I know, I’m a movie behind. The Last Jedi just came out, so why am I talking about The Force Awakens? The answer is simple, I haven’t seen The Last Jedi yet, but I just finished watching The Force Awakens. It was the last movie of my binge before seeing the new one. I hadn’t seen it since December of 2015, so I figured it would be good to refresh my memory. Plus I really didn’t like it when I saw it, so I was a little bit curious to see if I was being fair to it.
I can sum up the movie in a single word, insulting. It was even worse than I remember it. The plot is literal nonsense. The characters that get any development at all (most of them don’t) are only half baked. The visuals are derivative. The dialogue is forgettable. About the only thing positive I can say about it is that the actors are pretty enough.
Instead of going through all of the problems, I want to focus on one. It’s already late and I don’t have time for a lengthy post. That problem is Han Solo’s death. It is completely unearned and therefore doesn’t resonate at all. It felt more like Rosencrantz’s death than Hamlet’s. There was no reason given in the movie for Han to die. He died simply because he was the mentor character and that character dies in the original Star Wars. It’s not like Snoke ordered Kylo to kill his father. There was no discussion about patricide helping his development. It wasn’t a self sacrifice moment to allow the mission to succeed or Han’s friends to survive. It seemingly didn’t even have any effect on Han’s mentees, Kylo or the story. It was just something that happened.
Somehow, The Force Awakens killed one of my all time favorite characters and I didn’t feel anything. That’s crazy. I went into The Force Awakens with a very low bar. As long as it wasn’t much worse than Phantom Menace, I was going to be OK with it. I probably could have lived with Star Trek V level bad. But this movie made me not care about Han Solo’s death. That’s just unforgivable.