By Shamus Posted Thursday Nov 15, 2018

Filed under: Movies 357 comments

I really love the YouTube Channel of Patrick H. Willems. He’s done some solid work over the years. I think I’ve watched his entire channel twice by this point. How to Make a Perfect Action Scene is brilliant and Marvel’s The Defenders: Why is the Hand So Boring? answers a question that Netflix probably should have figured out about four years ago.

Over the past handful of years I’ve had to pay more attention to narrative and structure because the videogames I critique are so often designed and marketed with a huge emphasis on their stories. To do a proper analysis I need to understand what they were trying (and often failing) to accomplish in a cinematic sense. Which means that I’ve spent a lot of time watching stuff from filmmakers-turned-YouTubers. PHW is one of the better examples of this.

A few weeks ago he published SHUT UP ABOUT PLOT HOLES. I knew the video was going to get him into trouble the moment I saw the title. At a couple of points in his essay he even says, “You’re watching movies wrong.” That’s provocative to the point of being flame-bait, although I doubt he intended it that way. As of this writing, SHUT UP ABOUT PLOT HOLES has more views than any of his other work, but it’s also the most intensely disliked. It’s got a 30% negative rating, which is way out of norm for the channel.

We’ve Been Here Before

Link (YouTube)

The argument is very reminiscent of the exchange I had with Film Crit Hulk about plot holes. This was back in 2012 when the end of Mass Effect 3 was the outrage fuel of the day. In his post Film Crit Hulk Smash: HULK VS. PLOT HOLES AND MOVIE LOGIC, FCH made the case that the point of a story wasn’t to present a perfect, flawless, rigorously logical world, but to tell a particular story.

I wonder if Patrick Willems is aware of the genealogy of this debateI’m not suggesting that FCH and I were REMOTELY the first people to tackle this. This debate is ancient.. He’s wearing Hulk gloves in the video thumbnail, which seems like it might be a nod to the work Film Crit Hulk did six years earlier.

Lots of other folks have responded to PHW’s video with annoyed videos of their own.

Playing “Gotcha” With Movies

I'm not sure Behind the Indigo Door is the sort of movie you'd want to watch in 3D. Of course, that's probably true of all movies.
I'm not sure Behind the Indigo Door is the sort of movie you'd want to watch in 3D. Of course, that's probably true of all movies.

I can see where the author is coming from. I know there are a lot of people out there who like to play “gotcha” with storytellers. Some of this is the result of people doing “outrage as performance art” for their YouTube channels. Some people even take it one step further and suggest that if you didn’t notice these OBVIOUS AND GLARING plot holes then you must be a dumb popcorn-munching sheeple and you’re part of the reason movies are so stupid these days. I’ll admit these arguments are really annoying and I can see why you’d want to tell these people they’re “watching movies wrong”. On the other hand, claiming that “plot holes don’t matter” is a massive over-reach that leads PHW to waste his time demolishing pointless strawmen.

I think CinemaSins is seen as the King of the Pointless Plot Hole Nitpickers. I’ve never seen a channel where its performance was so divorced from its reputation. CinemaSins videos regularly top a million views, and yet I can never find any fans. It’s not that people don’t like it, it’s that they actively revile it. This distaste comes from all over the spectrum. Even people who disagree with Patrick H Willems are in agreement that CinemaSins is trash.

(For the record, I watch it once in a while. I’m not a huge fan but I do like when Jeremy makes an observation of a detail I’d missed, even if I don’t think it’s strictly relevant to enjoying the movie. Having said that, I get that some people are driven to irritation by the CinemaSins style of rapid-fire nitpicks over things that often aren’t worth picking. I use the channel as a way to collect little lists of things I might have missed or not thought about. Which means that even if I’m not watching movies wrong, I’m probably watching CinemaSins wrong. Having said that, if you’re looking for nitpicking-as-comedy, then Screen Rant’s Pitch Meeting series is a better place to go.)

People do get annoyed with overly pedantic nitpicking and with lazy gotcha-style dismissals of a work based on trivial perceived sleights. People do sometimes make arguments like “they didn’t explain why the eagles couldn’t take Frodo to Mordor therefore the movies are dumb garbage for dumb people”. I imagine the public would probably welcome a good rant pushing back against this sort of thing. But Willems takes the argument so far and states everything in such absolutist terms that there’s no room left to draw a distinction between “trivial nitpick” and “massive violation of common sense that ejects the audience from the world and leaves them confused”.

Logic isn’t Everything – But it Still Matters

I'm not one of those dumb lowbrow popcorn munching idiots. I'm more of a Mike & Ike fan.
I'm not one of those dumb lowbrow popcorn munching idiots. I'm more of a Mike & Ike fan.

It’s clear that the video on Plot Holes isn’t totally in line with Willems actual beliefs. In the video he makes the case that you shouldn’t complain about people acting illogically because people are illogical in real life and that’s what drives the conflict. But in his video on Jurassic Park’s Sequel Problem he makes the case that characters behaving irrationally prevents us from caring about them and is one of the major failings of the franchise. It’s obvious that logic does matter to Willems, so I have no idea why he felt like he needed to take such a hardline stance. Maybe he watched one too many irritating episodes of CinemaSins and allowed his anger to carry him into imprudent arguments. Maybe he was trying to do the “exaggerated outrage as performance art” but it doesn’t work because he’s neither angry nor profane enough to sell it. Maybe he just wanted to stir the pot for some cheap clicks. I don’t know.

Like I’ve said in the past, plot holes aren’t a binary thing; they exist on a gradient, and everyone has a different threshold for when nagging questions become distracting enough to take you out of a story. If you’ve got a lot of domain experience in a given field than you’re really likely to notice factually absurd details that go unnoticed by the average viewer. If you view a movie in sections rather than a single sitting, then those nagging questions will have longer to nag you. If you’re feeling restless and bored then you’re more likely to turn your mind to nitpicky details that would go completely ignored if you were laughing and having a good time. If a movie offends you on a moral or intellectual level then you’ll probably start distrusting the storyteller and you’ll be more inclined to look for justifications to hate the work.

Maybe it's a plot hole, or maybe you need to stop channel-surfing in the middle of the movie when shit is being explained, Kyle.
Maybe it's a plot hole, or maybe you need to stop channel-surfing in the middle of the movie when shit is being explained, Kyle.

No matter how logically sound a movie is, there will always be a few people who feel the need to nitpick a few details. Maybe they were having a bad night when they saw the movie. Maybe they went in expecting something else. Likewise, no matter how infantile, nonsensical, or structurally incoherent a movie is, there will always be a handful of people who don’t care because the movie gave them the 90 minutes of low-effort sensory stimulation they were looking for that night.

This doesn’t mean that plot holes are purely a matter of taste or that they don’t matter. A sloppy or poorly conceived movie will have more people griping about plot holes. A good storyteller will anticipate what elements might frustrate or confuse people and will address it early so it doesn’t fester in the minds of the audience. A sloppy one will overlook important details and lose some people along the way.

A great example is the one we talked about in Mass Effect Andromeda just two days ago. The main character breaks their helmet twice. The first time the problem is quickly and easily fixed and the second time it’s a dire life-or-death situation. People get distracted arguing about what the technology can and can’t do, or how big the crack was, but that’s not really the source of the problem. These two scenes caused confusion because they created an expectation in the minds of the audience that the first scene was the set-up for the second. The fact that so many people had a problem with this scene shows that the writer’s intentions weren’t being properly conveyed. That’s sloppy work, and the writer should have anticipated the audience expectations and made allowances for them. (Or, you know, cut the first scene since it’s not required by the story.)

I have this sneaking suspicion that all of this debating over plot holes is based on the residual bitterness over The Last Jedi. Willems was a huge fan, and a lot of his critics responded to his video on plot holes with digs like, “Pfft. What do you expect from someone who liked The Last Jedi?” The movie was pretty divisive and some culture-war baggage got dragged into the analysis. A lot of the criticisms of TLJ focused on supposed plot holes. I think that’s really unfortunate, and maybe the culture war is polarizing people into untenable positions of “plot holes instantly invalidate a movie” and “logic is for losers”. I plan to do a long-form analysis on The Last Jedi at some point, so we can come back to this topic later.

Whatever the root of the problem is, I’d like to see this debate move in a more healthy direction. I believe strongly that craft matters. We should celebrate creators that can get the audience to buy-in rather than condemning the members of the audience who don’t. At the same time, it’s good to remember that movies are not logic puzzles, and there’s a big difference between something that broke your immersion in the theater and an inconsistency pointed out by some rando in a Reddit thread a week later.



[1] I’m not suggesting that FCH and I were REMOTELY the first people to tackle this. This debate is ancient.

From The Archives:

357 thoughts on “Shut Up About SHUT UP ABOUT PLOT HOLES

  1. Dev Null says:

    I’m one of those people who can’t stop picking at plot holes a bit. We watched Annihilation tonight – which I quite enjoyed, despite the fact that the entire movie ceases to exist if, while investigating the effects of a world-shattering, physics-defying event over the course of three entire years, a single one of the presumed many investigators does not act like a complete idiot. But I have a rule for plot holes:

    It’s not a hole if you don’t fall in it.

    The classic Eagles to Mordor example is much beloved precisely because it makes nearly everyone hearing it for the first time go “Ooooh yeeeeah…” Because almost no one thinks of it the first time they read the book. Every plot is full of holes if you go looking for them; if it has to be pointed out to be seen, it’s not exactly a problem. If it knocks you out of the flow – if it takes your suspension of disbelief from “willing” to “conscious” – _then_ you’ve got a problem of one degree or another.

    1. guy says:

      Also, while I didn’t think of it to begin with, I consider “well the fellbeasts would intercept them” a pretty good answer. Those things are nasty even before they get Nazgul riders.

      1. djw says:

        Additionally, in the book at least, the entire point of attacking the gates of Mordor was to distract Sauron. He (Sauron) was worried that somebody would use the ring against him, not destroy it. An attacker at the gates very well could be somebody wielding the ring of power!

        Barring that distraction, I’m pretty sure Sauron would have noticed the eagles himself, and dispatched appropriate forces to intercept and destroy.

        I don’t really remember how well the movies did (or did not) set that up, but in the books it was not really much of a plot hole at all.

        1. Yeah, there’s a big difference between “fly in when their army and watch posts are intact and watching” and “fly in after their military leadership detonated and the army fell into a giant hole in the ground”.

        2. Nimrandir says:

          Given that the films portray Sauron as a gimongous eye hovering over Barad-dur, I’m pretty sure he’d have noticed the Gwaihir Express on its way into Gorgoroth.

    2. Darren says:

      The problem with the eagles example is that it only works as a hole if you are unfamiliar with Tolkien’s larger works. In the context of “how Middle-Earth works,” the eagles largely staying on the sidelines makes perfect sense. You can still consider it a plot hole, I suppose, in the sense that the explanation isn’t included in the work itself, but it certainly isn’t the result of the author just throwing logic out the window.

      For those who might not know and are now curious: Middle-Earth is just part of the planet Arda, which was constructed and overseen by the Valar. The Valar are basically archangels tasked with bringing into reality the designs of Eru Iluvatar (God), and are functionally a divine pantheon that allowed Tolkien to incorporate elements of the pagan mythology that he so loved while still maintaining an essentially Catholic cosmology for his fictional world. Since the Valar are not actually gods, they make mistakes, and they come to realize that the more they involve themselves in directly solving the problems of mortals, the greater the unintended consequences. By the Third Age, they’ve decided to sit on their hands and let mortals save themselves, only going as far as dispatching Maiar (lesser angels) with restricted powers in the form of the wizards to advise and guide the peoples of Middle-Earth. The Eagles are the direct servants of Manwe, chief among the Valar, and as such they are forbidden from interceding in the fates of Men and Elves. This is why their appearance at the end is so meaningful: the Valar have stayed out of the struggle against Sauron, but they have not forgotten or abandoned Middle-Earth. They won’t swoop in to save mortals, but they will send their servants to give mortals the edge they need to succeed on their own terms.

      1. PPX14 says:

        Thank you, I’ve read and watched them and didn’t consider it a plot hole for that sort of reason (as well as those given above), but hadn’t looked into the details, that was rather satisfying to read, I’ll have that nice context for the end of Return of the King, the next time I watch it.

      2. Hector says:

        To be fair, however: none of that was available whne the books came out, and wasn’t widely known outside of fan circles. I don’t think any of that material was in print even when I was first reading LotR.

        1. Darren says:

          This is true.

      3. kincajou says:

        That was throroughly interesting, thank you :)

      4. guy says:

        Hm, is that true of all eagles? It has been a long time but I thought that the vast majority of the eagles were just another nonhuman race. Their role in the Hobbit felt quite like that of the elves and specifically not like Gandalf; Gandalf was helpful, enigmatic, and powerful, and mostly he just provided advice and guidance and a bit of light, and his grand spells were when it was their only hope. The eagles showed up in power at the Battle Of The Five Armies because they just hate goblins. I know the Windlord is a lot like that but I thought he was basically Eagle Gandalf; he shows up twice when Gandalf is in inescapable trouble, and the second time Gandalf explicitly called the Valar and said Gandalf The Grey wasn’t going to manage this. So Manwe (I assume but I don’t remember Valar hierarchy very well) saw this and he literally did the Metroid Other M thing and told Gandalf “I’m authorizing you to activate Gandalf The White” and sent the Windlord to get him off the mountain and near Shadowfax so he could get the Fellowship back on track.

        Now, that’s basically the “I have read the Codex and…” version, but the Lord Of The Rings contains enough to go on. Because of two key scenes in the books and one of those scenes plus a modification to another in the movies.

        Shared scene is Galadrial when offered the Ring. “And instead of a Dark Lord you shall have a Queen! All shall love me and despair!” That’s actually basically answering a plot hole in itself; the reader is wondering why they can’t have Galadrial use the One Ring to destroy Sauron, so Frodo asks her and she tells him. And she sells the hell out of it in her speech and in the movie the cinematographer chips in, and no one asks “what if you just do it a little?” Then Sam says what some people are thinking, which is that Galadrial is wise and kind and she would do great things, and Galadrial smiles sadly and says that’s how it would start but not where it would end.

        Book only scene is Tom Bombadil, and especially when he touches the One Ring. He has power in plenty and uses it to just play around, pretty much, and what happens when he sees the Ring that tempts Boromir so and Frodo and even Sam? He grins at it and says it’s pretty and neat and then moves on.

        And in these scenes we see, implicitly, why Gandalf doesn’t simply unleash his full might; the Ring is a symbol, and it symbolizes power. To use the One Ring is to exert power. It is so tempting because it has so much power, but it’s seductive promise is to have the power to do anything you wish, and this promise is irresistable. In a sense it does work on Bombadil; he wants to play around and it’s a neat toy to him. But he’ll get tired of playing with it and forget about it.

        The movie cuts Bombadil for runtime reasons, so it makes Gandalf The White’s intro slightly more specific about his distress call.

        Also this is why Shadow Of Mordor’s plot was so dissatisfying and the Bright Lord DLC worked. When Talion turns Sauron’s power against him and goes to forge the Two Ring and the framing implies this will work I snarl at the writer because it won’t; it can’t. I was dead sure they’d seen Galadrial’s speech and learned the wrong lesson. I mean maybe Celebrimbor can make the Two Ring stronger than the One Ring, he is the Ringmaker, but that is simply not how good wins.

        Now, some argue that’s the point and the message, but I kinda think the writers made the first game intending to make Talion a Baddass who makes Tough Choices, and then the reviews came in and someone saw them and read them and then went and yelled at the writing team and told them to rewrite their Bright Lord story to salvage this.

        And then you get the final Bright Lord story where Celebrimbor succumbs to the siren call of the Ring and takes it up to become the Bright Lord of Mordor! All shall love him and despair! It’s straight up what Galadrial warned about, and you get to watch Celebrimbor go more and more nuts as he sees how much power he wields. Finally he faces down Sauron, dead certain that he’s won, Sauron cannot outmatch him. He’s absolutely, perfectly right… except the One Ring is loyal to its master. It slips from his finger and onto Sauron’s. And it is Celebrimbor who learns the wrong lesson.

        Then Shadow Of War does the Two Ring right; it’s not the One Ring but it has the same power. So it corrupts too, and Celebrimbor would be just as bad as Sauron. So he goes and faces down Sauron and beats him; he’s unstoppable and the Two Ring won’t betray him. Nothing can-

        Sauron cuts the Ring from Celebrimbor’s finger

        That’s partially a simple callback, but it’s also a direct symbol that Celebrimbor has finished the journey to becoming Sauron. Sauron sees the symmetry to his battle against Isildur and he makes it complete.

        Then Talion takes one of the Nine and says “well I can at least get some good done before I go Ringwraith” which is kinda true but all the Ringwraths had been great and good when they got the Nine. Miss Blade Of Galadrial, however, finally gets it; she takes the Two Ring but in her DLC she point-blank refuses to use Dominate because she knows where that road leads now.

        I could go on a lengthy, lengthy rant about continuity issues, but Shadow Of War gets the theme. I started calling it the Two Ring sarcastically because it efficently conveyed my contempt for how dumb this plan was, and now mean it semi-seriously because the writer agrees.

        1. Soylent Dave says:

          See, I think Shadow of Mordor got the theme too (even without the Bright Lord DLC).

          Talion doesn’t win. He doesn’t achieve anything good or noble with his revenge – he doesn’t even achieve peace for himself (or Celembrimbor), mostly because he rejects each & every opportunity to turn aside and rest.

          And his search for moar power leads him inexorably to behaving more and more like Sauron, and to deciding that the only way to win is to become a ring lord himself.

          It’s a really dark ending for Talion (and Celembrimbor), and the Bright Lord DLC just underlines a message which is definitely already present – revenge takes you down a dark road, and you can’t challenge The One Ring (or Sauron) head on, because at best you will become the monster you are trying to tear down.

          Talion and Celembrimbor consistently reject peace in favour of yet more vengeance – by the end of the first game they’ve already fallen.

          The final shot of Talion in Shadow of Mordor is not one of a hero; it’s of a villain – his features hooded and in shadow. His last words aren’t delivered as ‘fuck yeah’ badassery, but whispered dread.

      5. Lanthanide says:

        But Sauron himself is one of the Maiar anyway, so it seems a bit unfair to leave mortals to it, when they’re not actually fighting a mortal.

        1. t says:

          The mortals have a power that the Maiar don’t have, in Tolkein lore, which is to essentially change destiny. I’d guess presumably the bad Valar/Maiar might have this too since their rebellion against God/Iluvatar is essentially trying to subvert & control the music of creation to their own ends.

        2. guy says:

          Thematically Maia don’t go solving problems by using their full power because that is how you get Sauron. It’s not a fairness thing; Gandalf actually fighting Sauron head-on is just a bad idea.

          Way back at the end of the First Age the Valar did decide enough was enough and they unleashed their full might and went and beat Morgoth, and that worked but also everyone needed new maps because none of the old landmarks still existed and the coastlines were different. So the Valar’s post-war debrief was “Well, that worked. Now let us never do that again.

          So their game plan is that they have Frodo take the Ring to Mount Doom and destroy it and Gandalf is assigned to supervise and nudge things here and there. Frodo does get separated from Gandalf, but basically the phial he got from Galadrial is related to the Valar and there’s a couple scenes where I’m pretty sure the associated Valar threw in some extra juice and smote whatever was threatening Frodo. This plan succeeds and it has a lot less collateral damage than the First Age plan.

      6. Sartharina says:

        I always just assumed the eagles didn’t want to get stabbed by Naz’gul or murdered by arrows by undistracted, focused Orc/Goblin archers. Eagles rear-charging orc formations once they’re engaged with dwarves is one thing. Flying right over manned orcish walls and mountains is suicide.

        But maybe I just play too much Total War.

        1. guy says:

          That is one of the possible reasons, really; the main question is whether the eagles have a high enough flight ceiling to stay out of bowshot. Fellbeasts, though, seem to be as good in the air as the eagles, so Sauron can basically have a Nazgul and three fellbeasts and the Nazgul sits on a fellbeast pearched on Barad-Dur 24/7 switching fellbeasts every eight hours so it’s rested.

          Then the eagle shows up two months in and Sauron sees it and yells INCOMING AT 7 O’CLOCK! And the fellbeast takes off and it’s Frodo and an eagle against a Nazgul and a fellbeast in an aerial duel.

          Now obviously he didn’t do that because we’ve got points where all the Nine are outside of Mordor at once, but he knows the eagles exist and while he doesn’t consider the possibility they might destroy the Ring he’s also not an idiot so there’s no way he’d leave Mordor without air cover after the Ring reaches Rivendell because he’d be worried Elrond would just take the Ring, mount up on an eagle, and go fly over to smash up Barad-Dur. The diversion at the Black Gates only worked because the idea Aragon with the One Ring was going to just march right up to the Black Gate and wreck it was entirely plausible. That’s the LoTR version of fully kitted out level 40 Archeron charging five hundred swordsmen head on.

          So if he’s not going to have a Nazgul play RAF Fighter Command that’s because he has a different source of air cover.

    3. Joshua says:

      I tend to think most “Why didn’t the characters just do X?” aren’t plotholes, unless doing X is the incredibly obvious thing (e.g. a home invasion movie where the characters never even think about calling the police, much less give an explanation why they can’t).

      For Annihilation, I had quite a few issues with plot holes though, including one “Why didn’t they do X?”. The biggest one was how this phenomonen has been going on for several years as you’ve said, not a single one of the (15?) investigation groups has reported back any information about what’s going on within the shimmer, so every subsequent group goes in blind. They even lampshade it when the psychologist character advises against going back with a partial report of what they’ve seen as “it would just cause more confusion” or something. I could buy maybe the first group that went in taking an attitude of “we need more information before we go back”, but after so many failed explorations, I think home base would like to have at least some kind of idea about what’s going on.

      The initial idea of the government trying to keep a lid on the Shimmer too, despite the fact that it’s a very visible occurrence where the characters do a forced march for 8 days or something (i.e. BIG area), throws a lot of logic out the window too.

      Then you have all of the weird things the characters do. Too much of all of this just kicked me out of immersion because it was obvious that the story was occurring a specific way because the writer wanted it to, not because there was any logical way that things would transpire in the way that they do.

      1. guy says:

        Wait. I only saw the trailers. They get to group 15 and the orders aren’t “step in, then turn right the hell around and come back”?

        Good god, I’m tempted to watch it so I can write an SCP Foundation crossover where the O5 Council gives it The Core treatment at movie night. If a predictable and localized phenomenon eats exploration crews with no info, they send in a scout team then a rescue team, then they escalate to a Mobile Task Force (think the trailer’s intro of the team except this is their tenth mission and all nine previous ones went smoothly) and then they feed it some number of Class D personnel (unofficially the D means “Disposible”) and then they tag it as “Safe” and its Special Containment Procedures are a paragraph about measures to keep the general public from learning about it and ends with “No personnel are to enter the radius of the phenomenon while it is active under any circumstances”.

        1. Richard says:

          The book makes a lot more sense.

          In the book, every preceding party has had at least one survivor who reported back for debriefing.

          However, they’ve never come back together, it’s always been individuals turning up out of nowhere, somewhat changéd.
          The debriefs seem to provide a lot of information and they’ve built up a map of how the area has changed since the Shimmer started, somehow nobody has ever mentioned several very important details.

          1. guy says:

            Oh, okay.

            The SCP Foundation would have figured this out by team 15, but that’s because they’re basically “what if the evil government conspiracy concealing mysterious happenings was very competent,” so essentially what’s in your spoiler is what will confuse them until they discover that the debriefs aren’t accurate, which probably they notice by team four because this is not a new problem, assuming the properties of the Shimmer make it impossible to just have helmet cams and radios because like 70% of these kinds of things involve some kind of cognitohazard and like 30% of the time they’ll eat the first exploration team.

            At that point they pick a MTF that specializes in dealing with cognitohazards and tells them about everything they think they know about how this particular anomoly screws with people’s heads.

            However, the reason I know that’s how this pattern goes is that I basically just described the standard template for writing an SCP-related Exploration Log story, because the SCP Foundation setting has hundreds of these and while there is no fixed canon generally it’s assumed that most of the entries on the wiki are contained in any particular entry. So they are the SEAL cave rescue team of dealing with weird spatial distortions.

            On the other hand, if you’re team 15 and you realize none of the prior debriefs are accurate and this wasn’t a known and expected condition, you turn right the hell around and report in before whatever it is screws you over too.

            …And I just looked up the plot summary on wikipedia and oh my god it’s like someone is describing the story of when they send in the first MTF team and then everyone gets mutated or goes insane or dies and they either call in a bigger and more heavily armed team with more cognitohazard training or suspend human expeditions and just send in drones, except that the SCP Foundation will have escalated to an MTF by round four instead of round fifteen.

            1. Joshua says:

              Let me try to explain from what I remember from the one time I saw the movie 9 months ago:

              There have been multiple expeditions into the Shimmer, and none of them have returned until Lena’s husband mysteriously reappears after being gone for about a year. Lena is the main character, and has a very weird background where she’s a PhD Microbiologist who spent six or so years in the military as a grunt. She’s in her early to mid 30s, so I guess the timeline is that she joined the army, stayed in until she was 24 or so, and then went all the way through college to earn her PhD and therefore should barely have graduated before the start of the film? Anyway, there’s actually friction in her marriage because she met her husband in the army and now they have a class divide because he’s still just a soldier while she’s now academia.

              Fast forward some time, and she finds out that he was one of the groups to be sent into the Shimmer. Nothing has come back out until now, including people, animals, and electronics. At this point, I was wondering “Why don’t they just send someone in with a rope tied around their waist, let them get a few feet in, maybe 100′, whatever, and just bring them back out? Do the same with a camera? No idea.

              So, Lena is going to go in with the next group (as I said, I think it was #15 or so), along with the Psychologist who oversees the facility monitoring the shimmer. I was under the mistaken impression at this point that all of the women were active or former military, seeing as how it’s a military operation and they are all armed with military rifles going in. You find out later that no, some of the other women are just suicidally depressed civilians that don’t know how to properly use their weaponry. I guess at that point the military is just taking randos who don’t have much to live for and sending them in and hoping something new happens.

              As soon as they enter the Shimmer, they find themselves waking up at their campsite, and have traveled several days in and consumed an appropriate amount of food, although no one remembers any of it. It’s a bizarre plot point, because you’ll later see the Shimmer affect everything differently but apparently all five ladies experienced the exact same kind of amnesia that started and stopped at the same time, which prevented them from coming back out and reporting any information back to base because their minds were cloudy and by the time they “woke up” they were too far away to go back. You can tell by the way that I wrote this that I personally found this to be a plot contrivance. YMMV.

    4. Nessus says:

      The “why don’t they take the eagles to Mordor” thing is also not a pothole. It’s not spelled out in explicit words why they can’t use the eagles, but the reasons they can’t are pretty obvious. It only seems like a plot hole if one has only been paying attention on a Michael Bay sort of level. It’s a “plot hole” that tends to really torpedo my ability to take seriously anyone who cites it unironically.

      Sort of like the “there are no toilets on the starship Enterprise” thing, except no one says that one as anything but a joke, much less actually believes it. The eagles thing tends to be cited by people who genuinely think they’re being cleverly observant (or have seen a YouTube vid by someone cleverly observant), when it really shows the exact opposite: that they suck at paying attention and collating info on a really, really basic level.

      And I say that as someone who only generally likes the LOTR movies, but doesn’t rise to the level of a fan by any stretch (much less a fan of the books, or Tolkien in general). To me it feels like one of those “if even a filthy casual like me got it, what’s your excuse?” sort of things.

      1. guy says:

        I’ll say it’s a reasonable question for a reader to ask but there’s a whole bunch of easily inferrable reasons it would be a bad idea. Ultimately it’s born from the fact that no one discusses Mordor’s anti-air defenses but also no one launches an air attack until the Ring is destroyed. Sauron has an immense stockpile of resources, enormous magical power, and deadly monsters so he’d be able to provide some kind of anti-air.

        1. Nessus says:

          Well, just from watching the movies, we know that as air units (i.e. about the most “out in the open” you can possibly get) they’d get painted by the eye pretty much the moment they crossed the mountains, and we know that Mordor has it’s own air units, and that the eye seems to be able to get into people’s heads to some degree when it’s got them in it’s beam. For all we know, the eye might be able to actually zap them itself, but at the very least it could physically blind them, and probably magically/psychically confuse and demoralize as well.

          It’s not exactly some great blue sky work of between the lines puzzle solving to think that sending the ring in with eagles would’ve basically just been handing the ring to Sauron, even worse than trying to carry it in with an on-foot army.

          The eagles only show up after the ring is destroyed because until then that airspace was too dangerous for them to enter.

          Mind you, they could’ve been helpful getting the ring bearer closer to the border in the first place. Maybe fly from Rivendell to somewhere on the lee side of the mountains before the dead marshes, or something like that. Then they wouldn’t have met Gollum, and thus wouldn’t know about the secret pass which turned out to be the only viable way into Mordor on foot, but that’s a different issue.

          Technically that’s “inference”, but only in the sense that literally anything that isn’t word-for-word spelled out in expository dialog can be labeled “inference”. It’s a symptom of this weird attitude some people have where literally any form of information delivery other than explicit dialog somehow doesn’t count.

          The answer to “why didn’t they just take the eagles in” is right there in the movies, not even hidden or anything, it’s RIGHT THERE. You can try to rules lawyer an excuse to ignore it (“it doesn’t count because they never said it out loud”), but you can’t go around acting like it’s not there or a “plot hole” without looking like you just weren’t paying attention.

          1. Syal says:

            There’s also the possibilty that the eagles are especially vulnerable to succumbing to the ring, as it’s not just a powerful weapon but also a Shiny Thing.

            1. djw says:

              Well, its a raven, not an eagle, but still an avian:


          2. guy says:

            Pretty much what I’d say is that if you get strict enough we only know for sure Sauron can have his Nazgul ride Fellbeasts into battle. If you assume Sauron has absolutely no other air assets, and can’t even deploy Fellbeasts independently there are various windows where Sauron has no Nazgul in Mordor and therefore no air defense. But even limited to just that, the eagle plan is a huge gamble.

            Then it’s locked out entirely if you infer Sauron has used any of his numerous other resources to set up a dedicated air defense system. And he shows a hell of a lot of resources in the siege of Minas Tirith, several of which could be parleyed into total aerial denial of the skies above Mordor.

            1. guy says:

              The question of why they don’t use the eagles for relocation outside of Mordor airspace is valid, but Mordor is considered the primary obstacle so flying past any intermediate obstacles isn’t as big a deal and we know from The Hobbit that getting into contact with the eagles can be a bit tricky (Gandalf does not exert his full strength often for reasons he views as good and sufficent and does not divulge so he might not provide an on-call eagle) and we’re told there was a lengthy series of meetings on the route planning and this route is best. Note that the original plan goes right out the window almost immediately; with Crebin flocks abroad Gandalf and Aragon agree the Gap Of Rohan is not viable anymore and reroute towards Moria while arguing over which of their two options is less lethal.

            2. djw says:

              To be fair, the hobbit plan is a pretty big gamble too.

              1. guy says:

                Yes. Yes it is.

                However, narration establishes that arranging the logistics and planning of the Fellowship expedition involves several months of Aragon, Gandalf, Elrond, and various other Elf lords pouring over plans for months, and the Elves have literally actually beaten Sauron before. So they’re setting up to gamble the entirety of Middle Earth on one throw of the dice, and they’re going to pick the dice with the best odds.

      2. Jabrwock says:

        Exactly. A plot hole with the Eagles is not “I don’t understand their decision” (In the Matrix there was something about being unable to see someone’s future beyond decisions they make you didn’t understand). A genuine plot hole would be something like they’ve already established the Eagles can fly to Mordor with impunity, but don’t this time because reasons they don’t even hint at, even after the fact. Instead we see the patrolling flying monsters, we see the all-seeing Eye they need to hide from, and we see the Eagles don’t fly in until after Sauron is defeated. Implying they can’t. So it’s not a plot hole.

        1. guy says:


          Let me put it this way: that’s exactly like my response to the faceplate scene, right down to saying Sara would have fixed the faceplate if she could so the fact that she doesn’t means she can’t. Like, to me the two scenes establish she can fix cracks but not fix a faceplate. I then cite a bunch of stuff from the Codex to describe why just like I cited Sauron’s resources.

          So I don’t think the faceplate scene itself is the problem and I don’t think changing it would help. When it got to the point that the faceplate breaking and Sarah not fixing it doesn’t work, the story is already dead, it’s just still twitching.

          As for what I think killed it, for me it never really died, I just got bored and went to do other things forever. For other people, I think Mass Effect 3. I mean that; the faceplate scene is in the prologue. It is 100% like establishing everyone has shields and then having Nihlus die in one shot. If Andromeda didn’t have Mass Effect 3 hanging over it, I think most players would say “well I guess if the faceplate is gone it can’t be fixed… OH SHIT WE’RE DEAD!” I would say that and then I’d say “why exactly can’t it be fixed?” and I’d go to the Codex and find an answer. Also ME1’s Codex was as good a Codex as the main story was; never did come back dissatisfied. In fact, it was so good that if I did go to the Codex and something wasn’t in there I would usually say either “I guess it’s unknown” or “that’s probably cut for word count” because it really felt like it was an in-universe encyclopedia. So Vigil’s conversation left out a lot of information that’s only in the Codex because he’d just be telling Shepard what Shepard already knows and he’s in a hurry so he tells Shepard the secrets. Also Shepard asks both him and Sovereign the key question of the Reaper’s motivations and doesn’t get an answer but does tell the player the answer is not avaliable. Sovereign knows and he tells Shepard he is too dumb to understand (my guess was that was just Sovereign’s contempt speaking; his every word radiates unbridled arrogance) while Vigil says “well we think these might be why but it might be something else we dunno. Anyways that’s an interesting question but what matters right now is how to stop them”. And, well, for ME1’s plot that is the answer. And it carries the subtext “have fun speculating; we’ll tell you who is right in ME3” and I had fun speculating while I waited for ME3. Then I got mad because the answer was dumb.

          1. Jabrwock says:

            So Vigil’s conversation left out a lot of information that’s only in the Codex because he’d just be telling Shepard what Shepard already knows and he’s in a hurry so he tells Shepard the secrets.

            He doesn’t need to be an exposition dump, but he does need to convey some info to the viewer, or it breaks the flow. Back to the faceplate example, we know they’re repairable. They’ve shown us just prior. So if it isn’t, they need to show or tell what’s different. We’re out of goo, the break is bigger than what we can fix, they’re under suppressing fire, etc. For the shields example, have the killing shot come from a sniper, or a much bigger weapon. Then we know that shields are good against small arms, but they’re not unlimited, they CAN be breached. In-universe rules can be broken, you just need to show/tell what’s different. Maybe it’s just easier to eliminate the earlier scene that establishes a rule, if you’re just going to re-work how it works later anyway.

            1. guy says:

              Yeah but basically that happens if you don’t read the ME1 Codex but do pay attention on the star map. You will have moved between systems without needing to go through a Mass Relay, and a key plot point is that Fifth Fleet can’t reach the Citadel without using a Mass Relay.

              To which you say, “well obviously that’s because Relay travel is clearly faster so they could it’d just take too long.”

              To which I say well yes it would take a long time, but also it’s impossible. I forget if it’s actually out of FTL range of everywhere reachable, but it does generate the Serpent Nebula artificially to further impede navigation so as to definitely make it impossible to get a fleet through the entire Serpent Nebula so that when Sovereign shuts down the Mass Relays it is impossible for a fleet to arrive to reinforce the defenders.

              So that’s what you get when you add in the Codex. The entire damn Mass Relay system and the Citadel especially is an enormous trap; the ability to travel between star systems easily and quickly is bait. The reason wasn’t directly described in the original trilogy, but Andromeda answers it pretty clearly in the opening cutscene. It is so people will not get around to inventing a drive that can travel between galaxies before the Reapers show up. Andromeda demonstrates it is possible, and assuming the Rachni Queen’s description of the Rachni Wars does mean Sovereign had Indoctrinated the Rachni in presumably a previous attempt at what he uses Saren and the Geth for it takes roughly 2000 years longer than the cycle was supposed to have to make it happen.

    5. shoeboxjeddy says:

      Re: Annihilation “The investigators behave like complete idiots” is not a plothole, it’s a misunderstanding of the entire premise. The group we watch enters the shimmer and then… suddenly realizes over a week has passed. Their mental cognition has been COMPLETELY destroyed the second they crossed over the shimmer. Asking “why don’t they do x, y, or z in the shimmer” is like asking “why didn’t that person NOT cut their skin off while they were on meth? It would have been smarter NOT to have pulled their teeth out with rusty pliers. What a plot hole this drug use experience was.” THEIR BRAINS WERE SCREWED WITH, so they literally COULD NOT be logical and rational.

      1. Joshua says:

        But that’s not the experience I had watching the movie. They suddenly lose a week (for plot convenience), and then gradually lose their sanity over the course of the trek. They don’t instantly act bonkers as soon as we see them wake up at the camp. The main character even seems to make it back more or less fine (depending upon whether you believe she is the doppelganger).

        1. shoeboxjeddy says:

          They lose a week of time. They can’t recall it. Can you imagine how utterly terrifying that would be? It’s kind of like Blair Witch Project, where you walk for an entire day in the same direction and find out you went in a circle apparently. That bends the laws of rationality so hard that all the characters are immediately in a place that’s without pure logic any longer. Discounting their loss of a week is like discounting the Shimmer itself, an argument so flawed I can’t even proceed with you a single step further.

          1. Joshua says:

            “Discounting their loss of a week is like discounting the Shimmer itself, an argument so flawed I can’t even proceed with you a single step further.”

            How droll. Whether you think it would be terrifying or not to lose a week, I’m saying that’s not what I experienced of their emotions from watching the film. None of them act especially traumatized from that point. I don’t remember them acting terribly different from when we saw them from the base, nor do they mention it again. Instead, any trauma I saw is from events that occur after that point, mostly from seeing the video with the earlier exhibition or the attack with the bear.

            How about also sticking with more legitimate arguments and less personal attacks, k? Not everyone experiences things the same way you do.

      2. SSC says:

        Annihilation tried too hard to explain the inexplicable and fell over itself doing so. It was telling the story in far too straightforward a way. I think that kind of story requires a few layers of uncertainty and misdirection. Otherwise it’s easy to see how simple the plot is, and obvious questions quickly come to the viewers’ minds.

        That’s really how it failed as an adaptation. In the book, there’s enough sense of mystery about what the Area can do to people’s minds that it’s impossible for a reader to question the characters’ behaviors in the same way. And there’s enough hints at the sinister nature of the Agency’s bizarre and byzantine machinations that it’s really impossible to question the institutional decision making either. And on top of that, the narrator is unreliable—not that she’s lying, but in that she doesn’t really seem to understand other human beings, and many of her guesses about other characters’ behaviors and motives are proven wrong.

        That’s how you make a story plot hole-proof. When there’s a sense of uncertainty about what might be happening to the characters’ minds, about the accuracy of the narration, about what an organization’s goals might be, and even about what’s physically possible, then the audience can never really jump out and say, “Aha! That action/event/decision is inconsistent with what was previously established!”

        On the other hand, leaving your audience completely without any understanding of what’s possible (and perhaps without any understanding of what’s going on) makes it very difficult to actually engage them in the story. That just goes to show that squashing potential plot holes is not in of itself going to make your story any good.

        1. Joshua says:

          Well, it is quite a bit harder to do Unreliable Narrator in a film vs. a book, unless that’s the whole point of the story (Fight Club et al.). Not sure how you’d properly convey this in a film.

      3. Darren says:

        There’s also the fact that they come upon the remains of the previous expedition and remark about how they had stopped acting rationally, as well. I don’t know how much clearer the movie could be that the area beyond the Shimmer is cuckoo-crazypants-brainmelt land.

    6. TakatoGuil says:

      In addition to all of these other defenses, of course, the ring has a will of its own and is an artifact that can tempt and corrupt. Putting Frodo on an eagle and trying to fly him straight to Mordor would get you a hobbit corpse and a ring-wielding eagle before they crossed the Misty Mountains.

      1. guy says:

        That’s assuming it works on the eagle much, much faster than it works on Boromir. A flat-out rush for Mordor would probably be like a week on eagleback.

    7. Zak McKrackem says:

      It’s not a hole if you don’t fall in it.

      That’s simultaneously a very good way to measure if something is a plot hole and the reason why people disagree on them so much, and why they keep accusing each other of watching movies “the wrong way”.
      Some movies will only work if you don’t think along too hard (transfomers?), and some only work if you do think a lot (Dune), and some just don’t ever work (The Room… unless watched ironically, I guess).

      So Transformers is great if you just want cheap thrills but if you pay attention to logistics or dialogue or anything but explosions really, is just gibberish, but I will frankly admit that upon first viewing, Dune appeared to me to be pretty disjointed and illogical too. That is until I grew a little older, read the books and watched the movie again, at which point it became a masterpiece. So now people tell me that I was watching Transformers the wrong way (and Avengers, too…) but these things all being creative works (if not necessarily works of art), I think we should all acknowledge that what works for me doesn’t always work for you, and I may step in the plot holes that you don’t notice, because you were paying attention to other things than me. This is partly of course about knowing what to expect of a movie, but it is also about the themes and ideas a person is interested in, their current mood, their background expertise …*

      So let’s maybe just stop trying to talk in absolutes about these things?
      It is certainly bad storytelling if you don’t try to maybe make the plot holes less obvious or offer something more rewarding to focus on (no level of thinking will allow you to take The Room serious and enjoy it), but as with music, there will always be works that appeal to some audiences which just don’t speak to others, at the same time as there are objectively bad and gifted musicians.

      * best example: My mom knows Russian, and she couldn’t watch any 1980’s cold-war-themed Hollywod action movie without giggling every time a supposed Russian showed up and started making pseudo-Russian noises with their mouth… kinda killed the atmosphere for her. You couldn’t blame her for it, but you also can’t blame the rest of the audience for not noticing.

  2. Jabberwok says:

    I don’t think a good writer will spend much time trying to anticipate fan griping, because a good writer will already care about those things in their own work (assuming it is their work and not someone else’s). Not because of a draconian desire for logical consistency or because they’re afraid of criticism, but because they are personally invested in their fiction, more than any fan ever could be. This is perhaps why I can think of very few glaring plot holes in any of the good novels that I’ve read, but blockbuster films are riddled with them. When a third party is hired to direct a movie by a studio who bought the rights to make money, so he hires a screen writer to write the movie, and the screenwriter hands his script off to a director, and the director makes a couple changes and hands the movie to his effects department, you have this massive contraption filled with people who may be passionate but are even less personally invested than many of the fans. I’m sure a similar thing happens in AAA game development. Star Wars is a great example and then some. It’s not even a story at this point, it’s a brand.

    Plot holes are occasionally honest mistakes, and those are often easy to distinguish. But the ones that bother me are often symptoms of an author who doesn’t care, or a story that is lacking an author. And this isn’t even subtle; I’m sure you can find plenty of instances of people like Michael Bay saying, “I don’t care and my audience doesn’t care.” Or Pete Hines saying, “I’m not the lore guy.”

    I’ve never been bothered by CinemaSins, personally, I guess because I never took them seriously? They don’t seem to take themselves seriously, either. I mean, if all you do is make videos to point out plotholes, you’re going to have to get nitpicky and absurd just to keep putting out content.

    1. guy says:

      I say from personal experience that a writer can just fail to notice plot holes. I had a fanfic where a key plot point was that an armada of zombie spaceships (sorta) would attack any warship they didn’t recognize as friendly and their IFF was shot so they could only identify a ship as friendly if their liege lord was aboard and while they’d obey her commands in a general sense they would also attack anything in range(she’s immortal and her planet’s hat is superweapons that aren’t good at target discrimination) so as to explain why getting her to their control system on the planet below was a job for one ship loaded with hardened badasses and thus resulted in a fight with seven enemy warships because the enemy’s tactician figured out they were going to retrieve this battle fleet. All this went smoothly and I posted chapters, and then I realized hang on, why wouldn’t the ships attack their ship the moment they teleported down?

      Fortunately I hadn’t posted the chapter where they teleported down yet, so I just had a character ask that question.

      *Long pause*

      “I could order them all to fly to the outer system before we disembark.”
      “Good idea.”

      If I’d thought of it sooner that’d have just been a line item in the briefing because the ancient superweapons expert has brain augments and could not possibly have missed that, but now my retroactive explaination is that she’s just very nervous and socially awkward so she didn’t mention it because she just assumed everyone else would know it and she wants to be done briefing High Command so she could resume memorizing every book ever written and not talking to people. Because that’s basically her character and whenever she remembers she has an audience she starts stammering and saying “um” a lot.

    2. baud says:

      [the authors] are personally invested in their fiction, more than any fan ever could be

      It reminds of a comment by the writer of the adventure game Primordia, saying that he had seen fans knowing more about the game than him. On the other hand, he’s not a full-time author, instead he’s working on games on the sides.

  3. coleusrattus says:

    Huh, I have to admit I am one of the seemingly few that enjoy CinemaSins work.

    To me, that channel is a tongue in cheek loveletter to the movies he nitpicks about, not a condemnation of them. But then, being not a native speaker, I might have misinterpreted the channel all those years.

    1. Anonymous says:

      Well, I once watched someone ranting about them for about an hour (talk about good time management). Basically, they sometimes point out things wrongly, for comedic effect. Apparently, they defend that strategy in some behind the scenes footage.

      The rest was a mixture of defending the honor of real critics and character assassination (he said the CS guys were from SEO stuff and optimizing for money earned, not good content).

    2. Geebs says:

      Yeah, CinemaSins is just a harmless and generally good-natured goof. The quickfire stuff is for comic timing purposes. I have no idea why people get upset about it.

      1. Bloodsquirrel says:

        Probably because it’s hard to see the “joke” in things that Cinema sins say that are just… wrong. Like, not being overly cheeky, but just flat-out factually inaccurate about the movie. As in “Why doesn’t this character do this?” when literally five seconds before the scene where the “sin” is the character says “This is why I’m not doing that”.

        There’s a guy who has some videos about it:

        I just don’t see what’s all that funny about a video that has to literally fabricate plot holes in order to fill time. Where’s the actual joke there?

        1. Fizban says:

          Well there’s the meta-joke regarding the fact that even people who act/think like they’ve analyzed everything perfectly still screw up plenty enough to be noticeable. It’s funny to point out when people are wrong about obvious things, why wouldn’t it be funny to make up those kind of failures on occasion? I’d be more annoyed about then accidentally getting esoteric things wrong, since I like those bits where they’ve done some bit of research that I’d never bother too. But I’m pretty sure I’ve seen them print retractions on those bits, so I don’t even care if I fail to notice other intentionally wrong things are wrong.

          I haven’t been watching them as much lately, but I’d still classify myself as a fan. I guess Shamus just hasn’t been noticing whenever someone complains about Cinema Sins and some of us show up say “chill bro, it’s cool?” Or maybe he’s thinking “fan” in terms of the no-thought fan and we’re all paying too much attention.

          Of course I could also being watching Cinema Sins “wrong,” since I hardly watch movies anymore and so most of the time I’m watching the sins for a movie I have not and do not intend to see. This usually just confirms what I expected, but occasionally makes me go “oh, I guess I should see that.” And most of those I have seen the movies for don’t make any comments about movies I like which actually make me mad- they either reaffirm points I already know, or point out new things I didn’t which don’t retroactively make me un-like the movie.

          1. guy says:

            In the case of Cinema Sins I specifically don’t find it funny because they’re delivered exactly like his serious criticisms so I can’t tell which ones are meant to be jokes. Particularly because people are often wrong in exactly the way the joke sins are wrong.

            Wheras I watch John Oliver over and over because of how he delivers his conspiracy theory satire, which is he acts just like a sincere conspiracy theorist in telling you why it’s self-evident that there is only one Olson Twin, she’s just moving back and forth very fast to trick your eyes. It’s funny because it’s blatantly obvious that’s too stupid to plausibly entertain and he delivers it with an absolutely straight face.

      2. Liessa says:

        Incidentally, there’s a similar channel called Game Sins which does basically the same thing, but for videogames, and which I really enjoy. He doesn’t seem to get the same kind of hate as CinemaSins, though he does have a few long-running jokes which new viewers sometimes fail to pick up on (such as automatically sinning anything a character does or says which he deems ‘racist’, sometimes on extremely flimsy grounds, even if that’s the whole point of the scene). If you’re thinking of giving it a try, start with the earlier videos – some of my favourites are Thief (2014), Ryse: Son of Rome, and Assassin’s Creed Unity.

        1. Karma The Alligator says:

          Funny, I always avoided Game Sins because I thought the average length of games would make it, well, too long for videos.

          1. Liessa says:

            Some of them are quite long (I think there were even a couple of games he had to split into 2 parts) but generally they tend to be a reasonable length. It helps that he tends to stick to the main plot and ignore sidequests etc. for the purposes of the video.

        2. PPX14 says:

          This sounds excellent, am going to check it out! Especially having watched two teardowns of Thief 4 recently.

          The trick is to watch the ones about things you don’t love unconditionally :D

      3. Rymdsmurfen says:

        I really don’t like it, and the best explanation I can come up with is that I don’t find it funny or clever, just very, very annoying. And maybe that is amplified by the expectation that it should be something that I’d normally like (spotting actual mistakes in movies that is,).

      4. KillerAngel says:

        I hate it because it actually damages how people talk about movies. It drives me bananas that they say some of their sins are joke sins and some aren’t because most people can’t tell the difference between when they are being wrong, fake-wrong, nitpicky, or actually posing valid criticisms. Then they parrot all of those like they are valid criticisms to their friends and online and their viewers start to confuse valid nitpicking and invalid nitpicking and they hide behind a defense of comedy.

    3. Richard H Sanford says:

      No, you get it. CinemaSins started out as a legitimate picking out of mistakes in movies, such as a tie being different from one scene to the next or a really glaring plot hole, but has evolved into what you see today. I *love* CinemaSins, because I know that it’s nitpicking for comedic effect, and sure, for use to say “Ha ha, oh, yeah…” but it’s all done tongue-in-cheek and with a wink and a nod. Heck, Jeremy even did an “Everything Wrong with CinemaSins”. I’ve never bothered to read the comments, though, so I never knew it was disliked despite the likes on the video itself. Maybe they’re playing along and being negative in reply? IDK.

    4. BlueHorus says:

      I think CinemaSins (and similar videos) are just…fairly standard clickbait. Not that I think that’s bad.

      Fast-fire content that keeps the jokes coming? Hints that you’re dumb for not noticing what they’ve noticed? Making obvious mistakes when criticizing a film’s story, so that people will jump in to correct you? Sneaking in controversial opinions and then acting like you didn’t, or saying ‘it’s only a joke’ when the (inevitable) complaints come in?

      Sure some of that’s bad, but each thing is bog-standard attention-seeking behavior that you can find in any number of places. And none of them are new.

      Again, it’s not bad: sometimes you’ve got 10 minutes to waste, or whatever. I think getting worked up about the current fad for ‘plothole’-related content is the big mistake here; in time it’ll get old and stale and people will just move on.

      …possibly to a new form of clickbait: videos criticising other people’s videos about plotholes!

    5. Nick-B says:

      I’m a cinemasins fan as well. I only watch ones for movies I’ve seen (which cuts out half his videos) but they are decent time wasters. I even find myself quoting him a few times (“roll credits!”) when watching other movies. I don’t really much like the “GASP HE IS IN A SLIGHTLY DIFFERENT SPOT FROM CUT TO CUT!” level of nit picking, but the rest is ok.

      I don’t really take his criticism seriously, but he does point out that there are a lot of cliches used in cinema lately.

    6. Brandon says:

      You are correct. In his Wreck it Ralph video, he specifically says no one loves that movie more than he does.

      He doesn’t nitpick movies because he hates them, this is out of move for cinema.

    7. Ninety-Three says:

      I always got the impression CinemaSins was clickbait, done for neither love nor hatred of movies, but because hey, it’s a living. That’s most of why I see it as trash: he’s got airtime to fill and if the movie doesn’t yield enough material, rather than make a two minute video he’ll extrude ten minutes of monetizable #content.

      1. guy says:

        I haven’t watched much because I agree with your assessment of the final product, but I think you’re maybe being too harsh on his motivations. I got the impression that it was someone who enjoys criticizing movies who is now criticizing movies professionally. So if he has two minutes of material he likes he adds eight minutes he doesn’t because people are paying him for ten minutes. So when I tried watching a few for movies I liked I felt distinctly like one in six “sins” were either legit cirticisms or on-point satire and the remaining six were because he needs to do the Youtube content creator version of putting in forty billable hours a week.

        I might try videos of movies I think suck, but the Blind Idiot God that is the Youtube recommender serves up Star Wars the Original Trilogy over and over again and I’ve never gotten around to checking if he’s got one for The Last Airbender, which was a movie I watched with my sister so we could make jokes about how bad it is for two hours straight.

    8. My biggest problem is less the innocuous nitpicks, more the way he slips subjective gripes into more clean-cut plotholes and continuity errors. It implies that everything he doesn’t like about a film can be taken as read as a “flaw” to the same extant as cups with water levels that change from shot to shot, without further discussion. They feel like cheap shots.

  4. Wangwang says:

    Oh yes, do The Last Jedi please. When the heat argument about TLJ start, I imediately thought about your Mass Effect restropects series, particularly the part about Yandaft. I wondered “Hmm, what would Shamus say about this?”. But because your site is about games, and as the flame keep increasing all over the internet, I thought you wouldn’t want to talk about it.

    1. Zekiel says:

      +1 for this. Although it sounds like a tough one to analyse – from what I could work out there were a LOT of different viewpoints coming into play which led to people arguing past each other when it came to discussing the film.

      1. Daimbert says:

        My main comment on it — and why I actually think I like it better than TFA — is that the movie is so ambiguous that you can pretty much justify any position you want to take on it by appealing to the movie itself directly and, based entirely on that, couldn’t really be said to be wrong. So it’s WAY too easy to just pick an interpretation that makes the movie better or worse for you and have that one hold together about as well as any other interpretation does.

        1. guy says:

          I think there’s some latitude, though my interpretation comes from my military SF by ex-military writers where the viewpoint characters would only mutiny if it became crystal clear their commanding officer was not fit and refused to see reason. So I think it’s fairly solid and David Drake could sell it to everyone with ease.

          Also I think part of the goal was to set up and then subvert audience expectations; Poe’s arc starts out the way Jinn’s Death Star plans raid starts and the ultimate result of both is a lot of dead soldiers and destroyed ships. So Poe’s plan not being the solution is a twist; if the writer didn’t want you to agree with that, Poe dismissing the idea of telling Holdo would be immediately followed up with this scene:

          CONFERENCE ROOM; lots of empty seats; Holdo is addressing a handful of officers in engineering or shuttle crew uniforms and has warship captains attending by holo.
          HOLDO: The First Order thinks we’re out of options; not enough fuel to jump away and then scatter and elude them, no help coming and nowhere to run to. One of those is wrong.
          *galactic hologram pops up; one star overlaid with the rebel fleet symbol lights up*
          HOLDO: During the rebellion, we had a network of hidden bases to use as staging points. Officially, all of them were decommissioned under the disarmament clause of the Treaty Of Jakku*, but General Organa made sure a few of the ones the Empire didn’t know about were just mothballed in case of emergency. We didn’t pick a random rendevous point; we’re just fifteen hours at sublight from one of them.
          *Hologram of the communications gear only*
          HOLDO: We’ll reactivate the base and use it for its original purpose; it possesses a long-range communicator we’ll use to rally any remaining ships and go back to the Rebellion’s playbook. We defeated the Empire once and we will defeat them again.
          HOLDO: However, this all depends on the First Order believing we’ve been wiped out. Our transports can evade a standard sweep, but if they suspect we’re launching them they’ll run a focused scan in their likely path. We need to convince them we don’t have any options, and to do that we’ll have to let them pick us off one by one, look like we’re just hoping for a miracle. Get your ships and crews ready and remember your opsec. Don’t tell your people anything they don’t need to know; two men can keep a secret if one of them is dead. Get started.
          CREW: Yes ma’am!

          I legitimately think that meeting happened offscreen and Poe didn’t get invited because only the big ships and shuttle ground crews need to know, and Holdo did tell some people enough to convince them there was a point to this.

          I think the biggest problem in terms of the fan debate intensity is that it’s dead center in the culture wars so a bunch of people literally have told me I only thought Holdo was incompetent because I assume female characters can’t be good military leaders. That is not true; if this were my literal favorite military anime, Queen Of The Night Sky Colonel Yagami would have just smiled cheerfully and told Poe to get to work and if he balked Signum would punch him in the face. No seriously there is a scene in the show where a character questions a female character’s military decision and another female character just decks them; the message of that scene is that Signum is from an era when the prevailing belief was that a good way to get your subordinates to obey you was to punch them. It is her character flaw and a reason her callsign is Stars 2 and not Stars 1, but Stars 4 should not have questioned Stars 1 because Stars 1 is better at this than Stars 4. The meaningful difference is that Poe has spent a movie convincing the audience he’s competent and Holdo has not had 36 episodes of being awesome.

          * This is from official secondary material; the treaty is why there isn’t a New Republic fleet; it was mostly decommissioned and while they still had a much stronger fleet than the First Order, all of it was in the system Starkiller Base destroyed. So there literally isn’t a New Republic fleet anymore. This is not a result of a sound but mistaken military strategy, it is because the New Republic is very idealistic and kind of dumb so they naively assumed they wouldn’t need a fleet anymore. That is not my inference but it is also not in the movie, it is in books.

      2. BlueHorus says:

        Absolutely. Shamus announcing plans to go over TLJ is the best part of this article.
        (Not that the artcle’s bad or anything. I just FINALLY got around to watching TLJ recently and want an excuse to talk about it – when I’m usually far too late to the party for that kind of thing…)

    2. Geebs says:

      Yeah, TLJ will incite a flamewar to make even arguments about whether Obsidian makes good games or not look tame.

      For my part, I don’t think plot holes matter in a movie in which the actual plot is already illogical, directionless filler stuffed with subplots which are also filler. It’s like complaining that there are too many holes in a cheese which has already gone moldy.

      Begun, this flame war has ;-)

      1. Joshua says:

        I’d agree. The plot holes are a problem (although Star Wars is not exactly known for being airtight), but there’s a lot of other issues at play that resulted in a number of people not liking it. The Force Awakens had a ton of plot holes too, and despite being very safe and derivative, had a much greater audience appeal.

        No point in me going into any more, as it’s extremely flame bait material as you said.

        1. unit3000-21 says:

          “The Force Awakens had a ton of plot holes too, and despite being very safe and derivative, had a much greater audience appeal. ”
          I think TFA being safe and derivative is actually the reason for greater audience appeal. TLJ tried to do something new with Star Wars, which many people liked, but some found disagreeable. I actually thought it was really good, but I’m by no means a SW fan.

          1. guy says:

            I think that’s part of it, but also the reason being safe and derivative is safe is because it’s repeating something that worked.

            Also, while some people do just want Star Wars to stay the same, a large chunk of the audience wants to see something new with Star Wars, but that doesn’t mean they’ll like anything new. Rogue One was new, because it’s the first Star Wars movie where none of the protagonists are Jedi. There is one person who can use the force, but by the EU categorization standards he’s a Force Adept because he isn’t a member of the Jedi Order and he does not have a lightsaber. Even in the vast expanse of the Legends continuity, it’s pretty rare to actually just not have any protagonists who don’t have a lightsaber and do not plan to get one in the future. That was a specific new thing that Star Wars fans have been asking for for a long time. And while I don’t think it sold on the level of the main line, it certainly didn’t spark the same level of bitter argument as The Last Jedi because people who weren’t interested didn’t go.

            What annoys me about the new parts of The Last Jedi is that it pretty much says the original trilogy was wrong. It’s not so much the exact details, it is that Poe’s plan is similar to the Death Star Trench Run in concept, and it’s explicitly a mistake and the framing is that the principle is a mistake. And Roz’s intervention with Finn at the end is even more direct. It is pretty much Finn rushing into a suicidal run down a narrow corridor in order to hit the single weak point before the superlaser finishes charging and destroys the rebel base. And there is no reason whatsoever to think it would not succeed; technically it could fail but Finn knows the Imperial military tech and is pretty sure worst-case he dies and his speeder crashes straight into it and this is enough. So Roz’s intervention is temporally equivalent to Han’s intervention, except it’s to prevent Finn from carrying out his plan instead of to help him.

            So basically the big thematic moment is almost exactly Han swoops in and knocks Luke’s X-wing out of the trench and the Death Star fires and Yavin 4 explodes and Han tells Luke he needs to understand people are more important than things. And aside from the thematic clash I just think it’s really dumb to have that message when the thing that they’re trying to protect is what is keeping literally everyone else alive.

        2. BlueHorus says:


          Clumsily crowbarring Porgs into pointless scenes of TLJ with all the grace of – well, a clumsy man with a crowbar – wasn’t a plot hole. It was bad in different ways.

          …but let’s save up all our flamethrower fuel for the actual TLJ article.

          1. guy says:

            Porgs were in the movie because the jedi island set was covered in birds.

            1. Dreadjaws says:

              That’s no excuse for them being shown outside the island or being a constant focus of the marketing.

              1. Viktor says:

                Yes, Star Wars never has a focus on comic relief aliens that are easily marketable and piss off the established fanbase. The Porgs were classic, uncut, Star Wars merch bait and I wish I was more shocked that people were ranting about them.

                1. Galad says:

                  My TLJ rant would start with:

                  1) Meaningless romance subplot(s), shoehorned in the wrong time and/or with insufficient buildup to them
                  2) The nonsense-looking popcorn-kid-friendly scene of Princess Leia just floating back in the destroyed ship cockpit. I’m not even a big star wars fan, and it rubs me so very wrong that some people try to excuse it with “it’s Star Wars, do you really find this implausible”. Let’s say it’s the wrong type of fantasy to me.

                  1. Viktor says:

                    …She used the Force.

                    I’m not trying to be snarky, but, that’s literally what happened there, she pushed herself back to the ship.

                    1. Agammamon says:

                      Yeah, we know that.

                      From someone with no training and no on-screen indication of being able to do anything remotely ‘Force-like’ before. Its a Deus Machina. No, its part and parcel of the whole film’s main conceit – that they’re ‘subverting expectations’. Like in the opening when Luke tosses the lightsaber away – Gotcha! Bet you weren’t expecting that! The whole movie is a long string of such things. To the point where none of the subversions stick anymore. Did anyone gasp when Leia was blown out? Nope. Because by that point in the movie we knew there were no stakes for any of these people. Gotcha! She’s got Force powers now! Bet you didn’t expect that!

                    2. Viktor says:

                      Her father was Anakin Skywalker. Luke told her she had the Force in Ep 6. Yoda considers her an alternative to Luke in the “Kill Vader” plan. She senses Luke’s location on Bespin. Yes, she has force powers, she’s had them for 30 years. Why, exactly, are people shocked that Leia can use the Force?

                      And yeah, Luke tosses away the lightsaber. I wasn’t expecting that particular reaction, but dude has been actively hiding on an island for the better part of a decade. CLEARLY he doesn’t want to get involved in the galaxy. Him tossing the lightsaber isn’t subverting expectations, it’s perfectly in line with his TFA character.

                    3. guy says:

                      Uh, Leia is as strong in the Force as Luke. That is a key plot point in the climaxes of The Empire Strikes Back when she’s able to hear Luke’s telepathic message and direct Han to rescue him and Return Of The Jedi where Vader reads Luke’s thoughts, learns about Leia, and remarks that if Luke doesn’t turn to the Dark Side perhaps Leia will and Luke leaps out of hiding in an ill-advised attack. Then in The Force Awakens it’s why her son is so strong in the Force and when Han dies it cuts to her reacting to sensing his death.

                      So yes she has done “remotely Force-like” things before. She has not previously employed telekinesis and has little to no training, but that’s how Luke was when he used telekinesis to retrieve his lightsaber in the cave on Hoth so it’s absolutely within her capabilities.

                    4. guy says:

                      Oh, also, while it wasn’t hinted at whatsoever in A New Hope that is because George Lucas was making things up as he went along and then he went to the press and just lied and said he’d planned it out from the beginning, like how Vader and Anakin Skywalker were different characters when he wrote A New Hope; the “clues” in A New Hope were not supposed to be about Vader being Luke’s father. Lucas just realized he had a plot structure problem in The Empire Strikes Back so he changed his plans to make Vader be Luke’s father and then pretended he’d been planning to do that all along. Likewise Leia being Luke’s sister was because Lucas was getting burned out and decided that he wasn’t going to actually follow through on his grand 12-movie series dream so he needed to wrap up his dangling plot threads in Return Of The Jedi, so he tossed his plotting notes about “The Other” from Obi-wan and Yoda’s forshadowing for the next 3-movie arc and stared at his existing major characters and decided Leia was the only option.

                      I’d guess there’s an 85% chance Rey is the result of dumpster-diving through Lucas’s discarded notes and pulling out the original “The Other”; a ton of the prequel trilogy, the EU, and the new movies are modified bits of stuff Lucas left on the cutting room floor. Like the Kyber Crystal MacGuffin in Rogue One; in an early draft Anakin Starkiller would go out into the galaxy to obtain the Kyber Crystal.

              2. shoeboxjeddy says:

                The purpose of marketing is to sell products. Porg products were very successful as I understand it, which makes the marketing that they did successful marketing. Why would they need to “excuse” a business success that made them a great deal of money? Maybe you should take an economics course or something.

                1. Dreadjaws says:

                  Wow, what a powerful insight. Maybe you should be a professional movie critic.

                  Or perhaps you could stop it with the condescending passive agressive trash talk and realize what I’m really talking about.

                  1. shoeboxjeddy says:

                    What are you actually trying to say? Why would they need to excuse the use of the Porgs when the first film had cute droid characters, the second one had neat space camel horses and the abominable snowman, and the third one had a whole village of warlike Teddy Bears that was CRUCIAL to the plot? What series do you even THINK you’re watching that the Porgs are this out of nowhere offense to your sensibilities?

                    1. Dreadjaws says:

                      I’m not “offended” by anything, and most certainly not about their existence. But I do have a problem with the obvious commercial purpose of the Porgs, which was never so evident with any other creature or character in the franchise, even though we know selling merchandise is a major part of it.

                    2. shoeboxjeddy says:

                      I would STRONGLY argue that the point of the Ewoks could not have been more clear and was criticized at the time. The porgs were a clever solution to a legitimate problem they had with the filming location, marketing clearly saw the opportunity for the new cute thing hotness and took advantage of that. Cute or silly things are a part of the Star Wars package and always have been. Calling out porgs as a somehow special exception is a dog whistle for being an unreasonable TLJ hater, in my opinion.

                    3. guy says:

                      Ewoks are half and half. Their appearance was because George Lucas wanted to make toys of them, but they did have plot importance because the Battle Of Endor is criticizing America’s military strategy in Vietnam; the Ewok tactics are based off Viet Cong tactics. It’s supposed to seem implausible they’d be effective against the Empire’s technological might; that is what American military planners thought about Vietnam.

                      The Porgs aren’t central to the movie’s theme, but also they do not have nearly as much screentime and a lot of what they do have is because birds were ruining shots so the CGI people made them alien birds because the island is on an alien planet so the birds are alien birds. So I think net they’re about Ewok level.

                2. Agammamon says:

                  They need to excuse shoehorning in a merch opportunity where it doesn’t fit.

                  R2-D2 and C-3pio and Chewbacca, even the Ewoks – all had larger, meatier parts in the early movies. People may not like the Ewoks but they were there for something other than to be in a merch ad. They were at least plot relevant.

                  1. Viktor says:

                    The Porgs were there because the actual island they filmed on was covered in birds and CGIing them into alien birds was the cheapest solution. Once they exist, sure toss in a couple excessively cute scenes for merch sales, but don’t rewrite the movie to make them plot relevant, because that would be silly. How is that worse than Ewoks, whose “plot relevance” was mostly turning stormtroopers into a joke?

            2. BlueHorus says:

              So Porgs live on the island. Fine. Put them in the background. Or even better…in the story, in like, any way.

              The obvious comparison is with Ewoks in ROTJ – they were kinda shit, they were put in the film for ‘cute creature’ and marketing purposes – but, y’know, they still did something. Fought in the final battle. Helped out. Were worked into the plot.

              But Porgs added nothing. They had completely disconnected scenes devoted to nothing but having Porgs (and Chewbacca) in, they were never relevant to the plot…they were just there, almost certainly because some committee handed down a note saying ‘put these in, they’ll sell’.
              Of course ‘put these in, they’ll sell’ was always going to happen – but holy shit, Disney, can’t you at least make an effort with it?

              1. guy says:

                The Falcon scenes were a short sketch comedy and nothing else. Didn’t eat much screentime and I laughed so they earned their keep.

                1. BlueHorus says:

                  As you like.
                  I didn’t laugh and was instead annoyed – but opinions are opinions. So it goes.

                  1. guy says:

                    Well, I don’t think there’s a point in questioning people’s tastes, but I do think the point of the scenes was to make people laugh; it just didn’t succeed in your case.

                    However, I still think the movie parts were well-executed. Okay, you didn’t laugh at the joke, but then the scene ends and hopefully you’ll like the new scene; good comedies keep rolling with joke after joke so if you don’t like one the next is right there. And given the backstory I think the planning meeting was like this:

                    hey, wouldn’t it be funny if the porgs kept getting into the Falcon and Chewie is annoyed and chases them out, but more and more keep coming back until he gives up, then warms to them and when they leave he’s adopted one as the ship’s mascot and it’s in the cockpit trilling?
                    *everyone laughs*
                    Make it happen!

                    As for the ad campaign, that’s purely about moving merchandise and they had the Porgs so they merchanised them. All I’ve heard indicates they started life when the local birds kept getting in the way of the shot so someone suggested just CGIing them into alien birds. If you sliced the Falcon scenes then they add a bit of flavor; it’s like how Rey took a ration packet and added water and it became bread, or how the original edict from Lucas was that there was to be no paper and that still holds for the modern era; the Jedi books are ancient and the fact that there is no other paper helps with selling that.

                    They did what they set out to do and at worst it’s like 4% of the runtime dedicated to them and their appearances in the background are the thing Lucas contributed to Star Wars; he uses a documentary style and put a lot of work and money into things that aren’t important, because if Star Wars was real and you shot a documentary about the Battle Of Yavin and recreated Obi-wan sensing the destruction of Alderaan you’d have the Deerjk board in the background. So Lucas demanded ILM put in a holographic chessboard in that scene. So if you’re wondering how Lucas could make both the original trilogy and the prequels, that’s basically how; when he worked on the prequels the highly experimental state of the art CGI he pulled in to create a convincing sense of place was not a success. Also he actually hates writing dialogue and doesn’t think he’s good at it but [assorted personal or contractual issues] so he couldn’t find a writer who he trusted to be good and work to spec; if he wanted to make his dream movie he’d have to write it himself this time instead of telling an award-winning author and screenwriter “okay, Tarkin is threatening to destroy Alderaan and Leia believes him so she gives up the location of an abandoned base hoping Tarkin will buy it and blow up the planet without checking to buy time for Obi-wan to get the plans to Yavin 4 via her father. Tarkin buys it but he wants to blow up a heavily populated planet to terrify every other planet into submission without having to land billions of storm troopers on every world! Go!”

        3. DungeonHamster says:

          I think it’s a mistake to read too much into TFA’s better performance. Do you remember Shamus’ hypothesis about the Wolfenstein games, that one of the major factors in the (at least initial) success of an entry in a series is heavily dependent on its immediate predecessor? I suspect that TFA had already begun to chip away at fans’ goodwill.

          When you take a franchise that relies heavily on nostalgia for appeal and then have Disney release a seemingly endless wave of at best middling quality content, the nostalgia is going to wear off for a lot of folks. Then factor in that this mediocre content is increasingly aggressively prodding sensitive culture war spots, driving off a fair chunk of the remainder. TLJ was set up for failure even if it had been a lot better than it was. The actual movie was in some ways just the icing on the cake, because Star Wars had, I believe, already basically lost the audience’s trust. Of course, TFA was only a small part of this process, but if you tell me it wasn’t a factor at all I won’t believe you.

          1. guy says:

            I think TFA generally worked for most people. At least, the sentiment was people went in to see Star Wars and the immediate feedback was “Well that was definitely Star Wars”. I had some logic complaints but mostly it was okay except I was left wondering about what the New Republic military was up to. The criticism was “maybe be a bit less Star Wars” but we did come for Star Wars so a lot of people were hyped for the next movie which was less Star Wars and my complaint was that they did not have the Star Wars crawl. I liked that! Also the start was rough because it had to tell us things that go in the crawl but by ten minutes later it had corrected course.

            Then the Last Jedi bugged me because I felt like its culture war theme fundamentally cheated. I kept getting into arguments about how Poe’s actions were comprehensible because Holdo’s plan was to all appearances doomed. It was to escape a faster enemy by fleeing at sublight in a spot that logically should be literal light-years from anywhere because the only requirement for the temporary rendevous would be that no one would search there. So neither I nor Poe saw any faint possibility of success so screw it we have to do something and this could work.

            Then it turns out there is a plan but I didn’t understand why they’d jumped to where they did. I mean if it were to escape from the hyperdrive tracker it’s a stroke of genius, but they didn’t know about it in advance.

            My ultimate takeaway was that Holdo and Poe had their good points but they both proved why they weren’t in the command center; they’re not suited for it. Holdo can plan but she can’t lead, Poe’s a great tactical leader but can’t track the bigger picture.

            1. Smith says:

              Remember, Poe’s options included “tell Holdo about the tracker theory”, which he didn’t do out of nothing but his injured pride and ego. Going behind her back was not his only option, and you can literally see the moment in Leia’s room where he makes his choice.

              Ironically, if he had told Holdo, she might’ve trusted him enough to read him in to the plan. Nice job breaking it, hero.

              1. modus0 says:

                If Holdo hadn’t given a flippant answer to Poe’s “Tell us you have a plan!” and instead mentioned that she did, maybe he would have trusted her enough to clue her in about the tracker theory.

              2. guy says:

                Poe didn’t tell her because he assumed she’d refuse for no reason and prevent them from launching. That’s probably partially just wounded pride, but frankly I thought it pretty likely too based on her prior actions. My impression was that Holdo was the sort of commander who does things by the book but isn’t innovative and this isn’t in the book so she’s going to lead them all into their graves.

            2. Doomcat says:

              As someone who is neutral on the last jedi, I personally find the whole Holdo/Poe dichotomy interesting as a plot point, a good idea, but I think it was executed poorly.

              Mainly because I think not sharing your big plan like that is good…if you’re worried about intelligence leaks, but honestly, the way information was withheld was (And yes, movie but still) almost begging for them to start a mutany.

              It’s been a while since I saw it, but I do remember a scene where Poe even confronts Holdo about ‘you’re just going to run away?’ and she basically acts all smug and high-and-mighty, doesn’t even try to tell him there’s a plan behind what she’s doing, doesn’t hint at it. Instead she tells him “No ur dumb bye.” and walks away? (Was that when the mutiny happened? Because I don’t remember.)

              And the capstone that made me crack out giggling was Leia going “Holdo’s a great leader blah blah blah” like…she caused such a high loss of morale and distrust in leadership that it caused a mutiny, that’s…not what great leaders do. I could see her being a strategist, not a leader.

              1. guy says:

                Well, it’s actually fairly common for military leaders to just not tell their subordinates things because even though they might be trustworthy maybe they’ll slip up and mention it to someone who isn’t. So there’s things like a military submarine intruding into hostile waters and risking war and the captain doesn’t know why because only the two ONI agents in the radio room need to.

                So Holdo screwed up here, but it’s a highly abnormal situation; normally her subordinates would just assume she has a plan.

                1. guy says:

                  Also the behaviour issue goes both ways; maybe if Poe hadn’t immediately called her a coward and a traitor to her face in front of the entire bridge crew she would have told him she does have a destination in mind but Loose Lips Sink Ships. He’ll find out when he gets there, meanwhile the evacuation plan is need-to-know until it’s time to abandon ship so no one goes mentioning it to someone who gets captured and interrogated.

                  So Poe later does demonstrate exactly why she didn’t tell him, but the fact that she didn’t say my previous paragraph is why Poe didn’t say “Understood, ma’am. Uh, I came here to tell you I launched an unauthorized op to disable the hyperspace jammer and it looks like it’s about to work.”
                  *Icey death glare*
                  “If you had told me at the time we had a way to escape by hyperjump I might not have deliberately sacrificed every other warship in preparation for my one and only chance to get any of us out of this.”
                  “Uh, yes.”
                  “You’re not getting your rank back any time soon. Now, when will we find out if the plan succeeded?”

                  Because why are soldiers supposed to follow orders they think aren’t good ideas? This! This is why!. Holdo’s one flaw is that she doesn’t know how to convince her soldiers to follow orders; she just assumes they will. That’s why she isn’t ready for the big chair; Leia is because normally most soldiers would say “well Holdo seems nuts but Leia put her in charge and she must have had a good reason.”

                  Remember, the first shot hit a command center and killed a lot of people who aren’t Leia including a Mon Calamari who is either Admiral Ackbar or Ackbar 2.0; Leia has faith in Holdo but not enough to have her in the command center at a critical juncture; her elevation to command is like if the Secretary Of Agriculture becomes President. Since Poe doesn’t recognize her on sight I assume she wasn’t normally on the ship and instead commanded a squadron of the lighter ships and transferred over because she’s the senior flag officer now. And probably her long-term subordinates have grown used to her giving crazy orders that result in stunning victory, because one of the frigate captains calls her up and says they’ve evacuated everyone they can, and she acknowledges, and he maybe said “May The Force Be With You” or words to that effect and then his engines cut out and the First Order gained on him and blew his ship apart.

                  Also, if Leia had been knocked out and Admiral Ackbar took command and was executing Holdo’s plan, my reaction would be “this is obviously stupid. I watched Admiral Ackbar at Endor and know he’s not stupid. He would only be doing this if she knows something we don’t.” Holdo was new so my initial reaction was “well I guess she wasn’t higher ranking because she’s stupid.”

                  1. Jabrwock says:

                    Leia has faith in Holdo but not enough to have her in the command center at a critical juncture

                    She may also have been on the secondary bridge. In David Weber’s Honor Harrington series, the Fleet Commander has their own bridge where they direct fleet ops (so it has stuff like displays of the fleet-wide map, comms to each ship commander, damage is per-ship rather than per department in each ship, etc), and the actual flagship’s bridge is in a separate location. Each is specialized to their own function. So in his stories you get for example a situation where the fleet commander’s bridge is taken out, and the flagship’s captain then takes over (which then gets her in trouble because the senior ranking survivor was on another ship, but in the aftermath the senior gets court-martialed for desertion because as soon as he realizes he’s in charge he panics and orders the fleet to disperse, and it’s up to her to countermand his orders and rally the fleet to minimize casualties)

                    1. guy says:

                      Well, basically Leia was in the command center for a strategic planning meeting when it was not believed combat was possible, so all the top Fleet Commanders were in the CIC when the First Order dropped out of hyperspace and nailed it in one shot. Holdo, I assume, was a flag officer, so she’d be off on another ship to command a smaller squadron so if the CIC explodes it doesn’t kill every flag officer in the entire fleet. That implies Leia thinks the people she had assembled for the strategy meeting are better strategists than Holdo, though also that she thinks Holdo is a better strategist than any captain or Holdo wouldn’t be a flag officer.

                      It should be noted that as far as I remember the place that got hit was just left open to space and Holdo was stuck commanding from the actual bridge because the CIC basically didn’t exist anymore.

                      Oh, also I do remember the plot of A Short Victorious War; it’s one of the many books I’ve read that primed me to assume that when you do a hyperspace jump to a temporary rendevous while you decide to go next you pick somewhere right the hell in the middle of nowhere with no stars or planets whatsoever in two light years because no one is ever going to find you.

              2. Joe Informatico says:

                They already had the clear and present threat of leaks! Holdo didn’t know how they were being tracked, and Rose already had to stop like three people from going AWOL that morning. Why would Holdo share her plans with anyone who didn’t need to know? And the recently-demoted hothead commander of your fighter wing that was just wiped out in the last attack and thus he’s currently in command of nothing doesn’t need to know.

                1. guy says:

                  Yes, that is why Holdo did what she did. I do not dispute that.

                  I honestly liked the plot and I think if the movie had released in 2014 it’d be the part of the movie where the excited post-theather chatter focuses with the theme being that it was so cool how it looked like Holdo was the bad guy but actually she’s pretty smart. “Still, Leia would’ve told Poe.” “Yep, Leia would’ve.”

                  Like, Holdo’s error is not that Poe actually had need to know. Her error is that she didn’t realize she’d have to tell him something to avoid a mutiny. Also even after several rounds of this, I still think the Slicer figured it out through the sheer force of “IT JUST HAPPENS OKAY!” I mean Poe told Roz and Finn but I was pretty sure the Slicer didn’t overhear and I don’t think they mentioned it. Also I actually think what Poe said was basically useless; I don’t see how it helps the First Order to know the rebels are planning to launch transports somewhere eventually. I mean if they can turn on their Transport Sensor and leave it on forever and see any transport launch… why didn’t they turn it on at the start?

                  But really the rounds of frustrating bitter arguments I’ve had aren’t about opsec and why Holdo didn’t tell Poe, it’s about, uh, why I was surprised when she was right and Poe was wrong. I read the Laundry Files and I understand opsec. But even though that series repeatedly spells out the principles, sometimes they don’t share enough and then CASE NIGHTMARE RED hits and they engage SCORPION STARE and because no one told the tech guys about the highly sensitive spy mission they had nothing to do with a catastrophe occurs.

                  Why? Well SCORPION STARE is a machine learning system using image recognition to basically make England’s CCTV cameras use the Basilisk effect to target and eliminate nonhumans. And the tuning phase ran into the spy op and it flagged Agent First Of Spies And Liars from the hostiles as a threat, and the tech guys flagged this as a false positive because it’s some random girl their actual reference guy handed a jacket.

                  Then the narration when it’s engaged explains the practical effect of this, but here’s the money sentence:

                  And it’s about to go all Skynet in the middle of Leeds

                  The final result of one slip-up from too much opsec is that stuff goes so bad England’s magical security agency’s most competent and loyal leader correctly decides to install Nyarlhotep as Prime Minister on purpose. Seriously, there is a direct line connecting those two points.

                  So it is very possible to convince the audience someone is following opsec and it’s a mistake. I think that was the writers’ goal for Holdo’s early scenes and they succeeded and if we were supposed to side with Holdo early on they would have shown us Holdo’s plan so we’d know she has one that is not “I’m hoping maybe this way we can freeze to death rather than get blown up.” Because I think Poe’s plan was much, much better than that plan.

                2. Falling says:

                  That would make sense if they had any concern about leaks. Never mentioned in the film. Unlike the much better 33 Battlestar Galatica episode, no one spends any time guessing on the different methods that they might have been tracked. They just know. And they know how to counter it too, despite it being experimental technology. And they know where to find it. A bunch of these characters read the script, I think.

                  And then, Poe is under suspicion for a leak? Really? The guy that just finished blowing up the not-Death Star 3.0 a couple hours ago? The guy that was trusted to track down clues to the last Jedi Master? What kind of long con is Poe playing as a spy for the not-Empire? His character from one film to the next makes little sense and the only reason anyone is alive is because Poe destroyed the Fleet Killer before it finished spooling up for Shot #Two as the not-Rebellion took their sweet time to jump to hyperspace for unspecified reasons.

                  Huldo has all the trope markers for the incompetent, unimaginative by-the-book commander that gets in the way of any useful plan. Then the film tries to pull a fast one “It’s Subversive!”TM by trying to say that she was clever and brave all along. But it just makes everyone look stupid, including her. I just wanted the Resistance to die by the end because they were so dumb (and everyone else in the galaxy seemed to think so too, leaving the not-Rebellion high and dry). Just start over with someone competent- maybe take Rey and start over. Couldn’t care less about the rest.

                  And the big immersion breaker for me is the not-Rebellion should have been utterly destroyed twice but the Empire doesn’t pull the trigger. For Reasons. But none of them good.

                  1. guy says:

                    Well, I do think they really should have at least discussed the possibility of a spy with a tracker, especially because during that period Finn was literally holding a tracker that would allow someone to locate the fleet and hyperjump to them so we know that exists.

                    The reason they didn’t jump earlier is presumably the reason Han gave for not jumping earlier in A New Hope, which is that it takes time to chart a course so you don’t end up inside a black hole or being clipped by a supernova. That is why people don’t just hyperjump instantly at all times; we don’t have a specific time factor but the time between when the ships were all in orbit and when they jumped is reasonably close to the time between when the Falcon made orbit and when Han jumped away from the approaching Star Destroyers so same thing.

                    The opening section does screw things up a bit by having things cut as close as it did so it does look like Poe saved the Resistance, but it is also true that it’s kind of important to not just let disobeying a direct order in combat slide completely. That he did manage destroy the dreadnought before it could fire is why he is not in the brig until Leia can get around to scheduling his court-martial, which is where this would have ended if the bombers

                    As for the subversion, the subversion is that Holdo is a competent by-the-book commander. The possibility of leaks is not discussed because Poe is not under suspicion of leaking. It’s just that the Book says you don’t tell anyone anything they don’t need to know just in case. The Book also says you do not go launch an unauthorized mission without even telling your commanding officer vital intelligence, and Poe proceeds to do that, then compounds this error by telling Roz and Finn that the transports are being fueled when that’s not really relevant to them because they’re already working to destroy the transponder with all due haste. And the fact that Poe does not do things by the book is why everything goes to hell. Holdo’s failure is that she did not fully consider the possibility Poe would not do things by the book, which is her specific character flaw because she is not infallible.

                    1. guy says:

                      Also, the reason this isn’t in the movie is because the audience is not intended to think of any of this until after Leia tells Poe the plan and then the Slicer tells the First Order the plan and it all goes wrong. If the audience were intended to think of this at any point prior to that, the writers would ensure the audience knew why this was so important the same way I learned it to begin with: we’d see Holdo explain the plan and then close the meeting by reminding everyone of why it’s so incredibly important to never tell anyone anything. If you read the Laundry Files you will learn this because the narrator butts in to explain how security clearances work and why they are a thing and why OPERA CAPE is not the right codename for secretly studying vampires. That last bit is because it’s so stupid that the fact that the otherwise competent security agency that’s so secret that you need to sign Section Three in blood to work there when the fact that the secrecy law has three sections is so classified they don’t always tell the Prime Minister is doing something that dumb is a clue that something is deeply, deeply wrong.

                    2. Falling says:

                      “Well, I do think they really should have at least discussed the possibility of a spy with a tracker”
                      Yes, they should have. For one, the reason they came up with is not really that obvious, so they should be floating a bunch different reasons around. Two, I don’t think ‘they thought there was a traitor’ can be used as reasoning for not giving a plan because there is no explicit nor implicit indication that this was something they were considering.

                      “The reason they didn’t jump earlier is presumably the reason Han gave for not jumping earlier in A New Hope”
                      I’m glad you said that- we agree, but I left it open ended because the last person I discussed this with wouldn’t agree to that very basic idea. I agree that though they gave no explicit reason for hanging around, they physically could not make the jump for already established in canon reasons- you need time to make calculations to make the jump.

                      “The opening section does screw things up a bit by having things cut as close as it did so it does look like Poe saved the Resistance,”
                      I think they screwed it up completely… if their intention was to make Poe look like he made a mistake. So just for context, I’m very tired of the maverick that goes against orders, saves the day trope. I like competent generals. I love Bridge too Far. The one thing that annoyed me in Rogue One was the bit where the Rebel commanders just sit on their hands and let Jyn the Maverick carry the day. So I’m very sympathetic to the story they are trying to tell. But they fail and they fail hard, if people like me are not on board.

                      It needed to be very obvious that the bomber attack was a waste of resources and that Poe was primarily at fault. The problem is the bombers largely die because the bombers were stupidly designed- Poe can’t help that. The Rebels had the most ideal scenario possible. All the AA guns were down and the Empire did not launch a fighter screen- the one time in any of the movies they didn’t. And even still the bombers collapse like they’re paper airplanes with all the speed of a tractor. When would these things NOT die? But even after that, the Dreadnaught was destroyed, just before it opened fire. (Which the Cruiser should already be dead if the Empire were not morons about their target priorities). This immediately screws up the idea that Poe did something wrong because everyone in the Cruiser ought to have been dead before they even jumped to hyperspace. And then, to really poorly execute the idea, there was no time later in the movie where it’s obvious where the bombers would’ve been useful and Leia or Huldo turns to Poe and say ‘sure would’ve been nice to have those bombers about now.’ And then Poe looks sheepish (or defensive, but we as an audience know he’s wrong because we can see it with our eyes.) But it never happens. There’s not another single time where those bombers would’ve been useful except at the beginning to take out the Dreadnought that would’ve killed them immediately and continued to kill them thereafter.)

                      This is a classic Show vs Tell problem. The movie dialogue Tells us Poe is in error. But everything we are Shown, tells us that Poe made the right call and he is being unfairly punished for saving everyone’s lives. And because film is a visual medium, what we see is way more powerful than what we are told. I know what the film is trying to Tell me. But I’m not persuaded because I must believe my lying eyes.

                      And then, that squadron also disobeyed Leia’s orders- in case of two competing orders, the bombers should’ve gone with Leia’s and then subsequently died. But General Leia is a far cry from the feisty Princess of yore. She just gives up and looks tired. No patching in to the bomber command and ordering them back multiple times with threats of court martials. She just sighs and looks sad. To really sell Poe as the wreckless commander, Leia should’ve been trying to countermand Poe’s orders and then Poe somehow blocks her out of the channel and orders the bombers go anyways. The audience is far less likely to side with Poe in that scenario. But you also have to get rid of the ticking time bomb of the Dreadnought that’s about to fire… so none of it works anyways.

                      Thing with commanders is there are also mission briefings for their subordinates. And then the subordinates pass down information that is needed down the ranks. The grunts don’t hear a whole lot, but something is going down the chain of command, not nothing. Especially because in the West, mission command/ mission-type tactics are considered central to how competent armies fight. Huldo hails from the WWI generals line of thinking where nothing is told except to fight and die. This is what I mean that she gives off every reading of a not just by the book commander, but an incompetent one. Who did she tell? Even the bridge crew rebels against her. (Billie Lord’s character.) It’s not just arrogant Poe. Huldo created a serious problem by being a WWI (especially French) general… and she got the same response- mutiny wholesale mutiny. And she held so little confidence that the mutineers faced little to no opposition. They either joined the mutineers are went along with it and then went along with it again when Leia retook command. (Btw, I seriously dislike these sorry excuse for Rebels. Bunch of sheep.) But whatever Huldo decides they need to know or not know, it’s clear for morale sake they needed to know something more than they knew. They needed to know there was hope. They needed to know there a plan. Even without detail, they needed to know the admiral actually had a plan to do something. Instead, they were given petty insults. (Also a poor reflection on the admiral) Because here’s the crazy thing, when Poe is finally told the plan, he thinks it’s a great idea… so Huldo made an unforced error by not trusting any subordinates with any information. Is there even a point to having captains, commanders, and lieutenants if you won’t tell enough that they can reassure their soldiers enough that they won’t jump ship or mutiny?

                      But then it turns out Huldo’s great plan is also garbage because it relies on the Empire being lazy morons. (Which, they are- but that’s why the entire story is a mess because major plotting relies upon people being stupid. Never a good thing.)

                      So they’re in space. Which means there aren’t a lot objects around them. And for 18 hours they are flying somewhat towards a series of planets, one of which is habitable. If the Empire were not morons, after hour 4, someone should’ve had the not even that bright of an idea… hey, what are the chances, they might be heading, ever so slowly to that one habitable planet. Their trajectory will put them past there in another 14 hours. How about we take four of our destroyers (that aren’t doing anything extra compared to the floating capital and they still have more fleet) and nip on ahead and head them off? Not only that, her plan relies upon using cloaking technology to hide themselves. But the Empire can just press a button to run a decloak. So her plan relies upon them never running the decloak scanner at any point in time. Why wouldn’t the Empire be pinging scanners and decloakers off the cruiser the entire time? They want to kill the ships as fast as possible (Hux), they don’t want them to get away (tracker), and the cruiser hasn’t tried anything tricky for awhile. No suspicion that they might be up to something? No reason to keep tabs on your enemy to make sure nothing funny is going on? At the point in which a decloak scanner is a thing, I don’t know why you wouldn’t run it constantly when pursuing the last of the Rebel commanders.

                    3. Falling says:

                      I can’t respond to your follow up comment in reply- I guess it’s gone too deep with embedding comments.

                      “Also, the reason this isn’t in the movie is because the audience is not intended to think of any of this until after Leia tells” Could you please clarify what the ‘this’ is that isn’t in the movie. It’s probably just me, but I can’t really figure out what you are saying in your follow up post, but knowing the ‘this’ would help me greatly. Thanks. :)

                    4. guy says:

                      Um, basically what I mean is that you are actually intended to think Poe’s attack wasn’t a mistake. You are supposed to think Poe is in the right and Holdo is in the wrong until literally the second Leia tells Poe and the audience the plan.

                      My criticism is that it didn’t seem like Poe made a mistake at the start of the film even in hindsight and even though I read so many books about people with Top Secret/Special Compartmented Information equivalents that I can basically give the OPSEC briefing cold I still think his decision to ignore orders in a combat situation at the start of the film is “Always a punishable act” as opposed to “a sign that he is not a competent tactician and strategist.”

                      I think what they should’ve done is have exactly the same sequence, except that after the second bomber dies the rebel fleet jumps to hyperspace. Then everything proceeds as it did. In the theme of the movie, the mistake isn’t that Poe’s plan couldn’t destroy the dreadnought, it’s that destroying the dreadnought didn’t matter because the First Order has many more, and the Resistance used to have bombers and now they don’t have bombers.

                      The movie does basically say that, and I rolled my eyes and thought “yeah but while you don’t have bombers you do still have a cruiser.” If the cruiser got away clean then Poe is a hotheaded marverik who needs to learn patience and Leia is literally what Sun Tzu says a general should be because she knows how to pick her battles.

                      As for how the hyperjump delay fits into this, well, Han didn’t say exactly how many seconds it’d take so the audience would be on the edge of their seats wondering if they were going to make it until the hyperdrive sfx started up, but presumably the Resistance high command could project it down to the second when organizing this evacuation, so Leia orders Poe to call off the attack the moment they see the dreadnought preparing their first shot because their tactical computer tells them there is a 0% chance it will destroy the base and recharge and fire a second shot before the fleet escapes to hyperspace. And then the audience maybe sides with Poe until after the reveal and then Poe proposes a plan to get them out of this jam and then someone else says “yes, that would be a good plan if we still had our bombers.

                      Note that one of the things that specifically differentiated Rebel fighters from Imperial fighters is that the rebel fighters have hyperdrives precisely so they don’t need to have a carrier in-system, and the Imperial fighters save weight and money by not having them because the Empire… well partially they underestimate the effectiveness of fighters but mostly because they have Imperial Star Destroyers. The First Order learned from the Empire’s loss to the Rebellion so they put hyperdrives in their TIE fighters, but the Resistance is still more likely to use plans that specifically hinge on fighters being able to operate separately from their carriers, so Leia would most definitely green-light a plan where bombers destroy a dreadnought to allow their carriers to jump to hyperspace, then the fighters jump out too and rendezvous elsewhere.

                      Also, obviously if they didn’t blow up the dreadnought it’d have been with the fleet chasing them, but in practical terms that doesn’t really matter because it’s a stern chase and presumably the dreadnought gun is the same one as the flagship gun that can’t penetrate their shields at sufficently extreme range.

                    5. guy says:

                      As for the quality of Holdo’s plan, um, honestly you said everything I think about it in practical terms but because HEY LOOK OVER THERE no one who wasn’t already aware the base existed realized they were in a star system with planets I guess.

                      I mean that’s the only reason I can come up with for why Poe didn’t just instantly intuit Holdo’s plan.

                      Fix is easy; something something Rakatan artifact from their Infinite Empire cloaks the entire star system from all scans but the rebels found it by (archeology) so they used it as a base and Leia opted to jump near it on the off chance this would happen somehow. Now it is very critically important they give absolutely no indication they’re planning to launch transports until the moment they’re at their closest approach to the cloaking aura, so it’s understandable why Holdo overdoes it on OPSEC. Which, yes, she did, but as I keep pointing out that’s why Leia is in charge and she isn’t.

                    6. Falling says:

                      I think we largely agree.

                      “You are supposed to think Poe is in the right and Holdo is in the wrong until literally the second Leia tells Poe and the audience the plan.”
                      That’s true. I just mean that once they try to pull that trick at the end, and I thought, yeah you’re trying to sell me something, but I ain’t buying. The film wants me to think she’s secretly a genius at the very end, but it’s too little, too late and her plan wasn’t genius anyways. It only works because everyone in this movie are morons.

        4. Bloodsquirrel says:

          TFA benefited from having the benefit of the doubt that the things that it skimped on explaining would be filled in later. People knew that there was a lot that the movie had to do in terms of setting up new characters and explaining what the old ones had been doing for twenty years, and they knew it the first act of a trilogy, so most people were willing to let things slide on the assumption that we’d learn more in the future. A lot of TFA’s plot holes became fuel for speculation- the kind of thing that can happen when the audience still has some trust in the writers.

          TLJ has, legitimately, made TFA into a worse movie by taking so many of the things that people clearly wanted to know more about, shrugging, and telling us that they don’t matter. I enjoyed TFA when I saw it in theaters, but my regard for it has more or less evaporated now that I know there won’t be any payoff to what it set up.

          1. guy says:

            Also TLJ hinges on a key detail in the novelization of TFA. Which is that the New Republic was dumb in the way they would be dumb; they demilitarized to a nutcase degree and then they kept what fleet they still had at their capitol system. The one Starkiller Base destroyed. So there are zero New Republic capital ships left. So the First Order fleet is unstoppable, but also tiny; they can take planets but not hold them. That sure as hell informs the ending.

            Is this a good explaination? Well, I mentally backfill Legends whenever something is referenced, so I’d say yeah the New Republic is that dumb. By default any New Republic era book is going to have a point where Wedge or Han notes that this could be easily solved with (military force) that has been decommissioned or is locked up doing something useless for stupid reasons.

          2. Syal says:

            On a related note, I saw The Last Jedi first, and gave it the benefit of the doubt because I assumed the weirdly unexplained stuff had been covered in The Force Awakens. (It had not.)

          3. Viktor says:

            See, I’d say that a lot of the mysteries that people complain about TLJ torpedoing (Snoke, Rey’s parents) were pretty clearly set up in TFA as fake mysteries. Rey is very invested in who her parents are, but we can see that she was probably sold by a couple drunks. TLJ confirms this so her char can move forward. Snoke is painted as this big imposing figure, but he’s not the villain, Kylo Ren* is. Snoke is pointless, and TLJ kills him off so the actual villain can take center stage. Rey was never going to be related to someone important and Kylo was always going to be the real threat, because even JJAbrams isn’t bad enough to completely repeat the original trilogy.

            *Also Hux, and there’s a dynamic I’m interested in for ep 9

            1. BlueHorus says:

              Rey is very invested in who her parents are, but we can see that she was probably sold by a couple drunks. TLJ confirms this so her char can move forward.

              While I get your point Rey being related to someone important would be dull – and agree – here’s a different way to do the revelation that TLJ did: after leaving Luke, Rey tracks down her parents and learns from them that they abandoned her. Perhaps they lie: ‘Oh, it’s you, how you’ve grown!’ etc but she intuits the truth using the Force. Or they sell her (again) to the First Order for the bounty.
              Right there is a dramatic scene that shows the betrayal instead of telling us it, with all sorts of possibilities – a fight, screaming, tears, a chase, emotion…all sorts. And a damn good, relatable reason for Rey to struggle with the Dark Side for her entire life.
              As it is… her past is just sort of mumbled at her by Kylo Ren.

              Similar story with Snoke: yes, it would have been bad if they’d just made him a copy of the Emperor. But then he just…dies? While monologuing? They could have done so much more with that character, and a lot of it wouldn’t have been derivative. Wasted potential.

              1. Syal says:

                That Rey Parents scene would work better in 9, after Kylo’s reveal. In 8 she’s still focused on trying to help the rebellion, a detour to see her parents would undermine that and make an overlong movie that much longer.

                1. BlueHorus says:

                  I think that would detract from the point – in TLJ Rey was expecting a teacher, but Luke rejects her. Kylo Ren was, but he’s the guy who tried to kill her…so she goes to find her parents…and the shock of their betrayal pushes her right into the arms of Snoke and Kylo.

                  As for the length of the film, we seem to be in ‘how I would have done it’ territory, so…I’d just take a chainsaw to the entire Finn/Rose plotline. RedLetterMedia’s comparison of that story to a madcap comedy about characters making escalating, dumb decisions until they cause a disaster was right on the money to me.
                  And also the Porgs*.

                  *No, not the scenes with Porgs in. Fuck your teddybear-birds.

                  1. guy says:

                    I think the misstep was just that Kylo didn’t say their names. Rey fantasizes about being related to someone important, but that’s only how this story starts. It can end many ways, but when the end is that they weren’t anyone important then it ends when the protagonist visits their unmarked grave. Now they know.

                    Also it was Kylo talking and one of his villain traits is that he thinks ordinary people don’t matter, and of the various themes the Last Jedi introduced the one I liked was that ordinary people do matter. Roz and Finn are just two low-ranking soldiers and in Kylo’s view their quest was for nothing because they’re weak but the last scene of the film is the ordinary boy they’d met briefly along the way telling their story to inspire others the way they inspired him.

                    Doesn’t matter because what can any nameless orphan boy accomplish? He reaches for a broom, and it shakes a bit and falls into his hand, just like how a Jedi Knight summons a lightsaber. Roll Credits.

                    So to fit that theme with Rey as the protagonist, what happens when Kylo says that is Rey shows she’s a Jedi in truth by calmly telling him that they’re important to her; Kylo does not understand that and that is why she could defeat him. Because ultimately he lost the duel because Rey’s combat style is in line with the Jedi Code and Kylo’s is in line with the Sith Code; the latter seems stronger but ultimately the former prevails.

                    That’s a varyingly explicit theme of almost every Star Wars work. Even the lightsaber styles; Jedi are patient and defensive, only striking when the time is right, while Sith are aggressive, seeking to overwhelm their opponents with sheer force. How this plays out depends on relative force powers and skill level, but Obi-wan beats Maul and Yoda beats Dooku and Mace Windu beats Sideous until betrayed.

              2. Joshua says:

                This was my issue. If they wanted to go with having Rey’s parents being unimportant, and I think there’s some potential plot there*, than it should have came from somewhere other than where it did. My response to that scene was “How the hell would Kylo Ren know this?”. It came off as very heavy-handed to me. Have Rey find out some other way, maybe through undergoing her training she unlocks a repressed memory or something.

                * I think with everyone (including Luke) going “WHO are you?” in response to her Force powers, they could tie the fact that her parents were nobody with the seed of a plot about the Force balancing itself by picking this random person and infusing her with power (and Midichlorians, sigh).

            2. guy says:

              I was very mad about the Rey mystery. Two reasons:
              1. Much as a lot of people hated it, midichlorians are technically canon and implicitly hereditary to at least some extent. Force sensitives crop up but Rey is ultra strong. And her parents are unknown. Are they strong? Is she somehow a Skywalker branch family even? Or maybe Sideous repeated the Anakin plan? Other type of mad science? Just random luck? Hard confirmation of any of these would be nice.

              2. “No one who matters” IS NOT AN ANSWER! I mean firstly with no details and Kylo Ren’s… himselfness… it might not even be true, and secondly Rey’s parents matter to Rey. Have Rey at least visit a pauper’s grave or something so she gets some damn closure.

              1. Redrock says:

                My problem with the Rey mystery is that Rey acts all mysterious. But she isn’t. Only once you strip the mystery away it turns out that Rey has far less character and motivation than Luke did in the original trilogy, and Luke was a pretty bare-bones character then. It’s typical JJ Abrams nonsense, masking a lack of content with the whole “mystery” schtick.

                1. BlueHorus says:

                  I’m not sure, as it wasn’t JJ Abrams’ decision to reveals Rey’s past in such a dull, cack-handed way. Sure, he probably did write Force Awakens by introducing a load of questions that he didn’t intent to answer, – which he’s famous for…

                  …but another way to look at that is he set up a load of potential and interest for the writers of TLJ* to work with. Who is Snoke? Who are Rey’s parents? How powerful exactly is the First Order in comparison to the ‘Rebellion’? Are they really just cartoon nazis or might they actually have a point (i.e the republic founded by the was too idealistic and falling apart.)

                  There was so much room to answer these questions in good, interesting ways. But TLJ just… wasted it. I don’t think you can blame JJ Abrams for that.

                  *was it just Rian Johsnon? I very much doubt it.

                  1. guy says:

                    Literally the only defense I’ve heard of Snoke or Rey’s parents is some mix of “it’s good because you expected more so you were surprised there wasn’t” and “it’s good because it’s not what Star Wars was like and The Last Jedi is about how the underlying principles of Star Wars are flawed.”

                    On #1 yeah I was surprised because it was dull and unsatifying and I’d expected something interesting, and on #2 screw that I go to Star Wars for Star Wars. Take your criticism of Star Wars to another franchise. I’m watching the eighth Star Wars movie because I want more of the previous seven. Yeah, TFA was too much of a retread, but Rogue One was not. I mean it’s a lot different from the main numbered ones but it’s at heart “a Star Wars story”.

                2. guy says:


                  Actually I never thought Rey was complicated but I don’t think Luke was either. Star Wars was always a broadly straightforward morality play of good vs. evil and I think Rey is the most Star Wars character in the whole movie. And I was here for Star Wars so go Rey!

                  In TFA the answer doesn’t matter; all that matters is that Rey wants to know. In TLJ, it doesn’t much matter that Rey wants to know because TFA happened and now what really matters is Rey wants to be a Jedi. If Kylo had just told her their damn names and jobs and that they ditched her because they didn’t care and lived another decade doing nothing of interest then died, well, now we know. Back to Rey Jedi-ing.

                  Instead the writer asked a question in the first movie, and in the second instead of answering it they insulted the auidence for caring about the answer.

                  Hell, Ciaphas Cain has essentially the same question and a very similar answer. Who were Cain’s parents and where was he born? Two soldiers and some hiveworld; the narrator looked for more and hit a dead end. It doesn’t really matter; Cain matters.

            3. newplan says:

              Rey was never going to be related to someone important and Kylo was always going to be the real threat, because even JJAbrams isn’t bad enough to completely repeat the original trilogy.

              This one didn’t age well, did it?

    3. John says:

      I dunno. I like reading Shamus’ stuff, but I have deliberately avoided both The Force Awakens and The Last Jedi as well as any and all discussion thereof. What I know of the plots of the films suggests that I wouldn’t enjoy them and I don’t need any more huge internet arguments in my life. I’m sure that the comments here would be a bastion of relative civility, but I’d still put money on there being a whole lot of arguing. I might have to give this one a miss.

      I will say, however, that The Last Jedi is tempting in a way that The Force Awakens wasn’t. I love what I’ve seen of Rian Johnson’s other work–Brick is just wonderful, go watch it now–whereas J.J. Abrams burned me pretty badly with the Star Trek reboot. Also, I am apparently a sucker for Luke Skywalker. I stay strong by remembering that the film is full of other characters that I don’t care about doing things that aren’t being Luke Skywalker.

      1. Shen says:

        Hate to break it to you, but a major theme of the film is “people who aren’t Luke Skywalker being Luke Skywalker, even when Luke Skywalker doesn’t want to be Luke Skywalker. But he is.”

        Not trying to sway you one way or the other about watching it, just thought it was a funny coincidence as I’m seriously not exaggerating.

      2. Blackbird71 says:

        Fair warning: one of the key things that kept me from seeing TLJ was Mark Hamill commenting that his character didn’t act or behave like Luke Skywalker, and that he had to think of the character as if it were someone else (dubbed “Jake Skywalker” in Mark’s mind) in order for him to play the part. What I have heard and seen since then largely confirms the idea that the character portrayed in TLJ does not feel like Luke Skywalker.

        So if you’re a fan of Luke (as am I), don’t expect to see him in TLJ.

        1. guy says:

          I give the Luke arc a side-eye in principle but I do think he’s a good bitter old man Luke. I’d rather have Legends Yuuzhan Vong era Luke the wise* and great leader of the Jedi instead and I don’t think the path from RotJ Luke to Bitter Old Man Luke tracks but the result works generally and two of his scenes are stellar.

          *He makes questionable calls sometimes but generally he’s the calmest and most level-headed person in the galaxy and while a huge chunk of everyone is being various kinds of stupid Luke’s only running error is that he’s a bit too willing to hang back and await new information especially as relates to the Yuuzhan Vong force nullity. But the Jedi Grand Master is supposed to be patient and concerned about the Force-related implications of things.

          1. Bloodsquirrel says:

            Thing is, I’m fine with the idea of a bitter, disillusioned Luke, and Hamill’s performance is easily the best part of the movie. My problem is that the movie doesn’t earn it.

            One of my problems, in general, with the sequel trilogy is that it doesn’t want to act like there have actually been thirty years between RotJ and TFA. It reduces everybody and everything down as much as possible to skip over that period so that it can keep going as if the fall of the Empire never happened. Han, Leia, and Luke’s lives in that period are all defined by a single thing: Ben Solo’s fall to the darkside.

            I could understand if it was thirty years of seeing the New Republic fail that drove Luke into exile. I could understand if Luke had spent a decade being beaten down while trying to save Ben. I could understand if it was the entire new Jedi order that he tried to found that went sour. But it wasn’t. His nephew fell to the dark side, and that’s it. Luke doesn’t even try to do anything about it, he just goes straight into exile and that’s that.

            1. guy says:

              Exactly. Bitter Old Luke works, but the story of how Young Idealist Luke turned into Bitter Old Luke doesn’t. Because it’s that he fails big once and he doesn’t try again. That’s not Luke; Luke tried to redeem Vader in TESB and he failed and then he tried again in ROTJ.

              It’d have been different if Luke had gone and tried to redeem Kylo and brought him back and then Kylo slaughtered every other student. Sure, Legends Luke would still keep trying to redeem people, but it’s a good What If? hook.

              Also Legends Luke keeps his lightsaber in his belt because a Jedi’s duty is to protect so he needs to be ready but only if it’s needed. One of his wise Jedi moments is he lets his hotheaded cadets go off pirate hunting in the Outer Rim to productively channel their aggression (yes that’s against prequel trilogy Jedi policy; that was a mistake Luke is not keen to repeat) while gently chiding them for calling their squad the Jedi Avengers instead of the Jedi Defenders. And that’s why when he gives a direct order the Poes of the galaxy jump to obey.

              Also, when Luke is waiting passively in the NJO he just tells people he’s not sure what the right course of action is so he’s gathering information. And the Jedi Avengers and Jaina Solo say “well while you do that can we take our Jedi-pattern X-wings and force enhanced piloting to the battlefront?” And Luke says yes, go do that, I’ll call you if I need you. And when matters deteriorate he flies his X-wing into the teeth of the Yuuzhan Vong armada at the Fall Of Couruscant and the reason the young hotheads trust him is that they know he’d do that.

        2. John says:

          Yeah, I heard that but I also heard that he recanted. It’s not enough to sway me either way.

          What would sway me is if my daughter turned out to be a big Star Wars fine. I recently introduced her to the original trilogy (we saw The Empire Strikes Back just last weekend) and if she really wanted to watch the other movies I’d watch them with her. So far there’s no sign that I’ll have to follow through on that though.

        3. Joshua says:

          I think a more realistic way to portray an older Luke who fails in ways more faithful to Luke’s character as we know it is to give him Han’s death scene in The Force Awakens. Luke is the optimist who would try to bring everyone back to the light. It would make more sense to me to have him trying to save Kylo Ren and dying for it because his flaw is that he thinks he can fix everything rather than the flaw being “Boy, he sure is a bitter old quitter, ain’t he?”.

          1. guy says:

            Yeah, that would strike me as far more likely. I mean, I talk about how I like Legends Luke and he is often a bit too optimistic that he can redeem people.

            He doesn’t die for it but that’s because he is Grand Master of the New Jedi Order and he lightsabers with the best of them, not because he always succeeds. And sometimes people do pay a price for it, but Grand Master Luke has sufficent wisdom to be aware that’s a risk so he does take precautions.

  5. guy says:

    I think to an extent plot hole issues are a roulette; I have a comment in that Andromeda discussion where I listed off every question I could think of in three minutes:

    How’d the ships get to Andromeda? Why didn’t we get woken up by SAM before we hit the Scourge? What the hell is the Scourge, anyways? Why weren’t we totaled? Couldn’t we just leave instead of landing? Why didn’t we have a Normandy-like frigate to handle heavy weather? Couldn’t we detect this storm from orbit? Why aren’t our shuttles sturdier? Why isn’t SAM linked to all of us? Couldn’t we skip the tower, find a thin point in the storm, and get rescued that way? Hey, the kett have a way through this somehow, shouldn’t we steal it? Could we just blow up the tower somehow? By the way how poisonous is the atmosphere? Can we make an airtight shield if we fiddle with settings?

    You can’t answer all of those, and I do think they’re reasonable to possibly ask here. So ultimately what you have to do isn’t answer the question, it’s convince the reader there must be a good answer the characters just aren’t mentioning. And then if they want to know the answer they look in the Codex, or they’ve already read the Codex so they know/infer it. Or they’ve already read the Codex and what’s happening on screen does not match the Codex and they’re angry.

    Brandon Sanderson manages to turn this around by having enough details that fans can make a game of working out the answers. And then fans had questions that the text couldn’t answer about the main character’s power in Alloy Of Law so there’s a scene where a guy from the forums(there’s an in-universe multidimensional organization of scholars with the same name as the forums) drops in and just asks him so the forum people got the joke and then when they finished laughing they took the answers and added them into our efforts to figure out how these things allow for FTL.

    And I’m entheusiastic about these sorts of things because when I read Mistborn and got partway through the explainations of the ten Allomantic metals I realized this was wrong and there were sixteen metals. Actually there’s more but only if you count the God Metals which are special.

    1. CrushU says:

      “And then fans had questions that the text couldn’t answer about the main character’s power in Alloy Of Law so there’s a scene where a guy from the forums(there’s an in-universe multidimensional organization of scholars with the same name as the forums) drops in and just asks him”

      Wait, what? Where’s that at? I missed that, lol!

      (After about ten tries, I give up on finding which markdown it’s using for quoted text…)

      1. guy says:

        Oh, sorry, one of the later books in the trilogy. Guy in a pub just asks whether iron stores mass or weight.

        1. CrushU says:

          Oh, I do remember that.
          It was a noblewoman at a party as I recall. Did not know that’s what that scene was for.
          She asked if he’d ever tapped the metalminds while midair, and if he’d noticed any speed change, as that would indicate mass or weight… Wax was thoroughly confused.

    2. BlueHorus says:

      The fascinating thing about Brandon Sanderson is that – to me at least – he’s too taken up with the details of his world/magic system, and forgets the character and emotion.
      His books are fascinating to me in that while I’m reading them, I’m really, really interested….and then the mystery is revealed, the magic is understood, the final twist happens at the end – and it’s over. And I find that while I did enjoy the book, I’ve never ever wanted to re-read one.

      Its interesting because hes the kind of writer who seem like he does go back and iron out all the plotholes in a story…so that’s a perfect story, right? ;P

      1. Joe Informatico says:

        Sanderson’s definitely a writer whose craft I highly respect, but his books don’t really do anything for me. He’s a bit like an epic fantasy Asimov: i) build a world based on a well thought-out set of rules, ii) craft a puzzle or mystery around those rules, iii) pay it off, all else being secondary.

        I think I tolerate it more from Asimov because his works are much shorter and I can handwave some of his other issues as being part of the time when they were written. But Sanderson really seems fixated with that 1990s phone-book size installments era of epic fantasy that I burned out on hard by the end of that decade, and I’m not really interested in revisiting it. Probably someone who remembers that era fondly, or who didn’t live through it the first time, might have a different take.

        1. guy says:

          I love his worldbuilding and his characters both and I most love how they mesh. Also I read fast and I got through Oathbringer in an 8-hour car ride so length itself isn’t an issue.

          It might just be that I actually straight love characters explaining things to other characters, if it’s interesting. Like here’s one of my favorite parts of Ward, where super badass Valkryie is confronted with a 36-mile tall mystery tower; the relevant things you need to know are that there’s a category of superpower that sorta lets you search alien wikipedia for technical specs, and Valkryie’s power is that she can get ghosts of dead people and summon them at will to use their powers, up to three at a time, and her current stock is “big enough”; probably thousands.

          She had wanted a better look at the monster that loomed before her, a beast that screamed, roared, and made the sky bleed.

          Glines, the Switch-Thrower, she thought.

          The shadow manifested to her left,
          [Physical description omitted]

          “Hi,” the wounded man said.

          Glines gave him a small nod of acknowledgement, before turning his full focus to the tower.

          Valkyrie could have asked the shadow a question, but she didn’t. She let him study the distant tower, and she turned her attention to the hero who had noted her helmet.
          [Side conversation]“You know what it is, then?”

          She shook her head slowly, turning her attention briefly to Glines, who was still studying the thing.

          “No,” she admitted.

          “Uh huh. That’s reassuring,” the wounded man said.

          “Some of the guys called it a space elevator. Which, you know, super cool, except it’s clearly not helping us, and it has defenses to keep us out.”

          “No,” Glines said. “Not a space elevator.”

          “Jesus, they talk?” the wounded man asked.

          “What is it?” Valkyrie asked her shadow.

          “A gun. That’s the barrel,” Glines said. He extended his arm to indicate the length of the tower.

          “What the son of all fucks would they need a gun that big for?” the wounded man asked.

          “Dunno,” Glines said. “But I don’t think the target was important. If I were making a gun that big to deal with a specific enemy, I would have paid attention to targeting. Any attention at all.”

          “The target could be so large that targeting doesn’t matter,” Valkyrie said. “If it filled half of the sky as it made its approach?”

          “Uhhh,” the wounded man said. “That’s a thing?”

          Glines, though, was nodding. “No need to worry about aim if you’re aiming at the broad side of a barn? Dunno. Maybe. But if you were building a gun to shoot the side of a barn, wouldn’t you want enough firepower to hurt the barn?”

          “You would.”

          “Uhh, please tell me this sky-filling enemy is hypothetical.”

          Valkyrie shook her head. “It’s real. But it’s not an enemy we need to worry about again. When they came the last time, they left markers, to ensure none of their kind wasted effort coming to the same places. To go against that procedure and habit would run contrary to their entire being. It won’t happen.”

          “You said these guys are building a giant gun to shoot at things on that scale, and this is the gun.”

          “No,” Glines said. “I don’t blame you for getting caught up in the attention-grabbing details, but we didn’t say for sure that this is meant to shoot at anything. The ammo they’re using isn’t sufficient to hurt anything that big. The ammo is the point.”

          “What’s the ammo?” the wounded man asked.

          “Explain,” Valkyrie said.

          “The air.”

          “Someone built a fucking thirty-one mile long airgun?”

          “Technically, I guess,” Glines said. “Less technically, it shoots all of the air. Each shot is one earth’s worth of atmosphere, gathered up into a ball and superheated.”

          The wounded man was silent, his eyes wide.

          “One shot, and Earth whatever this is is emptied in about two seconds, everything dies well before it can suffocate, with the sudden atmospheric and pressure shift. The next shot empties the adjacent earth, probably.”

          “Earth Bet,” Valkyrie said.

          “Sure. Home, huh?” the shadow asked.

          Valkyrie nodded.

          “Then the next closest earth, or a share of all the connected earths. Enough to do widespread damage.”

          The wounded man sat down heavily on the grass-less hillside.

          “You said the ammunition was the point.”

          “The best analogy I can think of is the idea we had of putting all garbage on a rocket and shooting it into space, so we don’t have to have landfills. This guy is shooting in the same way.”

          “Disposing of atmospheres,” Valkyrie said the thought aloud. “That helps. Thank you.”

          “No prob. That’s really all I’ve got. Oh, and if you’re going up, you want to go up through the tower, not outside of it. Most defense is aimed at protecting against external attack.”

          “Thank you.” She dismissed the shadow with a thought.

          That is straight up exposition; it is her doing her version of what Alec did when he looked at the Remnant tower. End result is she knows what the tower does and how to shut it off. And Valkryie is… semi-new? She was in a previous story with the same power but she was nuts and now she has gotten therapy. No really. Since then she has been in one meeting and the comment sections were full of the question “what the hell is Valkryie doing that’s so important?”

          So here is how I reacted to her proper re-intro:

          I see that while Valkryie has changed in many ways she still unhelpfully exposits at people and gives them strange nicknames. Poor Wounded Man.

          Here is her intro in the old work at a meeting of the prison gang bosses at basically Alcatraz; her dialogue is italicized in the original:

          Glaistig Uaine shifted position, and Marquis wasn’t the only one to give her his full attention. What he could see of her beneath the blackened tatters of her prison-sweats-turned-shroud suggested she was barely a teenager, but that was more due to her power than anything. She’d been one of the first prisoners of the Birdcage, and he suspected she would be one well after he’d died. Not that her megalomanical delusion was true. Rather, it was the fact that nobody dared to pick a fight with her.

          When Glaistig Uaine spoke, her voice was eerie, a broken ensemble of a dozen people speaking in sync. “Beware, Marquis. You will pay a thousandfold times for your arrogance when the armies of the faerie rouse and gather for the last war.“

          “Rest assured, Glaistig Uaine, you’re scary enough on your own,” Marquis replied, smiling, “I don’t need a whole army of your kind chasing me down.”

          “There will be no chasing, for they are already in position to strike you down the moment they wake, three hundred years hence. You’re nothing more than the dream of the faerie. I can see it, so vivacious, so creative in its movements, even in slumber. I think it might have been an artist. I want it for my collection.“

          He was glad Amelia didn’t challenge the ‘three hundred years’ thing and the notion that they would still be alive then. The ‘faerie’ didn’t react kindly to such.

          “You’ve said as much before, noble Faerie,” he said, “Rest assured, you can have me when I’m dead. In the meantime, I will keep your warning well in mind.”

          “Your daughter, too. Your faerie is kin to the one that sleeps inside the girl. I have no doubt this Amelia is a healer, but that’s only a facet of her true strength. I have decided I will not bargain with you, Marquis.“

          Marquis used his hands to prop himself up as he leaned back. “A shame, but understandable. You don’t need healing, and your people are a secondary concern.”

          “I will collect them as they fall. But you are mistaken, Marquis. I am not expressing disinterest in her talents. I am saying that I will only deal with her as an equal.“

          In years of using his power, of breaking his own bones and feeling the pain each time, Marquis had made himself a master at hiding his emotions beneath a mask. Even so, he only barely managed to contain his surprise.

          “Very well,” he said. He reached into his pocket and deftly retrieved a cigarette. He took his time lighting it. “We’ll be in touch, then.”

          “Agreed.” Glaistig Uaine replied. She extended a hand to Amelia, and Marquis tensed.

          Do I stop her?

          Every rational part of his psyche told him that the leader of cell block C had no quarrel with his daughter, that she was in no danger. Every other part of him was telling him to stop her.

          Amelia took Glaistig Uaine’s hand in her own, then hesitated. After a moment, she curtseyed.

          I taught her to do that more than a decade ago.

          Glaistig Uaine returned the curtsey, then turned to leave

          In the setting the best way to gain absolutely critical information about the nature of superpowers or their uses is two steps:
          1. Listen to Glastig Ulaine/Valkryie.
          2. Figure out what the hell she’s talking about.

          Seriously, a hero spent thirty years trying to figure out a key facet of his power and then Glastig Ulaine rambled about faeries at him for five minutes and he figured it out

          And she’s my favorite in large part because “figure out what the hell Glastig Ulaine is talking about” is a game I love playing in the comments section. I could read Valkryie walking up to people and telling them the answer to driving mysteries all day.

    3. Syal says:

      Brandon Sanderson tends to go overboard on the mystery speculations. The “guy asks a question the audience is wondering” thing pulled me straight out of Words of Radiance. Sure, I, the otherworldly fly-on-the-wall, am wondering if this character has something more to them, but why the hell is in-universe guy considering it? I’m pretty sure they’d have to be on drugs.

      1. guy says:

        Well, if you name a specific scene I could probably answer that pretty easy. I will say that the Stormlight Archive is the one series of his that isn’t really a stand-alone work. Cool sword teacher and talking black Shardblade just are one of Warbreaker’s protagonist teams and “Azure” in the next book is another.

        But the basic reason why people ask questions the readers have is that those people are intellectually curious and don’t know much more than the readers do. Like, in-universe the reason the “guy from the forums” asks that question is so he can take it back to his interplanetary magic science research people because damnit does iron store mass or weight? This could be important! Then they update the relevant segments of the Ars Arcanum and that’s in the back of the book. If you just read the Mistborn series and skip the side story about Kelsier’s ghost hijinks then that’s a weird encounter that doesn’t make much sense (yet; next book we project that will change) but it is part of a meta-narrative. Like Hoid. Hoid has many names; in the Stormlight Archive he’s the King’s Wit. He is in every Cosmere book. No exceptions.

        1. Syal says:

          Well, the specific scene is probably a spoiler, so tags.

          Been a bit, might be slightly misremembering. It’s the main guy, D-something, asking Wit if he’s a Herald, when he’s presumably known Wit for a long time and has no particular reason to think the Heralds aren’t doing the same thing the legends have them doing. I’m left to wonder if he’s asking this about everyone who sounds intelligent.

          I’ve read a pretty small number of Sanderson books, so if there are references to other series I’m sure I’ll miss them.

          1. CrushU says:

            My recollection of that is that he’s got some idea that there’s more to that character than initially appears, but has no clue what, and the only mythical figure he can think of to ask about would be Heralds…

          2. guy says:

            Is that before or after he knows the Heralds are incognito on Roshar? Wit actually does act like one; they’re very knowledgable but also nuts and Jezerin is at the assassination of Galivar drinking to forget and asking people “have you seen me?” While Shalash is going around defacing paintings and statues of herself; hence one of the death rattles:

            A woman sits and scratches out her own eyes. Daughter of kings and winds, the vandal.

            The forums were not wondering if Wit was a Herald because he’s Hoid. Hoid is immortal, travels between worlds, appears in every book, and is trying to steal every magic system in order to get the power to defeat Odium, we assume, and is either writer or recipient of those epigraph letters; point of dispute.

            1. guy says:

              Oh right, while I don’t remember the chronology of everything, during Words Of Radiance Dalinar has Talen around and Talen is endlessly reciting his memorized speech for when a Desolation has started and he needs to tell everyone what a Desolation is, what they need, and which Herald will teach them ironworking if that information has been lost.

              So Dalinar listens because Taln is literally his patron deity and he repeats his self-introduction daily and after last book Dalinar believes him. So it’s a Desolation. The Heralds are key to defeating the Voidbringers. And they’re AWOL and the only one they’ve found is nuts. Action plan: find Heralds. Likely attributes: very well-informed, probably nuts. Wit is very well informed and also a bit nuts. Dalinar thus suspects he might be a Herald but isn’t sure. Others might come up with a cunning plan to confirm this, but Dalinar usually prefers to outsource his cunning so he just straight-up asks.

              Wit, being Hoid, is not a Herald but in WoR we gave serious consideration to the theory that he and all the Heralds go way back. As in to before Roshar’s ecosystem was created. Dalinar does not read the forums and only knows what’s in the Stormlight Archive, so like new readers he has no idea who Hoid is and thinks maybe he is a Herald.

    4. Asdasd says:

      This sounds like the last 20% or so of 8 Bit Theatre, in which characters frequently asked plot-related questions taken straight from the forums, for other characters to patiently explain why question and questioner alike were stupid (all in good fun of course).

      1. guy says:

        That instance was a one-off; it was a very important science question based on scientific knowledge the main characters just don’t have. The other things we usually learn because the characters study them to make use of them. Also there’s The Emperor’s Soul, which is basically a book-length exposition dump because the viewpoint character has been imprisoned and coerced into making a duplicate of the soul of the Emperor because he’s brain-dead and this magic is viewed with superstitious fear by the locals. And the viewpoint character knows a lot of useful theoretical information about magic in general and 90% of the book is her doing magic things and telling her captors about the underlying principles that make different things more or less easy because she likes teaching people and also she knows they don’t intend to let her live once she’s done so she’s using this as cover for prepping her escape plan.

      2. Stuart Worthington says:

        Man, I miss 8-Bit Theatre.

  6. Gargamel Le Noir says:

    I’ve watched some Cinema Sins and its sister channel about video games, and I think the reason it gets views AND hate is that it says a lot of smart things and then ruin everything by nitpicking something completely idiotic. It could be great if they just stopped forcing the niptpicks for cheap jokes (or more often than not, no jokes at all!). Note that there is humor in bad faith nitpicking, but you’ve got to lampshade it (as was done a few times in the Life Is Strange video iirc).
    I think it’s the same problem as Big Bang Theory, why it gets so many views while apparently everyone hates it. It’s because they have some amazing jokes and great moments, and then immediately ruin everything with bottom of the barrel trashy insultingly low brow “jokes”.
    They just need more confidence in themselves and admit that they’re good enough that they don’t need the cheap material.

    1. guy says:

      I’ve only watched a couple, but I felt like they had a runtime quota and if they didn’t have enough good material they resorted to dumb jokes.

    2. Zekiel says:

      I rather enjoyed Cinema Sins for a while – sure, they’re not proper criticism, but they’re can be quite funny. I ended up stopping because the problem each video has is that doesn’t have a sensible structure for comedy – because they take each film in chronological order, the final joke of the video is just whatever the last nitpick they can find in the film. You want a comedy piece to go out with a bang, CS stuff tends to go out with a whimper.

  7. houiostesmoiras says:

    I’m not normally the grammar correction guy, but in a post about nitpicking…

    a massive over-reach that leads PHW waste his time demolishing pointless strawmen.

    to waste his time …

    and yet can I never find any fans.

    I can never find any fans.

    I get that same people are driven to irritation…

    some people

    I’m more of a Mike & Ike fan.

    I’m sure you meant to say Whoppers =^_^=

    On the actual content, I haven’t watched PHW at all, but I know I start to tune out and think of someone as interested in art to the point of ignoring the message when they claim you’re watching a movie wrong or looking at a painting wrong or reading a story wrong or whatever. Art of any kind is a collaboration between the artist and the viewer, and when the at fails for most viewers, it can be said to have failed overall, regardless of the artist’s intent. I think it’s a shame that some art fails because the audience isn’t smart enough (or at least not acting smart enough while viewing this piece of art for entertainment purposes), but that doesn’t mean they’re doing anything wrong, given that they’re part in the process is often merely to view and judge according to their own tastes.

    From what you’ve said, I’d guess that PHW was getting annoyed with something and let it all out in one video (and, considering how often YouTube recommends CinemaSins to me, it could well be their outlook). Which is pretty much what you said, so I guess you made your point well.

  8. Bloodsquirrel says:

    To me, the whole “you shouldn’t be thinking about plot holes” argument is like saying that you shouldn’t be noticing how bad the acting is. I don’t go into a movie looking for plot holes. I don’t want to be thinking about plot holes. Thinking about plot holes instead of the drama means that the movie has entered a failure state for me. It’s just like any other negative reaction that the audience has. Ultimately, it’s your job as a storyteller to craft something that the audience won’t have a negative reaction to, and if the audience could just stop having negative reactions to problems in a movie and will themselves into enjoying just whatever you throw onto the screen then they wouldn’t need talented people spending hundreds of millions of dollars to make a movie.

    Your indignation over me noticing plot holes (and worse, out-and-out plot incoherence) isn’t going to fix the problem. It’s not an argument that you can win that’s going to make me enjoy the movie more. You can’t browbeat somebody into ignoring a movie’s glaring logical flaws anymore than you can browbeat somebody who doesn’t like violence into liking grindhouse action movies, or somebody who doesn’t like broad comedy into loving a Jason and Seltzer movie.

    The worst of it, though, is that it condemns the very movie it’s trying to defend. It says that you shouldn’t be taking anything about the movie seriously, or expecting there to be any level of intellectual substance to it. It even limits the drama you should expect to it to the most obvious, base things that you can passively absorb without actually engaging with the material.

    1. King Marth says:

      The equivalent software development adage: If it doesn’t have to work, I can get it to run a lot faster.

    2. Daimbert says:

      I think that can work for some movies or games, where the intent is pretty clearly to have a plot only to the extent that it gets you to the next part. Many comedies, for example, or slasher horror movies or Mortal Kombat-style fighting games or whatever. But you can’t just say that people shouldn’t try to analyze the substance, but have to show that they shouldn’t do it because the specific media itself really, really doesn’t care about any of that.

      Too many of the things that get the strongest criticisms of plot holes and the like are things that seem to be trying really hard to have that sort of intellectual substance and yet are failing miserably at it. At that point, the retreat to “Turn your brain off” is definitely an admission of failure.

      1. Bloodsquirrel says:

        Even comedies benefit from being logical enough to set up the expectations that they intend to subvert. Some of the best jokes come from getting us to take things seriously enough so that the punchline takes us unaware. Or getting us to expect something unrealistic because of genre convention and slapping us with reality instead. Or making the world feel real enough so that the wackiness feels like it has consequence. And if the movie is supposed to have a character arc in it, the facts involved in it still need to hold up. You can make your overall world and characters silly, but it helps a lot to establish rhyme and reason.

        Even a movie like Lost Highway- which is intentionally surreal and whose plot can’t be taken literally- benefits from having enough logic and structure to actually hang an interpretation off of.

        1. Daimbert says:

          I’m not arguing that all genres can’t benefit from better plotting. I’m pointing out that you can have perfectly good comedies and other sorts of movies/media with only enough plot to get you reasonably from one scene to the next. If that’s what the work is going for, then it IS nitpicking to criticize it as if it was a serious failing that it didn’t do something that it was absolutely not trying to do. You can say that it would have been better if it made the effort, but not that it failed for not doing something it didn’t try to do.

  9. Daimbert says:

    I think that the issue is that we conflate Story Collapse for a viewer and plot holes, and ignore what the writer is actually trying to DO with the story too much.

    I’ve been watching a lot of cheap horror movies lately and talking about them on my own blog, and as you might imagine I’ve been complaining a lot about plot holes. However, my standard ranking criteria at the end has always been “Would I watch it again?” and for the cheap horror movies the answer has rarely been a straight “No” but more of a “I probably could, but can’t really see why or when I actually would”. This is because, for the most part, the movies HAVE been that sort of movie that takes up an hour and a half of time without boring the heck out of me, and so for my own personal experience they aren’t terrible.

    But that doesn’t mean that the plot holes didn’t exist, that I didn’t notice them, or that if they had been fixed the movies wouldn’t have been much better.

    A big part of that is that for most of the ones I’ve been watching the movies aren’t particularly gory or scary or suspenseful, especially now that I’ve watched a lot of those sorts of movies. And the movies THEMSELVES don’t really seem to be aiming at that either. So, then, all that’s left to interest me is the premise and/or the story. And if that is full of plot holes, then I’m going to notice because that’s ALL that the movie is giving me to focus on. If that doesn’t make sense, then I’m far more likely to be puzzled or confused than actually greatly entertained.

    But not all flaws in a movie and not all things that aren’t explained are bad, and not all things that drag someone out of a movie are flaws in the movie itself. As you mentioned with the “gradient” idea, someone who is an expert in something will notice flaws that no one else will, and that might break their suspension of disbelief. But if that thing is just an aside in the movie, then them making that mistake isn’t something you can fault the movie for too much. Yes, it would have been better if they had gotten it right — especially if it was easy to do — but if their focus wasn’t on, say, representing musicians or whatever entirely accurately then them taking time to address it might have actually hurt the movie. The mistake was bad for you, sure, but fixing it for you might make things bad for everyone else.

    So we need to make sure that what is developed and explained is what the movie needs to develop or explain, and we can ignore — or mildly gripe at — the things that it doesn’t explain and doesn’t need to do. One thing I’ve noticed, as an example, is the idea of “Developing Doomed Characters”. Lately I’ve been complaining about horror movies that take too much screentime to develop the characters instead of developing the situation because it seems to be the case that they are doing that to try to make us sympathize with them while the evil thing is trying to hurt them, and for most of them the situations are dire enough that if you don’t make them complete jerks we aren’t going to want to watch them die. And yet, in two movies doing that is necessary, one of which is a really, really good horror movie. In “Happy Death Day”, you need to do that because when asked who might want to kill her the main character answers essentially “Everyone who’s ever met me”, so making her more sympathetic is kinda required to avoid falling into “karmic justice” territory. And it is interesting to note that the movie never explains the supernatural force that’s acting on the protagonist, and is BETTER for it (this is the actual good movie, if you hadn’t already guessed). In “Truth or Dare”, they need to do that because a lot of the movie is going to involve causing issues by people being forced to tell the truth, and we need to understand the characters and their relations to each other to really understand the issues those truths bring up. So it really depends on what the movie is trying to do to determine if they are simply “Developing Doomed Characters” or doing what is necessary to make the movie work.

    I think this distinction is what’s causing the issues with Andromeda and the clash of opinions on it. Your view is that you get dragged out of the story by the conflict and it would be better for you if they had made the simple change to avoid that, which is valid. But others feel that it’s not a serious plot hole because the mechanics of face plate fixing aren’t what the game is really trying to provide — it’s not details-first — and for the most part the more serious damage provides at least a reasonable reason why it wouldn’t work in the second case, so it looks like nitpicking. When we look at what the game was trying to do with that scene, though, I’d agree with you that the first scene should have been cut, because it can be done WITHOUT impacting what the second scene us trying to do or, as far as I can tell, anything else in the game.

    To me, it becomes valid to call it an actual plot hole — or, at least, one that’s worthy of using as a criticism of the work itself as opposed to just something you noticed and that bothered you — if it gets in the way of what the work wants you to focus on or take away from the work, either by contradicting it or by taking up time that could have been used to develop what they wanted you to take away from the work or by messing up the emotions so they don’t hit home because you’re feeling something else at the time and can’t switch that quickly or a number of other flaws. Otherwise, it’s just something that dragged you out of the movie which is unfortunate but not something one can expect a work to necessarily plan for.

    1. Geebs says:

      I completely agree, plot holes =/= story collapse. In fact story collapse can be completely unrelated to plot or even dialogue.

      To give a relatively non-contentious, but still Star Wars-related example of the “Wait, what? This is stupid” moment: that bit at the start of Episode 3 where a spaceship in freefall suddenly has its artificial gravity start pointing in a different direction because its attitude changes with respect to a nearby planet. I can accept artificial gravity in a movie about space magic, but that just killed my suspension of disbelief.

      To quote a more contentious and still Star Wars-related example: the space mortars in TLJ. They WWTIS-ed me straight out of the film.

      1. Daimbert says:

        And it’s important to note that it’s also not necessarily even something wrong with the work itself. Some people will notice things as being off that the movie is deliberately minimizing or simplifying to avoid alienating most viewers.

  10. Narkis says:

    “I plan to do a long-form analysis on The Last Jedi at some point”

    Oh man, I can’t wait. I expected you wouldn’t want to touch this with a 10-foot pole with all the… issues surrounding the discussion.

    1. Paul Spooner says:

      Bonus points if you include my favorite in-joke scene title:
      General Doctor Ellie Sattler’s Hyperspace Sacrifice

      1. kunedog says:

        EDIT: WARNING, there are spoilers here, but I didn’t consider tagging it like my review because the DVD’s been out for months now.

        Just last month I was giving some thought to how you could patch the script to handle hyperspace ramming competently: that is, how to justify ramming and then dispose of (or at least shelve) it so space battles in future installments aren’t crippled. It’s still flawed, but this is what I came up with:

        How bout we integrate the hyperspace ramming tactic with the First Order’s hyperspace tracking mechanism. First, the script should set up the brilliant ramming tactic, instead of having Holdo think of it out of nowhere, in the same scene she uses it. With minor modifications, the numerous existing conversations about the hyperspace tracker will easily accomplish this.

        The basic premise is that back when hyperspace was invented, the military did consider using it as a weapon. But it turns out that targeting any specific object is very difficult. It’s not an issue of size and location, but one of empty space versus solid matter. So while it’s quite possible to reliably avoid any and all objects (and stop just short of them, like the Falcon did with Starkiller Base), your hyperspace scanners/sensors would be hard pressed to even recognize, much less follow (i.e. track) something like a planet, much less a ship. Throw in a comment about the laws of physics being slightly different in hyperspace (as they obviously always have been), which is fine as long as they’re consistent. To summarize: the nature of hyperspace is that navigation through regular space is mundane, but sensing anything about solid matter is a fool’s game, so the idea of hyperspace tracking and/or ramming was wholly abandoned.

        The First Order’s invention that changed everything is some kind of hyperspace emitter that can send out hyperspace waves and (harmlessly) bounce them off matter in hyperspace, giving more precise data about the shape and movement of objects. Essentially, it is active radar, an analogy most of the audience will understand. Either the original hyperspace engineers never figured out exactly how to do this, or the ridiculous energy cost was considered to be an effective prohibition (and in that case the FO’s innovation is meeting the power generation requirement). Finally, the First Order is able to recognize and follow objects with enough precision to track specific ships through hyperspace, but it’s still far too blurry to target anything well enough to ram it.

        On the rebel side, from the moment Leia deduces they’re being tracked, everyone is astonished (maybe even in denial) and brainstorming to solve the mystery of how. Maybe the original hyperspace engineers would have known almost instantly, but hyperspace travel has been a settled science for so long (and so many rebel engineers have been killed) that it (justifiably) takes most of the film’s runtime for the rebels to figure out what I’ve just explained. But only when Holdo is alone on the cruiser, and desperate for a hail mary, does the final revelation come to her: Snoke’s ship is sending out waves through hyperspace, basically lighting itself up like a Christmas tree (as active radar really would) in hyperspace. Maybe (through exposition) give her an engineering background, and have her lead the previous hyperspace tracker discussions so this is more believable. After this flash of genius, it’s now trivial to use the ship’s existing hyperspace sensors to target Snoke’s ship and ram through it (or tweak this part a bit so that she knowingly plans the ram ahead of time, and she has to be onboard to manually reconfigure the sensors, also justifying why it was necessary to sacrifice her life).


        – This explains why no one has ever tried hyperspace ramming before (no one has targeting capability).

        – It explains why no one will ever try hyperspace ramming again (gaining targeting capability makes YOU the most vulnerable target). A good future script writer could probably justify it in very specific circumstances though.

        – It makes Holdo less of a defeatist, oblivious do-nothing. Clearly, Holdo should’ve been completely scrapped and replaced with Akbar, but let’s fix one problem at a time . . .

        – It can be used to characterize the First Order as carelessly power-hungry, blind to how they’ve sown the seeds of their own destruction. Maybe their own engineers don’t specifically foresee the ramming danger, but they urge caution because no one has ever done anything like this in the history of hyperspace engines. Snoke dismisses their concerns as cowardice. Of course this also means Snoke is aware of the hyperspace tracking device from the beginning, instead of being somehow oblivious to the idea until after Hux had already made use of it.


        – This only works if integrated into TLJ’s script; it can’t be retconned in IX. The damage is done.

        – It’s too Star Trek, i.e. too science “fiction” instead of science “fantasy.” But this is not a problem with my solution; the pandora’s box was opened as soon as hyperspace ramming was introduced. This was a fundamental point in Plinkett’s Phantom Menace review (the one that put RLM on the map). And he’s right: how many Star Trek characters are engineers or scientists, and how many who aren’t still spout technobabble? But other than Mikkelson in Rogue One, how many engineers or scientists can you name in Star Wars? IIRC if even a mechanic of a ship is a named character, it’s the pilot himself. Plinkett said that Star Trek had whole episodes devoted to how the engine/weapon/etc systems worked, but Star Wars left them largely opaque, expressed through light dialog and heavy SFX. I contend that suddenly using an engine system as a weapon system is a decision that demands as much of an explanation and justification as suddenly scanning for midichlorians (and raises more contradictions).

        1. Joshua says:

          That’s actually really good. I think if properly handled it might address one of my (many) issues with the film, which is that it sets up a mystery: How is the First Order tracking the fleet through Hyperspace? Is there a mole, a tracking device somehow planted on one of the ships, something else? Obviously, Hux is smirking because he has some kind of Ace up his sleeve that apparently only he knows about..

          Answer: I don’t recall the movie addressing it as a plot reveal, more just gradually showing “Oh yeah, that technology exists now”. Even though Snoke didn’t even know about it, and Hux treated it as if it was a big surprise.

          Having it actually explained, and that Holdo was the one who discovered what was happening and devised a counter to it (using the tracer as a way to lock the ramming maneuver) would help the movie out a lot.

          1. guy says:

            It’s sort of answered on screen; Finn heard scuttlebutt about a secret hyperspace tracker being researched but had no idea it was anywhere near finished, and Roz is a genius so she was able to piece Finn’s info together with what she knows about hyperspace and Finn’s general Star Destroyer layout knowledge to figure out that [tech] so if we get a slicer(hacker) into this part of the command ship we can hack it so it doesn’t work. We can’t blow it up because [backup] but if we keep it on but not working the backup won’t matter due to [limitation]. They did cover that, though it seemed a bit too much like raw guesswork.

        2. Dan Efran says:

          Thanks for that, it’s enough fanon to move forward with the universe not broken. Cleans up some of the mess. Sure it’s “too Star Trek,” but then, Holdo is already a Star Trek character: the hard-nosed guest-star Admiral under whose command the heroes chafe, but who ultimately makes a valorous sacrifice, earning their respect. That happens pretty often in Star Trek! But it doesn’t fit as a Star Wars plotline.

          1. guy says:

            I think the plotline fits fine, but they botched the execution and shot themselves in the foot.

            Then they had the classic Star Wars desperate last hope by mavericks not only fail but backfire and get people kill en masse to no benefit and they shot themselves in the head.

            If the plan had maybe knocked out a bunch of hyperwave trackers but not the one on the flagship and then the “Holdo Maneuver” had obliterated the flagship and all but two star destroyers who don’t have working hyperdrive trackers anymore I think that’d have gone over pretty well. All that you’d need to add is a clear explaination for why we don’t do this all the time; I think the idea is supposed to be that it requires getting within like three miles of the target and then charging up your hyperdrive and being a sitting duck and it only worked this time because the First Order commander literally, on screen, ordered his gunners to ignore the cruiser and keep firing on the transports until it was too late. But even given that I was still thinking that maybe the Resistance should really make a habit of coming up with cunning plans to like hide an unpiloted A-wing inside an ore freighter and have it dock next to a Star Destroyer. Because, you know, that is exactly what Rogue Squadron would do at every opportunity if this works.

        3. guy says:

          I don’t have a problem with the hyperspace ram; it seemed to be a known tactic that was mostly disregarded because it’s really hard to use and it’s only so awesome because Holdo had a massive capital ship.

          What sold that to me was the Imperial bridge crew’s reaction; when Holdo started turning the captain shrugged it off; just a diversion from the transports. Then she got close and he had a moment of dawning realization and yelled “TARGET THAT SHIP!” a moment before the hyperdrive engaged.

  11. Ander says:

    The concept of the gradient and of story collapse have helped me a lot in my enjoyment and understanding of others’ enjoyment of stories. I’m not wrong to be bothered by a logical inconsistency any more then someone else is wrong not to be.
    Now it’s harder for me to make a case that a movie is bad/good on objective grounds, but it’s not that big of a deal. I can say why I enjoyed a movie, and maybe some of the reasons I list can help someone else understand why they did, too.

    Like, The Last Jedi. Every time I watch it, the movie seems worse even as I find something to enjoy a little more.

    Maybe there aren’t “wrong ways” to watch a movie. However, I would suggest that certain ways evince such a lack of good faith that they are worth addressing independent of a specific film. Someone watching a stage production of A Midsummer Night’s Dream who stopped paying attention because “the forest floor shouldn’t be made of wood panels” would be engaging, at least in their claim, with the play on this level. I would conclude, using the concept of story collapse,that something else had gone wrong to break immersion and try to find out what that is rather than trying to talk them into accepting the wood forest floor.

  12. Lee says:

    I’m a fan of Cinema Sins. Watch almost every one, generally the day they come out. They’re popcorn fun, just like most of the movies they discuss. I particularly like them for movies (like horror) that I’m never going to watch myself, and once in a great while I find myself deciding to watch a movie based on the Cinema Sins video about it.

    I’m an easy touch for most movies I watch, though. If I’m interested in the genre, I can leave my brain at the door and not think about it until the movie is over. Plot holes very rarely bother me at all.

  13. tremor3258 says:

    I don’t consider CinemaSins serious analysis, it’s usually just fun.

    A thing to consider with plot holes is that in a standalone work, you go back to and think about – it throws off a little but you can still enjoy it.

    In today’s serialized world, plot holes in one work seem to resonate and exacerbate in later ones, with the things being ignored causing more and more problems in the structure (or if a situation is set that the characters should easily, or even DID easily handle in the past comes up and that isn’t done, you’re in trouble).

    Consider the great inversion, when Indy just shot the swordsman in Raiders, and you know he’s in trouble because he doesn’t have his revolver in Temple of Doom.

  14. Mephane says:

    f you’ve got a lot of domain experience in a given field than you’re really likely to notice factually absurd details that go unnoticed by the average viewer.

    Oddly enough, even though I am a software dev, I don’t mind “hacking” in movies shown completely wrong. I mean, it’s kind of amusing how silly these scenes usually are, but I can easy gloss over them because they don’t protrait computers per se wrong. I can buy a guy widly mashing keys for 10 seconds as a shorthand for “and now he spent an hour fixing the problem, but that would be to boring to show”.

    What really gets on my nerves is when spaceflight is portrayed grossly wrong. I mean stuff like in Star Wars Episode VII, when they fired the superweapon at multiple planets, and the good guys an an unrelated planet see the shots hits these planets in the sky. Like, for that to be even remotely possible all these locations would not only have to be in the same star system, but all but one of them would have to be moons of the one.

    Just the basic facts and principles should at least apply: distances between planets are vast, and even more so when they are in different systems. I can totally buy that the starkiller shoots globs of energy through hyperspace to hit planets far across the galaxy. But showing that in the sky above the good guys is just too much.

    Or when in Star Trek Into Darkness, the ship loses engine power while in orbit around the moon… and falls… towards Earth… in mere minutes. That’s not how it orbits work. A ship does not need its engines to stay in orbit (yeah, low orbits over planets with atmospheres will slowly decay due to tiny amounts of drag, but this is on the time scale of months and years, too minor a thing to matter for such a movie). And a ship not orbitting but merely hovering over the moon under engine power would fall down to the moon, not Earth.

    Just some small changes – let the battle take place above Earth, and instead of the characters mentioning an orbit, let them say “we are hovering under full power” or some such. It’s often just minor changes in the setting or dialog that can set a scene straight and remedy such inaccuracies.

    1. guy says:

      I gave the light show a pass myself; Starkiller Base fires through hyperspace so I just figured the light show also travelled through hyperspace. Sure, odd, but it happens precisely once and it’s the only time an FTL weapon is fired so okay there’s a light echo when you do that. The writers know how lightspeed works because Starkiller Base explicitly fires through hyperspace. If it were another setting I’d demand details, but there’s no expectation that Star Wars would involve exploiting this in a complex and technical way later.

      1. Agammamon says:

        Sure, the light leaked out from the hyperspace route the beam took – how did it then travel multiple light years to be seen by other planets in other star systems at the same time?

        It shouldn’t be until years after that beam was fired that those onlookers (in other systems) would be able to see the shot.

  15. Bloodsquirrel says:

    Watching the video now-

    “When a character does something off screen”

    Yes, there are some things that we can just assume happen off-screen. If a character doesn’t have a pack a cigarettes in once scene, but in another scene two days later has one, I can assume that he went to the store. But when a character who has supposedly been stripped off all of his wealth manages to somehow travel half way across the planet in a single day?* That calls for a bit more of an explanation. Not just anything can happen off-screen, it has to be something that is either mundane or that is referenced/explained onscreen.

    Also, I think there’s a bit of bad faith in starting by putting out your personal definition of “plot hole” and then punching people when they don’t use it exactly the same way. I would define a plot hole as a point where there is a logical flaw in the sequence of events in a movie. The phrase itself – “plot hole” exists because the idea wasn’t that something was a contradiction, per se, but because there was a gap in the plot where it was missing an explanation for something.

    *The real plot hole here is that Bruce would lose all of his money so fast just because he was removed as CEO of Wayne Enterprises. I’d actually expect him to have some cash/resources stashed away and available for emergencies, but the movie shows people that he’s even having his electricity shut off (that should take at least a month after he failed to pay his bill).

    1. Joshua says:

      “*The real plot hole here is that Bruce would lose all of his money so fast just because he was removed as CEO of Wayne Enterprises. I’d actually expect him to have some cash/resources stashed away and available for emergencies, but the movie shows people that he’s even having his electricity shut off (that should take at least a month after he failed to pay his bill).”

      Or how despite the stock exchange being under attack by gunmen, this very suspicious trade can’t be contested by Bruce. In fact, I would think that a lot of the day’s transactions would be nullified.

      1. Bloodsquirrel says:

        Yeah, I enjoyed TDKR, but a lot of the stuff that it played fast and loose with bothered me. I think the movie’s saving grace is that, while there’s a lot of stuff that clearly would not work that way, it at least keeps its internal logic consistent enough for the audience to understand what they have to accept and roll with it.

  16. Kdansky says:

    That was a very bad video. It used a gigantic strawman to begin with , and then ended on “ignore all logic because otherwise you’re watching movies wrong”.

    Yes, if you start focusing on broken logic, it takes you out of the movie. But the solution is not to shut down your brain, but the solution is to not break the logic. Viewers will give the writer the benefit of doubt, and if you don’t overdo it with the physics-breaking, they will stay on board.

    But if your plot hinges on the villain time travelling back into time by a decade, and then taking “revenge” on a character which was not even at fault for a catastrophe that happens ten years in the future [which means they wait around in empty space for TEN YEARS instead of trying to help prevent the catastrophe during that time], then you have thrown away all sense of credibility. (Star Trek 2009) This is not just a contrivance (like stumbling into important characters randomly on an ice planet on foot), this is just too big to ignore, because it is central to the plot, central to the movie, and not a tiny detail in a foot-note.

    1. Matt Downie says:

      To me it’s the other way round. The villain seeking vengeance on people who don’t deserve it and not trying to fix anything is just standard villain craziness. (And I’m probably not even going to pay enough attention to know if he has a reason to think his actions will prevent the future events that drove him crazy from coming about.) It’s not great, but I don’t care, or even remember it. Worse is when a ‘good guy’ does something equally crazy, like Spock beaming Kirk onto a desolate planet and leaving him to die.

      And if the hero is saved not by his own actions but by a literally trillions-to-one fluke, such as the one guy who can help him randomly being on the same part of the same planet, it means that character actions no longer matter. Anything can happen now, with no justification.

  17. Bloodsquirrel says:

    Watching the video now-

    “When a character does something off screen”

    Yes, there are some things that we can just assume happen off-screen. If a character doesn’t have a pack a cigarettes in once scene, but in another scene two days later has one, I can assume that he went to the store. But when a character who has supposedly been stripped off all of his wealth manages to somehow travel half way across the planet in a single day?* That calls for a bit more of an explanation. Not just anything can happen off-screen, it has to be something that is either mundane or that is referenced/explained onscreen.

    Also, I think there’s a bit of bad faith in starting by putting out your personal definition of “plot hole” and then punching people when they don’t use it exactly the same way. I would define a plot hole as a point where there is a logical flaw in the sequence of events in a movie. The phrase itself – “plot hole” exists because the idea wasn’t that something was a contradiction, per se, but because there was a gap in the plot where it was missing an explanation for something.

    Also, the idea that a movie needs to be stupid in order to have conflict is perverse. If you need conflict between Admiral Holdo and Poe Dameron, then you come up with a good reason for there to be conflict between them. In the OT there was plenty of fumbling and conflict between the three leads while they were on the Death Star, but nobody complains about that because it’s realistically rooted in the characters, their personalities, and the legitimate limitations of their competence. If there’s no good reason why your character isn’t instantly solving the conflict in the movie, then make one. Hell, Holdo could have told Poe the plan, and Poe could have raised several very legitimate complaints about it (If the First Order has scanners that can detect cloaked ships, wouldn’t they be running them all the time to, you know, detect any nearby cloaked ships?). Holdo could have raised some valid complaints against Poe’s plan. It could have been a legitimate argument between two people choosing between two flawed, desperate plans.

    *The real plot hole here is that Bruce would lose all of his money so fast just because he was removed as CEO of Wayne Enterprises. I’d actually expect him to have some cash/resources stashed away and available for emergencies, but the movie shows people that he’s even having his electricity shut off (that should take at least a month after he failed to pay his bill).

    1. Viktor says:

      Except that there is a good reason for the argument between Holdo and Poe, it’s that Poe is convinced he knows better than his superiors and Holdo as his superior is refusing to give in to him. Poe could have simply trusted her, except that he has protagonist syndrome and can’t just shut up and obey orders. Holdo could have simply explained her plan, except that she’s career military and doesn’t want to break the chain of command by giving in to a recently-demoted junior officer*. It’s perfectly realistic personalities coming into conflict, I see something like it once a week at my office.

      *Especially in a crisis, when chain of command and obeying orders is vital.

      1. Daimbert says:

        This is what I referred to above, though, as things being ambiguous. Given her uniform and overall presentation, we don’t really have any reason to think that she’s career military and so is trying to instill or acting out of career military discipline. Additionally, this a resistance movement and resistance movements and rebellions tend to be a bit looser on military discipline, which was true all the way back to the OT (Han, for example, would not fit into a traditional military). On top of that, Leia slapping Poe earlier pretty much puts to rest any idea that this is run as a traditional military. So, sure, she might not have wanted to break the chain of command, or she just might have completely screwed up in dealing with them.

        Plus, it’s actually more reasonable to think that she was used to dealing with her own cadre or cell who were completely loyal and dedicated to her and didn’t think that she had to adjust her approach to people who didn’t have that level of innate trust. But, as above, the movie doesn’t actually come out with this explanation, but is ambiguous enough in its presentations that all of these aren’t unreasonable takes.

        1. Joshua says:

          Although not often addressed, I also think it’s very problematic that Poe disobeys a direct order that gets his unit destroyed while also potentially saving the day (likely the Dreadnought would have destroyed the fleet if it had followed them through Hyperspace). That’s way too many ambiguities for Star Wars, especially if not addressed. Plus, insubordination that resulted in catastrophic consequences (to Leia) would not be punished with just a demotion, I would think. IMO it would be a permanent stay in the brig or maybe summary execution.

          I think the plot would have worked much better had:
          1. Poe made an attack on his own, without disobeying an order. The demotion would then be for bad judgment that led to unreasonable casualties, but not involve an action that would want the commanding officer to remove him from the military period.
          2. Have his target actually be not a significant threat. Not sure what this would be, but something flashy that has little tactical value. That way you would sell the idea that Poe’s a hot-head and glory-hound without running into the issues of Did he just save the day by disobeying Leia? .
          3. Not set up the plot to make him sympathetic and Holdo to be portrayed as unsympathetic as she was, and then pulling out the twist to say she was right all along. Not sure how you’d do this, but when the movie frames her as being in the wrong (not just being condescending to Poe, but to other members of the Resistance) and Poe being in the right but then switches it out as the last minute, a lot of the viewers got annoyed, as it’s just a big “Gotcha!”.

          1. Daimbert says:

            My interpretation of that was that Leia was just broken emotionally by all the recent deaths and the repeat of what happened at Alderaan from the first movie:

            1) Before going to lay into Poe, she’s looking at the losses from the squadron.

            2) Before Holdo goes to make her sacrifice, she explicitly says she’s tired of losing people.

            3) It explains why she says there’s no hope for Kylo at the end with Luke.

            With Holdo, the problem is that even though Poe ends up agreeing to the plan once he’s told about it, it didn’t work out very well and relied on the First Order being idiots to actually work, so it isn’t clear that she was right … and if it was so obviously the right answer there was no reason for her to not tell Poe that to shut him up. Even if they were worried about spies, there’s no real reason to think that HE’S one of them.

            But, again, there’s plenty of evidence for all interpretations, which in my opinion is both TLJ’s strength and weakness.

            1. guy says:

              I’m split on the initial reprimand scene because it mixes things together. I think Leia’s reprimand itself was absolutely perfect. Poe straight-up refused a direct order from his commanding officer in a combat situation; that’s the kind of thing that in many settings gets you shot. Leia cannot let that slide. So she slaps him with an immediate, clear punishment that leaves him flying and she brooks no argument. She’s the highest ranking officer in the resistance and her word is law. Poe and everyone need to remember that.

              But I had questions about the losses part; seemed like everything was on track with the original plan when the bombers went in so the losses were within parameters. So if it was a bad idea why’d Leia authorize it?

              Then Holdo’s reprimand later was simply bad. It comes off as a petty power trip to me and clearly to Poe and even in hindsight the best I can say is that her good tactics cancel out her horrible personnel management skills. My combined read is that Holdo flat screwed up handling Poe and Leia would not have. Holdo withholding information is by-the-book opsec; Poe isn’t going to be fueling or flying the shuttles so he doesn’t need to know. But this isn’t a time for doing things by the book.

              1. Daimbert says:

                The big issue was that Leia, if I recall correctly ACTUALLY SLAPS HIM with the punishment. That’s not something you can do in an actual military, and is definitely more of an emotional reaction than discipline.

                Plus, she served with Han for ages, so she has to be used to people disobeying orders by now [grin].

                1. guy says:

                  Uh, I remember the scene as Poe steps in grinning and then Leia says “you’re demoted.” No prelude, no slap.

                  1. Daimbert says:

                    I looked it up on the Internet but can’t find a definitive scene to link here, but he tries to defend his action, she slaps him, and then says that he’s demoted.

              2. Joshua says:

                “Poe straight-up refused a direct order from his commanding officer in a combat situation; that’s the kind of thing that in many settings gets you shot. Leia cannot let that slide.”

                That’s what I said up above. Writing it the way they did, he should have received a much harsher sentence that would have taken him out of the film (locked up or killed). I think they should have redone it so that he screwed up without disobeying a direct order.

          2. Bloodsquirrel says:

            I don’t think the ambiguity of the situation was a problem, it was the treatment of the situation as being non-ambiguous that was. Case in point: Poe disobeys orders- but those orders were based on the assumption that he wouldn’t be able to finish taking out the surface cannons. But then he did. After that, the bombing run was only proceeding as originally planned. So if destroying a dreadnought wasn’t worth risking the bombers, then why did Lea order the mission in the first place.

            But the movie treats this as Poe’s screw-up. It wants Poe to learn a lesson about not being a hothead, but every situation in the movie is so ambiguous that it feels entirely arbitrary when one risky maneuver or heroic sacrifice is bad and when another is good. A story about Poe having to cope with a situation in which he can’t win a clean victory, and sees how many lives have to be sacrificed for the resistance to survive at all would have been much more interesting than what we got.

            As for Holdo- as I said elsewhere- it would be really easy for her and Poe to be at odds without making her an idiot. Her plan is desperate and flawed. His plan is desperate and flawed. They butt heads over it, and then when the audience’s assumption that Poe will turn out to be right is subverted it would feel a lot more fair.

            1. Daimbert says:

              Well, here’s the thing: based on things outside the movie and even some of the presentations inside of it. I do agree that the movie was trying to present Poe as being in the wrong and them being in the right. But the movie ITSELF is too ambiguous to support that, although again I don’t think that was intentional. Your own analysis of the ambiguities pretty much aligns with mine here.

              So I guess you might be thinking that I’m saying that the movie itself intended that ambiguity, but I’m not. But I think it’s there, and so from what’s in the actual movie itself anyone can pretty much take almost any position and have the movie support it. This does not indicate good writing, but DOES allow people to enjoy it who might not otherwise if the movie had succeeded in portraying what it seems it intended to portray.

              1. guy says:

                Well, in the final accounting yes Poe was in the wrong. But his actions were reasonable based on what he knew or assumed because he has no reason to believe there’s a nearby planet period. So Holdo looks like an idiot who will get them all killed when Poe makes his decisions. This keeps going until Leia wakes up and the Resistance ceases to make mistakes.

                I’ve tread this argument several times and I finally got fed up and started listing the key information as I and evidently Poe knew or assumed followed by every other plan I could think of and listing pros and cons. And to make my point every non-Poe plan’s cons included a worst plausible case containing the phrase “The First Order destroys the entire fleet and kills all aboard” and/or “life support systems fail and they all die a slow death in the void between the stars”. It was a long list and I fleshed out the worst cases extensively and people finally stopped telling me I only distrusted Holdo’s judgement because she was a woman.

                The key point I made, the thing I wanted to yell at the screen when Holdo shut Poe down, is that they have almost no fuel and they can’t possibly get to any planets at sublight before they run out. They can only escape by hyperjumping. Then I proposed a bunch of elaborate plans to possibly make the First Order lose track of some or all of them, then noted that a lot of those depended on having fuel for two or more jumps and they have fuel for one jump. I noted they could try moving fuel around and abandoning some ships but odds were pretty good they’d lose the cruiser unless they were very lucky and ideally we keep the cruiser. I also suggested a bunch that didn’t require multiple jumps then explained that all of these rely on assumptions about how the hyperdrive tracker operates and the Resistance does not know much about it at that point. Finally I pointed out that what actually went wrong was a total black swan fluke and Poe’s plan should have risked only a couple people who did not, in fact, know anything of value. So what the hell, roll the dice and start prepping another plan to execute. Lastly I pointed out that Holdo could have just pretended her plan was to just buy time until a better plan materialized and then when Roz and Finn bring their plan she could look thoughtful and then say no, too much of a long shot, but keep comparing notes about the tracker; maybe we can find a way to jam it.

                1. Daimbert says:

                  Well, in the final accounting yes Poe was in the wrong. But his actions were reasonable based on what he knew or assumed because he has no reason to believe there’s a nearby planet period. So Holdo looks like an idiot who will get them all killed when Poe makes his decisions. This keeps going until Leia wakes up and the Resistance ceases to make mistakes.

                  I think we’re pretty close to being vigorously agreeing here. I think that, based on the movie, there’s PLENTY of evidence to suggest that Holdo was incompetent and Poe was reasonable. And there’s plenty of evidence that Holdo was right and Poe was a hot-headed maverick. I tend to agree with you on the “Holdo is incompetent” angle, but my point is that the movie provides lots of evidence to support both contentions and so everyone can appeal to evidence in the movie to make their case. This was almost certainly not what the movie intended, but that’s what we ended up with.

                  1. guy says:

                    My read is that they both had merits and they both had flaws and the disaster was a joint project. And this is highlighted when Leia wakes up and instantly resolves this and all remaining problems stem from aftereffects of pre-Leia screwups.

                    1. Daimbert says:

                      There’s plenty of evidence for that read in the movie, too. It has something for everyone [grin].

          3. David says:

            Re. #2 – Given that Holdo’s plan only works if the First Order can’t destroy the base on Crait, destruction of the siege dreadnought was a necessary precondition for her success. Had the ship not been destroyed it would have pursued the Resistance along with the rest of the fleet, and been able to bring its even more powerful weapons to bear.

            Another necessary part of any fix is explaining “why is the D’Qar suicide run bad, while the Crait suicide run good?” There was at least a credible chance the attack on the siege dreadnought would work – it’s something the bombers were designed to do (honestly I’m not convinced those ships were designed to do anything, unless their designers were secretly Imperial agents). Had they been in perfect working condition the ski speeders would not have posed a credible threat to the First Order’s ground forces – abandoning that plan was absolutely the right idea.

      2. Bloodsquirrel says:

        Holdo does every single thing she can to convince Poe that he can’t and shouldn’t trust her. She doesn’t act anything like a career military officer. She’s not even dressed like one. She doesn’t dress him down like an officer would, she simply condescends to him. Actual military officers are drilled in the importance of establishing authority. It’s the entire point of separating officers and enlisted men. Holdo fails at it on every level and does nothing to make it appear as if she’s doing anything about their situation.

        If there’s one person who you shouldn’t just tell to shut up and obey orders in that situation, it’s the guy who you’re worried about being a loose canon. That’s the kind of person who you give something to do, not deliberately humiliate and leave to stew. And even demoted, who else left in the resistance at this point is more of a leader than Poe? And how is Holdo going to maintain secrecy on a plan that requires everybody in the fleet to be evacuated? If there’s a spy on board, they’ll find out when the order goes out to fuel up the transports and start boarding them.

        Holdo was an idiot. Everything about her is fractally wrong, where the closer you zoom in the more problems you find. Nothing she does jives with the idea that she’s a career military officer, nor does it provide any reason why she wouldn’t do something, anything, to handle Poe better other than that she’s a petty, unqualified authoritarian who is, quite despite what the movie tells us, more concerned with the appearance of being in charge than actually taking charge.

        1. Joshua says:

          I think you meant “loose cannon”, but “loose canon” appropriately describes the movie to me. :)

        2. shoeboxjeddy says:

          Holdo not being dressed as a military officer is irrelevant when you consider Leia wears whatever she wants and is fully respected, as is Mon Mothma. It’s silly to assume the rules of Star Wars fashion are one to one with Earth militaries when they clearly are not. Han is accepted as a general in the Rebel Alliance and never ONCE wears anything like a military uniform. And this is not one of the things Leia gets mad at him about. Therefore… fashion is considered something that there’s leeway with in the Rebel Alliance. Which makes sense when you’re fighting a super fascist Empire to be a bit loose about personal freedoms that won’t be the turning point in a military conflict.

          1. guy says:

            Isn’t she introduced as Rear Admiral, hero of [incident]?

          2. Daimbert says:

            The point of raising it, though, is that not being dressed in a military uniform works against the idea that her clash with Poe is over her being a strict military officer demanding military discipline, and your comments also highlight that the Resistance is not a movement that adheres to strict military discipline.

            1. shoeboxjeddy says:

              This is a decent argument, but I would say the Resistance is probably uber strict on some things and not at all strict on others. For example, dating in the ranks? Almost certainly allowed, they wouldn’t have a prayer of gathering people if they turned away idealistic lovers who joined out of a sense of it being “the right thing to do.” Getting drunk and blabbing about their Resistance status to outsiders? Grounds for dismissal from the group most likely. So Holdo probably comes from a planet with a sense of style similar to Naboo or Alderaan (I haven’t researched whatever EU material actually exists for the character) and thus dresses that way, but treats chain of command very, very seriously.

              I do think the whole Poe/Finn/Rose/Holdo subplot contains most of the truly objectionable flaws in TLJ. I just sense that a lot of the objections are coming from a place I could never side with. For example, I think the specific dialogue used to talk about the war profiteering angle is plodding and too basic. But for others, the idea of that even being a theme is objectionable, and I find that bizarre to the point of being suspicious of it.

          3. Bloodsquirrel says:

            Holdo not being dressed as a military officer is irrelevant when you consider Leia wears whatever she wants and is fully respected, as is Mon Mothma.

            Leia and Mon Mothma aren’t presented much as military officers. Leia, in particular, is far less formal in her overall behavior. Which she can afford to be, both because she’s earned it, being one of the greatest heroes the rebellion/resistance has ever known, and because the rebellion/resistance itself is not presented as a strict military- which is why we never saw Luke and Han being expected to follow strict orders.

            Her and Mothma are also dressed in what looks a lot like what you would expect a political leader to wear. They’re both dressed rather modestly, in plain, uncolored robes, which is something of the Star Wars equivalent of a suit. They’re dressed the same what that Senators and the Chancellor were in the prequel trilogy. Holdo is wearing a ball gown.

            1. shoeboxjeddy says:

              Mon Mothma gives the briefing for the Second Death Star attack and also leads a military discussion in Rogue One. Leia leads numerous military discussions and is a part of at least 2 major combat operations personally (the space battle in Rogue One and the ground battle at Endor). How are they not military again?

              This comment of Holdo wearing a ball gown is pure ignorance of fashion. It’s not a ball gown, do some research.

          4. David says:

            Leia and Mon Mothma were never military leaders – they were politicians who helped found the Rebellion.

            Han is the “independent” protagonist, and thus is contractually incapable of conforming. :)

            Luke is a Jedi as well as a member of the Rebellion, and thus transitions away from the uniform he was wearing at the start of ESB (and presumably before) towards the outfit he chose to represent his status as Jedi. At that point his outfit needed to be distinct so that it would symbolize the return of the Jedi order, and their alliance with the Rebellion.

      3. Gautsu says:

        Except he isn’t a junior officer, he is the highest ranking combat officer left, even with his demotion. Yes, he is cocky, but any plan that relies on any kind of combat action at all is going to involve him. Without knowing that there is a hyperspace tracker (which they don’t) Holdo’s actions would only make sense if they fear there is a spy, which is never brought up. Considering that no one actually knows that there is a hyperspace tracker, for certain, and that Holdo’s actions, without being explained ARE causing them to lose ships and personnel, and that she is not explaining her plan to the combat leader who would have to carry out any kind of combat based plan, I could imagine Poe wondering if Holdo were a spy. Which would the make his insurrection not only legimate but necessary. In war lawful orders don’t have to be explained, but if you’re sending me to what looks like certain death for no valid tactical reason, I have every right to question your orders.

        1. Joe Informatico says:

          No, Poe’s not going to be part of any immediate plans because his whole command (the fighter wing) was wiped out in the last attack! At that moment, he’s in command of nothing. So if Holdo suspects leaks because she doesn’t know how they’re being tracked and they’ve already had a couple attempted AWOLs, she wouldn’t bring anyone into the plan who didn’t need to know, especially not a recently-demoted hothead who’s already lost a bunch of their assets and made a terrible first impression.

          1. Bloodsquirrel says:

            So if Holdo suspects leaks

            Something which is never brought up as an explanation for her behavior in the movie (and doesn’t make much sense- there’s an enormous difference between being a hothead and a spy).

          2. Gautsu says:

            Demoted from Commander to Captain still leaves him as the highest ranking flight officer left. And his fighter wing is still there, the bombers were wiped out. Otherwise he would have no one left for the futile run at the walkers at the end. And judging by the fact that his mutiny is successful, more than just me agreed that she was being too close mouthed with her planning, especially while sacrificing ships and fleet officers and doing nothing but run away and burn fuel. Again if Finnand Rose were able to get away, why couldn’t everyone. Or at least more non-combatants.

            1. Falling says:

              Yeah, even with nothing to command, a senior officer is a senior officer. And it would appear that Holdo told no one at all, considering bridge crew members also mutineered (Billie Lord’s character.) The fact that desertion and mutiny is the order of the day, tells me there is a serious morale problem that Holdo has not dealt with in the least. And then she has so little confidence with the crew that even if people aren’t part of the mutiny, the rest of the ship just carries on as normal until Leia jumps in and then everyone goes along with the flow again. (Compare this to the mutinies in Battlestar Galatica. People on the Battlestar actually cared which side they were on. And it’s a big deal. These rebels are docile sheep.)

  18. Steve C says:

    This video was mentioned in the forums recently. I do not like that video one bit. I’m one of the people who gave it a dislike (something I pretty much never do). The video had one good point; it made me realize that even saying the words “plot hole” is too loaded a term now. It sends discussions off into la-la-land and muddles whatever point is being made.

    I’d like to see this debate move in a more healthy direction

    I fully support this idea. Personally I’ve given up. The discussion is hopelessly corrupted. The term “plot hole” should be avoided and different words used that convey the same meaning.

    1. Water Rabbit says:

      I think the term plot collapse works for me. To me the plot collapses when the story ignores its own rules. A perfect example of plot collapse is in the 2013 film Gravity. They spent all of the first part of the movie trying to show how working in low/zero gravity works. However, at the pivotal point of the film they completely ignore it. That point completely invalidated everything about the film. The whole story collapsed because the logic was completely ignored and broken.

      Another example of plot collapse was the 2013 film Start Trek: Into Darkness (but really any Jar Jar Abrams film). The story never respects the setting at all. It was just one story collapse after another. It was so bad, that I haven’t bothered watching anything by Jar Jar Abrams since. His stories are nonsensical to the point of just wasting my time.

      1. Steve C says:

        I feel “collapse” is a good term for the extreme cases you describe. It is too strong a term to describe most common problems in a story.

        BTW I don’t feel it is actually helpful to come up with a replacement term for “plot holes”. As that term would simply inherit all the baggage.

    2. Matt Downie says:

      What can we break Plot Holes down into in order to avoid using the term?

      Improbable Contrivance (So Magneto just happened to be in the right place to catch that falling jet?)
      Unexplained Events (How did Indy survive that long submarine journey without getting caught?)
      Unexplored Questions (If Starfleet can teleport between planets now, do they still need spaceships?)
      Motivation Frustration (Just shoot him! What are you waiting for?)
      General Nonsense (Why are ‘travel papers signed by General De Gaulle’ the MacGuffin in Casablanca? Those would carry zero authority.)

      Hm… I think I’m turning into tvtropes.

    3. Sabrdance (MatthewH) says:

      Some of the problem is we also aren’t always talking about “Plot Holes.” Per the above conversation, a lot of the issue isn’t that the plot doesn’t make sense (all the events happen in a sequence that is intelligible) but that the story doesn’t make sense (why do we care about this, again?).

      My gripes with the Slicer portion of the story is that at the end of it, they are exactly where they were at the beginning. Likewise with the Holdo-Poe debate, at the end of it we are exactly where we were at the beginning. The whole thing is a massive reset button. So even though the actions make sense, I’m not sure why the movie thought I’d like to spend, what, two and a half hours, watching it.

      1. David says:

        Personally, I believe the Canot Bight would have made a great chapter in “Tales of the Resistance”, if you remember that series of anthologies from the 90’s.

        For me, the biggest problem with The Last Jedi was betrayal of trust. Movies titled “Star Wars Episode (x)” were supposed to be part of the Skywalker saga, and TLJ did not feel like that was the case. Ultimately, neither Luke nor Leia felt central to the story. If they had started a new series to focus on the new characters it would have “felt” different – Luke and Leia are the old mentors passing on their final wisdom, the way Obi-Wan did in A New Hope either way, but that’s not the role of the main characters.

  19. John says:

    I more or less agree with Shamus on the subject of plot holes. If I have one thing to add, it’s that when it comes to plot holes presentation matters a lot. The example I like to use is Firefly on TV versus Firefly on DVD. When it aired on Fox, the first episode of Firefly opened with a bit of narration describing how in the far future human colonists had settled in a new solar system full of inhabitable planets. On the one hand, it was perfectly reasonable for the show to want to establish the setting early in the first episode. On the other hand, that setting makes no gorram sense astronomically speaking and is probably best mentioned as little as possible. I ended up spending my first hour watching Firefly boggling at the bad astrophysics rather than watching the train heist or listening to the quippy dialogue. In contrast, on DVD each episode of Firefly opens with a folky song and pictures of spaceships and space-cowboys and I liked the show just fine.

    While this is, strictly speaking, a case of bad world-building rather than a plot hole, I think the principle is the same. When we know what kind of show we’re watching–and, it must be said, the kind of show we’re watching is a kind of show we’re willing to watch–plot holes don’t bother us too much. No, the solar system in Firefly with its possibly dozens of inhabitable planets and moons doesn’t make a lick of sense. But that doesn’t matter too much because the show’s not interested in that stuff and that’s not what the show’s about anyway. (Joss Whedon is by no means a details-first kind of guy.) When we’re watching something for the first time, we don’t necessarily know what kind of show we’re watching and we may not have enough information or context to determine whether or not a plot hole is in fact A Big Deal. A plot hole presented early in the show can grab our attention and make us more sensitive to the presence of subsequent plot holes and more critical of the show in general than that same plot hole would if it occurred later on.

    1. Matt Downie says:

      What’s implausible about multiple habitable planets in a single solar system? What’s the upper limit to the number of planets and moons that could exist in the ‘Goldilocks zone’ orbit of a large star? I was under the impression that’s the kind of thing we don’t know much about. It’s unlikely, but seems far more likely to me than Warp Drives. And note that we don’t know for sure that this solar system exists naturally, rather than as some kind of alien experiment…

      1. John says:

        Well, that’s the point. Even if it’s not impossible, it’s incredibly unlikely. (My money’s on impossible.) It’s so incredibly unlikely that it’s a Big Huge Deal and, if I’m being honest, Aliens Did It was also my first thought. But the show doesn’t treat it as a Big Huge Deal. In fact, other than that one bit of voice-over, the show almost never talks about it and certainly never talks about it in anything like detail. It’s not actually relevant to anything that happens in the show. The show doesn’t care where the various and numerous planets are in relation to each other or how fast spaceships have to go to get between them in such a short time. (All planets and moons are where the plot needs them to be and all ships move at the speed of plot.) None of it matters, but I had no way of knowing that right at the beginning of the very first episode, now did I? That’s why my position is that you should not start off your TV show with things that are Big Huge Deals unless they are meant to be Big Huge Deals.

        1. Steve C says:

          TL;DR: Firefly should not have highlighted anything that could be *perceived* as bad world building. That’s on Firefly. The perception is far more important than fact. However it was not bad world-building. There are more ‘freak’ solar systems than there are ‘normal’ solar systems.

          Science determined a while ago that the ‘Goldilocks zone’ is a flawed concept. Sure it still works as a shorthand. As a rule, it was immediately bent to the point of breaking and has constantly expanded over time as more discoveries are made. Exoplanets have been discovered that are outside of the ‘habitual range’ of a star with liquid water detected. Liquid water is the true test for habitual range. Therefore the assumptions on what constitutes a habitual zone has been proven incorrect and is the reality is larger. The Goldilocks zone now comprises most of a solar system. In fact it was determined after the discovery of ecosystems around deep sea vents that a planet doesn’t even need a star to support life. (Hollywood knows this as Star Trek uses the concept of rogue planets that support life.)

          Additionally you can have multiple planets orbiting each other. It was assumed two stars was the max for a stable solar system for the longest time. And for the same reasons a binary planet would be the max. Except a system with five stars was discovered. The base assumption was disproven, therefore the max # of planets in orbit of each other is unknown. There is no reason why planets (and entire moon systems around those planets) have to be far away from each other like they are in our solar system.

          As for planetary distances vs time, it actually makes sense soon as constant thrust is brought in. Only minuscule amounts of constant thrust are necessary to travel quickly through space. For example if you somehow managed constant thrust of 9.8m/s^2 (aka gravity) for a sustained period- you’d be going faster than light speed in less than 1 year (if it was possible). Travel times in space are long not because of distance, but because spacecraft have seconds of thrust for an entire journey instead of the sci-fi hours or days of thrust.

          1. John says:

            If your point is that a solar system with a large number of planets capable of supporting liquid water is mathematically possible–and the Firefly solar system is even more improbably convenient than that–then I won’t argue with you. I mean, I sure can’t prove it’s not. But I hope I can be forgiven for thinking it’s remarkable to a distracting degree. In any case, good world building isn’t just a matter of having a plausible setting. It’s also important not to distract the viewer (or reader, or listener, or player, or whatever) with incongruous and irrelevant details.

            1. Steve C says:

              Nope not saying that. I’m saying the exact opposite– that it is NOT improbably convenient. I’m saying that practical examples have already been found. A Firefly like solar system is closer to the normal than our own solar system.

              The root issue is that there is an old assumption about space that has since been proven false. The 20th century theory was that (A)Our star is nondescript and average, therefore (B)our solar system should be representative of a nondescript, average solar system. (B) was suspected of being untrue 20 years ago when supercomputer models kept resulting in weird solar systems very unlike our own. (Which started being absorbed by sci-fi authors then.) More recently (B) was definitively proven false by observed results. Except that knowledge (that our own solar system is the weird solar system outlier) hasn’t trickled into the zeitgeist of the modern age. (A) remains true. (B) simply does not follow from (A).

              Note that it also makes sense that if/when humans colonize another solar system that the best solar system will be picked. IE one with lots of possible habitual planets and moons. I’m saying the MOST probable outcome of colonizing a solar system in a few thousand years will be a Firefly like solar system. The LEAST probable would be solar system like ours.

              I certainly agree that it is important not to distract the audience with incongruous and irrelevant details. *Focusing* on it in episode 1 of Firefly was a mistake. It was not a mistake to use it as foundation of world building.

              1. John says:

                I like your point about selection bias. I hadn’t considered that. I still can’t say that I’m fully sold on the idea that a single solar system could have what appears to be tens of Earth like planets, which, given their observed nigh identical Earth-like gravities, atmospheres, and temperatures must all have very close, similar orbits and yet somehow not have run into one another yet. You have convinced me, however, that me that I should go read more about exoplanets. It sounds really cool, so thank you for that.

            2. Gunther says:

              In the show they chose a solar system for the entirety of the human race to migrate to; presumably they didn’t pick one at random. They’re gonna pick the most promising option with the greatest amount of living space.

              Even with our current level of technology we’ve found some pretty unusual solar systems (the Trappist-1 system has seven temperate terrestrial planets, for instance). There are estimated to be as many as 100 billion solar systems in our galaxy, it’s not that big a leap to think there might be one with hundreds of terraformable planets and moons.

          2. guy says:

            I could’ve sworn it was a stellar cluster or something; thought Blue Sun was named after one of the suns with colonies.

            Overall I ended up just shrugging and resorting to my fallback: Don’t Question The Premise. I didn’t think it made astronomic sense, ultimately, but all the inter-planet trips felt consistent in what it’s like when you’re halfway through so at least I had a feel for what options they had.

            1. hewhosaysfish says:

              I’ve only watched about half the episodes so I can’t comment on what the show tells you but the board game quite clearly has a map with different star systems in it:


              1. Corsair says:

                Firefly is set in a single system, but I believe it’s a Quarternary system, four stars.

              2. guy says:

                I think I maybe saw that on a wiki somewhere at some point. Show is consistent with that but I don’t think it ever actually said it.

                Anyways, what I’m saying is basically that my best take was that it was more-or-less a system of star systems; there’s a large number of stars with planets orbiting them in unusually close proximity, which is I think unlikely but not definitely impossible.

                The part I filed under Don’t Question The Premise is basically Out Of Gas. I didn’t track actual travel times but my vague sense was that their long trips were more than a week, less than two months. I never bothered doing the math to guess accelerations and compute approximate distances, but I didn’t think it’d make sense to simultaneously be able to activate a distress signal that was more likely to help than playing every lottery at once and hoping to get the grand prize in all of them and yet not be able to open a communications channel to the nearest settled planet. Mal’s actions seemed to indicate that the distress signal had a non-negligable chance of being recieved but wasn’t nearly enough to stake his crew’s lives on, so somewhere south of 85%. So I resolved to stop asking these questions and pretend they had been answered to my satisfaction because I wanted to watch the rest of the episode. That’s my fallback plan for when I like a work but I don’t think it logically holds up.

          3. Agammamon says:

            “Liquid water is the true test for habitual range. Therefore the assumptions on what constitutes a habitual zone has been proven incorrect”

            No, it hasn’t. Those exoplanets with liquid water are *huge*. ‘Earthlike’ in a sense that only an astrophysicist would use. Sure, the area around Jupiter is warm enough to support liquid water – because of Jupiters mass gravitationally squeezing its moons and heating them up.

            Put earth in Jupiter’s orbit (but not in orbit around Jupiter) and it still freezes.

            The habitable zone has always just meant the area around a system’s primary that is warm enough but not too warm. That other areas can have places that are also in that range doesn’t negate it as a concept. They just serve as a warning to not be fixated on it as the only place terrestrial-like life could arise.

            1. guy says:

              Our recent exoplanet surveys have been finding a lot more of those planets outside the expected habitable range than had been assumed, which has raised the question of whether it’s actually more probable to have a habitable planet within that range than outside of it. There is as yet no consensus on the answer to that question because it’s still being studied.

      2. Agammamon says:

        Well, gravitational slingshotting, to start with.

        The human habitability zone is fairly narrow – for the Sun, roughy Venus to Mars. Cram a lot more planets in there and at multiple points in their billion year history they will align in such a way as to nudge one or more of them out of their orbits. Which will make the whole thing more unstable, nudging more out of place. Until most of them are flung off into the sunless depths of interstellar space.

        OTOH, they could have just said this was the work of a vanished precursor species only a million or so years previously, that its inherently unstable and probably won’t exist in a billion years, but hey, right now everything’s good. Like Saturn’s rings – they’re ‘recent’ (cosmologically speaking) and won’t be there in a couple million years.

    2. Gareth Wilson says:

      I only saw the DVD version, and it always bugged me that they never specified whether the ship was travelling between stars or between planets. In the movie they say at the beginning that it’s one solar system with terraformed planets and moons, and I could accept that as an SF conceit. What amused me is that before the movie, some of the writers on the TV show were asked whether ship was interstellar or interplanetary, and they didn’t know either. Joss Whedon’s never that great at worldbuilding, but that’s a whole new level of sloppiness.

  20. Kathryn says:

    I guess I don’t really get why this debate exists as a debate at all. Suspension of disbelief is such a personal, subjective thing. Why bother arguing with someone about whether their immersion should be broken? You *might* be able to break it if you ask the right question, but why would you want to? And if it’s already broken, you’ll have a hard time getting them back in.

    I say this as the kind of person who lies awake at night trying to figure out how reproduction works in the Monsters Inc universe.

    1. Droid says:

      the kind of person who lies awake at night trying to figure out how reproduction works in the Monsters Inc universe.

      I KNOW, right?!

    2. guy says:

      I think the fatal kind of question is one where the drama depends on the answer. Like in Star Wars: Solo; there was a big piece of drama with a droid dying, except all the computer bits were intact and it seemed to just be her running out of power. So… can’t you just fix her? Okay, maybe droid memory cores are semi-volitile so it’s like a memory wipe I gu- oh nevermind apparently we can load her into the Falcon control computer I guess Lando is just being overly dramatic. Whelp, heist over, now we can get her chassis fixed and load her back into it, so… hey, guys? Guys? GUYS! Your beloved teammate is semi-dead but easily resurrectable, aren’t you-

      Roll credits!

  21. I’m surprised you didn’t mention Dan’s recent Annihilation video. Honestly, it feels a lot more relevant to the way you approach story criticism.

    1. Shamus says:

      I watched it, but I haven’t seen annihilation yet so I didn’t get a lot out of it. I’ll give it another look once the movie appears on Amazon / Netflix.

      1. Mephane says:

        Oh dear. Here we go again.

        In Germany, the movie is on Netflix, in fact it was available there right on day 1. Seems in this case Americans got shafted by exclusivitiy deals?

      2. I watched it, but I haven’t seen annihilation yet so I didn’t get a lot out of it.

        That…that says so much right there.

  22. unit3000-21 says:

    Nitpicking and complaining about plot holes seem like a very nerdy thing to do. I mean it’s pretty rare for critics of highbrow literary fiction or arthouse movies to do that, but fans of stereotypically nerdy genre fiction seem to love it. That’s why I think it’s no coincidence Patrick H. Willems and Film Crit Hulk are both on the same side concerning plot holes. “Wait, aren’t they nerds?” you may ask, and yes, PHW likes a lot of nerdy movies, and FCH spent years writing in persona of well… Incredible Hulk Criticising Films, but I think they come to nerddom (is that even a word?) from a different perspective. They both have background in film criticism – the academic kind, not just consumer advice – and I don’t know about PHW, but FCH’s list of recommended reading looks like a selection a stereotypical literature major would choose.

  23. Brandon says:

    I have loved Cinemasins for years now. It’s by far one of my favorite channels.

  24. Topher Corbett says:

    I’m on both sides of this issue. On the one hand, I hate it when I point out something wrong with a movie and get told that I”m “thinking about it too much,” especially when it’s something in the movie that you’re supposed to think about, like the moral or message.

    On the other hand, I hate the term “plot hole” and find it too vague to be useful. It’s similar with the word “pacing,” where if the reviewer or complainer doesn’t know what to say, they’ll just throw it in as a problem: “it has lots of plot holes and some issues with pacing.” If you call them on it and force them to explain, they’ll act like you’re the one being pedantic and silly.
    Most “plot holes” are simply an inability to pay attention, or a failure of imagination or creativity on their part. “Why didn’t they fly to Mordor with the eagles” is a perfect example that others have handled admirably in other comments. “Why didn’t the Death Star just go past Yavin and shoot Yavin IV directly” is another example. Why does it have to be spelled out? Do you know how a Death Star works? Why can’t you trust that there’s some reason that they don’t have to tell you? Alderaan didn’t have a gas giant in front of it that was bypassed for it to get blown up, and you never see the Death Star actually move, so there’s no contradiction or hole. It’s a failure of imagination to demand that they give you some on-screen technobabble instead of the technobabble you could create in your head.

    For another Star Wars example, there are people who don’t like that The Force Awakens doesn’t explain the political situation in detail, or they just don’t like the political situation. That’s fine, but that’s not a hole in the plot. Then there are the people who claim that it doesn’t say what’s going on at all, which just means that they weren’t paying attention to the opening crawl or to the parts where they say what’s going on.
    Character motivation is generally not a plot hole either. In another Force Awakens example, there are people who say that Rey being nice to BB8, a useful, childlike cute robot, and not immediately selling him for a limited amount of extra food, is a plot hole or an unexplained character motivation. “What, is she just a good person???” Yes?

    There is nothing wrong with having some coincidences in a story either. Arguably, coincidences make it more “realistic!” The outcome of the Civil War, and the start of World War 1, both hinge on extremely unlikely coincidences. Do people look at that and say that real life has plot holes? Generally speaking, they accept it as well-documented history.

    Seamus, for his part, is very creative and focuses on internal story contradictions and poor storytelling. This is what should be discussed, but it shouldn’t be called a plot hole. It’s misleading to call it that, because it usually has nothing to do with the overall plot of the story being incomplete.

    I also hate the CinemaSins channel. The dude is smug and obnoxious, and lies and makes stuff up all the time, then covers it up with the “it’s a joke” or “it’s tongue-in-cheek” excuse. He essentially presents himself as a detailed reviewer, makes detailed reviews, and then when people tell him he misses obvious details and sucks at reviewing, he says that he’s not a reviewer. On top of this cowardice and bait-and-switch routine, he’s really not that funny.

    1. Bloodsquirrel says:

      The outcome of the Civil War, and the start of World War 1, both hinge on extremely unlikely coincidences.

      I don’t think either of those statements is true. The Civil War started because of long-standing sectional differences that reached a head when one side no longer had the political power within the existing system to protect its interests, leading to secession. The war itself started because letting the South go would have been nearly politically impossible, leading Lincoln to try to walk a tightrope that he would inevitably fall of off. The War itself was settled because of an overwhelming advantage in population and industry. I’m not sure what part of it was unlikely or coincidental, to the point where it’s actually difficult to say what anyone could have realistically done starting from the founding of the country to prevent it, at least not without getting into counter-intuitive strategies that rely on future knowledge.

      WW1 wasn’t the result of an unlikely coincidence, it was the result of an unstable political situation where a relatively smaller matter had the extreme potential to cause the whole thing to blow up. If it hadn’t been the Arch Duke Ferdinand in 1914, it could have been something in 1915. Bismark infamously predicted that there would be a general war because of “some damned fool thing in the Balkans”.

      1. Topher Corbett says:

        I’m referring to
        1. (wouldn’t necessarily have changed the ultimate outcome of the war, but definitely would have changed the course of the war.)
        2. Gavrilo Princep trying and failing to kill Archduke Ferdinand once, giving up, then accidentally stumbling upon him the second time and killing him. (It’s entirely possible the war would have started in another way, but again, not in the way that it did.)

        1. Bloodsquirrel says:

          It definitely wouldn’t have changed the outcome of the war. As for “the course”- you’re sort of getting into chaos theory territory here. You could just as easily say that Lincoln’s parents meeting was a coincidence that changed the course of the war. Any tiny change can ripple throughout future events. The existing course of the war wasn’t an overwhelmingly probably thing that Special Order 191 changed, it was one of a near infinite number of possible courses for the war, being affected by millions of individual events, each of which might have resulted in different battles being fought or different people living and dying.

          It’s like rolling a ten sided die 100 times to come up with a 100 digit long number. The chances of getting that specific number were only 1 in 10^100, but that doesn’t make it some sort of incredibly unlikely coincidence. All of the possibilities were equally unlikely.

          The same goes with WW1. The exact course of events that politics took might have been extremely unlikely, but the number of possibilities in which the war happened was so large that there’s nothing unlikely about the fact that it did happen.

          Probably most to the point, to say that either “hinged” on those specific events is untenable. There were millions of other events that were just as crucial to things playing out exactly as they did, and I don’t think either of those events deserve to be elevated above the rest (such as the existence of the Schlieffen plan or Robert E. Lee surviving the battle of Buena Vista).

      2. anon says:

        There’s a good bit of modern historiography (ex: here) that supports the “unlikely coincidence” theory for the ACW:

        In his account of the aftermath of Lincoln’s election, Freehling overturns the conventional picture of a state rushing headlong into disunion. South Carolina secessionists emerge instead as a beleaguered minority, fearful that their state would stand alone (as it had during the nullification crisis).

        At this point, Freehling’s “incredible coincidence” comes into play. A railroad had just been completed linking Savannah, Ga., and Charleston, S.C. As the South Carolina legislature deliberated, leading citizens of the two cities took part in a celebration. The Georgians, carried away by the emotion of the moment, pledged their state’s support for secession. Suddenly convinced that other states would follow, the legislature moved the secession convention up to December. The “coincidence,” Freehling argues, changed history. Had South Carolina not taken this step, Unionists might have prevailed throughout the South.

    2. Daimbert says:

      On the other hand, I hate the term “plot hole” and find it too vague to be useful. It’s similar with the word “pacing,” where if the reviewer or complainer doesn’t know what to say, they’ll just throw it in as a problem: “it has lots of plot holes and some issues with pacing.” If you call them on it and force them to explain, they’ll act like you’re the one being pedantic and silly.

      Hey, while they’re overused, both of those can actually identify real issues. While I don’t specifically use “pacing” that often, I WILL talk about whether a movie moves well or not. Pacing problems are usually ones where the movie spends a lot of time focusing on something it doesn’t need to and then rushes through the parts that it needs to move more slowly with, either to build suspense or emotion or even just that more exposition is needed for things to make sense. And in my long post above I talk about why plot holes can cause problems by getting in the way of what story the movie is trying to tell and so mean that it doesn’t achieve its goals.

      For another Star Wars example, there are people who don’t like that The Force Awakens doesn’t explain the political situation in detail, or they just don’t like the political situation. That’s fine, but that’s not a hole in the plot. Then there are the people who claim that it doesn’t say what’s going on at all, which just means that they weren’t paying attention to the opening crawl or to the parts where they say what’s going on.

      Well, the problem with TFA is that it DOESN’T explain what’s going on with the political situation. From the movie and the opening crawl, what IS The First Order? The Imperial Remnant? A new group? A splinter group? And what is their relation to the New Republic? Are they evenly matched? Are they overwhelmed? And what is the role of the Resistance? Are they being funded by the New Republic? Are they on their own? Are they trying to free a small part of the galaxy? Or the bulk of it? Why can’t the Republic take on the First Order directly? How did we get from the heights of the victorious end to Return of the Jedi to this?

      NONE of that is explained, and it needs to be for us to understand the work. Whether it counts as a plot hole or not — I tend to think of those as mistakes that create problems, whereas this seems more like a complete failure of exposition — it’s a serious problem with TFA.

      Character motivation is generally not a plot hole either. In another Force Awakens example, there are people who say that Rey being nice to BB8, a useful, childlike cute robot, and not immediately selling him for a limited amount of extra food, is a plot hole or an unexplained character motivation. “What, is she just a good person???” Yes?

      The problem here is that the movie tries to build tension around the possibility that Rey will sell BB8, and then simply has that resolved with her adamantly refusing. I think that it is consistent with her characterization from earlier in the movie, but that means that her not selling BB8 was probably a foregone conclusion. Others commenting that it doesn’t even actually explain that while trying to hint that she IS someone who could do it is a valid comment, though.

      There is nothing wrong with having some coincidences in a story either. Arguably, coincidences make it more “realistic!” The outcome of the Civil War, and the start of World War 1, both hinge on extremely unlikely coincidences. Do people look at that and say that real life has plot holes? Generally speaking, they accept it as well-documented history.

      Which is fair, but note that in the histories they would explicitly note that this was a coincidence and thus “lampshade” it as such. Most of the complaints about plot holes and the like would be cases where they didn’t even do that.

      1. Topher Corbett says:

        Well, the problem with TFA is that it DOESN’T explain what’s going on with the political situation. From the movie and the opening crawl, what IS The First Order? The Imperial Remnant? A new group? A splinter group? And what is their relation to the New Republic? Are they evenly matched? Are they overwhelmed? And what is the role of the Resistance? Are they being funded by the New Republic? Are they on their own? Are they trying to free a small part of the galaxy? Or the bulk of it? Why can’t the Republic take on the First Order directly? How did we get from the heights of the victorious end to Return of the Jedi to this?

        NONE of that is explained, and it needs to be for us to understand the work. Whether it counts as a plot hole or not — I tend to think of those as mistakes that create problems, whereas this seems more like a complete failure of exposition — it’s a serious problem with TFA.

        In the opening crawl, it’s stated explicitly that the First Order “has risen from the ashes of the Empire,” and that Leia leads the Resistance “with the support of the Republic.” She’s also desperate to find Luke for “his help in restoring peace and justice to the galaxy.”
        When General Hux fires up Starkiller Base while giving his Nazi speech, he gives the First Order’s perspective and clarifies a little bit – the Republic doesn’t support the Resistance openly, but secretly, and the Republic has a senate.
        Then there are multiple references to the Resistance relying upon the Republic fleet for protection from a large scale attack, and that the fleet was blown up along with the Republic planets.
        Visually, the Resistance is really small and they generally just use X Wings for targeted attacks. (That is, until The Last Jedi, when it’s even more muddled, but that’s another story.) It’s unclear how big the First Order is, other than that it’s bigger than the Resistance, which is all you really need. Both groups have spies out and about.

        So we have the Republic located in a few core planets with a senate as its governing body and a decent fleet, that won’t act openly against the First Order but will support a small, armed Resistance led by former Rebellion veterans like Leia and Ackbar. The First Order is built from the remnants of the Empire, in deliberate imitation of the Empire, in the way that Kylo Ren is trying to imitate Vader.
        Again, it’s not super detailed, but it doesn’t have to be. It’s a framework. It’s certainly not a plot hole. You can prefer more detail and that’s fine, but it’s perfectly functional as is, and there is more explanation in the movie than you’re giving it credit for.

        The original trilogy was not especially detailed on the nuances of the political situation either, other than references to the imperial senate being replaced by regional governors. How big is the Empire? Do they govern Tatooine? If not, who does? What is outside of the Empire’s reach? How big is the Rebellion? Do they have multiple bases or just one? Do they have multiple fleets or just one? How is the Rebellion structured? Who’s Mon Mothma and why don’t we see her before Return of the Jedi? Why does Darth Vader seem to be second only to the Emperor, but in the original Star Wars he’s a lackey of Tarkin? How were the Jedi structured? How many of them were there before they got wiped out? What was the relationship of Obi Wan and Leia’s father?

        And on and on and on. We’re so used to a saturation of Star Wars detail from various sources that we forget the simple joy of not knowing something about it.

        1. Daimbert says:

          In the opening crawl, it’s stated explicitly that the First Order “has risen from the ashes of the Empire,” and that Leia leads the Resistance “with the support of the Republic.” She’s also desperate to find Luke for “his help in restoring peace and justice to the galaxy.”

          Yeah, but that’s STILL vague. They’re modeled on the Empire, but again are they a small splinter group that have a small number of planets, or are they in a Cold War situation with the Republic? And this is important because we need to know why there’s a need for a small Resistance group with minimal Republic support.

          When General Hux fires up Starkiller Base while giving his Nazi speech, he gives the First Order’s perspective and clarifies a little bit – the Republic doesn’t support the Resistance openly, but secretly, and the Republic has a senate.

          But why don’t they do it openly? Is it power, or something else that keeps them from directly interacting?

          Then there are multiple references to the Resistance relying upon the Republic fleet for protection from a large scale attack, and that the fleet was blown up along with the Republic planets.

          I don’t recall any of those references, and had a debate with other people on this a while ago and the best they could do for the entire fleet being destroyed was them appearing WAY in the background when the system was destroyed. From what we actually see in the movie, my conclusion was that the Starkiller attack was a test/warning like it was with Alderaan, not the actual end of the Republic as TLJ actually says (but never explains).

          Visually, the Resistance is really small and they generally just use X Wings for targeted attacks. (That is, until The Last Jedi, when it’s even more muddled, but that’s another story.) It’s unclear how big the First Order is, other than that it’s bigger than the Resistance, which is all you really need. Both groups have spies out and about.

          No, we actually need to know how big it is relative to the Republic to get a sense of what the actual situation in the galaxy is, which we need to know because we need to know how we got from RotJ to here for the continuity that’s required in a series. I’m not going to say that it’s a plot hole as I said, but it’s a failure of exposition because we have no idea what the real situation is.

          For example, even your explanation hints that they’d be the equivalent of the Imperial Remnant. Except, they aren’t. From what I’ve been told about the canon “Aftermath” book, there’s ALSO an Imperial Remnant, and then these guys. So not explaining it again causes confusion over what the situation actually is.

          So we have the Republic located in a few core planets with a senate as its governing body and a decent fleet, that won’t act openly against the First Order but will support a small, armed Resistance led by former Rebellion veterans like Leia and Ackbar.

          But the movie does not establish that they only had a few core planets, or that all of the fleet was there. That all has to be inferred from insufficient information and from what TLJ explained.

          The original trilogy was not especially detailed on the nuances of the political situation either, other than references to the imperial senate being replaced by regional governors. How big is the Empire? Do they govern Tatooine? If not, who does? What is outside of the Empire’s reach? How big is the Rebellion? Do they have multiple bases or just one? Do they have multiple fleets or just one? How is the Rebellion structured? Who’s Mon Mothma and why don’t we see her before Return of the Jedi? Why does Darth Vader seem to be second only to the Emperor, but in the original Star Wars he’s a lackey of Tarkin? How were the Jedi structured? How many of them were there before they got wiped out? What was the relationship of Obi Wan and Leia’s father?

          But I think where we’d be disagreeing is over how much of that actually matters.

          1) How big is the Empire? Big enough to be completely dominant. Note that we don’t get even that information about the First Order or the Republic, but that’s critical for us to know what the stakes are here.

          2) Do they govern Tatooine? Either they do, or they’re powerful enough that those who DO govern it will let them do what they want, and Tatooine is associated enough with them that Luke could apply to their academy. Note that in TFA we don’t even get that for the planets the heroes are on.

          3) How big is the Rebellion? Big enough to be a threat and win a space battle, which means more than simple guerillas. TFA WAS good at defining how big the Resistance was, at least in TFA.

          4) Do they have multiple bases or just one? Do they have multiple fleets or just one? This doesn’t matter, because A New Hope establishes that destroying that Rebel base will cripple the Rebellion and almost certainly lead to its downfall. TFA DOES establish that for the base but DOESN’T establish it for the first system destroyed, which is my complaint about that.

          5) Who’s Mon Mothma and why don’t we see her before Return of the Jedi? This isn’t important at all, though, at least not before RotJ. This isn’t the sort of thing I’m complaining about (I’m not asking for Finn’s, Poe’s or even REY’S backstory in TFA either, for example).

          6) Why does Darth Vader seem to be second only to the Emperor, but in the original Star Wars he’s a lackey of Tarkin? Not a good example, because the confusion was introduced by an explicit retcon [grin].

          7) How were the Jedi structured? How many of them were there before they got wiped out? Not relevant to A New Hope, at least. All we need to know is that they were respected and the Empire wiped them out. I’m not demanding things like that for Resistance either.

          8) What was the relationship of Obi Wan and Leia’s father? But they explain enough: they were associated with each other and helped each other. What more do we need here?

          That information being lacking doesn’t hurt the plot in any way, whereas for TFA the missing information does, because it takes away a necessary context that the movie never manages to fill in in such a way as to build that proper context.

          And on and on and on. We’re so used to a saturation of Star Wars detail from various sources that we forget the simple joy of not knowing something about it.

          It’s not about not knowing things. It’s about not knowing things that I need to know to know the state of the galaxy, which is the basics of worldbuilding. TFA fails at worldbuilding and exposition.

          1. Bloodsquirrel says:

            I’d like to add that there’s a difference between the first movie in a franchise and the seventh. When you have a lot of pre-existing lore, it becomes more important to explain how things fit into it. The Emperor didn’t need a backstory because most of the setting’s past was touched on only vaguely. Snoke is being introduced into a setting that is more established, so questions like “where was this guy during the OT” become more relevant.

          2. guy says:

            1. Tarkin says “The million systems of the Galactic Empire” while boasting. Obviously inexact

            2. Vague on legal details, Han’s dialogue implies “imperial entanglements” are not the normal kind of trouble local smugglers have but the stormtroopers have the run of the place. It felt like they were all from the Star Destroyer but that is just an impression, not confirmed

            3. We see corvettes and fighters; capital ship count is irrelevant because they don’t pose a threat to the Death Star so the rebellion doesn’t use them; the trench run is explicitly because it’s designed to defend against capital ships. Unknown external support; the Death Star’s first shot is an intimidation tactic to cow any other rebel sympathisers; “Dantooine is too remote for an effective demonstration”.

            4. There is a “rebel base”. At one point it was on Dantooine. It has moved to Yavin IV and Leia knew that when she gave up Dantooine. Tarkin is furious when the report comes back that the Dantooine base is abandoned and has been for some time.

            5. Rebellion political leader. Status previously unknown but the rebels have a lot of new faces and new toys so maybe she’s new or maybe she wasn’t at the base because she was getting more support

            6. I assumed he’d been third and then Tarkin died and he became second. It is also possible he was always second but the Emperor ordered him to listen to Tarkin on the Death Star.

            7. Unimportant. They’re dead. Only two known survivors, both in hiding.

            8. Relates to Obi-Wan’s service as a general in the Clone Wars. Dangling historical reference; major event, good while ago (Prequel trilogy timing is not consistent; SFDebris Hermit’s Journey special has the details but basically Lucas ended up with a chained dependency of relative timing and just fudged it and Obi-Wan’s age does not add up right)

    3. unit3000-21 says:

      “On the other hand, I hate the term “plot hole” and find it too vague to be useful. It’s similar with the word “pacing,” where if the reviewer or complainer doesn’t know what to say, they’ll just throw it in as a problem: “it has lots of plot holes and some issues with pacing.” If you call them on it and force them to explain, they’ll act like you’re the one being pedantic and silly.”
      I think you’re right. It’s the same with “bad writing” in video games (mostly RPGs). People who don’t like a given game but don’t have any arguments other than “just because” seem to think it makes their criticism valid. The problem is they rarely can give you an example of this “bad writing”, or even show you any credentials proving that they can differentiate between “good” and “bad” writing in the first place.

    4. Dan Efran says:

      In my view a “plot hole” is a fault line in the story; a contradiction of previously established world rules or common sense. An answer that doesn’t fit the question. The hero was jailed but still has his gun?!? Nobody even tried calling 911?!? The Bene Gesseret didn’t figure out what Paul was in time, after explicitly evaluating him for that very possibility?!? (I like that example of a plot hole because the author felt the need to lampshade it in an appendix! Like if Tolkien had made excuses for the eagles!)

      To be honest, I’m surprised to hear that “plot holes” is a prominent criticism of The Last Jedi. I didn’t think that was its problem at all. Various other things were wrong with it!! And it’s hard to look for plot holes when you’re busy looking for a plot…. But only one actual plot hole stuck out to me in TLJ: a team snuck away from the tracked fleet to find someone to help them sneak away from the tracking. So how?!? Could the entire rebel fleet have simply evacuated to that casino right then, and lost themselves in the crowd?

      As for CinemaSins, I use it as a reference. If I’m wondering whether I missed a detail or they really did get it wrong, I’ll see if CS caught it too. As such, the bogus points they sometimes make do me no good. If they’re intended as humor, I don’t get the joke. But they do tend to spot lots of valid issues and the rapid-fire presentation means they’re not wasting my time, which I appreciate.

      1. Mousazz says:

        The Bene Gesseret didn’t figure out what Paul was in time, after explicitly evaluating him for that very possibility?!?

        Oh? I’ve only seen the David Lynch movie (which I found to be pretty good), and played the Dune videogame, and the whole Bene Gesserit ordeal seemed pretty obvious to me – clearly his life on Arrakis, the spice and especially the Water of Life unlocked Paul’s latent abilities and cemented his position as the Kwisatz Haderach, which laid dormant until then. The Bene Gesseret knew who he was to be, but didn’t understand what exactly that entailed, and were all too willing to cast away Paul’s life if he turned out to be politically uncontrollable. The destruction of House Atreides on Dune and the establishment of the Harkonnen pretty much did just that – they had little expectation that Paul would live on as the freedom fighter Muad’Dib, and by the time they organized a proper hunt in response Paul was already assaulting the central Citadel with his nuclear weapons.

        1. Dan Efran says:

          Well, fair enough – that’s all correct (and nicely summarized). (Though in the book there’s really no question of the BG “organizing a hunt”; they’re pretty much caught flat-footed.)
          The problem isn’t that they didn’t figure it out immediately, but that they should have caught on sooner than too late, like maybe when a religious leader showed up fulfilling their own planted prophecies. It flows okay in the story but fridge logic makes them appear to have totally dropped the ball on their generations-long project due to sheer carelessness. Personally I might have just let it go, but Frank Herbert chose to include an addendum that pins their mistake on unspecified interference from the future. It’s a weird, kind of lame lampshade, and a sour note on which to end such a well-written book. So I think it vividly illustrates an author caring about plot holes – perhaps even caring too much, but definitely aware of the problem.

          1. guy says:

            The short of it is that Paul is straight up a glitch and they don’t really know what’s going to happen. They meticulously planned out their breeding program to culminate in Jessica’s daughter giving birth to a son who would have super-powers, and then Jessica decided she would have a son because Leto wanted a son (she can pick because that is an explicit Reverend Mother power; there was zero chance she’d have a son if she did not want to) and they just had no clue whatsoever what might happen.

            So they went and they tested Paul to see if what happened was that their plan was finished ahead of schedule by accident, and the final consensus was no. Then he and Jessica “die”; the plan to murder them failed but it was very important they be legally dead so the Baron just pretended it succeeded. Obviously the Bene Gesserit’s lie detector powers would help ferret this out, but they’re very well established as key players in political intrigues so the Baron has a decent amount of experience in slipping deceptions past them by various complicated ploys that they sometimes but not always manage to see through. So the Bene Gesserit are pretty sure Paul has no powers and pretty sure he’s dead. So they don’t think this guy who has powers and is alive is the person who has no powers and is dead. They do start to consider it, and they are thinking about doing something, and then this is interrupted when the ground shakes because Paul has just nuked a hole in the shieldwall and they find out for sure when Paul literally walks in the room and tells them.

            I don’t actually remember the interference bit, but the overarching plotline of the Dune series through the last book Frank Herbert wrote was about people with various levels of precog struggling to overcome various limitations relating to interference and concerns that if they use their precog wrong they might be setting the one true future and it will be a bad one; I’m not sure how big a danger that technically is but both Paul and Leto II are very afraid of doing it and Leto II embarks on a successful 4000-year breeding program with the goal of creating someone whose actions cannot be predicted with precog because he has seen the future of mankind to the end of the universe and it sucks. So probably that was foreshadowing.

    5. BlueHorus says:

      Character motivation is generally not a plot hole either. In another Force Awakens example, there are people who say that Rey being nice to BB8, a useful, childlike cute robot, and not immediately selling him for a limited amount of extra food, is a plot hole or an unexplained character motivation. “What, is she just a good person???” Yes?

      Or she’s just lonely, and BB8 looks like he’d make scavenging all day less boring?
      But I thought it was quite clear: Rey’s life is gathering junk and then selling it to a douchebag alien who underpays her for it.
      When said alien abruptly (and waaay too easily) offers to pay her a massive amount for BB8, she naturally gets suspicious – could she get more for him somewhere else? What’s so special about him? Etc.
      So no, she doesn’t jump at the chance to sell him and it’s pretty clear why.

      But this kind of ‘obvious mistake’ tactic is all part of the CinemaSins MO, to me.

      1. Daimbert says:

        It’s been a while since I watched TFA, but didn’t the movie portray it as a change of heart because she felt sorry for BB8? I NEVER got the impression that she was being calculating about it …

        1. BlueHorus says:

          Well, it’s just my take – and yeah, it’s been a while for me too. But I thought she was immediately suspicious – the guy’s offer convinced her that there’s clearly something else going on.
          Before concern or calculation or anything else came into it, she just wants to know what she’s found and why it’s so interesting before she gives BB8 away.

          And of course the buyer’s a dick and she doesn’t trust/like him.

          1. Joshua says:

            Pretty much.

  25. Rymdsmurfen says:

    I hope I don’t sound like a spam-bot here but… Really great post, Shamus! I hope it gets a lot of traffic.

    About that TLJ analysis, have you ever considered doing a movie review/analysis on your podcast?

  26. Dreadjaws says:

    In the video he makes the case that you shouldn’t complain about people acting illogically because people are illogical in real life and that’s what drives the conflict. But in his video on Jurassic Park’s Sequel Problem he makes the case that characters behaving irrationally prevents us from caring about them and is one of the major failings of the franchise.

    Man, whenever someone defends Iron Man’s behavior at the ending to Civil War using that argument it makes my blood boil. Yes, people act irrationally in real life, so yes, it’s perfectly reasonable to use it as a storytelling device… but you have to acknowledge it. If no one in-story ever calls a character for acting in an illogical way, then there’s no reason for the audience to believe that was the intention, and so we’re left thinking we’re supposed to find this behavior acceptable. And since there’s no in-story justification, every attempt by viewers to rationalize it this way is nothing but fanon. Again: blood boiling.

    Here’s a positive example: In Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets, Harry and his friend Ron find the entrance to the train that’ll take them to school magically sealed. Being unable to open it, they panic until Ron comes up with the idea of using his father’s flying car (an illegal and therefore secret artifact) to reach the school instead, which they do. This precipitates a bunch of problems (chief of them being the fact that they’re spotted by normal people) and gets them a scolding and punishment when they reach the school. When they try to defend themselves by claiming the entrance was sealed, they’re instantly asked why didn’t they send a message to the school instead. At that point they have a moment of realization:

    “We… didn’t think.”
    “That… is obvious.”

    This is from the book at least. I’m not sure this moment is in the movie, which would certainly end up with people calling “Plot hole!”. But the original story does make it a point of calling the characters on their behavior, so we think “These guys are idiots” instead of “This writer is an idiot”.

    1. Bloodsquirrel says:

      Man, whenever someone defends Iron Man’s behavior at the ending to Civil War using that argument it makes my blood boil. Yes, people act irrationally in real life, so yes, it’s perfectly reasonable to use it as a storytelling device… but you have to acknowledge it.

      Wait… Tony being irrational hasn’t been acknowledged? The entire plot of the movie happens because of people being upset at what happened the last time Tony did something irrational and created Ultron. Tony being an out-of-control drunk was most of the plot of Iron Man 2. Steven tells Tony that Buckey was brainwashed, and Tony’s response is “I don’t care”.

      I’m not sure how the MCU could be any more explicit about Tony being an irrational hothead.

      1. Dreadjaws says:

        Wait… Tony being irrational hasn’t been acknowledged? The entire plot of the movie happens because of people being upset at what happened the last time Tony did something irrational and created Ultron. Tony being an out-of-control drunk was most of the plot of Iron Man 2. Steven tells Tony that Buckey was brainwashed, and Tony’s response is “I don’t care”.

        This is a joke, right? Of course it hasn’t been acknowledged. Yes, the plot of 70% of the MCU is “fix Tony’s shit”, but almost no one ever calls him on it, and when they do, he never learns his lesson and is allowed to continue pulling the same crap.

        If the MCU acknowledged Tony’s constant irrational behavior, he’d either be in jail or under severe psychological care. Let me look at your points:

        – In Civil War, a woman scolds Tony because her son died in the crossfire of the battle between the Avengers and Ultron, but she never mentions the fact that Tony built Ultron (and, in fact, might not even be aware of it), so she’s not faulting him for his irrational behavior, she’s faulting him for pretty much the opposite.
        – The climax of Iron Man 2 had everyone pretty much forgive Tony’s previous behavior (except for SHIELD, but guess what? That’s undone in the next film) and not even bothering to make sure he does even the tiniest bit of effort in improving it.
        – “Steve tells Tony that Bucky was brainwashed, and Tony’s response is ‘I don’t care'”. And then Steve doesn’t press the issue. What you’re saying works in my favor, as soon as Tony is revealed to be irrational, Steve does nothing to try to correct this behavior. He doesn’t tell him he’s being irrational, he doesn’t try to make him notice Bucky is as much of a victim, he doesn’t try to point out that the real killer is someone else, he does nothing. It feels like the only reason Steve is defending Bucky is that they’re friends and not because he genuinely thinks Tony is in the wrong.

        So no, it has not been acknowledged. At all.

        I’m not sure how the MCU could be any more explicit about Tony being an irrational hothead.

        Yes, for the audience, but not for the characters in the MCU, which is the entire point I’m trying to make.

        1. Bloodsquirrel says:

          but almost no one ever calls him on it, and when they do, he never learns his lesson and is allowed to continue pulling the same crap.

          Again, this is literally the plot of Civil War. Zemo’s entire motivation is “break up the Avengers so that Tony stops pulling this crap”. And Tony does learn his lesson. It’s just usually the wrong lessons, which is why he goes from building Ultron to going too far in pushing the accords. And what is that conversation when Steve was about to sign, then decided against it other than Steve calling him out?

          In Civil War, a woman scolds Tony because her son died in the crossfire of the battle between the Avengers and Ultron, but she never mentions the fact that Tony built Ultron (and, in fact, might not even be aware of it), so she’s not faulting him for his irrational behavior, she’s faulting him for pretty much the opposite.

          You’re intentionally choosing to interpret her complain as being the less rational of the two possibilities, then complaining about people in the movie being irrational.

          The climax of Iron Man 2 had everyone pretty much forgive Tony’s previous behavior (except for SHIELD, but guess what? That’s undone in the next film) and not even bothering to make sure he does even the tiniest bit of effort in improving it.

          They have to keep Tony around because, at this point, they don’t have a lot of other people they can call on when the next alien invasion comes. And, again, Tony does “improve”, in that he moves from one self-destructive behavior to the next. And, you know, in real life, fixing people’s self-destructive behaviors isn’t quite so easy. Alcoholics, spousal abusers, and drug addicts are infamously hard to reform.

          And then Steve doesn’t press the issue.

          Press the issue how? Tony is literally, physically attacking them at that point. “I don’t care” is a show-stopper. It means that you’re not even trying to argue. What, exactly, could Steve have said at that point, and why would he have any rational expectation that it would calm Tony down?

          he doesn’t try to make him notice Bucky is as much of a victim, he doesn’t try to point out that the real killer is someone else

          He’s said both of those things by pointing out that Bucky was brainwashed. All he would be doing is repeating himself. Which, you know, he might have done anyway, except that Tony immediately attacked him.

          Seriously, this is the scene you’re talking about:

          In fact, it turns out that I misremembered it: Steve is trying to reason with Tony even after the fight has started.

          “This isn’t going to change what happened.”
          “I don’t care. He killed my mom.”
          There isn’t even time for Steve to say anything after that before Tony starts punching him.

          1. Dreadjaws says:

            Again, this is literally the plot of Civil War. Zemo’s entire motivation is “break up the Avengers so that Tony stops pulling this crap”.

            What? Are you from an alternate reality where Civil War had a different plot? Zemo wanted to break up the Avengers for the same reason that woman scolded Tony: the fights between superheroes and villains cause a lot of collateral damage. No one ever mentions Tony’s irrational behavior or single him out in any other way. You’re making up stuff that the movies never said in order to make your point, when my point is precisely that the movies never say it. If they don’t say it is not canon, period.

            You’re intentionally choosing to interpret her complain as being the less rational of the two possibilities, then complaining about people in the movie being irrational.

            I did not do such thing. I never said or implied that her complaint was “less rational” , and I wasn’t “interpreting” anything, that’s literally what she says in the movie.

            What the hell? Why do you keep doing this? It’s not enough for you to make stuff up in the movies, now you’re making up stuff in real life.

            They have to keep Tony around because, at this point, they don’t have a lot of other people they can call on when the next alien invasion comes. And, again, Tony does “improve”, in that he moves from one self-destructive behavior to the next. And, you know, in real life, fixing people’s self-destructive behaviors isn’t quite so easy. Alcoholics, spousal abusers, and drug addicts are infamously hard to reform.

            But no one in real life lets alcoholics, spousal abusers or drug addicts prance around in power armor, do they? Even if they have to keep Tony because he has a brilliant mind, which is understandable, they don’t have to give him absolute freedom to do as he pleases. In fact, they wouldn’t in real life. Because that would be nuts.

            Press the issue how? Tony is literally, physically attacking them at that point. “I don’t care” is a show-stopper. It means that you’re not even trying to argue. What, exactly, could Steve have said at that point, and why would he have any rational expectation that it would calm Tony down?

            “I don’t care” is a show stopper only if you don’t care either. The entire appeal of characters like Captain America is that they don’t give up fighting to save others under any circumstances. Cap might be fighting physically, but he’s not trying to defuse the situation in any way. And all of this is moot, because even after the fight is over no one ever mentions the subject. The Captain doesn’t say anything, and Tony’s last scene is a joke, so clearly we’re just supposed to accept it.

            He’s said both of those things by pointing out that Bucky was brainwashed. All he would be doing is repeating himself. Which, you know, he might have done anyway, except that Tony immediately attacked him.

            … There isn’t even time for Steve to say anything after that before Tony starts punching him.

            And that’s how you defuse an angry person? Say a couple of things and give up if he doesn’t stop? NO! You keep talking, you keep trying to reason, you keep giving an argument. And you know you can talk and fight at the same time, right? Hell, they do it in comics all the time, where fights have more dialogue than punches.

            And again, and again, and again, none of this counters my argument, which is that the movie never bothers to acknowledge this. Not before the fight, not during, not after and not in subsequent films. At no point it takes the time to say “Hey, maybe Tony Stark was being kind of a dick for no valid reason”. Hell, the next movie in the MCU in which Tony shows up he’s made to be the most rational person. Everything you’ve said, every excuse you’ve given, all of it came from you and not from the movie. AGAIN, if it’s not in the movie, it’s not canon. Period. Excuse it all you want. If it makes you like the movie better, then good for you, but it doesn’t change my argument in the slightest.

            1. guy says:

              The part of Zemo’s speech that made me stutter mentally was when he pulled up the Winter Soldier ending as though it helped prove his point. That, uh, was HYDRA-SHIELD’s fault all the way. Which is a huge misstep when trying to convince Captain America to get on board with SHIELD 2.0. It is literally why he made the call to destroy SHIELD as an organization.

              My other question was basically “why now?” The triggering event for all this is not quite succeeding at dealing with a suicide vest, but considering the horrifyingly high stakes that’s a winner. Because it’s a theft job, it’s in Lagos, which for a variety of reasons is very, very vulnerable to disease spread, and the thing to be stolen is vials in secure storage in a biosafety level 4 or 5 lab (“moon suits” mandatory; universal sign for bad shit be in here) and they’re being stolen by terrorists. All we’ve got to go on is that it’s a Wakandan delegation that died but we don’t know MCU Wakanda yet and when we do we learn they’re very isolated and as far as anyone external knows unimportant.

              1. Bloodsquirrel says:

                Zemo doesn’t care about the difference between Shield and Hydra. That’s not really uncommon- plenty of people who are just tired of the fighting don’t care who started it anymore. He probably doesn’t even know all of the details that the audience does about what actually went down in Winter Soldier.

                As for “why now?”- that’s not uncommon either. Public mood often builds up to things slowly. Given how fast everything happened, it was almost certain that the Accords had been in discussion for a long time. This even just pulled the trigger on them.

            2. Bloodsquirrel says:

              Dude, I think you need to step back and think a little bit more about what you’re saying. This is just getting silly.

              If they don’t say it is not canon, period

              Except that they do say it. I’m not sure what magical phrase you wanted them to utter, but the entire movie is about whether the Avengers need oversight or not- something which would not be an issue if everyone agreed that they were acting rationally at all times.

              People are arguing with Tony constantly, about everything. Just look at him and Strange’s interactions in Infinity War. The idea that it’s not canon because somebody said “You’re wrong, and here’s specifically what you’re wrong about and why” instead of “You’re an irrational dick” is the exact kind of excuse-making you’re accusing me of. Of course the movies don’t contain every permutation of every argument that could be made. There isn’t enough time in the universe for that. But they do contain plenty of arguments, with Civil War being centered entirely around one.

              But no one in real life lets alcoholics, spousal abusers or drug addicts prance around in power armor, do they?

              In real life, heads of state have been all of those things, and far, far worse. JFK is a famous example, just from the US, and he was President at a time when the Cold War was at its most dangerous. Also, the MCU isn’t real life. Tony is a literal superhero- he’s irreplaceable in a way that real-life people aren’t.

              The entire appeal of characters like Captain America is that they don’t give up fighting to save others under any circumstances.

              ,..and this is demonstrated excellently at the end of the movie when Steve writes Tony a letter which literally says “I’m still here if you need me” and includes a cell phone.

              NO! You keep talking, you keep trying to reason, you keep giving an argument.

              I… you can’t actually be serious, can you? Are actually trying to say that Steve should have kept talking as Iron Man’s fist was smashing into his face? Have you tried doing that?

              Look, I don’t think you believe this anymore. You’re arguing for the sake of arguing, and you’re backing yourself into more and more absurd positions. In fact, you’re acting a lot like Tony right now. If I told you that you were being irrational, would it suddenly change your mind and make you stop arguing?

          2. Sabrdance (MatthewH) says:

            I’d point you to another part of the movie. While Tony is irrationally trying to club Steve, T’Challa finds Zemo (killer of his father), and for a moment contemplates killing him. Ultimately, he doesn’t, though. I thought the movie was being quite clear on what Tony’s irrationality was and why it was bad by contrasting it with T’Challa’s behavior at the same time. It is also much better than having Steve write a hectoring letter at the end, rather than the “when you need us, we’ll be there” letter the movie does end with.

            1. Bloodsquirrel says:

              That’s a good point. It’s also very telling that, at the end of the movie, Tony refuses to take Talbot’s call. He knows that Steve has won the argument, even if he might never be able to admit it.

              Frankly, I think Tony’s tone of voice in Infinity War when he says that him and Steve have had a “falling out” alone says more about his own behavior in Civil War than another hour of Steve calling Tony irrational could have.

  27. Dreadjaws says:

    A good storyteller will anticipate what elements might frustrate or confuse people and will address it early so it doesn’t fester in the minds of the audience. A sloppy one will overlook important details and lose some people along the way.

    “I Still Know What You Did Last Summer” comes to mind (huge spoilers, if you still care). The story has the protagonist win a trip to an island where they’re stalked by the killer, and they win this trip by correctly answering a question on a radio show. The question is “What is the capital of Brazil?” and the answer they give is “Rio de Janeiro”. Now, anyone who’s familiar with this particular bit of geography knows that the capital of Brazil is Brasilia. But the writer didn’t fail at fact-checking here, this is an actual plot point: the “radio show host” is actually the killer’s son. He wanted them to go on the trip, so he would have taken any answer as the correct one.

    Here’s the problem, though: there’s no attempt to disguise that starting bit as anything but a plot hole. The revelation that the answer they gave was wrong is given near the climax, so anyone who knows what the real answer is will be frustrated for the majority of the movie, since they’re likely to think the writer made a mistake. This could have easily been fixed by some character revealing the answer was wrong at first and then the main characters thinking they basically “cheated” their way into the trip, which could actually work as a bit of extra drama, having them consider the pros and cons of taking a prize they didn’t deserve (and even later, once the reveal is made, given a moment of realization of their encounter with the killer being their “punishment” for cheating).

    1. John says:

      Huh. Now, I’m not calling it a plot hole, but I can easily imagine a version of that movie where the radio station gets a lot of complaints, decides to rerun the contest, and the host has to stalk the protagonist in the boring old city where they live instead of some exotic island.

  28. Thomas says:

    I definitely think the plothole thing is all tangled up in The Last Jedi, but it’s very widespread BirthMoviesDeath (Hulks old site), Lindsay Ellis and MovieBob have all done things on it.

    The first generation internet critics are getting a lot of competition from YouTube now, and like all new generations ‘they’re doing it wrong’. Some of the anti-anti-plothole movement is a backlash against the new generation, Cinema Sins being one of many examples.

    As evidence Folding Ideas just released a long video that was half informative discussion and half rant at new YouTubers ‘doing it wrong’.

    1. CJK says:

      That’s a super weird way to characterise Dan’s video on Annihilation. It’s not about “new YouTubers are doing it wrong” so much as it’s about the popular discourse around movies focusing on surface-level readings rather than understanding that some movies are primarily metaphorical, with a gentle dash of “sometimes an ambiguous ending is the whole point, please stop trying to explain why it’s not ambiguous when the ambiguity is clearly deliberate”.

  29. The thing that I find funny is that at least 50% of the time when someone is complaining about an “obvious plot hole”, they are actually forgetting about important details. It’s part of the reason why most “plot holes” don’t bother me. What generally bothers me is when they give some totally wrong piece of information that 10 seconds on Google could have completely straightened out.

    I understand his “shut up about plot holes” point, though. If the WORST thing you have to say about a work is that the plot has a few holes in it while, you know, ignoring EVERYTHING ELSE ABOUT IT that makes it a work of art (characterization, theme, plot-theme integration, the various skills that make all those bits work together, etc.), you’re just nitpicking.

    The real question should be, does this “plot hole” act to destroy one of the vital and necessary parts of the ARTWORK’s structure. Does it screw up the drama. Does it bust up the theme. Does it destroy a characterization. Does it make the world incoherent. And you need to be an actually competent art critic to say one way or another on that call, not just a yabbo who can spot a minor inconsistency with a worse-than-50% success-rate. Why start out with complaining about the deck chairs on the Titanic? You might as well just yell “I don’t actually have any real criticism to offer.”

    1. Dreadjaws says:

      To be fair, a lot of people aren’t even aware of what a “plot hole” actually is. It’s not a plot hole when, say, General Hurr Durr doesn’t tell Poe Dameron to calm his man-tits because she actually has a plan, so there’s no reason for a mutiny. That’s just poor storytelling. But when, say, in Transformers – Dark of The Moon the Decepticons kill all satellites and the heroes somehow still can use GPS? That’s a plot hole.

      Or when in Jurassic World [everything], that’s also a plot hole.

      1. True. I’ve run across plenty of cases where people complain about “plot holes” that were explained 15 minutes ago, though. Or “plot holes” that are caused by a changing situation that isn’t explicitly spelled out. Not hammering every rule of the situation into your head via hour-long explanations isn’t a “plot hole”. Heck, COINCIDENCE isn’t a “plot hole”. It may be UNLIKELY, but unlikely things happen.

  30. Hector says:

    Other people have brought up a lot of things related directly to the media itself, so I thought I should discuss Film Crit Hulk. In the case of The Last Jedi specifically, he seems to be unable to separate his personal friendship with Rian Johnson from the film itself, and has spent his time attacking people who didn’t like the film, as if it were some great work of art and not an overpriced CGI-fest that disappointed audiences.

    In the larger case, though, he and many other critics seem to have given high marks to TLJ for supposedly trying “new” things that they ignored the fact that the movie didn’t do those things all that well. The movie isn’t terrible; there are way, way worse films out there. But there’s a fundamental shallowness to so much of it, a serious issue with telling one thing and then showing the opposite (unintentionally), and wasted characters and precious screen time… and the whole mess was ultimately a king of warmed-over mix of previous movies anyway. Some people have suggested that the script feels half-done, and certainly very little time was put into it. IIRC, they finalized the script in something like 45 days, which may be a big part of the problem.

    In *concept*, many of the choices and storytelling moments are good. But the execution is so bad that much of the impact is either wasted or outright contradicts the story. It ignores most of what little was established in the previous film (and instead carries forward a plot point so minor that even reviewers keep forgetting it), so instead of hitting the ground running TLJ meanders around. It introduces characters that don’t make sense and new events or backjground that need some serious exploration, but receive none at all. Ultiumately, I can call it a bad movie, sure – but the real problem is just that it’s a complete mess from start to finish, with no real destination in mind. And all TLJ accomplished was to so badly tarnish the Disney/Star Wars brand that it underperformed at the box office and critically wounded Solo before that movie got off the ground. (Not that Disney didn’t give it a good solid thrashing beforehand, anyway.)

    1. Viktor says:

      Was anyone ever excited for Solo? At all? Why blame TLJ for it’s failure instead of the fact that it’s an unwatchable movie telling a story no one wants to hear about a character that was only interesting because of the actor that’s not in the film.

      1. wswordsmen says:

        While TLJ detractors overstate the effect, but the backlash did hurt Solo at least a little. I skipped it on purpose because why go when the last 3 movies were OK or worse and I actively despise the last one. TLJ didn’t kill Solo or even wound it badly but it probably knocked a $1 million or more off its theatrical gross, which isn’t nothing even if it is rounding error on the films actual gross.

    2. shoeboxjeddy says:

      The Last Jedi “underperformed” at the box office? Er… no it did not. It didn’t do better than the previous movie in the series, but that’s a terrible standard. Certain “event” movies will do extraordinarily well and outperform similar movies in their own series by a long shot. For example, the ending of Harry Potter made a ridiculous truckload of money that none of the others compare to (neither its follow up or the start of the new sub series). Does that mean the other movies were failures? No, not at all, it means there was a cultural payoff in that specific movie that a lot of people responded to. Star Wars Episode I and Episode VII were both treated as a big deal in mainstream culture for being the long awaited “return” of Star Wars after an extended absence. Regardless of their quality, they made a TON of cash. Saying “Episode VIII made a lot less than VII, so it was a failure” is dumb. It made over a billion dollars in theaters and was one of (if not THE) top selling Blu Ray/DVD releases of the following year. That’s a success that other studios could only dream of.

      Solo was much less successful… but Disney anticipated that. They released in a different time frame from their other 3 Star Wars releases and advertised it less. They even allowed one of their Marvel movies to kind of step on its release schedule, something they didn’t allow for VII, Rogue One, or VIII. IX will come out in the traditional end of year time frame and they’ll spend all the money on advertising it. I bet that one will once again break a billion dollars at the box office and all the “Star Wars is DEAD NOW” crowd will be forced to invent alternate world hypotheses to avoid just eating shit.

      1. Dreadjaws says:

        The Last Jedi “underperformed” at the box office? Er… no it did not.

        Yes, yes it did. It’s not a terrible standard, it’s Star Wars standard. It’s literally one of the most powerful film franchises of all existence, having nothing less than an absolutely stellar box office is unacceptable. Yes, of course that compared to other movies it did fantastic. Hell, compared to its budget it did fantastic, but if you go by Disney’s expectations it most likely underperformed.

        Also, please notice that “underperforming” and “being a failure” are not the same thing. No one said the film was a failure, you made that up. No one thinks the movie is a (financial) failure. They simply say that, for a Star Wars film, it’s certainly not doing as well as it should.

        1. shoeboxjeddy says:

          That’s a bullshit argument though. Disney has never suggested (to their shareholders, where they are honest) it underperformed or that it upset their expectations. Which is notable because they DID say that in regards to Solo. So what haters of TLJ have done is suggested that yes, it objectively made a ton of money but it “should” have made more, so that’s proof that they’re right. And that’s so transparently obnoxious because you can always say it “should” have made more, no matter how much it DID make. It made $1 billion? Oh, well it SHOULD have made $1.6 billion, clearly a disappointment. It made $1.6? Should have made $2. Etc.

          1. Right, if you’re going to make “should” claims, you need to present evidence that someone was planning on that bigger number, like a business document of some kind. There’s definite evidence where the parent company had a range of expectations and then something did underperform expectation. Numbers pulled from the butt are not convincing.

          2. Bloodsquirrel says:

            TFA made 2 billion dollars at the box office. TLJ only made 1.3. That’s a pretty big drop-off between sequels, and well into “disappointing” territory.

            It’s also somewhat evident in how Disney’s strategy toward Star Wars is changing, with lots of cancelled projects. That wouldn’t make as much sense if Solo had been a one-off flop (They’re also apparently having low merchandise sales).

            1. Viktor says:

              All the SW movies have seen a sharp drop between movie #1 and movie #2 of a trilogy. And they’re explicitly cancelling the projects that are like Solo, stand-alone films filling in the backstory of an original trilogy char. That says they consider Solo to be the problem.

              Solo being the problem is also clear from the fact that it was literally unwatchable in many theaters, had no fan buzz, and told a story that, again, NO ONE WANTED TO SEE. There’s a reason it lost money.

              Actually, I just noticed: You say TLJ isn’t a good movie because it didn’t make as much as TFA. But then Solo loses money, and that’s the fault of TLJ because fans were reacting to it. You can’t have it both ways.

            2. shoeboxjeddy says:

              Making $1 billion is basically the golden standard for a movie. You can’t make $1 billion AND be disappointing, unless the studio was stupid enough to “expect” an amount of money so high that it had never been made before. I have literally never heard of a movie grossing $1 billion and being disappointing to the studio that made it. This whole line of argument is pure fantasy on your point, supported by nothing.

    3. Joshua says:

      “In the larger case, though, he and many other critics seem to have given high marks to TLJ for supposedly trying “new” things that they ignored the fact that the movie didn’t do those things all that well.”

      That is one compliment I have never fully understood. What “new” things were being done? It seemed like it had more criticism/disdain about what had gone before than actual new ideas. I think Rogue One had fresher ideas with making the protagonists slightly grayer, and toning down the role of the Force in the story. I haven’t seen it, but I guess that Solo also is similar.

      About the only new idea/direction that I could discern is that they wanted to replace the “ALL POWERFUL AND MYSTERIOUS DARK LORD” with more human villains with obvious flaws.

      I guess you could also say that they changed the view of the older veterans (Obi-Wan and Yoda) from being patient and wise to being despondent failures (Luke), but that’s kind of a one-off since all the original trilogy of characters are dead now anyway.

      1. Viktor says:

        TLJ is the first Star Wars movie* to try to answer the question “What is good, what is evil?” Previous movies the villains were committing genocide and murdering children, so obviously bad, and the heroes were trying to stop them, so obviously good. TLJ cared a lot more about actually saying that people can have the same goal and similar actions, but if one is motivated by selfishness and the other is motivated by selflessness, the context and results will be very different. Poe is acting for his own pride even as he saves people, and that ends up hurting others. Rey and Kylo both oppose Snoke, but Rey does it out of concern for the rest of the galaxy while Kylo cares only about himself and things he views as his, so they end up fighting. The entire Canto Blight plot was about selfishness and apathy poisoning anything they come into contact with, with the deal with the devil eventually destroying their rescue mission because all the weapons dealer can care about is himself.

        Was TLJ perfect? Obviously not. But it actually tried to say something about good and evil rather than just making them team jerseys, which Star Wars has always struggled with.

        *Don’t @ me about the EU, I love Matthew Stover, but we’re talking movies here.

      2. Syal says:

        What “new” things were being done?

        The movie has a “Foundation and Empire“, “Dune Messiah“-style inevitability about it. People try to stop things from happening and they happen regardless; Finn tries to shut down the hyperdrive and is thwarted at the last second. Kylo Ren stops himself from shooting Leia and she’s immediately shot by others. Snoke dies and it changes nothing. There’s a weight to the events that dwarfs the characters.

  31. Travis Stewart says:

    I think part of the reason for the anti-plothole/anti-anti-plothole discussion is more that anti-anti’s seem to have struggled to present an opposing principle. A problem with SHUT UP ABOUT PLOTHOLES is that it not only tries to obliterate the importance of logic, but that it doesn’t have anything to replace that pillar of comprehension with, so it just comes across as a meaningless transgression. It sort of tries to fill the void with something about theme or story, but the result is shapeless.

    (For the record, I’d replace logic with motivation, where what matters is a clear sense of why characters are behaving in a given way. This actually still lets you have logic be important, but as one element of a set of viable explanations. This gets a bit complicated when thinking about the supermotivations of a work, like its themes or authors, but I don’t think it collapses as a concept.)

  32. Mark says:

    Film Crit Hulk is unreadable and it’s an embarrassment that so many people pay attention to what he has to say.

    Look, I’m just saying what we’re all thinking.

    1. Dreadjaws says:

      I honestly have no idea what he says. His writing style puts me off immensely, I can’t even read a full paragraph of his. The only time I ever knew something he said was precisely when Shamus mentioned him in his Mass Effect analysis. And that time I severely disagreed with him, so I certainly don’t feel like giving him many chances.

  33. shoeboxjeddy says:

    I’m interested to hear your take on The Last Jedi Shamus, but I also think this is dangerous in a way a lot of your articles aren’t. It’s like saying “still no politics guys, that is still the rule. Now anyway, my next post is about the incident at Benghazi”. Even if you could discuss similar battles or tragedies from a purely mechanical or tactical viewpoint without incident, that SPECIFIC one is a hotbed of intense, years long political sentiment. Unless the plan is to close comments from the off, the expectation that TLJ discussion won’t have any political comments is… unrealistic. It will DRAW outside commenters who will completely ignore your rules and go off on hundred post arguments. Russia apparently directed their hateful bot net to make the arguments about TLJ even worse, that’s how contentious discussion of this movie got.

    1. Dreadjaws says:

      Eh, if anyone can attract a civil discussion of this movie, that’s Shamus. I predict we’ll agree on some points and disagree in others, but I certainly don’t want to start a flame war over it. I’ve already had my say on this film many times, and I’ve listened to the opinions of people on both sides.

      As long as no one goes “Oh, you didn’t like it because it subverted expectations!” or “Oh, you liked it because you’re a Disney shill!”, I think we’ll be fine. Even while I disagree with people here sometimes, I like to think this comments section has more civil and smart people than many others out there.

      1. Viktor says:

        There’s already people in this comment section talking about the political argument. Mostly in vague terms so far, but it’s pretty clear where they stand and why. No way this avoids turning into a mess in a larger post.

      2. Joshua says:

        Yep, disallow comments that refer to your reasons above, any references to “Mary Sue”, SJW, or similar crap. Don’t allow any comments that say “You’re just saying X because you *really* feel Y”.

        There’s plenty of things to discuss (and criticize) about the film apart from the obvious political points.

    2. BlueHorus says:

      Unless the plan is to close comments from the off, the expectation that TLJ discussion won’t have any political comments is… unrealistic. It will DRAW outside commenters who will completely ignore your rules and go off on hundred post arguments.

      Eh, Shamus has a banhammer.
      It’d be sad for a discussion of TLJ to be curtailed just because of the fear of some terrible flame war. If worst comes to worst he can always just close commenting and go celebrate his blog being important enough to warrant the attention of a Russian troll network!

      …and either way we still get Shamus’ article, which would be worth it in and of itself.

    3. Falling says:

      I, too, am interested in his take. I had a complete story collapse while watching the film. I realized part way through that I was desperately trying to push away my dislike, but the longer I watched the more I realized I straight up hated it. But I didn’t want to (it’s Star Wars after all) but I couldn’t help it. I was actually physically restless while watching. For awhile I was still pulled along by the Rey-Luke storyline (hoping for something better) but then they recycled the Throne Room scene from Jedi and I hated every bit of the Frankenstein story that stole from Empire and Jedi into an incoherent mess. (That Cruiser Plot made absolutely no sense to me and all drama left once I realized they could just zip in and out of the cruiser to other planets and nothing would change until the 18 hours had expired.)

      So, if he didn’t like it, I’m interested because Shamus’ deconstruction of bad plotting is very measured and insightful. And if he did like, then I’m absolutely fascinated to hear, because I’ve been searching and searching for someone to give a good defence of the movie that makes coherent sense (Willem’s defence was just bizarre “It’s space wizards for kids, don’t analyze it closely, while I, Willem, closely analyze it for deep themes…” which assumes that it is NOT just space wizards for kids.) I don’t get the “It’s so Original” argument. All I could see was a Frankenstein conglomeration from V and VI, but unlike VII’s rehash of IV, this just seemed like a haphazard mess. (There’s also shades of 33, the first episode of Battlestar Galatica, but really, really poorly done.)

    4. DeadlyDark says:

      As a russian, I’m a little annoyed with this “Russian bots” scare (and sometimes amused). I almost feel that my opinion on things is matter less and could be easily dismissed, just because where I am from. Makes me engage in discussions way less, than I would’ve otherwise.

      Sorry, just an aside remark

      1. guy says:

        Trust me, you don’t have to be from Russia to be called a Russian bot.

      2. Redrock says:

        I know that feel. It gets odd. To be fair, I’ve never been personally labelled a Russian bot, but the whole anti-Russian sentiment in the gaming media gets a bit annoying at times.

      3. shoeboxjeddy says:

        If state actors from your country are caught out deliberately manipulating another country’s electoral process, you should expect some hate. That’s just… going to happen. Not that you personally deserve it for where you happen to live, not at all, but the reason behind the hate should be pretty obvious.

        Turnabout being fair, I’m never surprised when someone is hateful towards the US because of our CIA trying to manipulate the leadership of other countries on multiple occasions. Fair is fair.

    5. Syal says:

      We already had a discussion on it back when it came out and it wasn’t too bad.

    6. Paul Spooner says:

      This thread has been pretty lively, but doesn’t seem out of control. And, Shamus IS looking to attract more readership.
      The real question is, will it be worse than discussing the ME3 ending?
      Also, you may not be aware, but Shamus basically did what you’re describing in his Autoblography here so he’s aware of how contentious things can get.

    7. Drathnoxis says:

      You know, it might be wise for Shamus to do what Super Bunnyhop did for his Breath of the Wild review. Intentionally mask the topic of the posts. If he doesn’t actually use the title in his posts it should be less likely for Google to throw it in the search results for randos, right? That way, he can still say what he wants to his core followers without having to worry about moderating all the people who would come here just for the culture war aspect.

  34. Javier says:

    Everything has plot holes but if the movie/game is good enough you won’t care.

    I couldn’t stand the story of Horizon: Zero Dawn because of the glaring plot holes, but many other people do not seem to have such an issue, probably because they just enjoyed the game overall. Nothing wrong with that.

  35. Smith says:

    As of this writing, SHUT UP ABOUT PLOT HOLES has more views than any of his other work, but it’s also the most intensely disliked. It’s got a 30% negative rating, which is way out of norm for the channel.

    Well, he disagreed with the complaining fan consensus on the Star Wars sequels, IIRC, so of course it was heavily downvoted.

    Ironically, Everything Wrong With CinemaSins: The Force Awakens recently complained about Rey being a Mary Sue. One of the examples of her MS qualities? She can fly a ship.

    Apparently scrounging up a few creds for pilot lessons offscreen makes her a Mary Sue.

    Or being able to beat an emotionally compromised Babby Sith who was explicitly bleeding out from what would’ve ordinarily been a fatal wound. After he nearly beat her anyway. And she didn’t so much beat him as “knock him down once”.


    I promised myself I wouldn’t get in these kinds of arguments anymore, so I’m just going to leave now.

    1. Mousazz says:

      Rey IS a Mary Sue, and that’s coming from someone who hasn’t seen TLJ. In TFA, she seems to get almost undue admiration from other cast members (especially from Han Solo after she fixes HIS ship, but also that bartender grandma, Kylo Ren and Leia). She has many abilities that are unexplained, overpowered and unintuitive, such as her crack shooting (which is inexplicably better than that of the First Order’s stormtroopers (I know they’re a joke at this point, but come on, a desert scavenger better than professional military?)), her improbable piloting skills (she may know how to use a speeder, but the twists and loop-de-loops she did in the Millenium Falcon were absurd – even Luke had shown more desert speeder experience before hopping on the X-Wing to not engage in aerial acrobatics), her force power abilities surpassing Kylo’s, even though the latter trained under Luke and is a bona fide Sith lord. Not to mention she escaped from her bondage single-handedly just to show up the team sent to rescue her, and has a somewhat abrasive personality nobody is willing to call out.

      However, I’ll agree that her fight with Kylo doesn’t fit, as Kylo was clearly injured by Chewbacca’s bolt and Finn’s slices – he even beats his stomach and bleeds all around the place.

      1. DeadlyDark says:

        I just recently understood why Kylo’s weakness in the final fights didn’t work for me. Either by video games, or just pop culture overall, I so got used to the idea that the not so serious injury to a boss in a fight triggers an enrage/berserk/”wounded beast” phase when he becomes more dangerous, faster, stronger, vicious, etc. And with Ren there, it was kinda the otherwise.

        I wonder, if cinematography were slightly different, say, showing him more struggling or limping or with more blood, made an idea, that his in not his full strength at this moment and then this scene would work better

        1. Daimbert says:

          Part of the problem with this is that Sith are ruled by their emotions, and so use anger and pain to fuel their powers. If there’s ANY villain that should be stronger with a minor injury, it’s Ren. And in fact the movie uses him hitting his wound as a way to generate power, making the “He’s hurt!” angle less reasonable.

          1. guy says:

            Kylo’s weakness is that he’s a hotheaded idiot who thinks he’s the new Darth Vader but is not. He loses because he’s incompetent and his subordinates only respect him within the reach of his lightsaber. Vader relies on fear too, but he does so with focus and precision.

            I am altering the deal. Pray I do not alter it any further

            I don’t think Kylo Ren is a great villain but he is consistent. Doesn’t matter that he’s stronger when he can’t make good use of it and the rage makes him even less controlled than usual.

          2. shoeboxjeddy says:

            Sith use emotions like rage and fury to become powerful. The problem is, Ben is also feeling regret and guilt for killing his dad, and those are COMPLETELY screwing him up. This is explicitly noted right at the start of The Last Jedi and if you STILL aren’t getting it, he deliberately chooses NOT to kill Leia when given the chance.

        2. BlueHorus says:

          (This isn’t a reply to DeadlyDark so much as replying to some of his replies)

          I’m loving the whole ‘computer game’ vibe there is in this discussion. Kylo Ren fuels his power with anger and pain, so he punches himself in the wound* to gain an advantage in a laser-sword fight?
          Does he also gain a Sith level every time he kills a parent? How much Dark Side XP was Snoke worth?

          While I think trying to quantify a mystical, invisible power of balance like the Force (especially several different writers’ takes on it!) is…a questionable task at best, it is – on reflection – a pretty hilarious idea that should be canon if it isn’t already.

          Maybe you could gain Light Side XP for founding an orphanage. Would make for a great scene in which the First Order go to burn said orphanage down and the nun in charge is an unknown Force-sensitive…

          *Giggidy giggidy!

      2. guy says:

        No, Rey is an untrained force sensitive so she has unnaturally good aim and piloting skills because she is subconciously using precognition to guide her actions. Luke is the same way and it’s why he’s able to survive the trench run and eventually destroy the Death Star when far more experienced pilots drop like flies and their first choice for the torpedo attack lines up on the exhaust port, fires, and misses. It’s a 2-meter target, far too small for even the best pilots to hit with photon torpedos.

        1. Redrock says:

          Thing is Luke got some training from one of greatest Jedi ever. It’s widely accepted that they had several training sessions, not just the one we actually see. Rey knows nothing of the Force, but she can somehow intuit how to use a mind trick and a Force pull? Not even Vader could do that, not without some semblance of training. That’s the problem with Rey. She can do highly specific things far too easily, with zero explanation.

          1. tremor3258 says:

            We also see Luke having trouble with a Force pull after some training with a master and years of trying to practice on his own in a life-or-death situation at the beginning of Empire Strikes Back. Compare to after training with Yoda intensely one-on-one for a period of probably several months.

            1. BlueHorus says:

              I remember a great theory from Yahtzee Croshaw about this: I can’t remember what he called it, but it went something like this:

              Writer A introduces a power called the Force. It’s magical, but somewhat limited. It does (i).
              Star Wars story B needs something that’s fresh and interesting, so that says that the Force can do (ii) as well.
              Write C is a hack who’s in love with their character, so they write that they can do (iii) as well as (i) and (ii).
              Writer D also wants to write an interesting story. So THEY come up with the idea that the Force can also do (iiii).

              Anyway, the net result is that over time there’s a power creep as different writers try to top each other, and the power of the Force just grows and grows until you get…that guy from the Force Unleashed games who pulled a spaceship out of orbit and forced it to crash.
              Which of course makes poor old Luke Skywalker look a bit lame.

      3. shoeboxjeddy says:

        Rey doesn’t receive undue admiration, she receives affection and interest. She’s a scavenger who shows the necessary expertise to survive her situation by consistently finding enough useful material or doing enough useful odd jobs for her boss. Han hasn’t seen his ship in many years and he’s impressed that Rey is able to understand it at all because it’s such a piece of shit that he and Chewie would struggle with it for months at a time to make basic features work (see the opening of Empire Strikes Back). He’s also feeling guilt because he has a kid Rey’s age that he failed, so he gives her more leeway than he might give to a person that didn’t give him that reminder.

        Maz Kanata is some sort of Force savant or scholar. She notices the Light Side Force vergence (not completely sure of the grammar here) centered around Rey and takes an immediate interest. Because she’d have to be an idiot to have her background and not feel that way. Note that Maz is friendly and businesslike with Rey until the lightsaber calls to her through the Force, then she takes a much more personal tack and tries to mentor Rey a bit on what she should be doing.

        Leia likes Rey because she’s a feisty young woman warrior with a passion for justice who has personal admiration for Leia’s own Resistance movement. Why wouldn’t she like her???

        Rey is by no means a crack shot. She misses many times while dueling stormtroopers and is making her hits with the unknown help of the Force, similar to Anakin’s childhood podracing. Why don’t the stormtroopers shoot her back? Because Kylo told them not to, he captures her and doesn’t want them to kill her, just to herd her to a helpful spot.

        Re: piloting, both Luke and Anakin were shown to have expert pilot skills with only some practicing required. When did Rey get practice time? Possibly she had to move ships around or test them out for her boss. This is conjecture based on Rey having an opinion of which ships would be a good or bad choice for use as an escape vehicle when she and Finn are escaping, and more specifically, that she knew A LOT about the interior and workings of the Falcon.

        This last bit “Not to mention she escaped from her bondage single-handedly just to show up the team sent to rescue her, and has a somewhat abrasive personality nobody is willing to call out.” seems… really sexist? Escaping on her own is her “showing up” her friends and not just… showing self preservation and not wanting to be killed or tortured? Her not being happy and friendly 100% of the time (even though she is both of those things and often) is “an abrasive personality” that she needs to be “called out on”? Really?? As a reminder, her personality flaw of denial about her family is a MAJOR plot thread in both movies and also the bait used to draw her into a life and death confrontation with the bad guys in TLJ. This is very, very much called out. When her rescuers show up, she’s extremely grateful that they came for her (it’s not like she had a way off the planet or a plan of what to do next), she in no way is out to “show them up.” It seems to me you have some bad, abrasive attitudes about female characters, so let me just call them out right now.

  36. RCN says:

    “Some people even take it one step further and suggest that if you didn’t notice these OBVIOUS AND GLARING plot holes then you must be a dumb popcorn-munching sheeple and you’re part of the reason movies are so stupid these days.”

    The classic “Movie Bob approach”.

    Which also delves into “I don’t like this but if you like this it is ok… NOT. You’re scum if you like this.”

  37. RCN says:

    “If you’ve got a lot of domain experience in a given field than you’re really likely to notice factually absurd details that go unnoticed by the average viewer.”

    This is interesting because it is the reason why Disney’s Atlantis and Stargate, despite having the exact same plot, are regarded differently by linguists.

    The original Stargate movie NAILS linguistics. The reason why Daniel is able to understand Ancient Egyptian language makes sense and is in line with what we know about the language. His remark about the vowels hits the question PRECISELY on its head. (Not to say the movie is perfect. Outside the realm of linguistics it is mostly nonsense.) Unfortunately, this is a legacy the TV show mostly ignored in favor of not having the exact same plot-point every episode (how do they communicate?).

    Meanwhile Disney’s Atlantis botches linguistics to the point of making a linguist angry. There’s no reason whatsoever for the Atlantians to speak to anyone other than Milo (the-disaster-on-legs linguist of the team and protagonist), and yet they convoluted a way for the Atlantians to speak english with the justification that Atlantian is a root language to all western languages, so therefore it must have english in there somewhere (that’s NOT how root languages work. That’s the same as saying a Roman citizen could understand modern french or that a medieval Saxon raider can understand modern english). Sure, unlike Stargate you can’t put subtitles in a children’s movie, but there’s no need for it either. They could speak english only when speaking to Milo so we understand that only Milo understands them.

  38. DeadlyDark says:

    Shamus taking on TLJ? Well, I almost don’t want you to do it. Not sure if there’s something that wasn’t said before. Not that I’m not interested in it, and I enjoyed Mauler’s videos about it, but… I’d imagine you had more interesting things to discuss

  39. Carlos García says:

    I have the feeling the problem with The Last Jedi for many people is the problem in judgement I see so often lately about anything: it doesn’t matter how good a film is, if they can spot something wrong, then the whole thing is crap. In the case of TLJ the bad thing is actually big: the whole Finn-Rose-Benicio arc is garbage. It totally feels like Benicio bribed someone to be in and then they hammered a part for him. His reveal and actions around the betrayal make no ******* sense. I think it’s also likely that was a left over from Trevorow’s time that Rian Thompson had not time to address, as IIRC I read Benicio had filmed his scenes pretty early, way before Trevorow was shown the door. So yeah, that arc is complete rubbish, nothing salvageable there; but the rest is high quality. Perhaps one or two iffy points, but quite good nonetheless.
    And Kylo Ren is shaping very nicely. They have to finish the job right in the Episode IX; but if they do it well, he’ll be my favourite villain. The first time I watched TFA, during the viewing I disliked him, I thought he looked and acted like a spoiler wimp, but afterwards I gave some thought to it and I realized he’s indeed a much better character than that, a more believable and wholesome villain. The second viewing I decidedly started to like it strongly.
    The one point I hear a lot of complaints is Leia using the force. Ok, I understand it may not feel right, I do think that moment isn’t very convincing, but it’s not the outrageous asspull it’s claimed to be, since, you know, Leia is a Skywalker, the force is strong in her and Obi Wan Kenobi taught us that the force also controls the user to some extent. I think it feels less gratuitous way to kill all the leaders except Leia than “hey, in the middle of battle Leia left the bridge for no reason just before the bridge was hit”. It can also be seen as a reinforcement of the point Luke says about the force not belonging to anyone. Even if he were to end the jedi, the force would still be there to be wielded by those it chose. Not a great moment, certainly, but not the outrageous thing it’s made out to be.
    That said, I’m not really much in mood to read anything about TLJ. While it could be very interesting, I tire of the “I found one flaw in this work, so the whole of it is garbage” position everyone seem to take with everything. I’m fed up that if something is not the best work of art ever done by man with 0 flaws and mistakes then it’s pure garbage. And since I’ve detected that attitude in most of the criticism to TLJ, I’ve grown very wary about exposing myself to it. So perhaps I should request deleting this.

    1. GM says:

      I heard she’s an archetype that doesn’t have force instead politacl power aka talking instead thats Luke who’s the force guy and learn balance and meditation.

    2. Bloodsquirrel says:

      I have the feeling the problem with The Last Jedi for many people is the problem in judgement I see so often lately about anything: it doesn’t matter how good a film is, if they can spot something wrong, then the whole thing is crap.

      Given how the list of complaints about the TLJ was long enough for someone to make a 5-hour video of them, I think there’s just a wee bit more wrong with the move than “one thing”.

      1. Carlos García says:

        That phrase is generic about anything done in films or music or literature or sports. I’ve not said TLJ has only one bad thing. Don’t change what I’ve said so it fits a fake reply.
        As if doing something extra long meant anything. I can make a ten hour video on how the Earth is flat and that doesn’t make it right. Nor mean there are tons of problems with Earth is round.
        And the same that one wrong doesn’t make the whole thing crap applies for two things or three or several when they’re concentrated along the arc that’s filler to pace the main part of it. The Finn-Rose-Benicio arc, as I said, is garbage and provides for hours of rightful gripping, but that’s filler for the main part. Trashing the film because of that is like trashing Tiziano because of the framework his artworks are placed in. Sure, there’s a lot of crap there, but it’s not what really makes the film. That doesn’t mean the rest is perfect, but the issues it does have are minor, the major I hear most are not issues (though understandable some perceive them as such, it’s not correct).
        The same way EpII becomes decent by pressing next scene 95% of Padme appearances, Ep VIII can be better appreciated by skipping any scene related to the Casino arc.
        And that’s the end for me. I won’t argue about the film more.

        1. Syal says:

          So yeah, that arc is complete rubbish, nothing salvageable there; but the rest is high quality.

          …so I liked The Last Jedi, and I can find something wrong in nearly every scene.

          I think the Casino arc is only bad because the scale of the conflict was never established; it would be fine if this was a High Noon kind of thing, where the only reason the First Order is any threat is because nobody thinks it’s worth getting involved. (They hint at it with Leia contacting allies and them all being like “nah” but they really needed to do more.)

          Sure, there’s a lot of crap there, but it’s not what really makes the film.

          Literally everything in the film is what makes the film.

  40. ccesarano says:

    Seeing the long list of comments I feel it may be better for me to not add my two cents, particularly as they may be repeated from other people’s mixed change. Nevertheless, I exist, therefore I mash fingers upon a keyboard in the desperate hope to be seen and known.

    I used to follow Patrick Willems, and I could never figure out why I decided to unsubscribe from him until now. It’s not that I disliked his work, it’s that I began to get nervous. I currently live with someone that is on the opposite side of the culture war as he is. In fact, I hadn’t even realized he had a video out titled “Shut Up About Plot Holes”, but I now understand why my YouTube was suddenly recommending me “No, We Won’t Shut Up About Plot Holes”. I’m logged into YouTube on my FireStick in the main room where that person watches a lot of materials I don’t care for. I avoid the culture war because I find it favors extremism and it gets me distressed, frustrated, and aggressive. I develop a chip on my shoulder and next thing you know I’m assuming the worst out of everyone.

    So I unsubscribed because I knew I’d eventually be exposed to more and more content on the culture war and I would rather not be a part of that. Which isn’t to say I wish to ignore it, but more I want to support those that focus instead on artistic criticism as opposed to conquering a broadly generalized opponent. People whose opinions feel more sincerely formed than molded by some worldview eager to demolish a force conceived to be harmful.

    Which is why I think Patrick’s inconsistency regarding illogical characters appears in his new video. I feel like he’s more focused on arguing with a mob than he is outlining his philosophy on plot holes. I do also think that one’s personal worldview can lead to biases and therefore forgiveness of plot holes, or simply finding greater appeal in something that others do not. Unfortunately, you get mixed into the whole subjective vs. objective argument and… again, it’s a mess because everyone’s trying to prove they’re smarter than the other side.

    As a personal example, I recognize Akiba’s Beat as being a pretty poor game, but it also came at just the right time in my life for its story to appeal strongly to me. As a result, I have a love/hate relationship with the game, and I do really mean the extreme emotions that are associated with love and hate. I want to spill my passion for its story and why it spoke to me because I’m sure there’s someone out there that might find the same joy in it, but I cannot get over how many awful flaws it has and recognize that for everyone else, it’s just a meh game.

    Recall the at times political discussion surrounding Wolfenstein II and your bafflement regarding its popularity among critics. I was observing with someone that it seems peculiar for Life is Strange 2: Episode 1 to be nominated for multiple categories in the VGA’s, like you’re judging an entire TV series by its pilot episode rather than the entire season. Someone noted to me that it’s possible it got those nominations because “its story is handling important subjects in this political climate that no one else is”. Okay, I can see that, but where I get on edge is 1) that doesn’t mean they won’t screw it up by episodes 3 and 4, and 2) that doesn’t mean they’re tackling those subjects well. Which is where that concern of bias and “get yer politcs outta mah vijima gaems” comes in. Do these people endorse the story because it supports their world view? Do they ignore its potential flaws because it appeals to them personally, much as I have an unnatural love for Akiba’s Beat?

    When you toss these questions into the culture wars, it becomes a huge mess, and because we’re discussing stories that appeal to our identities, world views, and simply just hitting us the right way at a tough and tumultuous time in our lives, things can get heated. I think Patrick himself, especially by being such a visible YouTube personality and commentator, has likely had trouble separating the wheat from the chaff in his comment sections and thus was driven to create a video out of an emotional desire rather than a ponderous or logical one.

    Ultimately, the conversation fails to actually move forward. One mob feels attacked. The other mob feels vindicated. The mobs now each have a new fortress to defend or besiege. The rest of us groan and tell YouTube not to show us such content anymore, hoping it’ll actually work this time.

    On my part, I’m hoping to simply be as honest with my own biases each time I critique, so that I can be open to the perspectives of others and hone my craft. I also hope to encourage those that I think are doing a good job while somehow, miraculously, avoiding the minefield that is culture wars as a whole (which, can I just say I hate that name? I really do. I just loathe it).

    Anywho, I hope I’m not adding fuel to the fire, and I know this comment is effectively me-me-me, but I’m hoping there’s something in here that serves as food for thought, even if it’s in appetizer format.

  41. Joe Informatico says:

    There are surely some people who have good reasons for disliking TLJ, but I never seem to find them online, because every argument I run into has at least one of the following issues:

    1) They missed the part of the film that explained why the plot hole/issue/thing they didn’t like happened.

    2) They don’t know how movies work.

    3) They don’t know how Star Wars movies work.

    4) They bring in some EU nonsense that I don’t care about, shouldn’t have to know to enjoy a feature film, and isn’t canonical anyway.

    5) Their real issue is with how Abrams and Kasdan set up things in The Force Awakens, but they’re directing their ire towards Johnson having to work with what he was given.

    I don’t know–if I don’t like something, I usually just tell myself it’s not for me and walk away. Even if it’s a property or franchise I’ve loved for years. Maybe I’ll seek out the opinion of someone who’s made a good case why it worked for them, or someone else who can help me understand why I didn’t like it. I don’t really see the point of trying to convince people that they’re wrong for liking it. But that, and “critic X didn’t like a thing that I liked, they’re personally calling me out” seems to dominate too much film discussion these days.

    1. Thomas says:

      Anyone’s reason for disliking a film is a good one. They had an experience that they disliked, that’s the most genuine they can be.

      To be less aggressive, nothing in life is certain. There’s a level of subjectivity to most things. If you are that certain that you’ve met no-one who disagrees with you who spoke with reason, I think you need to do some rethinking.

      Everyone has their own experience and views to gain value from. If you’ve got a lot of knowledge about films that’s great, but there’s always more to see.

    2. Bloodsquirrel says:

      This is, frankly, just plain dishonest, and fits the general trend that I see of people who claim to like TLJ being more concerned with attacking it’s critics than actually defending the film.

      1) The “part of the film that explained why the plot hole/issue/thing they didn’t like happened” wasn’t actually in the film. Whenever I’ve seen people try to explain TLJ, it involves a lot of fan fiction.

      2/3) The idea that people who have been watching movies their entire lives – including Star Wars ones- don’t know how they work is absurdist nonsense. It’s noting more than an attempt to elevate your personal preferences about how a movie should be made above theirs.

      4) I’ve yet to see anyone criticism the film bring up the EU, which anyone who knows about the EU would know not to do since most of the EU was rendered non-canon in the first place.

      5) TLJ is supposed to be a sequel to TFA. If Johnson wasn’t competent enough to work with what he was given then that’s on him. Nothing in TFA made him ruin Luke’s character. Rose Tico and Admiral Holdo didn’t come from TFA. Neither did the nonsensical slow-speed space chase, hyperspace ramming, porgs, tonally dissonant jokes, etc.

      But that, and “critic X didn’t like a thing that I liked, they’re personally calling me out”

      Read your own post. You’re doing exactly that right now.

    3. Falling says:

      That’s interesting. We should exchange sources on who we’ve been listening to/ reading. Because I have yet to hear a [i]good[/i] argument for why it is a [i]good[/i] story and not an inconsistent mess that tried to shuffle in a whole bunch of Empire and Jedi plot point, but without integrating them well. I’ve been searching high and low, trying to figure out why people think it’s good beyond “I liked it”, which, fair enough. Good for you. I also liked Seventh Son… but recognize it’s a trash film. But I enjoyed it just the same, but I would never argue that it’s a Good film or a Good story. There’s just some interesting things within it, that carries me through.

    4. Matt Downie says:

      I’d have thought “how Star Wars movies work” is part of the problem.

      In The Force Awakens, when about to set out on an insanely risky venture says, Finn says, “We’ll use the Force,” and Han says, “That’s not how the Force works!” But that is how the Force works (or at least, it has been in every major Star Wars film up to this point), so the plan succeeds.

      In TLJ, they ‘use the Force’ (attempt risky heroics) all the time, and all they really achieve is the extermination of 99.99% of the rebellion. That’s not how Star Wars movies work!

  42. Agammamon says:

    . . . and yet I can never find any fans.

    I’m a fan.

    As for ‘unnecessary nitpicking’ – yes there is that there. I find though that the vast majority of ‘unnecessary nitpicking’ is when they’re doing movies *I like* and have basically concluded that its bias on my part.

  43. Agammamon says:

    A lot of the criticisms of TLJ focused on supposed plot holes. I think that’s really unfortunate

    I disagree with that. The criticisms I’ve seen focused on nonsensical actions by people in the movie, completely ignoring how things have worked previously within the SW universe (such as the infamous hyperspace ramming) for the sake of a scene they wanted to film (and then ignoring how those changes will affect what is and isn’t possible going forward – an Abrams speciality (see Star Trekin’ To Darkness(and there are to many parenthetical asides here))), adding in whole subplots that really don’t add anything to the core story, ‘subverting’ plot notes with no payoff beyond ‘surprise!’, and slamming in a really contrived and out-of-nowhere love between Rose and Finn. Or, at least Rose loving Finn – he looks as surprised as the rest of the audience. Its not even plot holes really. Can they really be plotholes when they’re so big its less work to point out the parts where the plot is instead? Plotlace?

    I don’t think I’d say it was Ep1 or 2 bad – but its a bad movie (but not bad enough to be good – like Ice Pirates). Passable as summer schlock maybe, but not the quality you’d expect a flagship movie of a major franchise to have.

    1. Gautsu says:

      Ice Pirates deserves so much more love than it gets

  44. Paul Spooner says:

    Watched all the linked PW videos, and made some notes on the one about Star Wars TLJ.
    Just putting them here because I don’t really have another place for them. Maybe they will come in useful in future ruminations. (My comments in parenthesis.)

    Movie about space wizards intended for children,
    so don’t get too upset about it. Not about gun control.
    (misses connection that gun control is often framed as protecting children)

    Want new things (but violated the archetypal story-line, which is what is upsetting)
    Full of weird things
    Destroying rich people’s things
    Moving on from the past
    “The greatest teacher failure is”

    Rey is ignorant, which is the same as being flawed (it isn’t)

    Moving on from:
    Self loathing
    Empty heroics
    Only certain families being special
    Everything being like it was 30 years ago
    The same old story beats and the same old status-quo

    Oh, and Shamus, if you write a SW:TLJ review, you should subtitle it “The Last Dumb Review” so the title can be SW:TLJ:TLDR

    1. BlueHorus says:

      Shamus, if you write a SW:TLJ review, you should subtitle it “The Last Dumb Review” so the title can be SW:TLJ:TLDR

      Seconded. You can never have enough plays on words. Everything’s more pun that way.

      1. RFS-81 says:

        I can’t wait to read the TLDR of SW:TLJ:TLDR.

  45. Gautsu says:

    So since Jurassic Parks sequels we’re mentioned above, how about the Lost World? The manned ship carrying the mother T-Red and baby arrives in port with everyone on board dead or missing amd yet the only other things we see on board are the mother and child tyrannosaurus, which are still secured in the hold. What killed the crew? If I remember correctly (and I might not since it has been close to 20 years since I read The Lost World), raptor had escaped the isle by stowing away on the ship. They are never brought up in the movie, since the mother t-rex busts out of containment and goes on her urban spree right afterwards

  46. Shenanigans says:

    I lost all respect and interest in watching any of Willems Youtube videos at
    “The Last Jedi – of which Willems was a huge fan”.

    Sorry, call me disagreeable, an aloof, snotty bastard, whatever you want. I don’t care. That new trilogy is trash. These movies suck on so many levels, it’s not even funny. And Star Wars is personal. I will never be able to respect a person who is a fan of the original trilogy and thinks these sequels are any good.

  47. CJK says:

    MovieBob’s video of the same general thesis (“Plothole Surfers”) is MUCH better constructed than “Shut Up About Plot Holes” –

  48. Vinay Kapadia says:

    I used to watch CinemaSins but they got too nit picky and just irritating. You really should check out CinemaWins, it’s the same setup but they point out all the things that the movie does right. The person that does it just really likes movies and he points out so many little awesome details that I missed.

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