Diecast #134: Steampocalypse, 2015 Wrap-up, Star Wars

By Shamus Posted Monday Dec 28, 2015

Filed under: Diecast 186 comments

Hosts: Josh, Rutskarn, Shamus, Campster, Mumbles. Episode edited by Rachel.

This week we have a TOTAL SPOILER discussion on the new Star Wars. Turn back or have the movie spoiled. This means you, fanboy. Seriously, I drop the biggest spoiler of the whole movie right at the 40-minute mark as I introduce the topic.

Let’s just assume the comments will be spoiler-heavy, too.

Mumbles and Rutskarn haven’t done their end-of-year thing yet, so this week is their chance. Find out what they thought of 2015.

00:01:16: OMG Steampocalypse 2015!!11

Link (YouTube)

00:08:56: Rutskarn and Mumbles talk about 2015.

They start with Undertale.

00:14:42: Pillars of Eternity
00:14:51: Arkham Knight
00:17:54: Fallout 4
00:20:25: Hotline Miami 2
00:21:51: Tony Hawk
00:22:59: Skylanders
00:26:11: The Beginners Guide
00:27:09: Fallout 4 again for some reason?

Link (YouTube)


From The Archives:

186 thoughts on “Diecast #134: Steampocalypse, 2015 Wrap-up, Star Wars

  1. Wide And Nerdy says:

    The one thing Arkham Knight was missing that Batman Forever had was 1995’s version of Nicole Kidman (don’t get me wrong she’s still attractive* but back then, WOW). Yeah. I wasn’t much of a Batman fan yet when I first saw this movie but Dr Chase Meridian persuaded me to see that movie 2 or 3 times in theaters.

    But yeah, the Arkham series clearly picked up some of its design cues from the Burton and Schumacher movies, but thankfully not to their levels of excess in either case. Can you imagine trying to be Batman in the Batman And Robin version of Gotham? How would you ever strike from darkness with all that neon everywhere? And having to learn to drive your Batmobile over giant stone muscles?

    *She’s held up a lot better than Val Kilmer, that’s for sure.

  2. Daemian Lucifer says:

    Seriously, I drop the biggest spoiler of the whole movie right at the 40-minute mark as I introduce the topic.

    I thought you were joking,like in your twitter,but you were serious!Damn you old man,that was the worst spoiler!

    1. Alex says:

      It’s true: it’s written, directed and produced by J.J. “Lost” Abrams.

      If that won’t spoil a movie, nothing will.

      1. Wide And Nerdy â„¢ says:

        Drat. I was wondering if there was going to be conspicuous red stuff and lens flares. You ruined it for me.

        1. Joe Informatico says:

          Surprisingly, not much of either! His other quirks are in full display however.

          1. Wide And Nerdy says:

            I mean he gave C3PO a red arm for no reason and the solar system beam was bright red and took so long to hit its targets that we got lots lingering shots of it. True he didn’t make an entire red planet this time but I think his red habit is still in full swing.

            But he has calmed down on the lens flares I agree. I’ve seen interviews where its clear he’s become aware of this and audience complaints about it and has apologized. Reportedly he showed his wife a scene with heavy lens flares and she complained that she couldn’t tell what was going on because of it.

  3. Grudgeal says:

    I liked The Force Awakens better when it was called A New Hope.

    There, I have now spoiled both this year’s blockbuster OR a 38-year old film in one go, depending on which one of them you’ve already seen.

    The film was way too safe. the Hollywood clichés rained all over the place, almost every character or setpiece came from somewhere in the original films (oh, look, desert world. Oh, look, space cantina. Oh, look, glacier. With an AT-AT on it even), the dialogue was uninspiring, there was practically no pacing or plot beyond jumping from one fanservice moment to another, with the teeniest, bare minimum of necessary development of the two characters we *weren’t* all already intimately familiar with. The Bad Guys didn’t get the time needed to establish them, but then again almost nobody did.

    Also, the main villain… Darth Potatonose, I forget his name, made me nostalgic for Hayden Christensen. And I think that says it all, really.

    1. Wide And Nerdy â„¢ says:

      Still a lot of fun.

      I was listening to the Spoiler Warning Specials playlist and in one of them Shamus was talking about how much better 2015 was for gaming. And he said that he thought in 2014 that maybe he was just getting too old and couldn’t enjoy games anymore but then 2015 came along and nope he still likes games, 2014 was just a crap year.

      Star Wars The Force Awakens was like that for me when it comes to popcorn flicks. The last couple of years I thought I just couldn’t enjoy or laugh at them anymore but TFA proved you just have to make a decent movie.

      1. Grudgeal says:

        I dunno. I guess Fury Road spoiled me on good remake-sequels this year. That one did Popcorn Film much better in my opinion, TFA just bored me by its safety. There were almost no risks taken at all.

        1. Wide And Nerdy â„¢ says:

          Haven’t seen Fury Road, maybe I’d feel just like you do. But you haven’t seen safe and boring till you’ve watched either of Marvel’s recent “comedic” movies. Guardians had one good joke in it (Groot’s attack), Ant Man was slightly edgier.

          As sophmoric as it clearly intends to be, I’m holding out hope that Deadpool will shake things up.

          1. Grudgeal says:

            At least Marvel knows they’re making films for 12-year olds, who like spectacle and don’t want social realism to get in their way of the “punch the bad dude in the colourful dress” narrative.

            Someone should probably tell DC that.

            1. Daemian Lucifer says:

              Ah,but you see,dc doesnt make stuff for kids,they make stuff for 40 year olds.

              1. Mike S. says:

                If only.

                (Though to be fair, while their film and comics franchises seem unlikely to right themselves soon, their TV offerings are in a golden age surpassed only by their animated universe of tge previous two decades.)

            2. Wide And Nerdy â„¢ says:

              I mean I prefer light and fun in my superhero movies too. I just think Marvel’s “lightest” and “funnest” movies Ant-Man and Guardians of the Galaxy don’t offer much.

              Yes its better than DC but you can make a more dramatic and engaging movie without having to awkwardly strap weighty themes to ridiculous superheroes we’re suddenly pretending to take seriously.

              Civil War is going to work because they took the time to earn us caring about the characters, not because its going to be a particularly insightful commentary about class struggle, or security issues, or abuse of power.

              Anyway. I think I got lost somewhere in here because my counterargument addresses your point without really supporting my original point, which I guess is that Star Wars does light and funny better than Marvel.

          2. Wide And Nerdy â„¢ says:

            I liked 99% of the movie and 98% of everything about Rey. And thank you guys, yes, Rey is no more a Sue than any other popular geek power fantasy type character. It frustrated me to no end that I had this one gripe about her seemingly figuring out her powers with no training only to get on the internet and find myself lumped in with this ridiculous Rey is a Mary Sue brigade. I had to explain myself to Freddie Prinze Jr.* That’s how crazy it was.

            But yeah. Its a good movie. Learn to love and to nitpick lovingly.

            Regarding Ren and Han There’s a theory floating around that Han killed himself to prevent Ren from falling to the darkside or having his hand forced by Snoke If thats true, then Ren could still be on a redemption vector.

            *Kids in the audience will never appreciate just how weird it feels typing that sentence. I never thought he’d factor into the geek community much less that I’d be arguing about Star Wars with him (ok, it was a brief exchange)

            1. 4th Dimension says:

              Isn’t the entire new trilogy offically called the Redemption trilogy? There has to be some redeeming themes even if in the end other people reject or he/she rejects her redemption.

              1. Wide And Nerdy â„¢ says:

                Interesting. Ren is clearly at a point where he can choose redemption if he wants. There’s indication that with her powers awakening so rapidly and her having attachment/abandonment issues like Luke and Anakin do, that Rey will struggle with the dark side.

                Han after abandoning the resistance to go back to smuggling comes back to help the resistance and without getting into it, shows just how many sizes his heart has grown since A New Hope.* Finn is an ex-Stormtrooper. Luke’s apprentice fell to the dark side so training Rey could be redemption for him. Lots of redemption possibilities here.

                *In fact, Han’s redemption could be the example for the others. People call him the Obi Wan of this film, and this is how he could be that. Obi Wan left a legacy of the force, Han left a legacy of humanity.

                1. p_johnston says:

                  I’d say it’s almost a guarantee that Ren finds redemption. The entire thing is, much like the rest of the movie, stolen from a new hope. Ren/Vader kills his Father/Father figure Han/obi-wan.

              2. Retsam says:

                I’m pretty sure “The Redemption Trilogy” is just the label that Daemian picked for the thread on the forums, I’ve never seen any other usage of that label, (nor could I find it by google).

                1. Daemian Lucifer says:

                  Yup.I was just going by the “this movie has redeemed the franchise” sentiment floating around.Didnt even watch the movie myself,nor do I intend to(maybe once I can rent it,or maybe when it hits tv).

            2. Wide And Nerdy â„¢ says:

              More thoughts here. One of my favorite moments with Rey was early on when her boss/vendor/food guy drops 60 food rations on the table in exchange for the robot. She lunges for the food immediately and has to struggle to stop herself. It was a nice human moment. Desire for family is a bit cliche, temper gets used a bit much to humanize heroic characters but struggling with the temptation for food you don’t see as often (or at least I don’t)

            3. Supahewok says:

              Eh. I didn’t mind Rey’s being good at piloting and mechanics. It was already established in previous movies that Force sensitive people have better intuition than the normies and can perform remarkable feats even without training, while watching I was just figuring that it was foreshadowing that with her.

              I also figured that her developing Force powers quickly was a combination of her being accepting of the powers of a Jedi (Luke’s main problem in Empire was a mental block that limited himself, i.e. when he couldn’t move the X-Wing), exigent circumstances (Luke’s first showing of telekinesis was when the wampa was coming to eat him, and before then, we the audience had never even had a clue that you could do that with the Force), and Kylo Ren sucking (because he does).

              Edit: As I pointed out in the forums though, I do find it weird how she ends up with next to all the good stuff of the three new protagonists. She gets the lightsaber, the Force powers, the Falcon, Chewbacca as first mate, AND both Han Solo and Luke Skywalker as mentors. All Finn and Poe get is each other. Plus Finn’s bad back. Like, that’s not a very even splitting up of the future roles in the movies. Rey is both nu-Solo and nu-Skywalker, Poe gets Luke’s piloting, Leia’s position as the everyman (as much of an everyman as a princess/general is, anyway), and nu-R2, and Finn gets… *cricket* a gun? A not at all special gun? And maybe chiropractor bills?

              1. Wide And Nerdy â„¢ says:

                Its really only the force powers that bugged me. Everything else was established and if this were the first movie of a new series that would be fine, whatever, thats apparently how it works. But everybody else needed training to do the fancy stuff, there used to be an Academy for it and Yoda was incredulous that someone as old as Luke could even be taught.

                There are so many ways they could have done it. They were originally going to have that orange lady on the ship but they didn’t have anything for her to do? There’s your answer right there. Just have her show Rey a few things or at least imply somehow that she’s doing that. Or show Rey use a force power at the beginning of the movie, just like all her other skills (seriously I wasn’t even aware that there would be complaints about the rest of her skills until I got online, but her Force usage sticks out like a sore thumb). I could accept her being self taught but imply that it happened in the years leading up to the movie, not in the space of a couple of hours.

                This could be especially interesting with something like the Jedi mind trick if its a thing she developed in the past. It could be a character thing, why does the Jedi Mind Trick come naturally to her? Is she tempted to get her way? Does she try to push people to get what she wants? Has she developed qualms about it?

                1. Amara Rosa says:

                  I think Kylo Ren awakened that power in her. After she noticed she could read his mind, she tried it on someone else.

                2. Chris says:

                  Given some of the *very* brief flashbacks, they could have shown her using force powers in a flashback. Maybe she had a block from her abandonment that Ren broke thru, and so she has in fact been trained earlier in her childhood.

            4. Grimwear says:

              I really am not a fan of Rey. I can understand that she is better with ships than an average person because she’s a scavenger but they literally made her too perfect. The Force Awakens practically mirrors A New Hope in every way except the most important. When we meet Luke and Obi Wan becomes his mentor all Obi Wan teaches Luke is how to sense the force and let it guide his movements. This is then used when Luke destroys the Death Star. They try to make Han Solo Rey’s mentor but you can’t be a mentor when the person you’re supposed to be guiding already knows everything you do and can do things beyond that (like when she bypassed the compressor). Additionally, she gets told that Luke Skywalker and the Jedi are real then the very next day is able to use force abilities no one told her exist and that Jedi Masters take years to learn. There’s no growth that can occur. The next movie potentially dealing with her training? Why bother she already knows how to do everything, including win a lightsaber duel against someone who’s been trained to use one by TWO different masters (and yes I know people will say Ren’s training wasn’t finished and he was wounded but seriously Rey was an amateur he could have destroyed her anytime).

              1. Thomas says:

                One of the nitpicks I have with that fight is that we saw Ren just absolute blast Rey away with the force at the start. It knocked her out for a good couple of minutes. But he never tries to do it again despite it being such an obvious path to victory.

                I generally didn’t like it apart from the start which was amazing. It was neither visually exciting or made much ‘fight’ sense. It was impossible to gauge the power levels or skill of the contest involved. They’d both just alternate between hyper competent and absolute beginners.

                1. djw says:

                  His blast must have still been on cooldown.

                2. Wide And Nerdy â„¢ says:

                  Thats a good point. Every time I want to write Kylo Ren off, I have to remember he froze a blaster bolt in thin air. He controlled Rey physically with the Force like she was a puppet. He really is all over the place.

                3. ehlijen says:

                  I guess Chewie shot him in the force gland?

                  1. djw says:

                    That’s from the rule 34 version.

    2. Incunabulum says:

      That’s all he did for Star Trek also.

  4. karln says:

    awwwww yeah a section on The Beginners Guide this is gonna be awesomeoh wait it’s less than a minute

    oh well

  5. Joe says:

    The big swelling music during the Rey/Ren fight was Luke’s Theme! It’s called the Ways of the Force on the soundtrack, but it’s still the same piece of music. And that’s why I think she’s Luke’s daughter.

    Also, she’d heard stories of the Jedi. Now she finds out she is one. Of course she’s going to give her powers a shot when in a tight spot. Who wouldn’t? Related, both Anakin and Luke are good at machines and flying. Why should she be different? And it’s clear she has some flying experience. Maybe even in the Falcon, before it was grounded. She actually says she knows the Falcon. Maybe she helped install the modifications.

    1. Wide And Nerdy â„¢ says:

      JJ Abrams already spoiled it.

      She’s actually Snoke’s baby daddy. The darkside is kind of like Mork and Mindy.

      1. Pyrrhic Gades says:

        Wasn’t Snoke that fat guy that owned the Millenium Falcom at the start?

        1. Wide And Nerdy â„¢ says:

          Thats correct. It was the perfect way to both hide from assassins and keep tabs on Rey. Its a disguise of course. Snoke is actually a Toydarian with a Napoleon complex.*

          *The fan community is ablaze trying to figure out how a Toydarian a long time ago in a galaxy far far away could have a Napoleon complex. We’re speculating that he can see far enough into the future to see us. He’s so devastatingly effective because he can actually watch the Star Wars movies.

  6. Mr. Son says:

    Shamus: And that’s a good note to end it on!

    Me: AUGH! No! I wanted to hear what Rutskarn thought was happening in that scene! Mumbles just cut him off and he didn’t get to explain!

    1. MichaelGC says:

      I had to rewind to doublecheck, but I think he did mostly get his point across, there. Less so at the end, of course, with the Expanded Universe point … whatever the hell that is.

      PS Great to have him back, ‘n’ all! – always nice when there’s a full complement.

      1. Metal C0Mmander says:

        I’m just assuming Rutskarn was actually messing with us and making it look like he actually had something to say but he really was just waiting for the podcast end to cut him off.

    2. p_johnston says:

      I’m going to take a wild guess and say it’s what me and my family thought. Ren mentions the force and Rey goes “oh yeah. I have that.” Rey then proceeds to use said force to beat Ren senseless. She even closes her eyes to better sense it like Luke did in a new hope.

  7. Ilseroth says:

    Honestly when I left for the theater all I was really expecting was a star wars themed action movie, and they pretty much delivered. That being said of the group I went with there was a fairly wide spread. One person was extremely disappointed, another felt it was meh, and the rest enjoyed it.

    Now as for spoiler stuff

    Firstly, as Shamus said, I am really glad the lightsaber fighter was properly clunky. Simple fact is, that both of the force users lack the kind of training that the jedi/sith have in the prequel trilogy. It made my day to see them clunk it out and even with Luke’s training, I’d like to see them stick to more this style. Luke wasn’t ever trained in the fanciful styling of the old jedi order either.

    If I had one major complaint about the movie it is that, quite simply, it doesn’t trust what it is doing enough. It is so worried that the audience will get upset at it (like the prequels) that it constantly is doing things like throwing in old characters, or straight quoting lines from the old movies, or making references to the old movies. I honestly felt the movie was at it’s *worst* when it was just shoving in old stuff just for the sake of the old stuff being there.

    I look forward to seeing how they handle it in the sequels, I hope as the series goes on they grow more confident in their own interpretation and start focusing on their characters and story… I’ll be very disappointed if it starts with an ice planet getting attacked by an empire sympathetic group.

    1. ehlijen says:

      I’m hoping they’ll pretend the flip-out sabre-ninjas of the prequels never happened. Sure, the fights were visually impressive…the first time. But they conveyed no story, no emotion, no clear sense of who had the upper hand or how either side was trying to gain said upper hand. It was too fast to properly follow as a story element.

      The original trilogy used every fight to establish and mirror the combatants emotions and desires. The Kenobi-Anakin fight was just some CGI whirling about for the most part.

      So yes, slow sabre fights the audience can actually interpret > CGI ninjas.

    2. wswordsmen says:

      Just going to plug MovieBob’s review: https://youtu.be/W27dtFbBGRg

      He basically agrees with you and give a very strong case for why.

    3. p_johnston says:

      I actually had a different set of complaints with the movie.Who in the world is the first order? Are they a terrorist organization? Are they a government? are they the military arm of the empire? why is the republic supporting a resistance against them rather then just being at war with them? If they aren’t a government why is their opposition called the resistance? Also if the remains of the empire consolidated into the first order when did they do it and why did no one think to stop them? that’s sort of like Germany coming back under control of the natzi’s after world war 2 and everyone just going “yeah that shouldn’t be a problem” while they build nukes.
      Basically I liked the movie but What did they eat?

  8. Matthew Melange says:


    I really like ^that^ ^link^ where it explains the downside of the ending multiplication effect.

    1. Wide And Nerdy â„¢ says:

      From the article:
      I'm sorry, I'm not interested in watching a $200 million-dollar “set-up” to an eventual good story.

      ^^Pretty much every big geek movie in the last three or four years at least.

      1. Supahewok says:

        I really agree with the article, except for where I don’t.

        Namely, I don’t agree with the author that Han Solo should have died at the end of VI. Everybody I’ve seen espouse this viewpoint ignores how it invalidates the ending of V, that those same people usually consider the best of the movies. Han did the closest thing possible to dying in that film, and the entire first act of VI deals with getting him back. Getting him back to die an hour later is anti-climactic and would feel put-on. I don’t care if that’s what Harrison Ford thought was best, too.

        That said, the author is entirely correct that VII tried to blend two movies together that really should’ve each stood on their own. I would’ve preferred seeing the alternate movie he proposes; it sounds like it would’ve had enough focus to fix the problems with the plot that the actual film had.

        1. Wide And Nerdy â„¢ says:

          I’ve certainly seen “We saved him only for him to die later” done well. Its a matter of how you do it.

          Theoden is freed from being paralyzed and enfeebled by his fear only to die on the battlefield. It worked because he died being the king his people needed him to be and embracing faith in the fight against Sauron.

          Free of his past, Han could have moved on. He didn’t need the Rebel Alliance for protection or money anymore (if there was ever money). That he stayed to fight for his friends and embrace the selflessness and loyalty that they showed him in freeing him, and then sacrifice himself for that would have been a satisfying conclusion to his arc. The scoundrel who was all about himself found a reason to become a hero (Yes he did that in A New Hope but with a Trilogy there was room to take it further.)

          1. Supahewok says:

            Theoden isn’t the same thing at all, by a long shot. Him being freed from Saruman’s influence was the audience’s introduction to him, and the start of his character arc of finding redemption for leading his people astray.

            Han’s arc in New Hope was joining a cause larger than himself. That was over and done with. Empire was about his deepening relationship with Leia, culminating in his being sacrificed and taken away from her. The entire first arc of Jedi is getting him back. Sacrificing himself for a cause would just be retreading his arcs in the other two movies (he ALREADY volunteered to lead the strike force on Endor, it’s not a character point that needs rehashing), and makes the first act of Jedi futile and a waste of time.

            You can make any narrative trope work well, but part of that is recognizing the time and the place for them. Solo dying in Jedi would have felt more contrived than tragic, dark for the sake of dark. If you really wanted to add a tragic element, Leia should’ve been the one to die. One lover goes away, the other finds and returns him, and then that other dies in the arms of the first. There was even a place for it when she was wounded, and Luke could have felt her death through the Force, affecting the battle in the throne room. Leia’s death works way better than Solo’s.

            Any argument in those veins are futile anyway. All the tragedy that Lucas wanted to cap off the trilogy was Vader’s arc. More would’ve undercut the triumphant, pulpy victory the end is supposed to be.

            1. djw says:

              If you really want emotional impact… have the Millenium Falcon explode, and Han live to see it.

              1. Supahewok says:

                But think of the toys!!!

                But seriously, that would’ve worked, too.

            2. Wide And Nerdy says:

              Han’s arc wasn’t complete though. He changed his mind at the last minute in A New Hope and provided some aid but at the beginning of Empire, he wanted to leave, remember? He was done with it and wanted to take care of his business. He only stayed because circumstance forced him to stay. That ended with him being trapped in carbonite. Its not something he really had a choice in, he ran as best he could and was caught. Then he was thawed out early in ROTJ. This is when he decided he actually wanted to stay, if only for Leia. The lesson about loyalty to friends had finally stuck and he was only beginning to understand fighting for a cause.

              Now yes, if it had only been A New Hope and we never got another Star Wars, Han did have a character arc but there was plenty of room for further growth.

          2. Alexander The 1st says:

            I've certainly seen “We saved him only for him to die later” done well. Its a matter of how you do it.

            Well, I haven’t seen the film yet (Not too worried about this spoiler in question), but I will say “We saved him only for him to die later offscreen” would’ve been the worst way to deal with that.

            1. Wide And Nerdy says:

              We’re talking about a hypothetical ROTJ death and I agree Han should die on screen.

    2. Chauzuvoy says:

      I feel like the arc he’s talking about for Han was pretty much finished at the end of A New Hope. Han’s arc in Empire Strikes Back isn’t about coming to care about the Rebellion more than himself, it’s about his relationship with Leia. At best it’s about Han’s past catching up to him, with Lando betraying him and Jabba’s bounty still haunting him. By the end of episode VI he’s risked his life a half-dozen times for the sake of the rebellion. Having him die wouldn’t be the culmination of an arc at that point.

      Likewise, Han’s arc in Force Awakens isn’t a retread of his arc in Episode IV. From his talk with Leia about what to do about Ben, it’s not that he doesn’t care, it’s that he lost trust in people or his family or some such. The big question going into that big scene isn’t whether or not Han’s going to confront Ren, it’s whether he’s going to try to convince his son to come back or try to kill him. I mean, if the scene is supposed to be Kylo’s point of no return, having him kill his father who just decided that it was worth trying to redeem him is even more of a gut-punch.

      I mean, I’ll grant that the movie has a little bit too much going on in the plot department, especially with the Death Star Mk 1-too-many. But Han’s arc worked pretty well I thought.

  9. Pyrrhic Gades says:

    I found the Black Stormtrooper’s suddern shift to go rogue a bit too sudden. He’s only just getting over the fact that his best friend Stormtrooper B just died on him, and now he is mowing down his fellow comrades in a TIE fighter.

    When I first saw the new “Death Star” fire, since it happened immediately after all those troopers gave a salute it looked like the First Order’s superweapon was just having a million stormtroopers shoot their guns into the air.

    I loved Fritz Solo’s (or whatever the Light-Claymore guy’s name is) tantrums where he blows up all the computers. Killing off your henchmen is so ancien regime.
    My only disapointment with Fritz is that he didn’t kill Hansel with his cross guard.

    My biggest (i.e. petty) disapointment came from how they tried to implicate the crap from the old EU about Parsecs being a unit of time, (which I hoped would go away).
    I also found it rather odd fo how the Stormtroopers were conscripted.

    1. Wide And Nerdy â„¢ says:

      Finn didn’t have a lot of time. He’d just been order to submit to be brainwashed again.

    2. Daemian Lucifer says:

      You know what I find hilarious?Theyve tried so hard to make this movie more inclusive,yet one of their main characters is most easily identifiable as “that one black stormtrooper”.

      1. Wide And Nerdy â„¢ says:

        Especially since he’s my favorite character. He was even first named on screen. Boyega was a real joy to watch. Hopefully like Harrison Ford he’ll be able to do parts outside of this role without forever being Finn in the eyes of the public.

        1. Joe Informatico says:

          If you haven’t seen Attack the Block, seek it out. Boyega’s amazing in it.

          1. Wide And Nerdy says:

            Thank you. I’ll take a look.

      2. Retsam says:

        Finn is, to my memory, the only Stromtrooper to ever take off his helmet. So of course he’s the only “black stormtrooper” that we know of.

        1. Geebs says:

          Little known fact: all of the storm troopers in The Force Awakens are played by African Americans. In the original cut, they all take their helmets off while on the New Death Star. Unfortunately, this caused confusion among the original test audiences, who became convinced that the test cut had been inadvertently spliced with an Eddie Murphy movie from the mid-80s.

          The producers were highly concerned about this and, against the advice of the production crew, insisted that all of the helmets be CGI’d back in for the final cut, at a cost of $10 million.

    3. IFS says:

      The Parsecs thing annoyed me as well. Was Han really so famous before the rebellion for his kessel run time to be known by nobody scavengers? Plus I always preferred the interpretation that Han was just BSing to con an old man, so the unnecessary fanservice mixed with canonizing it is dumb.

      I enjoyed the movie but it was heavy on the fanservice (which hopefully is cut back on in future entries) and JJ Abrams really likes to rush to the conclusion without adequately building things up. It’s less of a problem in Star Wars than it was in stuff like Star Trek at least.

    4. wswordsmen says:

      Why do you assume that the Storm trooper was Fin’s best friend? There is nothing in the movie to support that (if there is please share). What is in the movie was that was Fin’s first time in combat and he refused to fire on civilians.

    5. Thomas says:

      I thought they were going to do really interesting things with Finn, here’s a guy whose been brainwashed since he can remember to believe in the Empire, and now he’s being thrust into a whole of world and having his systems of belief destroyed…

      Stuff like how he thought of Hans Solo as a general, not a smuggler, I thought they were going to have a whole thing about how he’d been taught that Solo was an unreliable narcissist who burns down colonies and kicks puppies etc…

      But nope, he’s a perfectly normal human being, all those years of brainwashing haven’t scrambled him even in the slightest. He’s a true and true rebel within hours of first leaving the Empire (and he’s never appeared abnormal before that moment we’re told). And yet the rest of the Stormtroopers are still faceless bad guys without even a hint of confliction or idea that they might switch sides.

      So I went from expecting a really cool unique angle from Finn to desperately hoping that they’re going to reveal an excuse for why none of that matters at all. Maybe he’s a Force Users son or something to explain why he and he alone was unaffected by all that brainwashing.

      It’s a shame because I like the actor and I actually like Finn as a character. He just doesn’t make sense as a Stormtrooper, he’s more like some schlub the stormtroopers picked up and made do chores for them for a few weeks before he got caught in the crossfire of something bigger. He’s the guy from Space Janitors, not a Stormtrooper which is funny because Poe looks exactly like another character from Space Janitors (not the first time Force Awakens blurs the line betweens Star Wars parodies and Star Wars)

      1. Wide And Nerdy says:

        I thought they did do something interesting. He’s kind of half a child in an adult’s body. Because he hasn’t had independent thought since he was first brainwashed. He has adult skills but its like his personality and humanity are brand new so there are parts of growing up he hasn’t done. He’s scared but not jaded and he approaches things with childlike wonder. Thats what led to his humorous moments.

        At the same time its possibly the best or most interesting way I’ve seen to do a kid appeal character. Red Letter Media I think made this point and its so true, they made a mistake putting kid Anakin and his friends in the first movie and younglings in the second two. Kids don’t make believe that they’re kids in the Star Wars universe, they make believe that they’re Han or Luke or Leia.

        Sure you can make a kid character cool enough that kids will latch onto that, but that mostly only works in kid targeted movies where what TVTropes calls the “Competence Zone (I think)” is centered on their age range. Shows where its kids getting stuff done. But when you’re making a movie like Star Wars that you want kids and adults to see. Its enough to make the adult characters cool and colorful, and kids will go for that.

        Anyway, point is, while I don’t know if they did it for that reason, giving Boyega a personality that a kid can connect with might make him kid friendly. He’s like the kids in the audience, only in a grown up body and he knows how to fight and use a blaster and stuff.

  10. 4th Dimension says:

    That is an interesting interpretation of that scene in the last battle.
    My interpretation was that it was Rey turning to force, meditation and other mental/Force powers, since she is clearly a LOT better at them than Ren, to help her. Thus she attunes herself to the Force even more and since she is in attuned she then kicks Ren’s ass while basically breaking no sweat.

    1. IFS says:

      That was my interpretation as well, though given how the force is tied to ones emotional state it’s quite possible for it to be both. She confronts the decision and deciding against it/resolving her inner turmoil lets her calm down and channel the force more effectively

    2. Benjamin Hilton says:

      Agreed. This was what I took from it as well, so when they start talking about her considering being trained by Ren I was like “did…did we watch the same movie?” Especially if you go the authorial intent route: Shorty McbigEyes told Rey to close her eyes to feel the force, which is what she was doing in that moment.

  11. Pyrrhic Gades says:

    As for my first thoughts when watching the film: Wait wait wait…. Since when was there a Republic?

    Since when did Hansel and Leia have a kid?

    Since when were Hansel and Leia a couple?

    Why won’t these two kids shut up (sitting next to me)? We’re twenty minutes into the movie, yet they keep asking eachother who these characters are despite the fact that no names have yet to be given…

    Since when did this become a “resistance”? Whatever happened to the good old rebellion?

    2 hours later: Why won’t these kids shutup and watch the curs’ed movie!

    1. Ilseroth says:

      not sure if you actually want any answers to any of that but

      The Republic was the government in control of the majority of the galaxy prior to the rise of the Empire. The Empire (headed by Emperor Palpatine and Darth Vader) destroyed the Republic and gained control of most of their planets (inbetween Episode 3 and 4)

      The Rebellion was mostly Republic sympathisers that still existed after the Empire took control and sought to rebuild the Republic again. After they successfully defeated the Emperor and destroyed Death Star mk.2 the Republic was reinstated.

      Despite this, those still loyal to the original Empire formed the First Order and seeks to overthrow the reinstated Republic, while the Resistance was formed to specifically combat the First Order.

      The issue is, it shouldn’t be “The Resistance” because they are simply trying to uphold Republic law, but since the movie is trying really hard to stick to the norms of the original trilogy, they wanted to pick a named similar to “The Rebellion” but it just doesn’t work.

      1. MichaelGC says:

        And do we know why the noisy kids wouldn’t shut up?

      2. James says:

        wellllll, actually

        Spoilers for both the Book Aftermath and the Film, people for whom the Strike Tag doesnt work please skip over this comment if you dont want spoils.

        So once the Republic was reformed it passed a uneasy truce with the new order/remenants of the empire and slowly demilitarized itself believing that a) the new order wasnt a threat, and b) militarization would lead them to become like the empire.

        Leia and a lot of the more active members of the Rebel Alliance protested that both of toughs things were stupid, eventually fed up with the Republic being morons they left and formed “The Resistance” The Republic whilst not backing it directly funded it in secret, (think US helping the allies before they entered world war 2)

        The Republic essentially had 1 fleet and changed capital every few mounts to avoid getting blown up, they were on Hosnian Prime then the First Order blew them up because the Republic didnt think the First Order would build a planet killing weapon that could fire from across the galaxy (well its a system killing weapon techincally)

        EDIT: my strikes broke so i fixed them

        1. ehlijen says:

          But where was any of that in the movie? At least some of that sounds pretty important.

          The world building was so disappointingly bad compared to even Episode IV :(

          1. djw says:

            Agreed. The lack of world building was my biggest disappointment in the movie. I think that it is to be expected that the books will have more detail than the movies, but that does not excuse zero detail in the movie.

            I did like the characters and I do think that the setup for movie 8 is strong.

        2. p_johnston says:

          Thank you. This actually answers almost all of my questions about the movie.

    2. djw says:

      Since when were Hansel and Leia a couple?

      That was very clearly implied at the end of Return of the Jedi.

      Since when did Hansel and Leia have a kid?

      One thing led to another… Birds and bees and all that…

    3. Wide And Nerdy â„¢ says:

      This is why I go for 3D IMAX. I’m not actually a fan of that format but the more expensive the seats, the less likely parents are to be willing to shell out that much for themselves and 2 or 3 kids.

  12. LadyTL says:

    I actually don’t give Steam/Valve any slack on the issue with their caching server because they have been having minor warning sign problems with it for a couple of years now. I have seen alot of reports and had to deal with this problem myself of the caching server breaking and having it appear that I am logged out in the Steam client while being logged in. Of course I reported the problem multiple times before and no action was ever taken and yes when it happened I could not buy anything or use any community features. This was just the problem they have been ignoring for a long time coming back as a bigger problem.

    1. Wide And Nerdy â„¢ says:

      Maybe but this has to be the mildest security problem I’ve ever heard of a gaming site having. Steam certainly doesn’t make you store information and in the vast majority of cases, all someone saw was someone else’s recommended games. A few random people might have seen a few random other people’s addresses if they actually store that info in Steam and bother to keep it updated.

      It sounds like they forgot to update one server they rarely use and didn’t discover the error until they were forced to spin it up to meet capacity.

      1. MichaelGC says:

        I’m getting a lot more spam to the email address I use for Steam. Could be a coincidence – and is hardly the end of the world! – but it seems like miscreants did find a way to take at least some advantage of the situation, as miscreants so often will.

        Hopefully a bit of extra spam is the worst anyone has experienced, but I certainly now trust Steam rather less, and would have liked to see Valve be a bit more responsive, upfront, and apologetic – although I guess the ships sailed on each of those some time ago! :D

      2. LadyTL says:

        My issue is more, they had been told repeatedly by multiple people this server has been causing problems for a while and ignored it completely until it broke down completely during a sale. This could be the start of a pattern or not but I as with many other people, trust Steam less since they could have fixed this problem alot earlier had they actually paid attention to the reports they were getting from people.

      3. James says:

        I honestly will be happy if this leads to legal action and valve loses, cus this was whilst understandable, a huge fuck up, they accidentally through either negligence or incompetence exposed the personal details of millions of customers, they need to be held accountable for that.

        Sure the most critical of detail CC info was only “partially” displayed as was mobile numbers, but having the Address and Emails of customers displayed in full is very very bad, this could, can and probably will lead to some levels of identity theft, and Valves silence over the matter was very very bad, when people think that their CC info and the like might have been stolen you need to say something.

        1. Wide And Nerdy â„¢ says:

          How badly do you want this?

          What about the multiple times Playstation Network has been hacked? You want justice for that too? They’re worse about IP and DRM and general lack of consumer freedom than Steam (that is really what this is about right?) and lots of personal information did fall into malicious hands in their case. Sony also showed the same problems with not being communicative. We have verified cases of people’s balances being messed with in the most recent Playstation hack that took place the same day as “Steampocalypse.”

          I’ve talked about this on this site before and gotten some informative responses. While Valve isn’t completely clean in their recent past, I feel like there’s baggage people are carrying that’s many years old.

          1. James says:

            The Playstation hacks were also awfull and showed that sony really really sucks(ed) at storing user data properly. and every time this happens im not going to be happy,

            Just because one company is worse then another at something doesn’t make it better, and perhaps it takes being smacked with law suits for them to perhaps change something.

            EDIT: Additionally my opinions here might be flavored by my anger that Valve may have revealed my personal information in this fiasco, this is not something i take lightly at all.

            1. Wide And Nerdy says:

              They’re both bad you’re right, I don’t see where they’re criminal in either case.

              But I shouldn’t jump on you. It just bugs me that I’m seeing more griping in general about Steam when Playstation had an attack the same day which would arguably affect more customers. You’d think the Playstation outrage would drown out any anger towards Valve.

              Maybe its just the places I go.

              1. Alexander The 1st says:

                Well, listening to the video Shamus has in the Diecast @4:40, it sounds like this was less negligence and more a straight up change they made to their system Christmas Day.

                If no legal party inflicts on this, the person who made the change and/or the person who let it go live without testing against this should face consequences of some sort just for making the change go public just before (Presumably) the office closes for the holidays.

                The PSN hacks were more negligence and having the system not be updated, which is fair to point out, but if a company couldn’t afford to update it, a lawsuit probably isn’t going to help it along much more as it is. The Steam one, however, was a deliberate change to the system that had the side effect of allowing anyone – even those not intending to inflict harm via a hack -, access to others’ personal details. At best, this was negligence of QA, and at worse, it is definite lawsuit material.

  13. Jonathan Scinto says:

    Rutskarn is completely wrong. The Minutemen are a faction if you build them up. I got the ending where I was Director of the Institute and General of the Minutemen. I had all the settlements, I cleaned out all the named raider bosses. I actually got the impression that it was leading towards a kind of NCR in the Commonwealth. And you know what? I like Preston. He’s a decent guy. He doesn’t need to be a weird Trevor Philips character.

    I actually really liked the twist, and I felt emotionally invested in the plot. My main irritation was there not being enough dialogue with Shaun. I felt like I didn’t have enough options to confront Shaun about some of the shit the Institute was doing. You either agree blindly with the Institute or you murder all of them. That really annoyed me. This character is my character’s son; I should be able to have a stronger relationship with him. That’s never really offered.

    1. Wide And Nerdy â„¢ says:

      But they stop short on progression. It feels like all you’ve managed to build are refugee settlements, places that are designed to meet basic needs. Little indication of building an actual society and moving forward, just making sure that everybody gets food water and a mattress under a roof at night. The NCR is worlds ahead of that.

      Maybe its because the game doesn’t make you use the few cultural items it allows you to build. But even if you bother with that, everything looks hastily thrown together for the sake of addressing the most immediate needs with no thought towards tomorrow.

      I also wish there were more Hearthfire-esque options where I can tell my settlers to build a thing based on a template rather than designing the layouts myself. The prefabs are utterly lacking.

      1. ehlijen says:

        There is also the fact that you never build a system of government. You are in charge because you are in charge. Or possibly Preston is in charge because he tells you what to do. Who elected you? Why is everyone just following you? What are the laws? The rules? What do you do with criminals? What happens if two settlements disagree?

        The problem is that the villages don’t house people. They house need-machine sims. They have no desires, opinions, thoughts. They just eat and sleep. That’s not enough for a society.

    2. Rutskarn says:

      My problem isn’t that they don’t *become* a big or meaningful faction. It’s that I do not buy that Preston Garvey offers me or the wasteland a damn thing I didn’t already possess.

      Let’s say instead of becoming general or whatever, my character just started a big network of people called the Milton Berle Appreciation Society and used them to police territory, protect settlements, and unify disparate groups. Starting off I would have access to every resource Preston apparently offers you, plus we wouldn’t have the baggage of being known as impotent flatfoots at best and traitorous butchers at worst. Giving you the walkie-talkie almost feels like an insult, because when you first met him and his boys, they were getting their asses handed to them and you bailed THEM out, and unless you wander out so far above your head the walkie is guaranteed to be inactive you’re never going to need the thing. There’s a flimsy and mocking pretense of mutual assistance that’s totally unearned.

      That’s how the whole questline feels to me. “You’ll use the Minutemen to help people!” No, you knucklehead, I’M helping people. You’re cheerleading. You’re taking vicarious credit and using me to salvage your rightfully-soiled name.

      I’m happy to undertake a questline where I build a benign Wasteland regulatory society from scratch, but the way it’s presented feels all wrong to me. People should look back on my achievements and say, “Wow, that [PLAYERNAME] really made something incredible out of nothing,” because that’s what I did. The Minutemen didn’t give me shit–their banner was a ragged albatross I could have done without.

      Keep in mind this is an initial impression (first few quests), but that’s the thing about this game–it loads its initial impressions very heavily. Hence the massively-produced intro, the fact that any given area has a big scripted sequence the first time you enter and never again, and the fact that you meet Preston, the deathclaw, Mister Power Armor and Missus Minigun in like minute thirty. Ten conversations into this questline and it’s already established a ton of context around my actions in the Minutemen, and the problem is, all of it is silly.

  14. What do you mean you don’t have a crazy stalker. I thought that was me!

    1. Daemian Lucifer says:

      Do you have hairs from his beard on your nightstand that you kiss goodnight?If not,you are just a regular stalker.

  15. bloodsquirrel says:


    -I felt that both Rey and Fin’s arcs were rushed a little. I liked both characters, but we needed more setup for Fin’s heel face turn (We needed to know who he was before his giant, character-changing moment) and Rey just saying “Hey, the force, that’s a thing I can do now!” robbed it of its magic.

    -The movies were, as a whole, a little too derivative of A New Hope. The bigger, badder Death Star (that got blow’d up, right on queue) didn’t do it for me. A droid has a thing that the good guys and bad guys both need, and it escaped onto a desert planet where it met a force person.

    -I didn’t care for Kylo Ren’s actor. He wasn’t prequel trilogy bad, but he lacked presence both as a villain and as a tragic figure. Kylo Ren actually seemed like the character Hayden Christensen would have been great for (not being saddled with a terrible script and Lucas’ “direction”).

    -There wasn’t a lot of clarity on what the new status quo was. There a republic now? But also a resistance? Huh? Did the entire republic get blown up?

    Things I loved:

    There was actual, honest-to-goodness humanity in it. None of Lucas’ sterile bullshit. The characters were fun. They had emotional highs and lows that weren’t artificial and weird.

    There was no dumb, stupid slapstick or toilet humor. There was nobody whose name sounded like toilet humor, but maybe wasn’t supposed to be. There is no Jar-Jar. There’s nothing like Jar-Jar. It’s like an adult wrote the script or something.

    The movies were amazing visually. I don’t just mean the technical quality of the CGI- I mean that the movie did an excellent job of using visuals to induce emotional reactions. The cinematography was great. The imagery was memorable. Everything felt real.

    It felt like Star Wars. They nailed the tone. Fun adventure, but with genuine drama and a couple of heart-wrenching moments.

    1. SyrusRayne says:

      They should have cast Hayden Christenson as Kylo Ren, maybe dropped the Hanfather stuff and left him out of the movie (although I think he was great and had a good death, I don’t think it was necessary.) and then maybe Ren could be a clone of Vader?

      1. Mike S. says:

        I thought Adam Driver actually looked like a plausible descendant of Christiansen’s Anakin– more so than he looks like Ford or Fisher, certainly, or than Mark Hamill looks like either Christiansen or Natalie Portman, for that matter. But my immediate reaction was “the prequels were so long ago, surely Christiansen is too old”.

        Turns out Christiansen is only two years older than Driver is.

    2. ehlijen says:

      No dumb names? Really? Snoke?

    3. James says:

      The republic thing was covered in a book that launched just before the film, the book is a tie-in/prequel and is i think the only canon story book in the franchise now

      1. wswordsmen says:

        No it isn’t the only canon book, off the top of my head I know Tarkin is canon. In fact there are a bunch of them:

      2. ehlijen says:

        Not an excuse. Episode IV spent a few lines telling us what happened to the republic and how the base outline of the empire works, why couldn’t VII?

    4. ? says:

      I would agree that there was little clarity, but that might be intentional overcompensating for trade disputes and treaties and senate debates from the prequels. From the opening text crawl: Empire has fallen, Rebel Alliance established The Republic, The Republic unofficialy supports The Resistance fighting First Order (Empire fanboys) outside of it’s (Republic’s) borders. You know, Good ol’ proxy war, like Vietnam or Afghanistan(for the other side). “I will not fight you directly, but I will pump money and military hardware into organisation that will”

      Out of snippets of novelization I saw, after decades of Empire suppressing freedom Republic went a little overboard with debating and arguing over everything, which makes sense*. They also demilitarized a lot**. And they are tired of war. So most people are happy with peace treaty with First Order and don’t take them seriously, but there are people supporting Leia’s crusade against them.

      My speculation:
      *Not only people of varying political views would unite against Empire but ‘fight’ among themselves without it. There would be no free exchange of views within movements during the dark times, conspiracy and all that, fracturing their ideology. Corellian labour party(or whatever) might have vastly different ideas and experiences from Naboo labour party(or whatever) after 20 years of separation, even if they started in roughly the same place.

      **After all strong army and navy were tools of oppression for so long.

      Add to that genuine separatists that were manipulated by Sith into this oppressive Empire and now have a chance of resolving their issues with ‘Republic’, it makes sense to me that New Republic is sort of a mess.

      And it isn’t clear in what state is Republic after TFA. The planet destroyed wasn’t Coruscant, it wasn’t current capitol (which is something else apparently), it was Hosnian Prime. It was supposedly important and the fleet was there (all of it? sector fleet? expeditionary task force? dunno). Is Republic indeed crippled? Maybe, but it wouldn’t be the first time imperialistic military junta believed that sudden attack and destruction of a fleet would entirely destroy the enemy. Pearl Harbour totally didn’t backfire, right guys? No waking sleeping giants here, no sir.

      P.S. Supreme Leader Snoke in my opinion is just as bad as Jar Jar, as a name. Character is fine. I hope he really is a giant.

      1. Ivellius says:

        There wasn’t enough time to develop / convey what the events of the movie meant on a galactic scale. I couldn’t even remember the name of Hosnian Prime, as little as it came up in the movie, though I thought it was supposed to be the current Republic capital. At the very least browsing TV Tropes has led me to believe it was where most of the Resistance backers were located.

        Snoke is an awful, awful name.

        1. ? says:

          I think they didn’t even say Hosnian Prime, they just said Hosnian system (and that can mean anything). After reading some Wookieepedia turns out it was current capital, it’s just that Republic rotates it’s capital among member states. So it is even less of a victory for First Order, there was no permanent infrastructure there, Republic is used to operating with government being anywhere and most likely to periods of no capital planet during moving it. So destruction of Hosnian just wiped the slate clean of all politicians and bureaucrats that opposed open warfare with First Order. Good job Hux.

          1. Scimitar says:

            Ah but see, as it turns out Supreme Leader Snoke is actually Chancellor Ekons of the New Republic, and by killing off all those who oppose war he can convince the senate to elect him as their dictator-for-life and give him emergency powers to form some kind of military based hierarchy!

            We’ll call it… The Empire.

            I sincerely hope that isn’t true.

        2. MichaelGC says:

          Looking in from outside (I’ve not seen the fillum yet), all the names seem like a bit of a (not especially important!) weak point. Poe, Rey, Mi, Fa? I may not have got all of those right. They sound like a bunch of Teletubbies.

          1. Thomas says:

            I find Rey and Finn’s names quite hard to distinguish. Especially when the third wheel to their dramatic duo is Kylo Ren, whose name just looks like a mash up of theirs.

            (There’s something about Kylo Ren that makes my brain really want it to be an anagram or a pig-latin version or something of another name. I keep trying to match patterns almost without even realising, Kylo Ren – Ken Rolo – Ben Solo)

      2. Wide And Nerdy â„¢ says:

        About the overcompensating, we know that Damon Lindelof saw the Red Letter Media Phantom Menace review as did Simon Pegg. These same reviews were endorsed by Roger Ebert. Its possible either one of them passed that review to JJ Abrams and it informed his approach to Star Wars. Its the most articulate version of the fandom’s most valid complaints about the prequels.

  16. Daemian Lucifer says:

    I wonder,if open world games werent the default these days,would fallout 4 be received any better than tony hawk.Its still buggy as hell(but bethesda always inexplicably gets a pass for that),its unbalanced,shallow,full of stupid,has terrible ui,the building system is both pointless and broken,…its your bog standard average open world game.Yet if someone sinks hours in it,constantly berating it while doing so,everyone just laughs and says “Yeah,that game sucks.10/10”.Yet when someone dares to enjoy the tony hawk,broken though it is,we go “Are you mad?That game sucks!”.

    And you know whats worse?Tony hawk is alone in 2015 as a 3d skating game,while there have been at least 3 open world games(one that even allows you to build a base,and one that is an amazing rpg) in the last six months(not even the full year)that are WAAAAAY better than fallout 4.But no,we all collectively praise fallout 4 and bash tony hawk because…reasons.

    1. AdamS says:

      It’s all a question of ambition, really. Fo4 and THPS#whatever have about as many bugs, give or take a few crashes. But THPS is a long-running franchise that has had some legitimately terrific entries. It now shares the genre with Skate, which provides more realism than it ever did. Their competition was outdoing them, and they needed to either change to compete with Skate, or double down on the arcadey goodness that kept the franchise going through the Bam Margera years. They failed, not only at moving the franchise forward or innovating in any way, but at releasing a game that even played as well as THUG, a GAMECUBE title. Fo4, on the other hand, has no real competition. Sure, there are a lot more open-world games now than there used to be, but for the most part they’re all Ubisoft-style: all content, no-rp affairs that play like buffets. Now, granted, Fo4 has all those problems, too, but bethesda can trade on its reputation as an RPG developer. The rp part might be a bit thin, but it’s clear, it’s surrounded by cool gimmicks like customizable armor and weapons, as well as the settlement building, which has really grabbed people. Note also that these kinds of blinder effects have happened with bethsoft before. Oblivion, Skyrim, Fo3, every game they’ve released since Morrowwind has generally been held up as BEST GAME EVER, only for the post-release consensus to become “pretty good, but needed mods/more testing/Obsidian to make it great.” Another commentor said that making these kinds of high-impact, low-staying-power games is their specialty. They lucked into the cachet of devs that always make the killer app, which means their games sell well enough that the huge mod community can take over where their own efforts run dry.

      So, tl;dr: it’s part that Fallout 4 really is a more interesting, better-made game, and part that Bethsoft has a fanbase that essentially ensures its own existence.

      1. Daemian Lucifer says:

        So, tl;dr: it's part that Fallout 4 really is a more interesting, better-made game, and part that Bethsoft has a fanbase that essentially ensures its own existence.

        Its arguably better made or more interesting.But I do agree that it has a more vocal fanbase than tony hawk.

        1. djw says:

          To add an anecdote, I have zero interest in skateboard sims, regardless of whether they are open world or not.

  17. Ivellius says:

    The character of Snoke has some potential (I actually like the scars, and I think his backstory would be interesting).

    The name is completely awful, though.

  18. ehlijen says:

    Something I’ve noticed and am wondering if others agree/disagree:

    JJ Abrams, or by coincidence the writers for the movies he directs, doesn’t know how to convey distance.

    In ST(2009) that wasn’t a big problem. 90% of the movie was earth and vulcan, two planets that by galactic standards we’re led to expect to be near each other, and starships and transporters were meant to trivialise such distances.

    In Into Darkness, it was a bit weird how easily getting to and from the Klingon homeworld was, but the rest of the movie was still on earth, so tolerable (compared to the rest of the movie).

    But in Force Awakens?
    Everyone seems to be at Jakoon to start with. Important good guys, important bad guys and important fan service. Odd but fine.
    Kylo Ren Travels to and from starkiller base as though it had a revolving door to Whereistheplotville. There was no sense of consistency in travel times.
    Why was the destruction of the republic government system visible from other planets with the naked eye? Mars isn’t that visible from earth, and it’s in the same system!
    Cantina planet seemed to be within a few travel hours of both starkiller base and the resistance command hobbit hole.
    Could starkiller base even move? We never see it move, and the resistance always seems to know where it is. The deathstar could move; we knew because Tarkin ordered it to move to Alderaan. But this thing? We’re not told. If it can’t, it’s gonna run out of sun pretty soon. If it can, why does it need to shoot across the galaxy and why can the resistance find it so easily?
    And how come, during a 30min countdown, the resistance can launch at least two recon missions at it?
    And the map. The piece BB8 carried looked like about 15% of the galaxy! ‘No identifiable locations’ my butt! The trail on it also looked quite long, but the movie skips over it in no time to squeeze the arrival at the end in just at the end anyway.

    Unless Abrams can work on that or get writers who can, I don’t think he should be doing space movies :/
    Eps IV and V gave us a great sense that the galaxy was very big. (VI not so much, but the endor battle was still worlds ahead in scripting and editing than the battle for starkiller base was). VII feels like everyone lives on the same space block.

    Also, hyperspace apparently works like on Babylon 5 now. The x-wings are given the signal, while in hyperspace, to ‘launch their attack when ready’, implying they’ve been hanging around in hyperspace and waiting for that (and then immediately do). Not a contradiction, really, but a change to how every EU author seems to have assumed it works. Would just have been nice if it had been a clearer change or lack thereof.

    1. Ivellius says:

      Yeah, I agree. Kind of goes along with the cast talking about how impatient the movie was. Now that you describe it this way, it’s probably that Abrams is an impatient director.

    2. ? says:

      Hyperspace has been working like that for some time in Clone Wars and Rebels. I guess up to this point we didn’t have much in a way of visualizing hyperspace travel other than games, the lowest tier of old canon. There might be a hint about it in New Hope when Han brags about knowing a few manoeuvres and later says he lost pursuit during Luke’s training, while they are still in hyperspace. It doesn’t make much sense if you can’t change course during a jump (you still need to calculate the initial jump or you can smash into a star 0.0005s after pushing the button), on the other hand 12 f****** parsecs makes even less sense.

      1. ehlijen says:

        It’s not just the games. The Thrawn trilogy, the first of the post VI EU as far as I know, is very clear that there is no stopping in hyperspace. You race to the goal and you get there when you get there. The entire concept of the interdictor cruiser and the various tactics around its use are built on that assumption.

        Which bits in the cartoons indicated that you can sit and wait in hyperspace? I never noticed those.

        The only thing I found in the movies that suggested one way or the other is the fleet at endor not waiting for Han to send the all clear first, though. Not proof, but it suggests they couldn’t have waited.
        Again, I don’t mind if it works like B5 now, as long as they are clear and consistent with the new movies.

        1. ? says:

          Malovelance arc and R2-D2 on a secret mission with other astromechs comes to mind immediately as weird hyperspace episodes. There was also at least one case of star destroyer entering hyperspace while still in atmosphere. Rebels had an episode where the crew launched a shuttle and left hyperspace in the middle of a jump (and actual Interdictor cruiser in other episode). What I primarily meant was that usually in the EU once you plotted a jump there was no altering it and no interaction between objects and hyperspace. Can’t recall any explicit waiting within hyperspace. Unless you count holonet beacons, which are in hyperspace and yet remain stationary for communication purposes, but that’s generic EU not cartoons specifically.

          And Zahn might have written about it, but that’s the difference between written and visual media in my opinion (and why I brought up games: the only visualisation in the EU), he created the rules to fit his written story. Just like he has written about Executor construction nearly bankrupting the Empire, even if it didn’t make sense with the RotJ.

          1. ehlijen says:

            I was talking specifically about the xwing apparently waiting in hyperspace, which’d imply sitting still while travelling FTL. To my knowledge, and I have watched all of the cartoons, that hasn’t happened in the EU and the assumption was always that while in hyperspace, a ship is moving, not sitting still.

            B5 has explicit waiting in hyperspace (which is more like an actual parallel dimension there), but Star Trek’s warp, for example, does not. This movie suggests one can wait in hyperspace while RotJ suggested that isn’t the case (else, why would the fleet have jumped in without waiting for the all clear?).

            Again, I don’t mind either way, but it if it’s ever plot relevant (and in RotJ it was), I’d prefer some consistency.

  19. Christopher says:

    Since we’re all giving our movie review: I kinda wish I hadn’t gone and seen the last Star Wars movie. Thought it was all right, but way too similar to those old movies in both character and plot. The new characters are all right, but I wouldn’t say I love any of them. They mostly remind me of cartoon characters, just plainer. Kylo Ren might be the best/deepest technically, but that character suuucks. Such a little prick, looking like he’s twentysomething but acting like he’s 14. I hope he pulls a Zuko. I can’t see him ever becoming a treathening villain. I like Finn the most, but I prefer similar characters like Usopp or Sokka to him. I wish we knew anything about Rey’s past besides her being abandoned and related to Luke in some way. Guess it isn’t that different from Finn, but Finn does not care about his past the way she does. Still a pretty entertaining movie. Some sequences were very cool, like Rey being all Nausicaa at the beginning and scavenging through these ruins in the desert. I really like the monsters that looked like the eye things from D&D. The lady who ran the ren fair version of the Cantina was nice, and the clientele looked great. The fight at the end in the forest and the confrontation scene on the bridge were cool. The plot is understandable. It’s a much better film than any of the prequels, but because it is so similar to the older movies, it feels like filler. Like someone else made fan characters. Here’s my emperor stand-in, here’s my Vader, here’s my Death Star, here’s my Tatooine. Here’s my Empire and Rebels. Why are the rebels called the Resistance, like the First Order is an actual empire in charge still? So they can be like in the original movies.

    I don’t really like those old original trilogy movies that much either though. They’re on the same level of “Oh, these things are okay”. Just felt like I had to see them at some point to follow conversations, like when the video game podcasts I listen to have thirty minute long segments about the new movie. I’ve only got myself to blame for going to watch something I knew wouldn’t really excite me and wouldn’t really bother me either. It’s the same mentality as “This Undertale thing is really popular and all my friends say I have to try it”, except Undertale turned out to appeal more to my taste. Like, I would love it if this new Star Wars thing became more anime. If Snoke behind the hologram turned out to be neither a cute alien puppy, Lord Farquaad or a human, middle-aged businessman in a suit, but rather a giant Voldemort with a massive lightsaber? I would be beside myself. If the new weapon was a giant droid instead of a bigger death star? Would adore it. But I don’t know if Star Wars fans would accept that, or any new elements at all.

    (edit: I guess the businessman example was from an actual anime. I would not mind that either. But I prefer the lightsaber the size of a tree.)

  20. TFA is a shallow corporate product more than it is a film, but it is a well crafted and entirely enjoyable corporate product, so I have no prob giving it both a thumbs up recommendation to go watch and a good smug reaming.

  21. wswordsmen says:

    Not that I care at all about whether Undertale won a poll saying it was the greatest game of all time, but even if the premise that Undertale is the greatest game of all time is granted, it should not be declared as such yet.

    The reason is video game culture is too influenced by hype. You can’t get a good grasp of how good something is in a historical context until at least a few months and normally more than a year after it comes out. Since Undertale is a 2015 game that means we have to wait until mid 2016 before we can say any rating of Undertale is not biased by the hype. Therefore any deceleration of historic quality on Undertale (and any other game) needs to wait a while to remove that bias.

  22. Christopher says:

    Question though:

    It’s already been established Rey is can beat Ren, or at least equal him, with none of his training. Ren’s ALREADY been trained, at least partially, and he can’t beat a novice.How can he possibly pose a credible threat to the main character?

    Which leads on, what IS the credible threat to the characters at this point? Because I just can’t find it to be Ren as of the ending of this movie, not on the same level as Darth Vader. Even the prequel trilogy had the Emperor, the only good thing out of that whole series.

    I think they also didn’t sell the whole “force awakening” thing as well as they should have.

    1. djw says:

      It was not really a fair fight. He had a substantial wound from Chewies bowcaster, which they made a point of emphasizing just before the fight began.

      Also (and this is complete speculation on my part, with nothing to back it up) it may be that he was conflicted and regretful about killing his father. Those emotions would make it more difficult to channel the dark side, and would require him to rely on his (injured) physical abilities instead.

      Finally, we don’t actually know how much training he has (at least from the movie, the books may address this). In the beginning of the movie he stops Poe Dameron’s blaster bolt in mid flight, which is pretty badass, but his force abilities for most of the rest of the film seem mediocre.

      1. Christopher says:

        I don’t think Ren will have another serious fight with the heroes. Wounded and conflicted or not, they beat him. That fight is done. Snoke talked about “finishing his training” when his second in command told him that Ren failed, so that implies to me that Snoke is gonna try to kill him or possess him or do something to get some use out of him. I assume he’s gonna flee and try to redeem himself, but… I guess there aren’t really any other opponents for the heroes to fight, so who knows. Maybe Finn becomes seduced by the dark side or something dumb. Maybe Hux has been pining for a cool, black helmet. Maybe the Jedi temple seals some ancient evil away. Maybe Snoke is more effective in person than the Emperor. Maybe no garbage chute can hold Captain Phasma.

        1. djw says:

          I think “finish his training” actually means that he is going to finish his training.

          Both Ren and Rey are going to be trained by masters, and they *will* do battle again. There is no way that won’t happen.

          If the point of that fight was to show that Rey was stronger then they would not have bothered to show Rey looking at the large pool of blood draining out of the wound on Ren’s side before their match.

          1. Christopher says:

            That’s probably actually what’s going on. I just don’t want it to be the case since I don’t like Ren.

            1. djw says:

              He was a bit whiny. I think there is potential for a decent character there eventually though.

              I think looking at him as a neophyte sith rather than the big bad evil makes it easier to see where his arc is going. It also makes his failure easier to understand.

          2. Pyrrhic Gades says:

            “Both Ren and Rey are going to be trained by masters, and they *will* do battle again. There is no way that won't happen.”

            Fritz Solo is dead. The planet he was on blew up

            1. Christopher says:

              My point is more that like, if you’re making a trilogy, you shouldn’t have an inconsistent villain because you have to constantly reestablish motive. Taking the original trilogy, Darth Vader was the ‘consistent’ villain. He was always a force that while not necessarily on screen, was in the background. More then the Death Star, Vader was the force that was scary.

              The prequels screwed this up by giving us a villain with no visible motivation and like..4 lines? Tops. It’s hard to even fathom how Qui-Gon dying was remotely as shocking as Ben, for a couple of reasons, but one big reason is that Darth Vader was being set up throughout the movie, form the first scene even, as this big scary DUDE.

              Then they introduce another villain in the next movie, rush his motivation and oh, then he dies at the very beginning of the third. Then they introduce another villain in the beginning of the third and he dies halfway through the third.

              I understand Mr. Young’s point on the whole “Don’t just make another vader”, and I agree with that, but I still think you need some sort of genuinely threatening villain. “The dark side” and “the empire” are to big and to faceless to be villains in the heroic-tale sense, and Ren, I feel personally, just sort of fails to capture the essence of being a threatening, which is not helped by him losing, and leaves it lacking a face villain, someone who is a person and is also a threat to the heroes.

              1. GloatingSwine says:

                Kylo Ren isn’t supposed to be the big threatening villain.

                The whole point of his character is how he can’t live up to what Vader was, and how much that eats at him.

            2. ehlijen says:

              I really doubt that. Just like I doubt that we’ve seen the last of silver Brienne (though her survival will be even harder to justify).

              The killer of Han Solo, son of Leia, rival of Rey and traitor to Luke Skywalker who was promised further training isn’t going to die off screen if even one of the writers has half a talent’s worth of clue.

              1. Wide And Nerdy â„¢ says:

                My main complaint about Phasma is that pointing a gun at her head worked. Really? She’s willing to sacrifice the Death Star to save her own skin? Did she just not know about the small thermal exhaust port?

                And was that the only place from which the shields could be controlled? You’d think there would be a command override.

                Wow. This movie is packed with Fridge Logic. Abrams moves so fast that most of this stuff doesn’t start bugging me until after the movie.

                1. djw says:

                  Your point about the override is valid (and I actually wondered the same thing during the film), but… why wouldn’t she save her own skin?

                  Humans have a built in survival instinct. It can be overridden by belief in a cause or by desire to save loved ones, but we don’t have any information about silver stormtroopers characteristics in that regard. Maybe this whole “first order” thing is just part of her career path towards a job in imperial politics. Just because she is in a shiny outfit doesn’t mean she gives a damn.

                  Now, if we find out in a later movie that she is super loyal to a fault, then this scene will be retroactively stupid.

                  1. djw says:

                    On a tangential note, why would they put her in a shiny outfit in the first place? That surely just makes her a “very important target” on the battlefield. I get that it is film logic, but it seems like a bad idea in a battlefield that will almost certainly include snipers.

                    1. ehlijen says:

                      Because Star Wars is a heroic space fantasy story and in those One Does Not Worry About Such Things. For one, because important characters dying to snipers isn’t heroic (and thus won’t be in the script) and for two, because the audience being able to pick out the character in a battle is more important than that.

                      But yes, Phasma is the worst stormtrooper commander. Her achievements are:
                      -Successfully ordering the execution of a civilian village (high point of her on screen career, though she does not visibly participate)
                      -Failing to address Finn’s overcoming his brain washing (she orders him to have it renewed, which he promptly ignores and isn’t forced into)
                      -Being tall (Space Hitler parade)
                      -Getting punched by a wookie
                      -Bringing about the doom of Starkiller base at gunpoint with very little resistance (so I take it she wasn’t brainwashed?)
                      -Garbage compactor(?)

                      Truly, a fearsome foe :(

                  2. Wide And Nerdy â„¢ says:

                    You’re right and I go back and forth on that myself. I think Phasma needs to be badass enough that if she wants to she can stare a barrel down and not blink. She’s supposed to be the new Boba Fett kind of right?

                    But it could in retrospect be an interesting reveal that Phasma is not so loyal that she’d sacrifice herself for Starkiller Base. This might speak to a more complex character that we’ll learn about in future installments. I want her to be tough enough to do it for something but it doesn’t have to be for this.

                    Side Note: I hope there aren’t “Silver Stormtroopers” like it was some palette swap higher tier mook in a video game. I think the Silver Armor should be her special armor. I assumed it was during the movie.

                    1. Mike S. says:

                      I assumed it was an officer’s uniform, like the gold Cylons in the original Battlestar Galactica.

              2. Pyrrhic Gades says:

                If anything, the Silver Stormtrooper and the First Order’s Number 2 guy are a lot easier to justify in their survival. They were in a building with spaceships when the planet blew up, Fritz was bleeding in the woods.

                1. djw says:

                  Snokes told the Moff to leave the planet with Kylo Ren. So supposedly he went and collected him before he flew away.

    2. ? says:

      Maybe Kylo Ren that is not bleeding like pig after being shot with a bowcaster, repeatedly beating his wound just not to faint? Maybe after some time to savour his patricide instead while still being shocked by it? Or maybe when he wasn’t running(while bleeding) to catch up with Rey and Finn? He must have hauled ass to get there :P

  23. tx04 says:

    One thing that bothered me in TFA was that every time someone came out of hyperspace, they were pointed directly at the planet they were going to. In other words, if the hyper drive malfunctioned or the timing was off, they would splat into the planet. Also getting through the Death Star 3 shields by flying at light speed was as stupid as the dumbest things in the prequels. Why not just have a ship fly at light speed into the exhaust port? The damage should easily be enough to cripple the base.

    1. MichaelGC says:

      getting through the Death Star 3 shields by flying at light speed


      1. 4th Dimension says:

        From what I understand they weren’t trying to push through the shields, rather they explited the fact that the shields are a way of from the planet/deathstar 3.0, so they warped in below the shields. The danger was two fold. You either misjudge your warpoint and end up in the palnet or smack on the shields, or since apparently ships have a significant speed going into warp, you are unable to control your ship upon exit and smack into the planet.

        It’s still stupid because then why don’t they use warp based ammunition in their capital ships and such.

    2. djw says:

      Why not just have a ship fly at light speed into the exhaust port? The damage should easily be enough to cripple the base.

      It seems like missiles with warp drives would be a pretty good weapon. No need for a payload, just the kinetic energy from FTL mass ought to destroy the base pretty readily. If you fire enough of them you don’t really need to bother with the exhaust port either. Just blow up the whole thing.

      Is there any reason given in any of the films/books for why this isn’t common?

      1. Supahewok says:

        I think that despite using and improving on hyperdrives for thousands of years, nobody actually knows how they work. They were a gift/remnant of an older civilisation. Maybe nobody’s figured out how to make them small enough, or it isn’t cost effective.

        Also Star Wars isn’t that kind of sci-fi. More fi, less sci.

      2. Alexander The 1st says:

        On top of what Supahewok said, there’s also the side detail of accuracy – that is, if you miss most targets with a hyperdrive jump, you’re instead hitting something else, somewhere else. The Millennium Falcon can do this because if it missed, they could turn around – as long as they didn’t drop inside the planet itself, of course.

        There’s also precedent for the idea that this hasn’t been tried before – when they leave the gangster ship with the tentacle monsters, one of them’s hugging the ship as they try to leave the docking bay, and IIRC, Rey suggests just going into hyperdrive right there – and when asks if it’d work, Han says “Eh; never had to try it before.”

        Finally, there’s the power consumption of the hyperdrive – you can basically do nothing else when you prime up to jump, and if the Republic/Resistance ever needs to fight with weapons, they’re *usually* within regular shooting range anyways. The few times they aren’t, they need to do a Trench Run, so they *will* be.

  24. wswordsmen says:

    Dear Josh,

    The big difference between Luke and Rey is that Luke was established as a great pilot before jumping in the X-wing and had made similar shots before. Rey suddenly knew what a Jedi mind trick was and figured out how to do it, without even taking a moment to think about it. She literally just tries it, no hesitation because it is crazy, no thinking of other options, just mind trick the mook. The jumps are similar but one is worse than the other.

    1. ehlijen says:

      Yeah, it would have helped a lot if she’d seen Kylo Ren use a mind trick on an annoying mook during a moment of frustration or something. Especially since the way she does use the mind trick comes across less trickery and more an attempt to brute force her will into the trooper’s mind, as I saw it. (As an aside, I don’t think her struggle with the dark side is anywhere near over, yet, nor is Ren’s chance at redemption, even if their destination might be clear to the audience already.)

      And as mentioned above, Luke figured out the basics of telekinesis without ever being told it exists in the wampa cave. There is precedent for people coming up with force powers on their own.

      1. Thomas says:

        Its always felt like telekinesis is the baby steps of Force Powers though, initiates can swat wildly at things with the force, but manipulation and understanding take much more time.

        I’d actually be okay with it if they made her Mind Trick look even more crude, really hammer home that she’s doing the mental equivalent of wild swatting – but then they should make her completely incapable at physical manipulation as a balance.

        Either way, smoothly summoning a lightsaber to her hand should have been a lot harder. Even pros in the prequels sometimes had to take time and effort to summon a lightsaber into their hand.

        Even if that is my absolute favourite part of the film. It gave me thrills =D

      2. Grimwear says:

        Honestly, I feel they shouldn’t have even had Kylo Ren and Rey face off in this movie. They really only did it so they could have a lightsaber battle. This is just what I believe but I feel they should have gone one of two routes.

        1) Kylo Ren and Finn do the face off with Finn getting wounded which then leads to Rey taking up the lightsaber to face him but before they can fight the planet breaking apart happens. Now Rey is forced to leave the conflict and Luke actually has something to teach her about powerful emotions leading to the dark and controlling her emotions. Also this builds the tension for the inevitable confrontation that will occur in the next film.

        2) Rey and Kylo Ren still fight but it turns out that the whole fight was just Kylo Ren toying with Rey (because again Kylo Ren has been trained by TWO masters and we know he should have some lightsaber training I mean it was the first thing Obi Wan gave Luke and we saw 8 year olds using them in the prequels) and has been using the time fighting with her in order to appeal to her desire for power and loneliness by offering her power in order to stop anyone from leaving her ever again. Instead we got a clumsy scene where Ren is constantly trying to outright kill her then for some reason when he has her on the ropes he tries to talk to her. Then you can have the scene where she breaks free, the chasm opens, she runs away, etc. Now the audience is left wondering o man is there a chance that she’ll take his words to heart? What will this mean when they face next?

        As an aside they really should have ended the movie when Rey and Chewie fly off from the waving crowd and saved the scene with Luke for the start of the next one. It just ruins the pacing and honestly is just cringe worthy to watch.

        1. ehlijen says:

          1) would have felt unsatisfying. This movie, this story, called for the bad guy to be confronted and beaten. Yes, it’s part of a trilogy, but each part should still be satisfying to watch on their own. Han Solo’s killer getting away scott free wouldn’t have been.
          And Rey still has plenty of potential of emotional conflict and being lured to the dark side. She rejected Kylo, sure, but did she really also give up on her desire to punish him for what he’s done? Is he possibly only alive because the rift saved his life and stopped her?

          I agree though that Luke shouldn’t have been in this movie. It added nothing (since they couldn’t be bothered giving him any lines) and again made the galaxy seem tiny (see my comments above).

          2) Misses the point of what makes Kylo Kylo and not Darth Vader. He is immature. He is weak. He isn’t anywhere near as powerful as he likes to pass himself off as. And he was badly wounded. That Rey realised she could beat him was the point of the battle. She was supposed to overcome her fear of him and realise that she already knew more than him because she has a much stronger sense of self than he’ll ever have. She saw through the mask he put up.
          And lastly, Rey is supposed to be a badass prodigy. She has fighting experience, as shown on Jakku. Not formalised training, but she clearly picked up staff fighting to protect herself. Insisting that she suck at fighting Ren ignores that she clearly had to learn to fight to live.

          As for needing lightsabre training: I don’t think so. Lightsabres are space swords. They act exactly like regular swords in the movies we’ve seen so far. They are just made of laser because it’s more space. Swords and staves are different, true (and Rey is clearly shown having issues adjusting for that), but she doesn’t need the force or funky training just to not slice her own legs off. If she did, she’d also need the force/training to not constantly trip herself with her own staff.

          1. Supahewok says:

            There’s other ways of defeating the bad guy. In IV, Vader beat Obi-Wan, and proceeded to hop in a tie fighter and slaughter Rebels. He was only forced away due to a surprise maneuver from Han, and even then, it was friendly fire that knocked him away.

            In 5, he kicks Luke’s ass, and made Han impotent by deflecting a blaster bolt with his own damn hand like a boss.

            His defeat in VI only occured after a lengthy battle, and when Luke flirted with the Dark Side. That felt monumental, because so much effort had been spent building Vader up, and he is remembered to this day as one of the most memorable villains in fiction.

            Sure, it’s cool that Ren is going in a different direction. That’s fine. But it left the film with no appreciable villain for us to fear. In general, but especially in this film where no effort was expended worldbuilding, evil needs a face for the audience to associate with it, in order to get us to feel anything for the evil side as a whole. The movie made it quite clear that Ren as he is, is pathetic. Who’s left to leave us feeling the threat of evil? The shiny stormtrooper got her ass knocked down a garbage compacter. Nu-Tarkin hadn’t half the charisma of the old, and although he blew up a planet, he failed to prevent the newly-disenfranchised Resistance from blowing up his planet with a dozen and a half snub-fighters, even fewer than killed the Death Star. No threat there. Talking hologram talked, didn’t actually do shit.

            We, as the audience, have no reason to fear the First Order, so we have no tension going into the next movie. At least at the beginning of V, we knew Vader was out there, and that he’d bring down a reckoning. There is nobody on Team Bad at this point that has been shown to be any more than vaguely confident, certainly nobody worth losing sleeping over.

            The complaints about Ren being nonthreatening are only half about his character. The movie needed somebody for us to fear, and since he was given the most screen time, he’s the one that’s being focused on. He didn’t have to be threatening, but SOMEBODY should have.

            In the absence of a sufficient figure of threat on team bad, there should have been a different solution other than direct fighting. You can have your big victory without beating the big bad in a saber duel. IV did it. Out of everything they stole from that film, they ignored what in hindsight was one of the smarter plot decisions. I don’t have much confidence in this new creative team. Shame, I love the new actors.

            1. ehlijen says:

              None of that is the fault of Ren’s character. The destruction of unknooine was badly handled and thus didn’t leave the impression it should have, but it gave us a militaristic, fascist faction that thought nothing about blowing up densely populated star systems.

              We should have feared the first order based on that, and its only scripting problems that left us not doing so.

              Similar with Ren himself. He’s evil, clearly willing to slaughter any number of innocents to get his way. But he’s also troubled and borderline incompetent. He’s a force powered raging lunatic in command of a star destroyer that could snap at any moment and kill you even if he gains nothing from the act, even if it hurts his own plans. That should be scary and the only reason, I think, people say he isn’t is because they wanted a new vader, not a hulk that turns into a whiny teenager out of combat.
              But seriously, emotional imbalance + military authority + lightsabre and some forcepowers (even if others are ultimately more skilled) is not a combination that should ever be considered harmless. Think ranting Hitler from the Downfall scene that gets riffed on youtube all the time. He looks pathetic, but only until you remember he’s got more power and authority than some sane men should have, let alone insane ones!
              He is pathetic and dangerous and the same time.

              As for what to expect from the next movie? Ren is alive. He didn’t die onscreen, so he is alive. Snoke is alive and dumb name not withstanding, clearly meant to come across as an emperor like figure (which also means the first order is still a threat). And then there is the question if Rey can actually keep her fears in check and become a jedi, and of course the fallout of Luke finally returning and having to answer all the ‘WTF, dudes?’.

              1. Supahewok says:

                Maybe he wouldn’t be considered harmless if he had killed any minion on screen, but all we saw was him slicing up terminals and crap. It looked like he might kill that one guy he was choking, but he didn’t end up doing so. As a matter of fact, the only people I can remember him killing is the old guy with the map at the beginning, and Daddy. He literally doesn’t kill ANYBODY else on screen, as far as I can recall.

                Yeah, I’m shaking in my boots. Not even Nu-Tarkin treats him seriously. Old Tarkin and Vader at least seemed to have respect for each other, and given how we were shown that both men were dangerous and ruthless, that relationship fed on itself, helping them seem even more dangerous and ruthless by respecting each other’s dangerousness and ruthlessness.

                I already said, multiple times, that Ren not being intimidating wasn’t the problem, since it wasn’t his arc. But SOMEBODY needed to create tension, and since he had the most screen-time, the burden first falls on him, and he fails. I don’t want to be told that Snoke, Hux, Phasma, or Ren is gonna come back next movie to kick ass, I want to be shown in this movie. Why should we fear the First Order now that their planet killer is blown up? The movie (I don’t give a crap about the books) gives us absolutely no other reason, so we have no tension and the Order just looks like a bunch of bunglers.

                Edit: I guess if there’s any consolation regarding this movie, it helps to show just how good the old movies were.

      3. Jsor says:

        Also, I imagine that since she knew who Luke Skywalker was (granted, she thinks he’s just a legend) she’d be more familiar with the general parameters of force powers than the average Imperial citizen like Luke was.

        I know this is filling in the gaps for the writers, but it makes sense to me that she’s heard stories about mind tricks and such.

        I’d also argue that mind control isn’t that far of a step from the mind reading that was going on.

        1. Alexander The 1st says:

          I’d argue the mind-reading that was going on was more Dark Sided – if only because it’s used to bring out the emotions, and at least in KOTOR, Dominate Mind is a Dark Side move.

          It is kind of odd that Obi-Wan’s Force Persuade “These aren’t the droids you’re looking for” is something she heard about, but perhaps it was one of those legends. I mean, Han Solo mentioned earlier on that the whole thing about the Force, and Jedi and Sith, was true; it’s not *impossible* that Rey learned about the Force Persuade, just improbable – since either R2-D2, C-3PO, or Luke would be the only people who could’ve mentioned that scene…

          Okay, that’s not *entirely* true – the Stormtrooper who was Force Persuaded could’ve mentioned it to others as well.

    2. GloatingSwine says:

      Luke wasn’t really established as a great pilot by the movie though.

      He boasts a bit in the briefing room, that’s all you get for “establishing he’s a great pilot”, or indeed that he has flown anything that goes higher than that landspeeder of his ever before.

      1. wswordsmen says:

        Except we have Bings, an experienced rebel pilot who was trained at the Imperial Academy, say Luke “is the best pilot in the outer rim territories”. Also Luke “used to bullseye womp rats in my T-16 back home.” Which means he defiantly has flown higher than the speeder. Might not be much but it is still better than the scene with Rey.

        1. Supahewok says:

          I think those might’ve been scenes added by Lucas’ edits. I watched the original films last week, Biggs says hi to Luke on the ground but that’s it (even that I’m not 100% sure of). I’ve never seen the scenes you’re talking about.

          1. MichaelGC says:

            Not sure about the Outer Rim one, but the womp-rat quote was definitely in the original 1977 version! He says it to Wedge at the briefing just before they saddle up to take out the Death Star. And he later likens the trench run to: “Beggar’s Canyon back home.” There’s a definite general sense of him having somewhat-relevant prior experience (or at least, I always saw it that way).

            [Source: being nearly as old as the hills…]

            1. Supahewok says:

              I thought he meant that Biggs said it at some point. I know Luke said it to Fake Wedge.

  25. Grimwear says:

    I actually have a very different interpretation from Mumbles as to what is happening during the moment with Ren. It’s not Rey deciding whether or not to join the Dark Side, especially when she just saw him kill Han Solo but instead the moment actually starts the minute she hears him say he can train her in the use of the force. Once she realizes that what’s been going on around her is due to her using the force she recalls what Maz told her earlier and is closing her eyes not to deny the dark side since she’s really never even been tested or corrupted but rather this is her consciously channeling the force in order to fight back. There is no big defining character moment but rather her just starting to actively channel the force.

    1. 4th Dimension says:

      Not really chanelling, but allowing and opening herself to be guided by the Force, but yeah basically she was doing battle meditation to gain advantage.

  26. Zoa says:

    TFA is complete trash. Worst “SW movie” ever made. To avoid turning this comet in to a extended angry rant and raising my blood pressure I’ll link to a video that accounts biggest problems with the “movie” in calmer fashion then I am able.


    Needles to say I despise TFA, and it effectively killed SW franchise for me. I will not watch any of the future installments, that’s for sure.

    1. djw says:

      Hyperbole much?

      1. MichaelGC says:

        Possibly, possibly – however, this is Star Wars, o’ course, and strong views are nothing unusual! The video isn’t hyperbolic, certainly, and it makes some interesting points, I reckon. It is highly critical, but it does allow at several points for subsequent entries in the series to improve matters – i.e. it retains some open-mindedness.

        It does sound to me as though this new film is in many ways the anti-prequel, and perhaps at times they’ve steered too far in the opposite direction (as an example – the absence of any exposition to explain the political situation). So, there’s a good chance they’ll be able to tack back in the other direction with future entries, and … dare I say it … bring balance.

        Anyway, for anyone who has just watched the film, enjoyed it, and is just enjoying that feeling for the moment, then I’d definitely recommend not watching the linked video, at least for now.

        PS Still chuckling at the ‘cooldown’ gag further up the page!

        1. djw says:

          I just found it ironic that the very first point made in the video is that “some people changed their mind” about the prequel after letting it sink in for a while.

          The ironic part is that the OP has declared this “the worst film” of the franchise without allowing it any time to sink in.

        2. ehlijen says:

          I’m not sure the lack of exposition is an anti-prequel reaction alone. In my opinion, the star trek reboots suffered from the same problem. (And it’s not like the prequels were that good at explaining everything, either!)
          Yes, technobabble had gotten out of hand and Enterprise’s ‘hull plating offline’ will never cease to be hilarious, but ‘and then we used Red Matter to do Space Magic’ was not the solution.

          I really hope this level of handwaving and lack of explanation isn’t the new way Scifi will be done :(

          1. djw says:

            IMO, the best parts of the prequels were the parts related to backstory and politics. I’m not saying that just to be contrary… I actually really liked those parts of the prequels. It was every scene with Jar Jar, any scene with Anakin that did not also have Kenobi, and most of the scenes with Padme that I really hated. Sadly, that’s most of the prequel trilogy.

            Oh, and the pod race. BLECH!

            1. djw says:

              The implied political maneuvering in Star Wars IV is one of the things that I really like about the first movie (now, at least, in 1977 I was seven and mostly just interested in pew pew).

            2. ehlijen says:

              Honestly, I tentatively agree. Those were certainly the bits where the prequels failed the most benignly.

              If only the backstory, world building and themes used there had matched what we were led to expect from the original trilogy :(

              1. djw says:

                Was there really a disconnect between the prequel backstory and the original trilogy backstory? I don’t remember there being any large gaps there, but my recollections are foggy.

                I do remember being impressed by how well Palpatine’s Machiavellian plot held together, but I only watched each of the prequels once, so maybe I missed some glaring plot hole. Also, it is possible his plot line only looked good in comparison with the Padme/Anakin train wreck.

                1. Supahewok says:

                  I don’t think there were any major plot holes in the prequels. Some really stupid character decisions, but no actual problems in the plot other than the people in it being stupid.

                  I liked Palpatine too. Best thing in the whole prequel trilogy.

    2. ehlijen says:

      I can certainly see why you and that reviewer might not like TFA. It doesn’t truly move the world forward and the character and plot arcs appear superficially similar, with many things quite obviously thrown in just because the fans liked them before.

      But I would posit that dismissing the new characters as revamps of the old is missing what makes them different and that the prequels are still worse.

      The review you linked decries the speed at which the pace in TFA moves as ‘terrible for star wars’. Having seen and been bored by the prequels, I disagree. Star wars has always been best when things move at a pace. Even the slow bits of ESB, while slow scenes, moved along and made way for the next scene when the time came. That kind of direction skill was entirely absent from the prequels.

      So the question is, taking the video at face value for a moment (btw I would not consider this a well argued review; too many claims, not enough explaining them):
      Is a mediocre rehash of a good movie better than a bad movie? For me it was.
      Maybe the jokes will wear out at some point and TFA will loose it’s lustre, but at least the jokes worked the first time watching it, which is more than the prequels can say.

  27. p_johnston says:

    Two real quick things.
    1) Chris, Chris, Chris, you had a nemesis all along you just had to look hard enough. Her name is Mumbles.
    2) Mumbles as resident Undertale fan/Music person you might like Adisourus. She does a cover for a few different undertale songs. This is her spider dance https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HW-Jr4M4w90. I have had it stuck in my head for two weeks.

  28. I hope the two fans Episode II have don’t start with their hate spreading against the rest.

    EpI went out and it was liked. Sure, everyone hated Jar Jar and was disappointed with the midichlorians, but everyone (that I read anything about it) had a positive view on the film. Then EpII came out with all its problems of dialogue, rushed scenes, poor edition and everyone hated it. And so the few who liked it, seeing as they couldn’t convince anyone of any virtue of this film (tip: it improves a lot if you press “next scene” every time Amidala shows up), they started to bang on the EpI, specially Jar Jar and midichlorians, in a typical movement among soccer fans when they like a player other dislikes and the one the other likes, to convince them on how rubbish EpI was. If they couldn’t get anybody to say EpII was good, they would not rest until they started to say EpI was as terrible if not the worst.

    Then came EpIII and everyone was very happy with it. Many even said it was worthy of the original trilogy. But as time passed then those fans began to bash on the defects of it, the poor dialogue for Amidala, the acting, even the turning of Anakin as senseless (forgetting strong emotions lead to the Dark Side and so regret would), and suddenly it’s starting to bad mouth even the EpIII that was seen at its moment as worth of the original trilogy like it was the same crap than the rest of the new trilogy.

    Now because some losers couldn’t accept people didn’t like the part they did, they’ve got around to make hating the whole prequel trilogy the “cool thing” and liking some part uncool.

    Let’s not fall for that with this new trilogy.

    Ep VII is too fearful of innovation and has some plot holes, I hate the new superweapon and plan to destroy it, and how they try to make us care with destroying a random system we don’t even know its name until after the fact, when the rescue of Rey and search for the piece of the map in hands of Ren should have been solid enough to provide the proper tension for a climax. It doesn’t explain well the political and military situation. But it is a great film, very fun and with great characters and good action. Let’s not forget Star Wars is and never pretended to be psychological drama, nor a treatise on political and military strategy, so let’s not start asking the new trilogy to be something it never intended to be and never should aim to be. And while it would be welcome to add something new, and I wish future parts will be more bold in adding new things, it still has to remain Star Wars. Space opera, exciting adventure, action, fun.

    If only a perfect film could be good film, we’d only have “Witness for the prosecution”.

    1. ehlijen says:

      I can’t help but feel that agreeing with your post would be easier if you’d refrained from calling some people who’s views you don’t agree with ‘losers’.

      1. djw says:

        That is an entirely reasonable point of view, but don’t forget, this is the internet!

        1. ehlijen says:

          While I accept and respect your mirth for what it is, I must still point out that I don’t believe in any excuse based on ‘things just are the way they are’.
          I know that’s not what you meant with your post, but I’ve seen it used all to often elsewhere.

  29. Nixitur says:

    Silly Mumbles, clearly, the game of the year is Jurassic World.

  30. Metal C0Mmander says:

    Wait Mumble you didn’t just say that the episode 3 light saber duel on the lava planet was the worst because from what I remember it was my favorite. I didn’t really care about Palpatine throwing senate platforms at Yoda or Greivious being an imposing but ultimately pathetic melee fighter and I don’t remember much of the fight with Doku beside the decapitation but I do remember Anakin and Obi-wan trying to have the fight of their life at the worst place possible and nearly anticlimacticly falling in the lava a couple of times. Really I found it kinda clever in ways that I’m sure were not intended by the film makers. It shows that because they have the force they arrogantly believe they can do almost anything and shows that obi-wan won probably more out of luck than pure skills.

  31. Canthros says:

    Way late to the party, here, though I saw the film on the 16th.

    I liked “The Force Awakens”. It is not a great movie, but it was fun, watchable, and seemed mostly well-executed. I made it two-thirds of the way through a Machete Order rewatch–TFA was a breath of fresh air. The new cast members did fine jobs, to the point that I really wish they’d had more time to breathe apart from the returning characters.

    Making Rey into the mechanic, brawler, pilot and nascent Jedi doesn’t leave a lot for Finn to do. Poe’s barely in the film, and Finn’s initial heel face turn seemed, to me, like it needed at least a little explanation.

    Complaints aside, I genuinely like all of these new heroes, and Kylo Ren struck me as an interesting villain.

    As much as the plot felt pretty recycled and the movie a bit overstuffed with tedious Abrams-isms, I still want to see where these characters go. I don’t think I’ll get back to see it a second time before next week, but … it is nice to be able to like where Star Wars seems to be going, rather than lament it. (Granted, I felt that way about Abrams’ Star Trek, and then “Into Darkness” happened. So … fingers crossed.)

  32. Tektotherriggen says:

    Regarding the literal chasm that opens up between Rey and Kylo Ren at the end of their fight – I don’t think that’s just for the metaphor, it has a very important plot function.

    At this point Kylo is seriously injured, obviously going to lose the fight. What would Rey do then? She’s in no position to take him prisoner. Many people in her position would finish him off – out of rage, to stop him pulling a trick at the last moment, to stop him being rescued and coming back for revenge. But that would be a massive step towards the dark side, and she has never been taught that she absolutely mustn’t give in to temptation.

    So the script separates them at the last minute, rescuing her from having to make that choice, so that she has the freedom to follow light or dark when she learns more.

  33. Chris says:

    Anyone else watch the new Star Wars and get a strong Zuko from Last Airbender feel from Han’s son? Actually there are alot of parallels to Avatar from Star Wars, especially if you think of Rey as Aang/Korra.. hrm, would that make Finn into Sokka? Wonder if theres fanfics for this crossover yet..

    Honestly I liked the movie more than I expected to, since my faith in Abrams is nonexistent. Felt like it was too short on the new-characters side, and if shiny-armor chick survives being stuck where she was while large explosions are happening then either the badguys have access to teleportation or to a friggen Tardis.

    And I will continue to think of General Hux as Bill Weasley and Snoke as Golem, because reasons and stuff. On the plus-side, this movie has helped to make Six Degrees of Kevin Bacon easier.

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