1. Ryan says:

    Bob, you are right , in my view, about the intent behind what they did with Kylo and Rey. The problem, for me as a viewer, is that I can’t take a story seriously when the protagonists are so clearly playing out their own version of a previous story. TFA and TLJ are constantly repeating bits from the original trilogy “but more” – a bigger Death Star, a longer throne room fight with more guys, an even more sad chase, an even bigger Star Destroyer, an even more perplexing mentor figure, bigger ATATs…bah. None of it is necessarily bad, but it doesn’t mean anything unless it’s a story about characters who want something and are trying to get it.

    Kylo Ren doesn’t really want anything. He seems to be running an evil genocidal organization out of spite. Does he care about it? Why? Vader’s motives made sense – he was to some degree mind-controlled by the Dark Side and to some degree wanted to rule the Galaxy. Does Kylo seriously want to rule the galaxy? Mostly he seems to want to pretend to be Darth Vader. Hux is a better villain than Kylo, and Hux is a joke.

    Rey also has no motive. On paper, her big thing is her parents, but now that’s resolved, so…what? Why is she helping the rebels? Why does she care what Ren does? She seems really bent out of shape about Han, but like…why? She barely knew the guy. I guess she’s interested in helping Finn? Again, her real motive seems to be getting to play Star Wars.

    But she got what she wanted right away. She’s in a Star Wars movie. So that pretty much resolves her arc. She doesn’t even have to learn to do Star Wars stuff because apparently liking Star Wars means you are automatically good at it. I wish that were true about, like…anything. Most skills take work to learn,

    I love the comparison to Gwenpool, because Gwenpool is to me what I mean when I say a character is a Mary Sue. She’s pointless and derivative, she’s afforded way more respect than she merits, and she’s overly successful. She comes off like a person playing superhero, so when “real” superheroes take her seriously, it makes suspension of disbelief harder. This is also true of Rey; she’s an obvious audience avatar given no opportunity to learn or grow because she only ever makes the right choices. I don’t understand how anyone takes her seriously.


  2. Mike (@v2micca) says:

    I have to admit, I’m impressed with the level of cognitive dissonance you managed to display when outlining several facets of Rey’s character that are the base-line definition of a Mary Sue and then proceeding to argue that these same facets prove she is not a Mary Sue.
    But I do agree with you regarding the meta-text, though my interpretation of it is far more cynical. Yes, it is Disney declaring that the fans should continue investing their time and (more importantly) money into this ongoing franchise of films, toys, games, ect. They just paid Billions of dollars for the Franchise rights so of course they would advocate for their customer base to ignore those tired boring old intellectuals offering scathing critiques or skeptical examination of the underlying themes, motifs, and conflicts of the Star Wars universe and instead just consume, consume, consume.
    Watching a film declare its continued relevance with a new generation of consumers while straw-manning every critique of the soulless enterprise is every bit as disingenuous your average Hollywood Enterprise. That is why people are claiming Star Wars films are no longer special events.


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