bootleg play. This augers for him to get into ridiculously impossible situations and come out with better luck than Han Solo. That's a new kind of good guy in the series, genuine heartfelt heroics, with honest skin-saving practicality. It could get deliciously Lovecraftian with a guy like Finn around.
D. Destroyed Wiser Luke
A man with a lifetime of regret will take the news of Han Solo's death right smack on the chin. If he hasn't felt the disturbance in the Force already, it makes for a chance for him to go Dark. It's actually what I wanted to see in Episode VII, Luke taking up the mantle of the Sith discipline having denied himself the use of his emotions for so long. But that would be too much to ask from Disney. But if this world were mine, Luke might take it upon himself to destroy all of the Force users because clearly he must come to regret his self-imposed exile. On the other hand, Yoda said something like this would happen back on Dagoba. If Luke doesn't go Dark, he needs to go Dead. Yeah Kylo Ren needs to take him out - first lucky break.
E. The Screaming Fascists of the First Order
Why did it take everybody so long to have Stormtroopers act like Stormtropers? We needed to hear them enthusiastically clomp their boots down the streets of cities everywhere in the Republic. Let's have more of that, shall we? Let's have them get away with murder in the Outer Rim, because they can. Let's have a whole league of minor tyrants of the First Order bringing scofflaws to heel all over the Galaxy. Who needs super weapons when you have enough police dogs? BTW, the right beasts on a leash will provide just the right touch to Stormtrooper patrols.
F. A Force McGuffin
Both sides need to have a Crystal Skull or some kind of Rosetta Stone that will make Jedi in a Jar, or Instant Sith. Call it a Force Multiplier, the point is both sides need to get it, and getting close to it makes both sides do unpredictable despicables.
G. The Alien Galaxy.
Why can't this galaxy introduce us to a few more choice ecospheres? OK we've seen desert planets, ice planets, a cave planet, asteroid fields, a water planet, a lava planet. We need some kind of freaking anomoly Gamma Quadrant where time runs sideways and all the animals have three legs - someplace where the Force doesn't work or is actually controlled by creatures on the other side of a wormhole.
Some fraction of this will never happen, but that's the fun part of watching nerd fun movies like James Bond; anybody can write 'em.