I saw the film again last night for the 2nd time. I noticed several things I missed the first time through…
1- Lots of small details like a tie fighter pilot helmet laying in the foreground when Rey’s heading off on her speeder, at least 4 star destroyers off in the distance near a wide shot of Starkiller base, two walkers moving in the distance while Han, Chewy, and Finn make their way into part of Starkiller to plant charges, the silver domed figure in this shot…
...is Captain Phasma (I was so focused on Hux making his speech when I first saw the film, I missed the frontal shot where you can clearly see it's Phasma), etc.
2- When Finn defects and the First Order is trying to figure out what’s going on, Captain Phasma explains that he reported to her division (as she ordered him too when he took off his helmet after the engagement on Jakku inside the troop transport) and was then ordered to go to re-conditioning. Even though it's mentioned ever so briefly, and Finn never explains this, I’m certain this is the reason he defected (i.e. escape/run rather than undergo the process of re-conditioning).
3- When Kylo Ren is interrogating Rey, he talks about how she had hard times sleeping while growing up on Jakku. He makes brief mention of her dreaming of an ocean and an island (a strange thing for a girl growing up on a desert world to be dreaming of). This is most certainly a reference to the original Jedi planet and island that Luke is on. I missed this the first time as at this point in the film you haven't seen where Luke is at. I for sure caught it the second time though. ...More evidence Rey is a Skywalker to go along with the lightsaber calling her, the force being strong with her, Maz saying that whoever Rey’s waiting for to come back and get her on Jakku isn’t coming back, but there is one who can... at which point Rey mutters, “Luke Skywalker?” Hmmm…
4- Without any explanation, C3P0 has his old arm back at the very end of the film. You can clearly see it when everyone is waving goodbye/good luck to Rey, Chewy, and R2D2 as they go off to find Luke. …Not sure what the red arm was about (a merchandising tool to sell yet a new version of C3P0?), but ok.
5- I caught this the first time but didn’t consider the importance of it. When Han and Leia are talking about their son, they talk about how Snoke seduced him. This is very different than Palpatine who did his best work in the shadows unseen. As Han, Leia, and presumably everyone else clearly knows about Snoke his actions must be out in the open. This makes me even more intrigued to find out who he was/is and what he’s all about.
6- Poe Dameron mentions the system that the First Order blew up (i.e. the one that housed the Senate/Republic). He calls it the Hosnian system. I think I remember him saying this the first time I saw the film, but with all the other information my brain was processing I quickly forgot it. I looked it up on Wookieepedia
, etc. but found very little about it.
There just has to be. I'd have to rewatch it all, but I've heard assertions that some scene(s) from the previews weren't in the movie.
I know for sure the scene where Maz hands Leia Luke’s/Anakin’s lightsaber, as well as the classic shot of Kylo Ren igniting his lightsaber in the snowy woods (a.k.a. Starkiller base), are not in the movie.
This was really frustrating for me. They talk about them consistently as distinct political entities, but they obviously are not. The resistance fighters even wear Republic symbols on their uniforms. It doesn't make sense.
I tried to pay close attention to any dialogue or other clues when I watched it again last night and there are several mentions of the republic fleet, including Hux mentioning them destroying it along with the Senate when they turn Starkiller’s destructive capacity against the Hosnian system and blew it up. He mentions how the Republic is sympathetic to the Resistance and the opening scroll of the movie talks of how General Leia is leading a resistance to the First Order and their plan to kill the last Jedi (which of course makes sense considering the last Jedi is her brother). I’m guessing we’re to take from all this that the Republic isn’t “officially” supporting the Resistance, but that they are looking the other way as they actively resist the First Order and their attempt to reinstitute a 2nd coming of the Galactic Empire. Still a lot of questions though…
I have a lot of complaints, though. I don't mind Kylo Ren as a character, but I was not happy with the actor playing him. Some scenes were good, but some just fell flat (and what was up with the accent? The actor doesn't have an accent normally, so why does he in TFA?).
The issue of accents are interesting in this film. For example why does Rey have an English accent while Finn does not, yet both are British actors? I’ve heard rumor that this is J.J. trying to communicate a connection to Obi-Wan. I’m not sure, but that is very interesting…
…they had no time to actually explain ANYTHING that has happened in the intervening decades, but they had time for stupid cgi monster chase scenes that added NOTHING to the story?
I mostly agree. I think the CGI monster scene did continue character development and interaction that was positive, however, in light of obvious time constraints imposed by Disney, etc. it caused other important areas to be cut short or missed altogether. In that regard, I think your point is well taken. The reason I liked it, was that section of the film re-established Han Solo and Chewy as the characters we love. I enjoyed Han’s interaction with Rey, Finn, and Chewy as well as his trying to talk his way out of trouble. Once Kasdan and Abrams opted to have him be surrounded by two groups who wanted him dead, they had to have a way for him to get out of it. Enter CGI monsters. However, the reason I didn’t like it was that it took up valuable time that could have been used elsewhere helping to fill in plot holes. The scene if nothing else could have been shortened/streamlined so we could have had the best of both worlds.
Overall, I'd say it was a fun movie, but not a good movie. There was no tension with starkiller because as soon as you know it exists, they're blowing it up. I would've much preferred it if they had started out with starkiller blowing up the Republic, leaving only the resistance, who feels they only have a shot now if they find Luke Skywalker, kicking the movie off. That would have solved almost all of my complaints. I really hope the future movies are better.
That would have been a good solution. It would have jumped us right into the action, would have made clear the connection between the Republic/Resistance, and made sense as to why Luke would be so critical (i.e. they have to find him/convince him to re-establish the Jedi so as to counter Snoke, Kylo Ren, & the First Order).
EDIT: Also, it was definitely Finn being carted off the Falcon at the end, not Solo. They do show his face, he's just not center screen. They also show Leia reacting to Han's death (she felt it through the force).
I can confirm this 100%. I paid super close attention last night to make sure it was him. You can clearly see it’s his jacket, pants, etc. and that he’s a black character, even though his face at that point is hard to make out.
The one thing I still don’t get is… why does Leia hug Rey so intently after she comes off the Falcon?
After they blow up Starkiller, the Falcon (and what’s left of the Resistance’s x-wings) land. When Rey disembarks the Falcon, Leia heads straight toward her and hugs her first thing. That wouldn’t be a problem except… she’s never seen Rey before.
While Han, Chewy, Finn, and BB8 were all rescued after Maz Kanata’s place was blown to tiny bits, Rey was carried off by Kylo Ren and brought to Starkiller base. There has to be something to this.
As if to make this even more poignant, after Finn is moved off the Falcon via medical hover bed, the camera pans back with everyone celebrating their recent victory at screen left. Off to screen right, all by themselves, is Leia and Rey still hugging.
Is it just that Leia’s is sensitive to other female characters who are hurting? Was Leia told by Chewy, Han, or Finn how Rey had really taken to Han as a father figure, and she feels for her/wants to comfort her? Or… does Leia know who Rey really is?