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post #151 of 626
Yeah. Please.
post #152 of 626
Something that I think is kind of happening in this thread is we haven't nailed down what a Mary Sue actually is. And since this is an Internet thing, there's not necessarily a correct answer. I'm going off the hardline reading, which is that it's transparently an author inserting and idealized version of themself into a pre-existing franchise. That's a definition that barely exists out of literal fanfiction. I don't think anyone believes JJ Abrams or Kathleen Kennedy are actually doing that with Rey. So when I talk about Mary Sues in movies, I'm talking about a character that shares a lot of those traits, presumably to appeal to a new, younger demographic.

Some of those traits are more intrinsically "Mary Sue" than others, such as original, beloved characters vouching for their greatness, or being a latecomer to the franchise, and thats mostly because they're so specific. At least for me! Because when it gets to stuff as broad as being overpowered, or per the thread title, wish fulfillment characters, that broad enough of a brush can cover just about everything. You can call Ellen Ridley a Mary Sue character, or Michael Corleone, or Optimus Prime, or fucking Garfield.

But I can also recognize that this being the Internet, everyone probably defines what the intrinsic parts of a Mary Sue slightly differently. I think the reason Rey felt so much like one to a lot of (Internet) people was that she pretty much cleared the checklist for that fanfiction definition, which was kinda weird to see in a real movie. We'd seen plenty of Mutt Ravenwoods in our time, but Rey is like the plutonic ideal of the MS.

I guess we're all seeing the same things, just disagreeing slightly over the semantics.
post #153 of 626

In quite a bit of fan fiction, the 'Mary Sue' insert can also be at the expense of the established characters.  I don't think Rey is at that level.  The established returning characters don't suddenly have a IQ drop off around her, but as pointed above, she's also so hyper-competent at every other character's abilities.

 

One bizarre thing that stuck out is Finn seeming to be on the receiving end of all the character 'flaws'.  Poe is basically hyper competent Wedge with maxed out charisma stats, so he's not really a character.  In a better balanced movie, it wouldn't be so off putting, but Finn getting nearly all of the failures...it feels less complementary and more "Well, SOMEONE has to be the screw up." (throws dart at script)

post #154 of 626
He's certainly the Ron Weasley. But then, maybe all those flaws are why I like him the most of the new heroes.
post #155 of 626
How about a secondary character who became the biggest Marty Stu in all of SW? He became the ultimate blank-slate badass for nerds to map themselves onto, eventually becoming so pivotal that his physical form is the MacGuffin of the entire prequel trilogy?

Boba Motherfucking Fett*, Martiest of Stews.




*your mother. He didn't have one.
post #156 of 626

I was on board with the Fett swooning in the 90's.  Now I watch Empire and think "Yeah, he's really good at his job, but I share Lucas's bewilderment at the fan love fest."

post #157 of 626
Quote:
Originally Posted by Arjen Rudd View Post

He's certainly the Ron Weasley. But then, maybe all those flaws are why I like him the most of the new heroes.

He's a character that "tries too hard". I like him. It's a unique human thing.
post #158 of 626
Quote:
Originally Posted by mondguy View Post
 

I was on board with the Fett swooning in the 90's.  Now I watch Empire and think "Yeah, he's really good at his job, but I share Lucas's bewilderment at the fan love fest."

 

Fett was loved because the fans could fill in all the blanks themselves. He's an armored, masked badass who, in ESB, appears to be a match for one of the series' beloved heroes. No mystery as to why he was liked so much. Like many things in the series, Fett should've remained mysterious and unexplained. At least as far as moviegoers are concerned. Y'all are welcome to your books, comics, blah blah blah.

post #159 of 626
Quote:
Originally Posted by mondguy View Post
 

I was on board with the Fett swooning in the 90's.  Now I watch Empire and think "Yeah, he's really good at his job, but I share Lucas's bewilderment at the fan love fest."

 

We were little kids, and he looked FUCKIN' COOL! That was the extent of it.

 

He was basically the Darth Vader you didn't feel like a creep rooting for.

 

Interesting that people think Finn got all of the flaws. Of the two leads, Finn's the one that actually wants to do the right thing - he's incredulous that Rey wants to bail. If anything, it's Finn that's the Mary Sue, as he functions largely as an audience surrogate; the wide-eyed, force-less everyman who wants to be a hero despite not having any superpowers to speak of.

 

Aside: The Empire has the WORST brainwashing techniques.

post #160 of 626
Yeah, Fett looking like a badass was all there was to it.
post #161 of 626
Quote:
Originally Posted by Farsight View Post


Interesting that people think Finn got all of the flaws. Of the two leads, Finn's the one that actually wants to do the right thing - he's incredulous that Rey wants to bail. If anything, it's Finn that's the Mary Sue, as he functions largely as an audience surrogate; the wide-eyed, force-less everyman who wants to be a hero despite not having any superpowers to speak of.

Aside: The Empire has the WORST brainwashing techniques.

I might be misremembering things, but Finn's deal seemed to be running away out of panic (for morally sound reasons), and his first half of the movie was an on/off cycle of "We need to run!/Oh never mind". Rey was stuck with the same thing. Hell, it seems like the characters would pass the baton of "Run away" to each other between scenes. Rey shames Finn for running, and then RUNS AWAY IN THE NEXT SCENE. In a Special Edition, there'd be an additional voiceover yelling "I'm refusing the calllllllll..." as she runs into the woods.

Full disclosure, that moment of Finn silently going "F you" to Kylo and igniting the lightsaber? Fantastic moment, I just wish it had a movie more deserving of it.
post #162 of 626
Quote:
Originally Posted by Arjen Rudd View Post


And Taken's enstranged dad wish fulfillment is what makes it good, goddamnit! Just ask my dad.

Make it an episode of your podcast!

I'm sure there's SOME way to make it a western!!!
post #163 of 626
Quote:
Originally Posted by Farsight View Post

 

We were little kids, and he looked FUCKIN' COOL! That was the extent of it.

 

He was basically the Darth Vader you didn't feel like a creep rooting for.

 

Interesting that people think Finn got all of the flaws. Of the two leads, Finn's the one that actually wants to do the right thing - he's incredulous that Rey wants to bail. If anything, it's Finn that's the Mary Sue, as he functions largely as an audience surrogate; the wide-eyed, force-less everyman who wants to be a hero despite not having any superpowers to speak of.

 

Aside: The Empire has the WORST brainwashing techniques.

 




whaaaaa? Finn's primary motivation throughout the first half of the movie is to get as far away from the Empire as possible--world saving be damned. And he basically joins up with Rey because, well, she's ADORABLE. He's a stormtrooper with a conscious which makes him one of the good guys, but he certainly isn't trying to be a hero until later on in the movie. Also...you're kinda using Mary Sue wrong.

Most genre fiction is wish fulfillment; what separates bad fiction from good ones is that good writing tends to temper fan pandering. For example: Batman is definitely wishfulfilment. He's a rich dude who's smart as fuck, has access to ridiculous amounts of gadget seemingly endless amounts of money, and has had relationships with some of the hottest female comic book heroes. What keeps him from being a Gary Stu is the many stories that focus how the night his parents died was emotionally traumatic to him, how nearly half of the bad shit that happens is directly associated with Batman, how he's probably one bad day away from just losing his shit. Not saying that it's the only way to write the character, but I find that stories that focus on the psychological aspects of Bruce/Batman tend to ground that character
post #164 of 626

Said it before, but if it feels like your hero is playing on easy mode, somewhere in your heart of hearts you know something's missing. The character's base level of power or competence isn't that important - you could make a story about a literal god so long as they get challenged in a satisfying enough way.

post #165 of 626
Quote:
Originally Posted by Arjen Rudd View Post

Something that I think is kind of happening in this thread is we haven't nailed down what a Mary Sue actually is. And since this is an Internet thing, there's not necessarily a correct answer. I'm going off the hardline reading, which is that it's transparently an author inserting and idealized version of themself into a pre-existing franchise. That's a definition that barely exists out of literal fanfiction.

Quote:
Originally Posted by mondguy View Post

In quite a bit of fan fiction, the 'Mary Sue' insert can also be at the expense of the established characters.  I don't think Rey is at that level.  The established returning characters don't suddenly have a IQ drop off around her, but as pointed above, she's also so hyper-competent at every other character's abilities.


The definition I've been using for purposes of this thread is there. The fact that a work containing a Mary Sue character is implicitly reduced to the status of fan fiction is part of the bitchy fun of the thread, but the author insertion character whose polymath competence makes the regular stars of the show look like fawning assholes is, as I understand it, the original meaning of the term.

Boba Fett's not a Mary Sue, but he casts himself as one in the version of the story he tells in the Robot Chicken sketch.

post #166 of 626
Quote:
Originally Posted by Ska Oreo View Post
 
whaaaaa? Finn's primary motivation throughout the first half of the movie is to get as far away from the Empire as possible--world saving be damned. And he basically joins up with Rey because, well, she's ADORABLE. He's a stormtrooper with a conscious which makes him one of the good guys, but he certainly isn't trying to be a hero until later on in the movie. Also...you're kinda using Mary Sue wrong.

 

Fleeing from an entire empire on your heels is a pretty sane, everyman reaction. Once he learns of the stakes, he buys in. Rey needs a lot more of a push, and even at the end it's unclear how committed she really is.

 

My point was that TFA was written by men, and Finn is an everyman (well "Hollywood Everyman" at any rate) who serves as the moral center and is set up to have as his potential love interest an adorable superhero. It seems to me that if any character is serving as a writer's wish fulfillment proxy, it's him.

 

If a Mary Sue is a supporting character whose usurps the story from the leads through sheer exceptionalism and reads like the writer's fantasy role, I'd say only one of the three criteria applies to Rey at all.

post #167 of 626
Isn't Rey the only steak that Finn cares about? He jeapordizes the entire Resistance by lying about being able to shut the shield down in order to go save Rey.
post #168 of 626
I don't disagree that Finn is more practical than Rey, and yes he definitely is the audience surrogate. However, by virtue of being an Everyman keeps him from being a full on Mary Sue. Sure it's totally cool to see the everyman get to wield a lightsaber, but he clearly has no skill with it and just mostly brute forces it until he's put down (by both TRAITOR and Kylo Ren)

What we're really talking about is fan wankery where a character is so badass, so amazing, so the best goddamn person in the fucking world, that it becomes full-on masturbatory.

An example would go to the lead character in Ready Player One. Despite having the flaws of a usual Mary Sue, clumsy, low self-esteem, etc etc, within the span of the book he's able to: viciously humiliate his bullies, becomes one of the few to get any progress on the main quest due to autistic-like obsession with 80s culture, manages to attract and join up with some of the strongest game players in the virtual reality world he's in, gets with the "hot chick" (whose real world persona is, of course, totes hot), takes down an entire evil corporation using a Batman gambit so flimsy and stupid, but of course he pulls it off because he's the "GREATEST HACKER EVER" and literally is handed the keys to the virtual world because he's that awesome.
post #169 of 626
Quote:
Originally Posted by mcnooj82 View Post

Isn't Rey the only steak that Finn cares about? He jeapordizes the entire Resistance by lying about being able to shut the shield down in order to go save Rey.

 



mmmm....dat delicious steak booty.
post #170 of 626
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Arjen Rudd View Post

Something that I think is kind of happening in this thread is we haven't nailed down what a Mary Sue actually is. And since this is an Internet thing, there's not necessarily a correct answer. I'm going off the hardline reading, which is that it's transparently an author inserting and idealized version of themself into a pre-existing franchise. That's a definition that barely exists out of literal fanfiction. I don't think anyone believes JJ Abrams or Kathleen Kennedy are actually doing that with Rey. So when I talk about Mary Sues in movies, I'm talking about a character that shares a lot of those traits, presumably to appeal to a new, younger demographic.

Some of those traits are more intrinsically "Mary Sue" than others, such as original, beloved characters vouching for their greatness, or being a latecomer to the franchise, and thats mostly because they're so specific. At least for me! Because when it gets to stuff as broad as being overpowered, or per the thread title, wish fulfillment characters, that broad enough of a brush can cover just about everything. You can call Ellen Ridley a Mary Sue character, or Michael Corleone, or Optimus Prime, or fucking Garfield.

But I can also recognize that this being the Internet, everyone probably defines what the intrinsic parts of a Mary Sue slightly differently. I think the reason Rey felt so much like one to a lot of (Internet) people was that she pretty much cleared the checklist for that fanfiction definition, which was kinda weird to see in a real movie. We'd seen plenty of Mutt Ravenwoods in our time, but Rey is like the plutonic ideal of the MS.

I guess we're all seeing the same things, just disagreeing slightly over the semantics.

 

Lot of good stuff here.  The reason I titled this thread both ways is because I wanted to differentiate between a Mary Sue (Rey) and a general idealized wish fulfillment character (Liam Neesons) and your more grounded, unusually-brave-and-believably-competent protagonists (Ripley).  A Mary Sue is a subset of wish fulfillment avatars, that is specifically tied to fanfiction and latecoming characters.  That's what makes MS a square while Neesons or Bond is a rectangle - she is what they are, but within this added, even more specific parameter.  That fanfic dimension is part of what defines her, but imo, it is not the part that makes MS into a bad thing.  Fanfic is broadly (and fairly) associated with the most self-indulgent and clumsy of writing styles, but it doesn't have to be that way.  All characters are the author inserting themselves into the narrative to some extent or another, that's just how authorship works.  And some legacy characters work better than others.  It's really all a matter of execution.

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by mondguy View Post
 

In quite a bit of fan fiction, the 'Mary Sue' insert can also be at the expense of the established characters.  I don't think Rey is at that level.  The established returning characters don't suddenly have a IQ drop off around her, but as pointed above, she's also so hyper-competent at every other character's abilities.

 

One bizarre thing that stuck out is Finn seeming to be on the receiving end of all the character 'flaws'.  Poe is basically hyper competent Wedge with maxed out charisma stats, so he's not really a character.  In a better balanced movie, it wouldn't be so off putting, but Finn getting nearly all of the failures...it feels less complementary and more "Well, SOMEONE has to be the screw up." (throws dart at script)

 

Well, Han suddenly being the second-best at captain-ing the Falcon is a striking, though singular, instance of the established characters dumbing down to build up the new kid.  But whatever, that would be easy to brush off if being the best mechanic weren't like the 5th most impressive facet of Rey's skillset.  As you say, Finn really takes it on the chin in terms of competence, which is weird because he's not actually worse at things than Luke is in the original film, it's just that Rey and Poe's blinding perfection throws his minor foibles into sharper relief.  Arjen identified him as the "Ron Weasley" character, which is spot on.

 

Harry Potter is actually an interesting case for this stuff.  I've seen both Harry and Hermione cited as MS's, and I think that Hermione hits closer to the mark in that she is not the Chosen One herself but has a tendency to steal the spotlight from him.  And I think Rowling is fairly successful at avoiding the annoyance factor by splitting the duties that way.  Harry is the markedly, explicitly "special" one with the secret destiny that all the heroes of the prior age fawn over, but he's not actually that...good at wizard stuff.  He walks on as the varsity QB for wizard sports his freshman year, but that doesn't stop him from remaining generally unpopular among his classmates and she is careful to note that he is a thoroughly average student with one specialty spell that is only good against a single variety of henchmen.  Hermione, meanwhile, is better at pretty much everything and generally infallible, but uses those skills to take on the role of the workhorse, and is generally relieved to never be the center of attention and adulation. She gets the skills, he gets the destiny.  

 

TFA's ensemble, by comparison, is like if Harry and Hermione were combined into a single character, Ron was still stumbling around doing comic relief bits and also they decided that Cedric Diggory survived after all, so he's still strolling his handsome ass around the periphery, casually slaughtering Death Eaters by the dozen.

 

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Lightning Slim View Post

How about a secondary character who became the biggest Marty Stu in all of SW? He became the ultimate blank-slate badass for nerds to map themselves onto, eventually becoming so pivotal that his physical form is the MacGuffin of the entire prequel trilogy?

Boba Motherfucking Fett*, Martiest of Stews.


*your mother. He didn't have one.

 

First of all, I prefer Gary Stu to Marty Stu.  Rhyme trumps alliteration, in all things.  Second of all, I don't think you can have an antagonist who is a MS.  Thirdly, I wouldn't mind hearing what people think the antagonistic equivalent of the same clumsy impulses would be (I've seen the term "edgelord" thrown around in a couple SW threads lately, and while I'm not familiar, it sounds like it's on the track).  Fourthly, Boba Fett never rises above tertiary character status anyway.  The whole crux of the term is about a character getting too big for their britches in an inorganic way; if you aren't at least the second lead, I'd say you're a wanna-be at best.

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Farsight View Post
 

 

Interesting that people think Finn got all of the flaws. Of the two leads, Finn's the one that actually wants to do the right thing - he's incredulous that Rey wants to bail. If anything, it's Finn that's the Mary Sue, as he functions largely as an audience surrogate; the wide-eyed, force-less everyman who wants to be a hero despite not having any superpowers to speak of.

 

No, because Mary Sue means something much more specific than "audience surrogate".  It was coined to talk about author surrogates, for starters, and the prototypical MS has all the superpowers, not none.

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by mondguy View Post


I might be misremembering things, but Finn's deal seemed to be running away out of panic (for morally sound reasons), and his first half of the movie was an on/off cycle of "We need to run!/Oh never mind". Rey was stuck with the same thing. Hell, it seems like the characters would pass the baton of "Run away" to each other between scenes. Rey shames Finn for running, and then RUNS AWAY IN THE NEXT SCENE. In a Special Edition, there'd be an additional voiceover yelling "I'm refusing the calllllllll..." as she runs into the woods.

Full disclosure, that moment of Finn silently going "F you" to Kylo and igniting the lightsaber? Fantastic moment, I just wish it had a movie more deserving of it.

 

Haha, I've made fun of the cantina sequence before, but passing the run away! baton is the perfect summation.  It pretty much goes "Wait, you can't refuse the call here, I'm refusing the call here!"

 

Meanwhile, Maz is like "will someone please just take this lightsaber?  Anyone?  Bueller?"

post #171 of 626
If Finn had accomplished anything or had much of an arc in Force Awakens, we'd be talking about whether Rey qualifies as his Manic Pixie Dream Girl. Once he makes his escape, he's accomplished everything he's set out to do until this girl inspires him.
post #172 of 626
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Ska Oreo View Post

 


Most genre fiction is wish fulfillment; what separates bad fiction from good ones is that good writing tends to temper fan pandering. 

 

Exactly!  What makes wish fulfillment (of the MS subgenus or otherwise) a dealbreaker is not so much a checklist of traits/events, but the relative elegance or clumsiness of the execution.  A list of positive attributes will be useful as evidence of clumsiness, but a good artist will know how to temper those attributes to avoid:

 

Originally Posted by Ska Oreo View Post
:
What we're really talking about is fan wankery where a character is so badass, so amazing, so the best goddamn person in the fucking world, that it becomes full-on masturbatory.

 

 

And that's type of thing seems like it could be easily converted to an antagonist (though they probably quickly become antiheroes - Venom springs to mind).  I would still say Boba Fett never reaches that level, though.  His supremeness seems completely projected by the fans, rather than coming from anything the author has him do in the OT, at least.  In AOTC, he's posited as the ultimate soldier template, but the army they make in his image is famously inept, so...

post #173 of 626
Quote:
Originally Posted by Schwartz View Post
 

Well, Han suddenly being the second-best at captain-ing the Falcon is a striking, though singular, instance of the established characters dumbing down to build up the new kid.  But whatever, that would be easy to brush off if being the best mechanic weren't like the 5th most impressive facet of Rey's skillset.  As you say, Finn really takes it on the chin in terms of competence, which is weird because he's not actually worse at things than Luke is in the original film, it's just that Rey and Poe's blinding perfection throws his minor foibles into sharper relief.  Arjen identified him as the "Ron Weasley" character, which is spot on.

 

Harry Potter is actually an interesting case for this stuff.  I've seen both Harry and Hermione cited as MS's, and I think that Hermione hits closer to the mark in that she is not the Chosen One herself but has a tendency to steal the spotlight from him.  

 

TFA's ensemble, by comparison, is like if Harry and Hermione were combined into a single character, Ron was still stumbling around doing comic relief bits and also they decided that Cedric Diggory survived after all, so he's still strolling his handsome ass around the periphery, casually slaughtering Death Eaters by the dozen.

 

 

 

Harry Potter avoids Mary Sue-status by being a bit unremarkable in a lot of ways, and also by making serious mistakes fairly often and being rescued constantly. There are one or too moments where characters fawn over him, but Rowling does a lot to explore why that is - and only once or twice is it actually to do with him directly, as opposed to his connection to Voldemort and Voldemort's death. Hermione is much less perfect in the books - to the character's detriment, the films really downplayed her neuroticism and tactlessness. 

 

Harry and Hermione have key negative traits basically - human, usually endearing ones, but real ones. It also helps if we see characters having to focus and struggle as they do things they are good at. Because so much of this discussion stems from Star Wars, it's made me realise just how GOOD Lucas's character building was IN SOME WAYS AND SOME FILMS NOT ALL. A fair bit of TFA's character work is a lot more standard-movie than Lucas's more personal style would produce: the main 'cool' characters (Han, Chewie, and Rey) indicate their coolness by giving the fundamentally decent but antsy character (Finn) stick; the main comic relief repeatedly calls attention to what's happening by commenting on how amazing it is ('Are we doing this? Are we REALLY DOING THIS?!'- 'You've gotta be kidding me!'). 

 

Lucas's prequel era characters were way less charismatic but were presented more naturally, and with a bit more confidence. Take Padme. She's established as a very competent fighter - in TPM she leads the attempt to take back her city, and in AOTC she fights alongside all the Jedi in the arena. At no point does Lucas feel the need to have a scene where Obi-wan's about to kill a robot, only to stop and stare slack-jawed while Padme jumps in, blasts its head off, and uses its burning corpse to blow up two of its buddies, before turning back and saying, 'What?' Star Wars always had capable female characters - but in Lucas's entries, the films didn't feel the need to self-consciously make a big deal of it. (I'd personally argue the matter-of-fact way in which Leia and Padme are presented makes them way more progressive characters than Rey-as-of-TFA). 

 

Han's quickly established in ANH as a great pilot, but the only real flying we see him do in the film is avoid getting blown up by two star destroyers, and he's irritable, tense, and focused through the whole ordeal. Poe finds sniping stormtroopers and getting TIE kill streaks fun and easy, but as a consequence, the act seems less impressive.  


Edited by RexBanner - 1/5/17 at 1:04pm
post #174 of 626
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by RexBanner View Post
 

 

Harry Potter avoids Mary Sue-status by being a bit unremarkable in a lot of ways, and also by making serious mistakes fairly often and being rescued constantly. There are one or too moments where characters fawn over him, but Rowling does a lot to explore why that is - and only once or twice is it actually to do with him directly, as opposed to his connection to Voldemort and Voldemort's death. Hermione is much less perfect in the books - to the character's detriment, the films really downplayed her neuroticism and tactlessness. 

 

Harry and Hermione have key negative traits basically - human, usually endearing ones, but real ones. It also helps if we see characters having to focus and struggle as they do things they are good at. 

 

You're right, and Rowling actually does a lot to temper the Chosen One aspect by using it as a way of exploring celebrity; Harry seems to struggle with being famous as much as with being Chosen.  And you're right about focus and struggle, not in terms of performance (Daisy Ridley squints and grimaces with the best of them), but structure.  The decompressed school year structure puts a constant focus on study and practice and more studying (if Hermione has a special power amongst the wizard community, it's studying).  So though every climax is literally wizards handwaving their way out of the conflict, it's been drilled into us that the character wasn't able to execute the proper wave at the beginning, and pulling it off at the end is an accomplishment in itself.  It makes all Hermione's actual sorcery feel less magical than Rey's mind powers, because the latter is granted so arbitrarily.  If HP were Star Wars, 3/4 of the entire series would take place on Dagobah with Yoda.  

 

Another tangential aspect of the Hogwarts setting, I think, is that it allows Harry's reluctant hero schtick to play better, because the school itself is such an unusual baseline "reality" that we're more understanding when Harry would rather get back to it than answer the latest call to adventure.  We don't resent every delay in the overarching plot as much as we might, because watching a scene in magic class is more interesting than one in math class, or of our plucky orphan toiling on his uncle's farm.  And so it takes a bit longer for "reluctant" to curdle over into "whiny".  Sure, we still want to get to the fireworks factory eventually, but when the detour is through the chocolate factory, well...that beats being stuck in traffic.

post #175 of 626
Quote:
Originally Posted by Reasor View Post

If Finn had accomplished anything or had much of an arc in Force Awakens, we'd be talking about whether Rey qualifies as his Manic Pixie Dream Girl. Once he makes his escape, he's accomplished everything he's set out to do until this girl inspires him.

 

I thought of that as well. I'd say she's closer to fitting that cliche than the MS.

 

And really, she's only this easy to slot into these roles because of how thin her characterization is in TFA. If Ep 8 addresses that , the entire conversation becomes moot. And it should have the opportunity to address that, assuming she spends part of the film in Jedi training.

 

I mean, Leia easily could've been annoyingly flawless in ANH (she's the smartest, the bravest, etc), but some good lines and better delivery ensured that wasn't the case.

post #176 of 626
"Edgelord" is an okay term for a masturbatory villain, although it's used much more often to describe the kind of fanboy who identifies with such qualities. Kylo Ren is specifically written to marry the two concepts. He is a villain himself but he's also a fanboy who has keyed on only the grimdark and tryhard aspects of Vader's legend.
post #177 of 626
It's been said a bunch already but one of the big differences between Luke and Rey springs from the desire to rip off the Luke journey but not have her be a damsel in distress. Which shows a heart in the right place, but an art(istic understanding) that's a little out of whack.

So while Luke is rescued by Obi-Wan (after the sandpeople wreck him), Obi-Wan (when things get heated in Mos Eisley), the Death Star's trash compactor schedule (after the garbage anaconda wrecks him) and Han (when Vader is about to blow Luke out of the sky), Rey is rescued by herself (when Jakku hoods try to mug her over BB-8), herself (when the Empire purses them on Jakku), herself (when she's held captive by TK-007) and herself (after Kylo Ren has wrecked Finn).

This all plays into that easy mode stuff Paul C is on about.
post #178 of 626
Quote:
Originally Posted by Bucho View Post

It's been said a bunch already but one of the big differences between Luke and Rey springs from the desire to rip off the Luke journey but not have her be a damsel in distress. Which shows a heart in the right place, but an art(istic understanding) that's a little out of whack.
 

 

Yeah, I think that's exactly the case. We're in a weird spot culturally where there's still a minority of people clinging to ugly misogyny, so there's pressure to overcorrect in the other direction. This results in a different but also unhealthy kind of prejudice where women are precious treasures, not people capable of flaws and misery along with strength and triumph.

 

You mentioned how Rey always rescues herself, but the mindset crops up even earlier than that with the weird, "Stop grabbing my hand!" scolding as she and Finn are fleeing the Empire on Tattooine. That was the one moment during the film where I stopped enjoying the fantasy and was jerked back to 2016 social politics.

 

Equality would be a heroine that is as strong AND as vulnerable as Luke was. Or as Leia was - her needing to be rescued at the Death Star did not prevent her from coming off as strong and competent at all. But in overemphasizing Rey's strength, they weakened her character.

post #179 of 626
Of course Nooj would say that having a female equivalent of the strong male protagonist is being progressive.

But at this point I think we deserve better. Rey should have been written as a character first and a feminist icon, if at all, second.
post #180 of 626

don't you speak for me!

 

Though yes!  I may think it's progressive, but I also often say that social progress is often exclusive to being conducive to a stronger film (the perception of which is heavily affected by the tastes of the moment anyway).

 

And do we really deserve better?  We don't deserve anything!

 

It's not as if forwakens was a singular artistic creation anyway.  It's already broken to its COOOOORE.


Edited by mcnooj82 - 1/5/17 at 11:30pm
post #181 of 626

It's a good point to realize that this splintered, inconsistent weird thing going on with the characters which is making everyone call Rey a Mary Sue or Manic Pixie dream girl and Finn a weird character is not just indicative of the character work but the entire enterprise from top to bottom.  It's half the dream of post OT Star Wars I wanted, half mutated Disney monster.  

post #182 of 626
Quote:
Originally Posted by mondguy View Post
 

In quite a bit of fan fiction, the 'Mary Sue' insert can also be at the expense of the established characters.  I don't think Rey is at that level.  The established returning characters don't suddenly have a IQ drop off around her, but as pointed above, she's also so hyper-competent at every other character's abilities.

 

One bizarre thing that stuck out is Finn seeming to be on the receiving end of all the character 'flaws'.  Poe is basically hyper competent Wedge with maxed out charisma stats, so he's not really a character.  In a better balanced movie, it wouldn't be so off putting, but Finn getting nearly all of the failures...it feels less complementary and more "Well, SOMEONE has to be the screw up." (throws dart at script)

 

I would say the OT heroes were given an IQ drop, in terms of the premise of TFA. Luke, Han, and Leia all did such a poor job of raising/training Kylo that he's become a Dark Lord of the Sith. Likewise, they've allowed the Empire to grow pretty much back to its original power (at no point in TFA does the First Order feel like a scrappy terrorist organization). Han's become a scumbag criminal again (and gets Obi-Waned by his own son), Luke's run off to pout--only Leia gets to keep a little dignity, almost certainly owing to the 'social progress' stuff this thread's been discussing. 

 

Compare, for instance, to Rocky in Creed. Even while he's passing the torch, he's still a moderately successful restaurant owner who's treated by the narrative as wise, compassionate, et al. Even when the movie pokes fun at him, like with the cloud joke, it's very good-naturedly. There's no moment where we get shilling about how Donny is Better Than He Ever Was--the guy still has to struggle, train, court the girl... it doesn't come easy to him just because he's the new protagonist and we want to rush to him beating up NuIvanDrago.

post #183 of 626

Ron Weasley is a good comparison for Finn, but it's funny, in Sorcerer's Stone he was still given a big moment when he was an expert at battle chess. Finn isn't really good at much, but he tries and that makes him endearing.

 

Just to play devil's advocate because I love Creed and don't really hold this as a flaw, but the movie does go out of its way to not only hype Apollo up as the greatest boxer of all time (not something the original series comes right out and says) but finally have Rocky admit that he lost their second rematch. So Donnie being the second coming of his father is by association better than Rocky. But not really, I get what the movie is doing.

post #184 of 626

It's probably best not to make what Rocky said seriously. He was probably just being humble.

post #185 of 626

I've seen people say that before, but considering it's left completely ambiguous without a hint otherwise then it's a 50/50 shot what the "truth" is. 

post #186 of 626

He's going to tell this young black boxing fan he beat Apollo? No way.  

post #187 of 626

 

Rocky beat Apollo in the second movie. What's wrong with saying he won again, especially if he's talking to a complete stranger he just met? 

 

But really, you've got to admit it's completely up to interpretation. If Rocky is lying, the language of cinema (a lingering close-up on his face, a musical cue) doesn't communicate it.

post #188 of 626

Ah, but are we counting the description of Luke's father in ANH as being an awesome Jedi and the greatest pilot in the galaxy as points toward MS status, or just a legacy to live up to?

post #189 of 626
Quote:
Originally Posted by avian View Post

I would say the OT heroes were given an IQ drop, in terms of the premise of TFA. Luke, Han, and Leia all did such a poor job of raising/training Kylo that he's become a Dark Lord of the Sith. Likewise, they've allowed the Empire to grow pretty much back to its original power (at no point in TFA does the First Order feel like a scrappy terrorist organization).

SW has a long tradition of the heroes being total shit at large scale planning and long terms goals. Remember when Yoda bungled the fate of the entire galaxy and mishandled the Chosen One so poorly he became a monster?
post #190 of 626
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Bartleby_Scriven View Post

 

Just to play devil's advocate because I love Creed and don't really hold this as a flaw, but the movie does go out of its way to not only hype Apollo up as the greatest boxer of all time (not something the original series comes right out and says) but finally have Rocky admit that he lost their second rematch. So Donnie being the second coming of his father is by association better than Rocky. But not really, I get what the movie is doing.

 

But the purpose of that isn't to give the hero a boost by association.  Quite the opposite; it's to build up his primary antagonist: his father's legacy.  The movie needs Apollo to cast as large a shadow as possible, not to flatter Adonis but to establish what he is struggling against.  

 

Creed is actually a terrific counterpoint to TFA.  They came out about the same time, as did the 70's classics that both films function as both a reboot and sixth sequel to.  And Creed is arguably just as slavish in terms of recreating each and every structural beat of the original film, with a cast updated to meet the diversity standards of 2015 and the original heroes occupying the mentor roles.  Except there is one beat that Creed apes exactly while TFA takes one step further: the ending.  Creed does the exact same "hero loses the match but surprises everyone and wins their respect with his grit" thing as Rocky, and while it is not innovative or all that surprising, it still works.  TFA "innovates" the ending of ANH by having Wedge destroy the Death Star while Luke not only duels, but defeats, Darth Vader an entire film earlier.  

 

But there's another reason why Creed's resolution feels earned and TFA's overreaching:  training montages.  Much like how the school structure of HP places such emphasis on studying and practice, the sports movie structure includes a ton of training by default.  Whether TFA doesn't have the time for training sequences because of modern audience's ADD, or JJ's, or not wanting Strong Female Character mansplained to by a green frog puppet, or because studio mandates dictated that three films worth of delightful payoffs be crammed into one movie, or because Rian Johnson has some brilliant longterm plan for how the changing nature of the Force is causing spontaneous magic power mutations to be explored in later episodes, doesn't really matter.  TFA skips all of the training, with the result being that Rey comes out of the box of a fully formed heroine, who only "grows" in the sense that she gets random visions and powerups at certain points to reinforce how special she is.  But you can't make a Rocky movie without training sequences; there simply wouldn't be any movie left if you removed them.  And training = earning those powerups.

post #191 of 626

No one gives Luke flight training in Star Wars and he blows up the Death Star. Rey defeating a fallen Jedi who never completed his own training isn't in the same league.

 

Plus, that green frog puppet was in the second film... I'd be surprised if Luke doesn't end up training Rey in Ep 8.

 

I'm basically in agreement with the sentiment that Rey has it too easy, but for me it doesn't make TFA a poor film, it just keeps it from being a GREAT film. It's still the best Star Wars film I've seen in 35 years, which is a win in my book.

post #192 of 626
Quote:
Originally Posted by Farsight View Post
 

No one gives Luke flight training in Star Wars and he blows up the Death Star. 

he's not such a baaaaad pilot!  

 

WE DON'T HAVE TO SIT HERE AND LISTEN TO THIS!!!

 

In terms of blowing up the DETHSTA, he doesn't do it alone.  And he doesn't exhibit particularly amazing flight skills compared to the rest of red squadron.  He's simply the BEST BUSH PILOT

 

 

Also, none of this is preceded by Luke being awesome at nearly everything prior to that finale.  

post #193 of 626
Rey's ability to resist Kylo's mind probe was a perfect manifestation of her raw ability with the Force.

Then the mind trick happens, my thoughts at the time:

1) "Oh wow, she got good at that fast!"
2) "Wait, how the flip does she even know the existence of the mind trick?"

And I don't really think that TFA neutered Han Solo in any way. His character had a long history of bad luck, overconfidence, and fighting his way through bad odds. That's what I liked about him. Rey just has none of those things.

And I do think that being gratuitously violent in the name of 'obstacles' would be a problem. But it's not necessary anyway. Exhibit A) Ellen Ripley in 'Aliens'. She has clear trauma to overcome, her own point of view, and determination, leading to one of my earliest childhood HELL YEAH finales. When I was plunking quarters into that now obscure Konami Aliens arcade machine, my brother and I would actually argue over who would get to play as her. Because she was the HERO damnit. You can have your cake and eat it too.
post #194 of 626
Quote:
Rey's ability to resist Kylo's mind probe was a perfect manifestation of her raw ability with the Force.

 

One of the good things about Star Wars is that, as far as we can see, 'raw ability' doesn't count for much with the Force. Anakin is supposed to be incredibly powerful, and untrained that manifests as being a very good racer and natural pilot (and Lucas has a lot of stuff go on in the script - for good or ill - to confirm that Anakin's untrained stint in the fighter is one third autopilot, one third lucky bumbling, and one third actual piloting). Him being a super-talented apprentice doesn't save him from having his butt kicked several times, and when he does impressive stuff - killing Dooku, landing the ship, putting Obi-Wan on the ropes for most of their duel - we can see that it's difficult. It takes Luke three years to accomplish with small training what Rey accomplishes in a few days with no training.

 

A lot of the defense of how Rey was written talks about how it's obvious there's a reason why she's so powerful  - the fact that she's so powerful is the problem! It diminishes her character if everything comes so easily to her. Her resisting Kylo's mind probe is great  - it's willpower with the Force involved. Her beating Kylo in their duel is great too - she's skilled with a staff, he's injured, messed up, and she's tapping into her instincts.

 

Her force-tricking the stormtrooper is rubbish, because it makes the Force feel way more like a born-with-it superpower than midichlorians ever did. Remove that, add in a few more bumps when she's piloting the Falcon, and have Han and Maz a little less impressed with her, and you've got a way better character. 

post #195 of 626
Thread Starter 

Somewhere in the TFA thread I went through an exhaustive account of how much you could improve Rey and Kylo's characters, their showdown in the climax, and the transition to the next episode simply by having Rey fail to resist his mind probe.  It wouldn't make it a perfect movie, but in terms of quick-fixes, it would be a very effective and extremely simple one. As it is, going into the third act, when things should be at their most desperate and she is a captive of the bad guys...eh, she's still fine. No problem handling these putzes.

post #196 of 626

Abrams and Co. seem to make the freshman mistake of equating "strong" female characters with female characters that are literally strong in everything they do. They seem to fear that giving Rey any kind of real flaws and weaknesses will make them sexist and her a tool of the patriarchy.

post #197 of 626

 

Quote:

Abrams and Co. seem to make the freshman mistake of equating "strong" female characters with female characters that are literally strong in everything they do. They seem to fear that giving Rey any kind of real flaws and weaknesses will make them sexist and her a tool of the patriarchy.

 
 
I think this is the case, and I have sympathy for Abrams and co. - it's a hypercritical mine-field out there. However, in the long run, I think making Rey so perfect badly served Rey. When Disney started making the new films, I thought it would be really cool to have a protagonist who was weak in the Force, but who overcomes through determination, training, and discipline. Obviously having the first female big lead be weak in the Force has pretty dodgy connotations, but the opposite - they seem to be setting her up to be the Force's Chosen One 2.0 (which no-one liked in the prequels! Even me, and I liked them!) - has dramatic problems too. 
 
When TFA came out though, I remember seeing a lot of talk about how Rey was better than Luke because Luke was whiny, he kept getting put in his place, so many of his plans didn't quite work etc. It makes me a little concerned that some people out there think a good character is a character who has as many good qualities as possible. Like, if only Lucas had the writing chops to include a scene where Luke kicked the cantina thugs' asses, while Obi-wan ran to help - then paused, dead impressed. 
post #198 of 626
Quote:
Originally Posted by mondguy View Post

And I don't really think that TFA neutered Han Solo in any way. His character had a long history of bad luck, overconfidence, and fighting his way through bad odds.

THAT'S NOT HOW ARCS WORK!!!




However you want to characterize him, those traits, along the character-defining fact he had the ability to improve his outlook and the way he went about things, lead to him becoming a respected, successful leader and team player.

TFA didn't just reset Han to ANH levels, it set him back even further, to a worse place than he was when we met him in ANH. This decision was not just the absolute least creative/imaginative/adventurous path possible to give the character, it was, and is, an UTTER BETRAYAL of EVERYTHING* the OT stood for.


* I vaguely remember some subplot about a jedi and his dad or something too, but I'm talking about the main story.
post #199 of 626
There's Bucho's red button.
post #200 of 626
Bring up the non-hug someone.

I daaaaaaaaaaaare you.
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