It seems that all the Star Wars films are scrutinized such that it creates a checklist they must adhere to in order to be dubbed “authentic” Star Wars films. Here are some Bullets for a very Star Wars type of film….
• Did it push all the buttons for the Star Wars space battles?…Check
• Did it contain some quirky and humorous characters, lovable and villainous? Check
• Did it contain some emotional moments where the characters talk about “the dark side”? Check
• Did it leave some questions unanswered just like the old school serials? Check
• Did it introduce some new characters and use as part of the main plot, the best actors? Nope
This was a very Star Wars-ian Star Wars movie. There was the quest, the villain, the conflict with the Dark Side, and even a “mini Death Star” for some reason. But there was about five minutes with the best actor in the film, Benecio del Toro, and there was Mark Hamill, who was always the lightweight in acting chops, and who was asked to carry the heaviest load in terms of conflict and nuance. It doesn’t make a lot of sense.
Many parts of the plot don’t make a lot of sense. But in between, there is Star Wars. Literally, the war that takes place in space is fought throughout most of the film. And interspersed, there is young Rey, who is on a quest and is noble and earnest. She is also conflicted, and is in some kind of mind-meld through the Force that connects her with Kylo Ren, who we all know has gone over to the Dark Side. Or has he? Maybe….maybe not. But do we care? THAT may be the burning question.
The film doesn’t lead us to the point where we DO care a whole heck of a lot about the conflicted nature of the new and improved version of Darth Vader. And that may lead us down the rabbit holes where we wait to see what Ron Howard is going to do with the spin-off version of the Han Solo film. Or it may raise even more questions about the many other spin-offs and rabbit holes where we are led in this fable about a time “Long, long ago in a Galaxy Far, Far away…”