I loved The Force Awakens. But it’s not perfect.
Not Enough Politics
This is an ironic criticism. Here we are. We really didn’t know much about the relationship between The Republic and The First Order. We don’t know the state of each (powerful? decaying?). What is the relationship between The Republic and The Resistance? We don’t know any of this. I don’t know how I should feel about the Hosnian system being destroyed or who were those people who were killed (anyone really important?).
Not Enough Luke
This is an obvious detraction and understandable given the plot of the film. But c’mon. That’s what I wanted – Luke Skywalker being powerful and effing bad guys up. That would have put me over the top. And we didn’t get any of that.
This is understandable. This film’s function was meant to introduce a new set of characters. Having Luke Skywalker in there would overshadow everything.
The Score Was a Bit Absent
For me, the element that really jumps out about any of the first six Star Wars films is how much the score influences the emotion of the story.
In many ways, the films could be more of a music video – especially given how lackluster the dialog is (*caught* prequels). This was a great film with a great score, but the score was ornamental, not a central feature.
Is this a big deal? Not really. The on-screen action and dialog carries this film. But try this – watch the film Amadeus. Think about that film with a good, not great score. It would be terrible. The music is a character in the film. The Star Wars score played a similar role. And it was absent here.
We also didn’t get an epic tune. We got a great theme in Rey’s theme. But we didn’t get an Imperial March, or Duel of the Fates. That’s disappointing.
Look… Star Wars is a Disney property now. Which means… no 20th Century Fox fan fare. And it shows. To me, that was the Star Wars preamble, not the 20th Century Fox theme. It’s missing. And it’s obvious. The film starts off in silence rather than with an upbeat fanfare. I miss that.
Missing Scenes and Characters
Umm… where were the snow troopers?
And where was the scene where Mas Kanata hands Leia the light saber? (I know where it is – it was cut. It was at the end of the film).
This character was horribly underutilized. She looks cool and she’s mysterious. And we hardly get to see her. And when we do, she just kind of rolls over without any resistance. I thought that was terrible.
The End Shot / Visual Language
Star Wars has a kind of visual language and visual themes. They exist across all six films – even the prequels. The most notable is the ending shot. The first six Star Wars films show a shot of a few of the main characters (usually with R2 and C3PO) – the medals ceremony, Luke & Leia on the Medical Frigate, Celebration on Endor, Naboo Peace ceremony, Padme and Anakin marrying, Beru and Owen looking into the Sunset. Rey holding Luke’s light saber and Luke feeling some kind of way is inconsistent.
There’s more on this list for me, but I’m tired of writing. Ultimately these are small things that don’t take cripple the overall story. But they’re apparent.