Wonder, Marvel, and Survival

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For me, when a female-led action movie is done well, there is something a little extra special about it. Perhaps it’s because they are comparatively rarer for the time being. Let’s put aside the obvious Star Wars Episode VIII and Rogue One, the brainlessly whitewashed Ghost in the Shell, and some others. There are three main, female-led potential blockbusters that I’m very much looking forward to.

These three not only have the potential to be brilliant movies, but also to show the morons- powers-that-be that there is just as much a market for female-led movies as there is for male-led ones. That market is, of course, people who like good movies! These idiots powers-that-be seem to be about the only ones that don’t realise that it doesn’t matter who leads a movie – what matters is that it’s entertaining, exciting, thrilling, funny, sad, GOOD.

But that’s not the point. The point is, these are those three movies.

Wonder Woman

Gal Gadot seemed like an odd choice to play Wonder Woman at first. While the likes of Henry Cavill and Ben Affleck were busy growing to twice their normal size at the gym so they could look the part, a spindly model only really known on screen for her part in a Fast & Furious movie was cast as the third of the Trinity. But out marched Batman v Superman, and it was terrible. But Gadot’s Wonder Woman was, for the brief appearances she made, one of the best things about it.

Granted, how good she was will have been exaggerated a little by how terrible the eponymous leads were. She didn’t whinge and whine and boo hoo her way through her cameo scenes; she was there for a reason and she got on with it. She was, as far as anyone can be in such a short time, Wonder Woman. (While the leads failed utterly to be Superman and Batman, but that’s beside the point).

Sadly, Zack Snyder still has his grubby hands on June 2017’s Wonder Woman solo outing, with IMDb listing him under ‘story by’. But he isn’t directing (that’s Patty Jenkins) and he didn’t write the screenplay, so there’s hope yet. The trailers keep looking better and better, and there’s a slightly Marvel flavour to them, which isn’t a bad thing after an okay Man of Steel followed by two woeful outings from the DCMU.

I’ve always considered Wonder Woman to be Superman’s equal. While he has more raw power, her being a magically-created demigod and warrior balances the scales. When Superman goes bad, who do you call? Wonder Woman (also Batman, obviously). So far, it’s looking as though Gal Gadot’s Wonder Woman is going to be that equal, with the actress  easily embodying Power, Grace, and Wisdom.

Captain Marvel

I don’t actually know all that much about Captain Marvel, being neither a comic reader nor a Marvel fan outside of the screen, but I look forward to her introduction to the MCU more than most of the other Marvel movies coming up.

So far, all we know about the movie is that it is scheduled for release in March 2019, is being written by Nicole Perlman and Meg LeFauve, and will star Oscar winner Brie Larson (who I have only now realised was Abed’s girlfriend in Community!).

Captain Marvel is one of the most powerful characters in the Marvel universe, and according to the Marvel Studios’ president, Kevin Feige, the MCU’s version of her will not only be more powerful than the rest of the heroes ‘by far’, but will also be more powerful than fans are used to seeing her. So, she’s taking the Hulk’s heavyweight belt and then some.

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In the comics, as the character progressed through the usual iterations, she gained the ability to tap the power of a white hole, allowing her to manipulate gravity, heat, and the electromagnetic spectrum. Though she lost this connection, Carol Danvers/Captain Marvel’s base powers include flight at around Mach 6 (light speed with the white hole connection), the ability to survive in space, superhuman strength and durability, a limited precognition, and the ability to blast energy from her fingertips. She can also absorb energy to augment her power to the point of unleashing a nuclear warhead level energy blast, and can throw a 92-tonne punch.

In short, even if these are the highest levels her power reaches in the film, she’s going to be insanely powerful. So with a strong choice of actress, good source material, and Marvel’s mostly solid track record, I don’t need a trailer to know that I want to see this, now!

As a side note, I’m interested in seeing how she’s used going forward. Up till now, Marvel has been mostly trying to keep a balance between the heroes’ power, with them coming out of every scrape pretty much equal (even if it doesn’t always make much sense): Captain America v Iron Man; Thor v Captain America; Thor v Iron Man; Iron Man v Hulk; Thor v Hulk, etc. So it will be interesting to see how Captain Marvel is incorporated in later films, which she will be given that she’s set to become one of the most important characters in the MCU. In the comics, she has had affiliations with pretty much everyone from SHIELD and the Avengers, to the X-Men, to the Guardians of the Galaxy, so we could be seeing a lot of her.

Tomb Raider

Again, we know very little about 2018’s Tomb Raider, except that it will star Alicia Vikander and will be based to some degree on 2013’s Tomb Raider game reboot and sequel. This is what IMDb currently says about it, if it means anything:

Lara Croft sets out on her first expedition to finish her father’s archaeological research and uncover ancient secrets in order to clear his disgraced name. Tragedy hits when her adventure turns into a fight for survival.

This sounds made up to me, but it would make sense. While the 2013 Tomb Raider game was about Lara Croft taking part in an expedition that goes wrong, its sequel, Rise of the Tomb Raider (yes, stupid name), was a more personal story about Lara trying to complete her father’s work and clear his disgraced name.

Written by Rhianna Pratchett, the reboots were far more story driven, and introduced a more human Lara Croft. Initially, she doesn’t believe in the more supernatural elements that gamers were used to her battling, she was barely out of college, and certainly didn’t somersault all over the place firing two guns at once. She was a young woman way out of her depth, concerned only with trying to rescue her friends, and has to adapt radically to be a surviver.

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While Angelina Jolie was a good choice for the big screen’s somewhat entertaining first attempt at the character, it’s easy to imagine Alicia Vikander (another Oscar winner) bringing the young, innocent, and vulnerable Lara Croft through the tragedies, tortures, and trials that will forge the Tomb Raider.


So these are, aside from Rey and Luke, the characters and movies I’m most looking forward to seeing in the next few years. If they’re done right (and I think at least Captain Marvel and Tomb Raider will be), they could be brilliant.

What movies, female led or not, are you looking forward to most before 2020?

Newsletter and Stuff

mailchimp

Actually, no stuff. Just newsletter. You probably noticed when you came to the site that a pop-up asked you to subscribe to my new newsletter. I’m a little late to it, but I thought it was about time to start building up a list of people who might like to support me and who might be interested in new releases and, occasionally, whatnot.

The pop-up itself I can’t customise any more than giving it a 5-second delay, which is annoying because who’s going to know if they want to sign up within 5 seconds?

Anyway, the newsletter will be very infrequent: mostly when I have a new release or something changes with a current book, and in the rare event that I actually write multiple decent blog posts. I will also keep an eye out for other interesting news and stuff with which to fill them out. So, expect something like 2-3 per year…

If you closed the pop-up but this invigorating, rallying cry has changed your mind, there’s a link to the quick sign-up form at the top of the sidebar. Thanks for your support (not a guilt trip).

Battles of Hastings

This time around, the decision was made not to release Wyrd Worlds III, the science fiction and fantasy anthology I was a part of the first two times. Instead, several of the authors involved in those anthologies are releasing short stories to coincide with the 950th anniversary of the Battle of Hastings.

These stories are already up for pre-order, so you can make sure to have them in your collection on the day (14 October).

THE BATTLES OF HASTINGS, BY STEPH BENNION

The Battles of Hastings, by Steph BennionWho really won the Battle of Hastings? Eighteen-year-old Jane Kennedy, a twenty-first-century Chicago girl on her first field assignment, had expected a simple mission to gently ease her into the time-bending realities of her new job. Yet here she was, lying semi-conscious amidst the wounded and dying of a particularly gruesome battle, wondering what the hell she had let herself in for. In this novella based on Jane’s memoirs, follow her strange journey through multiple realities as her fellow time travellers each realise they come from a future with a different past. Is there a rogue on the loose out to change history? The Battles Of Hastings is a romp through alternate time lines in England 1066 to mark the 950th anniversary of the invasion that shaped Britain and Europe today.

PRE-ORDER NOW FROM SMASHWORDS

 

THEY MARVEL AT THE STAR – L J HICK

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Thomas is a member of the Fyrd and is recruited into Harold Godwinson’s army to confront Duke William II of Normandy. He is befriended by a blond-haired man called Kauko as they march to war. Thomas has no time for lords, kings or gods of any kind but Kauko seems to have a large amount of time for Thomas. Why is Kauko so interested in the welfare of a farmer’s son, and just what does he intend to do with him? As the relationship develops and the pair of them confront the stupidity and darkness of war, Thomas comes to realise that they did not meet by chance. In fact, Kauko has been preparing for this for a long time.

PRE-ORDER NOW FROM SMASHWORDS

 

NORMAN BLOOD – BARBARA G. TARN

hastings-barbNineteen-year-old Robert Malet followed William the Bastard to England to claim the English throne. The battle near the small town of Hastings is the beginning of the Norman conquest of England, but also of Robert’s second life.
A vampire in 12th century Europe traveling, fighting and meeting his siblings in darkness, changing names through the years when his mortal life is gone.
Follow Robert Malet, Brother Geoffrey, Robert Capuchon and Mercadier through the years. History and fantasy based on medieval chronicles for a Vampires Through the Centuries novella.

PRE-ORDER NOW FROM:

SMASHWORDS

KOBO

AMAZON

 

EADWEARD – A STORY OF 1066 – VICTORIA ZIGLER

hastings-victoriaIt’s October 14th 1066, and King Harold’s Saxon army is about to go in to battle against Duke William’s invading Norman army. Among the ranks of the Saxons are two boys who shouldn’t be there: Eadweard, and his best friend, Cerdic.
Daydreams of becoming great war heroes had the boys convinced to disobey their Fathers and go to war, despite the possibility of punishment if they were caught. Now it’s time for the battle to begin, and Eadweard is starting to wish he’d stayed home after all. But it’s too late to turn back now, and Eadweard finds himself witnessing the events of the battle that would later be called The Battle Of Hastings, and learning how different from his imaginings the reality of war actually is.
*Note: This is a work of fiction, which is based on actual events. It tells the story of the battle between King Harold’s Saxon army and Duke William’s Norman army, which took place a short distance away from the town of Hastings on October 14th 1066, in a place now known simply as Battle. Though this is a children’s story, the recommended reading age for this book is eight years and over, since it is a story that takes place on a battlefield, and therefore contains scenes of violence that are not suitable for younger, or more sensitive, readers.

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SMASHWORDS

BARNES & NOBLE

APPLE iBOOKS

 

Still Alive

You might be forgiven for thinking that perhaps I had died and decided that in this new state of unliving, I would abandon my blog. This is, you will be ecstatic to hear, not the case. I have been busy with a death that doesn’t belong to me, the following despicable family behaviour, a job, a new car (it has GT on the back!), moving house, trying to get internet, and making my beta readers cry.

Yes, finally, the third book in the NEXUS series is (kind of) finished. I started writing it as soon as I finished Temple of the Sixth and set it aside time after time to write Kira, Acts of Violence, and Kira Part II, but at last the most abused book I’ve worked on is nearly ready. It still needs a bit of rewriting and then editing and proofreading, but it’s not too far off now. Hopefully.

Trip To Space

After this stop-start, stop-start, I hope at least the next two books will come quicker and smoother, but thinking about other projects is what got me into this four year crawl in the first place, so let’s ignore that for now.

So, sooner or later I’ll be posting again with a synopsis and release date…or just a cover. Or a rant about another film.

Zack Snyder v Batman v Superman

Or: Zack Snyder v The DC Universe

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When I first heard about Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice, I was more excited about it than I was about The Force Awakens (though that changed, of course, as TFA came closer). I wasn’t sure what to make of Ben Affleck being cast as Batman, but I thought he might do well. I was not a fan of Jesse Eisenberg being cast as Lex Luthor, but beyond that, I was expecting a good film.

Then the trailers started coming in. The first few teasers were good and only increased my excitement for the film. But it soon started to get worrying. Batman seemed to be doing things Batman shouldn’t be doing. He seemed to be showing too much emotion for my liking. Luthor was acting like an idiot. Doomsday right there in a trailer?! But I still held out hope. There have been trailers before that ill portrayed the film, and I could live with a slightly different take on Batman – every actor is going to play him differently, obviously, and I’ll never get the live action version that’s in my head anyway.

But after my hopes coming and going and coming and going again, I watched the film this morning not knowing what to think. And…I still don’t know what to think. If I were to give the briefest review, I would say it had good bits and bad bits, and overall I quite enjoyed it. But I’ll go a little deeper than that, with no spoilers.

Let’s randomly start with Lex Luthor. I was completely justified in my concerns about Jesse Eisenberg’s casting. He was probably the worst thing about the film. In the three video reviews I watched yesterday of the film, he was twice referred to as being very like Jim Carey. And the more the film goes on, the more I can see why. Though he isn’t as over the top as the reviews can make him seem, there are a couple of places where he brought to mind Carey’s Riddler in Arkham Asylum at the end of Batman Forever. He is certainly a new take on the character, being borderline schizophrenic rather than insane through his megalomania. He does at least have a few decent lines regarding whether Superman is truly good.

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Gal Gadot was a good choice for Wonder Woman, I thought, and she gives off a sense of power and virtue. Her sudden appearance (sudden to most of the characters) towards the end of the film made me smile, yet I can see how people not entirely familiar with her character would be very confused. Why, they would muse, is Wonder Woman doing more damage to Doomsday than Superman?

Affleck did a good job as Batman. I’ve heard a lot of people say he’s the best thing about the film, but I don’t know if I would go that far. To me, he is similar to Cavill as Superman: good, but not all that remarkable. I wouldn’t like to see him replaced and I’d be happy to watch him in the role again, but his name wouldn’t roll off my tongue if I was asked who I think the best Batman is (Kevin Conroy, since you ask). I’ll come back to more of Batman in a minute.

It’s difficult to talk about the film without properly…talking about it. A lot of the issues revolve around things that are, or could be considered, spoilers. But suffice to say that one annoyance is that the trailers pretty much show us the entire film. There is very little in there that will surprise you after watching those. Which is absolutely ridiculous on the part of the marketing team. Doomsday should never have been shown in the trailers, particularly. Even Wonder Woman’s best bits are in the trailers.

Just like my ramblings, the film is all over the place and lacking in any kind of sense of consistency or substance. I don’t understand a lot of the choices, such as sitting Metropolis right next to Gotham (you literally see the Bat signal from Metropolis), or having Batman closer to the end of his career just as the Justice League begins come together. Unfortunately, a lot of it is stuff I can’t mention in a spoiler-free review (like the plot point they used for the resolution – ridiculous and too soon). The dream sequences are another particularly confusing aspect of the film, since they don’t actually seem to have any relevance to anything.

It’s as though there are multiple films playing out in one, and Snyder doesn’t know which one to point the camera at. Although for the most part the way it jumps about isn’t too confusing, there is a lot of stuff that didn’t need to be in there at all. Like the cameos from the other Justice League members. The cameos themselves are bad, the way they are done is bad, and they are utterly pointless except to show Batman and Wonder Woman that there are more metahumans out there, which isn’t necessary information for this film. Why not end the film with one of them saying something like, ‘You know, there were more videos on that drive…’ and going from there?

In the end, though, the thing that really brought the film down was Batman. Yes, you’ve heard that he’s the best part, and yes he’s very good. But he kills people. Like a moron, Snyder tried to excuse it as not murder, but just plain old manslaughter. Funnily enough, that doesn’t make it okay. As I said, I can deal with a different take on the character, but when you completely alter a fundamental aspect of that character…well, you’re a twat.

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Not only does Batman kill, but he kills unnecessarily. Each and every kill could have been avoided and handled differently. At one point he even has devices that disable his enemies’ guns, so clearly some kind of brain activity is possible when it comes to thinking non-lethally. But instead, Snyder decides to take the lazy approach and just murder everyone else. And it is laziness because, at the end of the day, Batman in the comics can actually be quite profound, and that includes his reasons for not killing and his justifications for why it isn’t necessary, right, or his choice to make. Writing in good reasons why Batman still sticks to his all-important rule is so much harder than ‘oh, well, you know, he’s just tired of bad people doing bad things and stuff…’, so they simply didn’t bother.

That said, I wonder how the gentleman that Superman smashed through a brick wall at 100mph is doing.

One of the biggest aspects of Batman’s character is his iron will. And that extends to his not killing. But that’s not the only reason he doesn’t kill. It’s because he knows how close to the edge he is. He knows the darkness inside him. And he knows that if he were to go down that path, there would be no coming back; he would become everything that he has been fighting against. But no, Zack Snyder knows better, right?

Interesting question: If Batman is so happy to murder people, why is the Joker alive?

I decided early that I would never take a life. Right around the time I decided that I wanted to live. It wasn’t an arbitrary decision and it was more than moral. It’s about identity. As long as you can choose that, choose who you are in the world…you can choose to call yourself sane.‘ – Batman, New Earth

Vengeance blackens the soul, Bruce. I’ve always feared that you would become that which you fought against. You walk the edge of that abyss every night, but you haven’t fallen in and I thank heaven for that.‘ – Alfred, Mask of the Phantasm

If you kill a killer, the number of killers in the world remains the same.’ – Batman

It Always Starts With One

My biggest issue with the film is actually that in doing the things he has done, Snyder has impacted the entire DC cinematic universe. Everything to come has to work off the template that Snyder has laid down, even if Snyder himself is gone. And he absolutely should be removed from the Justice League, in my opinion. I don’t think he, or David S Goyer, should be allowed anywhere near the DCMU again. Or any superhero film for that matter.

To me, Snyder with BvS is a lot like Frank Miller with Dark Knight Returns. I know a lot of people love that graphic novel and think it’s the ultimate Batman, but I detest it (sorry). Neither of them seem to understand or even like either Batman or Superman.

But, as I said before, at the end of the day I did enjoy the film more than I disliked it. And I think I have run out of things to say without spoilers.

Batman

If you want more Superman and Batman, here are a couple of articles I’ve written before on the subject(s):

The Big Blue Boy Scout

Birth of the Superhero

My 11 Force Awakens Questions

X-Wings

These might not be the most burning questions everyone has, but they are ones that I hope will be answered in the next film – but some I fear won’t be answered at all. I had a few others, but they’re answered in books and whatnot.

SPOILERS, obviously.

Who are the Knights of Ren?

We know, thanks to Supreme Leader Snoke, that Kylo Ren is the ‘master of the Knights of Ren’. But who are they? Is Snoke their leader as well as the First Order’s? Did he poach Kylo from them? Did Kylo create them himself?

My previous theory regarding them was that they were the remnants of Luke’s new Jedi Order – those who sided with Kylo when he turned on Luke. It doesn’t seem likely that he would have left the Jedi to become one of them before becoming Snoke’s apprentice (assuming he is Snoke’s apprentice – I don’t recall either of them using the terms ‘master’ or ‘apprentice’ or anything similar), as Leia says that Snoke seduced Ben Solo to the dark side.

We heard before the film that the Knights of Ren were obsessed with the Sith and spent their time hunting for Sith artefacts, but we learned absolutely nothing about them from the film, bar that Kylo is the master of them. Perhaps the biggest question regarding them is: are any of the other Knights of Ren Force wielders?

I’m going to add to this the question of Kylo’s lightsaber: why is it the way it is. Why is it so unstable? Why does it have the guardy bits?

Why does Kylo Ren’s power falter?

When Kylo tries to pull the lightsaber to his hand, he fails. I mentioned this before and concluded that it could be one of two things. Either Rey’s attempts to pull it were disrupting his, or that the crystals in it are so imbued with the light side that they resisted his dark side power. Most likely the former.

However, Adam Driver has said that his lightsaber is a metaphor for the character. That it is unstable and could stop working at any moment. The unstable part we saw, but the ‘stop working’ part we did not – for the saber or Kylo himself.

Perhaps the question is redundant, then, and Rey is the reason he fails to pull the saber. But having killed his father and thus completing his journey to the dark side, and being wounded and surely fuelled by pain and anger, he should be more powerful than ever.

Kylo Ren

Why did R2D2 wake up?

R2 was in low power mode since Luke left, but conveniently wakes up at the end of the film and happens to have the rest of the map that the Resistance needs. Is there a reason for this or is it just a pitiful plot point thrown in for convenience? Unfortunately, J J Abrams’ answer seems to say the latter.

Apparently R2, in his low power mode, heard that they needed the map piece and that eventually leads to him waking up. It’s a case of, after a sad death, the audience needed someone to ‘come back’. I can’t help but feel this is just bad writing.

I was thinking that perhaps Luke somehow activated him from a distance, or that he detected Rey’s arrival and activated, or…something. It’s still possible there is a reason that would be considered a spoiler, and so J J is keeping it to himself, so let’s hope so.

Who left Rey and why?

Rey calls Jakku home. According to the wall she marks at the start, she has done for a long time. More specifically, according to her vision she was left there as a little girl of, I’d guess, between six and nine. But who left her? Why did they leave her? And why did they never go back for her?

The answer could be anything, of course. Her parents may be people we’ve never heard of and they left her for reasons we couldn’t possibly know yet. Or perhaps we do know her parents. The main theory seems to be that Luke Skywalker is her father, but I don’t know what I think about that.

Could she have been at the new Jedi academy when Ben turned into Kylo and destroyed it? In her vision, he does walk towards her – but is that just a fanciful vision-y flair? And if she was there and was somehow rescued or something, why would she not remember? Was her mind wiped? That would be a pretty cheap and poorly written trick to play on us, I think.

The Force Awakens Rey

How does Rey use the Force so easily?

I know she is strong in the Force, but how does she go from thinking the Jedi and the Force are a myth to using a Jedi mind trick on James Bondtrooper? Twice. And Force pulling the lightsaber to her hand.

Channelling the Force mid-fight is understandable enough, because Maz Kanata tells her to close her eyes and feel the Force, or whatever, and that’s what she does. It did take me two viewings to make that connection, though.

Again, perhaps she was already being trained by Luke and her memory was wiped but, again, that would be weak in my opinion. Besides, a padawan of that age surely wouldn’t have been taught mind tricks.

My theory on this is that when Kylo Ren dived into her mind, something of his Force power imprinted on her. But it wasn’t mentioned or explained in any satisfactory way. ‘I can’t explain it’ is the closest we get to any explanation.

Who calls Rey in her vision?

There are voices in the vision Rey has while in Maz’s basement. Yoda is the main one. But as she finds herself in the snowy woodlands, someone calls her name. Who? It sounds remarkably like Alec Guinness’s Obi-Wan Kenobi, but it’s hard to tell with only one word. Plus, we don’t yet know what Luke Skywalker sounds like these days, so it could be him.

Luke looks a little shocked and/or confused when Rey turns up at the end. Would he look at her like that if he’d been calling her through the Force? Perhaps his subconscious was doing it. If it was him, how does he know her name? Thanks to the Force?

EDIT: I could have deleted this part. Apparently it IS Obi-Wan – they took his voice and cut it to make him say ‘Rey’, and had Ewan McGregor record ‘these are your first steps’. Which is interesting, since Obi-Wan doesn’t say those precise words anywhere in the originals (or the prequels, I think), thus meaning he must be actually speaking to Rey.

Why does the lightsaber call to Rey?

‘That lightsaber belonged to Luke, and his father before him. Now it calls to you.’ That is, perhaps not word for word, what Maz Kanata tells Rey. But why does the lightsaber call to her? And what does that actually mean?

The lightsaber presumably doesn’t have a consciousness and is literally calling her. ‘Psst! Hey! You with the hair! …….touch me.’ So I presume it’s the Force guiding her to the saber. But why? Why does the Force care about her picking up a lightsaber. So is it the power imbued in the saber by the grace of it being constructed by a powerful Jedi and then wielded by Luke? But again, why her? Simply because she’s strong enough in the Force to hear it? …I may have answered my own question.

The Force Awakens Lightsaber

Why is there a map to Luke?

And why is the main part of it in the Imperial archives? Surely the point of him going into hiding is that he’s hidden. Why would there be a map at all, let alone one that’s broken into two pieces? Or is the map actually to the first Jedi temple, which Han says Luke went looking for. That would make a little more sense, though the island doesn’t exactly look much like a temple to me.

That still doesn’t explain why there is one piece taken out of the map. Luke could conceivably have somehow done it to cover his tracks, but why wouldn’t he just delete it?

What exactly is the awakening?

Yes, we all assume that it is the Force awakening in Rey, but is it? The Force almost certainly guides Rey when she flies the Millennium Falcon. It probably guides her when she slams the door on the…rathtar? Raktar? Tentacle thing. I don’t think she does anything else before Snoke asks Kylo if he’s felt the awakening.

But surely, the Force has been guiding her before that. Perhaps she has done nothing quite so intensive up until then. Or perhaps she isn’t the awakening at all.

Why is Luke looking for the first Jedi temple?

Okay, he’s run away. The Jedi seem to do that a lot. But why go looking for the first Jedi temple? A nice day out? Does he feel like he can be closer to the Force and the essence of the Jedi? Does he think that he will find Jedi teachings there?

And where is the temple? It seems like an incredibly quick hyperspace hop, compared to the other hyperspace journeys. Look how long they were in hyperspace between Han and Chewie’s freighter and Maz’s place. You’d think the first Jedi temple would be somewhere a bit further away and hard to get to. More interesting, in short.

Where has Snoke been hiding?

Granted it isn’t mentioned in the film, but we know that Supreme Leader Snoke is ancient. Even if we didn’t, he’s clearly older than 30. So where has he been all this time? Where was he when Darth Sidious was prancing about as Palpatine? Did he know that the Emperor was the Dark Lord of the Sith? If not, why didn’t he try to seize power?

I suppose it depends a lot on what Snoke is. If he is a Sith, he should be governed by the Rule of Two: one master, one apprentice. So, perhaps he was hiding from Sidious and Vader, knowing that they would want to kill him if they knew of his existence. But don’t we want someone who we feel is more powerful than the enemies who have come before? So why wouldn’t he have done Sidious in and taken power for himself?

Has he come from outside the galaxy perhaps? Is he, as many have wondered, actually Darth Plagueis, Sidious’s master? Andy Sirkis says no. There must surely be a reason that no one has heard from him until now.

Lastly, if he is ancient, does that mean that his species is long lived? That the dark side has kept him alive? Or that he has mastered ‘essence transfer’ – immortality through taking over another’s body? Is that what he is grooming Kylo Ren for?

Supreme Leader Snoke

What questions were you left with? Do you know/think you know the answer to any of mine?

The Force Is Awake

The Force Awakens

This will be a pretty short ‘review’ anyway,but before I mention any spoilers, I will say that The Force Awakens is very good. It does suffer from some pacing issues, though, so that it feels too rushed and doesn’t contain any of the more relaxed, slow scenes that the originals had. It also contains some things that are a little too easy and convenient – and no they can’t be excused with ‘Oh, it’s the Force manipulating events’.

These two things are really my only problems with the film, which is good. Well, that and the music wasn’t remotely memorable, which is a shame. And a few too many scenes and lines from the trailers found themselves cut from the film itself – a couple of which were very good lines. But otherwise, it was better than the prequel trilogy combined, though that’s not really saying much. The fact that it was entirely predictable and nothing happened that surprised me couldbe taken as a negative, but since I liked pretty much everything that I predicted, it isn’t a bad thing.

I can’t say anything more, really, without it being slightly spoilerish. So, here begineth the spoilers!

SPOILERS!!

So, the timeline is pretty much what we all expected. Ray on Jakku, Finn breaking Poe out, Finn finding Rey, them finding Han, Finn fighting Kylo, etc. But most of the film in general is what I expected. It’s quicker to say what was different.

I thought Finn would die – though I stopped thinking that closer to release – but instead Han died. I thought Rey would be Han and Leia’s daughter but instead Kylo is their son. And that’s pretty much it. Not, as I said, that it’s a bad thing, because I wanted Rey to be the Force sensitive. I wanted the film to be mostly about their search for a missing Luke Skywalker. I wanted him to have disappeared after trying and failing to rebuild the Jedi order.

I’m not really sure what to say about it. It wasn’t quite as good as I had hoped, but it was much better than I’d feared. The issues, as I mentioned were really only the rushed pacing and the convenience of some things.

Maz just happens to have Luke’slightsaber? Oh, that’s a story for another time is it? So you’ve definitely got an actual reason have you? It’s definitely not just a convenient plot point because you couldn’t be bothered coming up with a decent way for the saber to come into their possession. Please don’t try to excuse it with ‘the Force did it’. Had Rey found herself there without Han’s help, then I could buy that, but it was Han who thought that was the place to go. That’s a little far fetched even for the Force, I think.

And Rey just happens to be able to do a Jedi Mind Trick completely out of the blue when she shouldn’t even know that such a thing exists. She doesn’t even know she can use the Force. My guess is that Kylo Ren inadvertently awoke the Force within her when he delved into her mind. Perhaps her getting into his mind too somehow imprinted some knowledge of the Force on her, but I don’t know. It seems far too convenient.

R2D2 just happens to wake up in time to show them where to find Luke? Okay, that one is more interesting. It happens to coincide with Rey arriving at the Resistance base. Perhaps Luke knows about her and has him waiting. But there are things wrong with that theory. First, Rey is about 6 when she’s left on Jakku. Unless Luke is the one who dumped her there, how would he know about her and have R2 waiting for 20 years before waking up for her? Second, Rey isn’t there in front of R2, so how would he even detect her presence? Is he Force sensitive too?

Kylo Ren lightsaber

I really wanted Rey to be the Force sensitive one, though I’m not sure why, so I was glad when she started to hear the whispers and cries and I recognised it as the Force speaking to her. I liked Finn more than I’d expected, but I couldn’t imagine him become a Jedi.

I can’t help but feel that Chewbacca should have gone on a rampage after seeing his friend killed, rather than getting a bit upset and then kind of never being seen for any proper length of time again. I think Han should have fallen onto the bridge, not off it, and then Chewie should have fought his way through Stormtroopers to get to his body. However, it was a bit of a sad death. It should have been more sad than ‘a bit’, though, and I didn’t really feel it until the Leia/Rey hug (how did Rey even know that was Leia?), and that was thanks to the music. And why did Chewie And Leia – the two people who care most about Han – completely ignore each other? Shouldn’t it be them hugging?

I don’t know what else to say – I need to see it again. At the moment, in my mind, it’s mostly just a mess of action sequences cobbled together into a film.

It’s very good, and I want to see it multiple times again, and I very much want to see Episode VIII now.

Last thought: is Snoke a Sith? Or something else? And if he is, could he even be the apprentice? What if he has taken Kylo as his own apprentice in preparation of confronting his own master? …Probably not.