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Re: Star Wars Episode VII Discussion ***SPOILERS***

Posted: January 4th, 2016, 12:41 pm
by scotland
ptdebate wrote: Scotland-- with all due respect, neither you nor anyone else has ever called a male character a "Mary Sue." For that reason alone, it is a ridiculous appellation.

Let's disavow you of the notion this is one sided and sexist. Here are male Mary Sues (or Marty Stus) in groups. Enter Captain Picard, Jonny Quest, the Lone Ranger, the Silver Age Superman, Wolverine and others who are just too darn good.

Family One - Begins as a Marty Stu, but flaws show up later - James Bond in Dr. No, Captain Kirk in "Where no man has gone before" and Harry Potter in Philosopher's Stone.

Family Two - Begins as a Marty Stu but audience knows meta information about their flaws (because its a prequel, or how the story goes is common knowledge) - Little Ani in The Phantom Menace, Lancelot in the Arthurian Legends, Samson in the bible, Hercules or Achilles in Greek legend.

Family Three - Begins more well rounded but becomes a Marty Stu later - Wolverine, Captain Picard. (This is a constant issue in long running series, both for heroes and villains - why do you think Gwen Stacy died, after all).

Family Four - Written to be a Marty Stu or Paragon as an Ideal of the time - The Lone Ranger, Gene Autry, the George Reeves Superman, all the 1960s Justice League of America heroes in the comics. Adam Strange, Tarzan, Lord of the Apes, Doc Savage, Man of Bronze. Dick Tracy.Buck Rogers, Flash Gordon, Wesley Crusher Boy Genius et al. Time may tarnish them as values change, but they were intended to be ideals to look up to. Special shoutout to Saturday Morning Cartoons geared directly to kids, such as the Superfriends, Herculoids, Jonny Quest, Will Robinson, Spaaaaace Ghoooooost, and more.

So there you go. A big ol list of about 20 Marty Stus.

Its all about balance. Maybe Rey will have an interesting backstory to explain it all (and the name 'Rey' hints at a regal family connection doesn't it, which could mean a connection to Leia). Maybe TFA will be her shining hour, and the next movie really push her to the breaking point - maybe so she is the one that has to leave a child behind forever. That would be better storytelling - but we don't have that information yet.

Why is her being a Mary Sue a weakness in the story? Because there are only a few types of conflict, one being "Person vs Self", in other words, personal growth. Sure, you can tell exciting stories with "Vs Other Person", "Vs Society" and "Vs Nature" , but "Vs Self" is really where the emotional investment is. Without that, it may as well be a Jason of Star Command on Saturday Mornings on CBS.

Re: Star Wars Episode VII Discussion ***SPOILERS***

Posted: January 4th, 2016, 12:51 pm
by bluenote
I'll be honest, this whole back and forth regarding Rey being a woman is kinda lost on me. I really didn't pay attention to the fact that she is a woman when I was watching the movie. That fact really had nothing to do with me thinking that she was a great character, regardless of being a man or woman. They could have cast her as a man, and I wouldn't have thought any different.

Re: Star Wars Episode VII Discussion ***SPOILERS***

Posted: January 4th, 2016, 2:17 pm
by ActRaiser
In my humble opinion, folks are giving this too much thought.

Was it a fun movie? Yes

Was it worth the $20 ticket? Heck, yeah

I'm 38 years old and grew up on Star Wars. Sure, it paid homage to the past movies, but that really was what made it such a great experience.

It's a fun popcorn movie. You can't go wrong with that. Is it Citizen Kane? No, but that's okay. It never professes to be.

Re: Star Wars Episode VII Discussion ***SPOILERS***

Posted: January 4th, 2016, 3:49 pm
by Shapur
Yeah, I wanted to not even add more but there's one thing I just can't let go......
ptdebate wrote:Did you call Anakin a Mary Sue back in 1999?

No, I had not heard of the term in 1999. I just said he was lame, overpowered and ridiculous.
Are you sure that's not because there are serious problems with your reading of this film's protagonist?

Absolutely. 8-) . I could go online and say that James Bond is really a very sensitive man and nobody jumps down my throat.
ptdebate wrote:You're only drawing attention to this because she's a female character.

I don't want to sound combative or angry but you really should not presume to know the motivations behind other peoples actions. I am totally comfortable with my own feelings on female characters. There are many I like. There are many others I don't. It is completely unfair to paint any detractors of a character as sexists on the basis of her being female. Male characters have been loathed for being good at everything, and liked by everyone. Just go back to the days of Wesley Crusher. Even if you believe most of her detractors fall in the sexist camp, that can't be reduced to individual detractors.

Re: Star Wars Episode VII Discussion ***SPOILERS***

Posted: January 4th, 2016, 8:04 pm
by ptdebate
I think we can go ahead and close the book on this debate as I think everyone's had a chance to say their piece. Thanks all for responding thoughtfully and respectfully.

Shapur, I'm sorry for coming off as accusatory. I studied gender studies as part of my lit major in college so it's a topic I respond to with a great deal of seriousness. Maybe you didn't mean for it to have anything to do with gender at all, but the term "Mary Sue" just set me off. I kind of wear my ideology on my sleeve.

ActRaiser is right to bring it back to basics. This movie is FUN. It's outrageously entertaining, but it paints in broad strokes. I expect Episode VIII to delve into more subtlety with Rian Johnson at the helm.

Bluenote, I think you have the right idea. It doesn't matter Rey's gender--she's becoming a JEDI and that's AWESOME!

I just saw TFA for the 5th time today (with yet another group of friends who hadn't seen it yet). My throat STILL tightens up when Rey pulls that lightsaber out of the snow. I still can't get enough of this cast. Unlike with the prequels, where I think Ian McDiarmid was the only actor having an ounce of fun with his role, everyone--both in the movie and the audience, is just so happy to be there, and the energy is infectious.

Re: Star Wars Episode VII Discussion ***SPOILERS***

Posted: January 5th, 2016, 6:11 pm
by pacman000
Awwww... I didn't get to say anything about the film. Can I now?

I enjoyed The Force Awakens. I must say that first. At some points it seemed a bit too familiar, but most sequels repeat their predecessor's plot points.

The FX were good; I particularly like all the practical stuff. Cinematography style changed, and there were fewer wipes, but J.J. Abrams didn't have camera flare in every shot, so it was I'm fine with it.

Something near the end made me very, very sad tho, so I don't want to see it again for awhile.

Re: Star Wars Episode VII Discussion ***SPOILERS***

Posted: January 5th, 2016, 6:47 pm
by VideoGameCritic
No need to close this thread out. I'm still enjoying reading people's opinions.

Re: Star Wars Episode VII Discussion ***SPOILERS***

Posted: January 5th, 2016, 9:22 pm
by ptdebate
Didn't mean to suggest closing the thread--just ending the debate about Rey's character being a "Mary Sue" protagonist.

Re: Star Wars Episode VII Discussion ***SPOILERS***

Posted: January 6th, 2016, 7:05 am
by scotland
TFA destroys the Joyous Ewok Force Ghost Party Happy Ending of Return of the Jedi. Now we know Leia and Han don't have a happily ever after, but at best a "It wasn't all bad", and Luke has gone full Obi Wan/Yoda recluse from the world after witnessing death and heartbreak, all while either part of the Empire or a new looka-a-like threat (whatever the First Order is) continues to make life tough. Thats actually a good bit of storytelling, and par for the course of our reality, but its just a gut punch to the fairy tale ending we did have.

I also really like Leia. Part of that might be because of what we know about Carrie Fisher the person, who has publicly discussed her struggles in life. Sometimes its hard not to enjoy characters when you like the actor behind them. She looks terrific, and looks much more like someone her age would look. Its not the years, its the mileage, someone one said, but she looks great. From what little she know, Han Solo has been her great love of her life, and it went sour with her son making some horrible choices in life (make your own analogy here). Star Wars has never been directly General Leia's story (what happened to her Force abilities by the way?), but somewhere in the new no more EU Star Wars universe I hope she gets a good biographer. I'm sure we will learn more about her story, past and present, in the next two movies.

Also, Max von Sydow - Here you have the wonderful Ming the Merciless! The Imperial Planetologist of Arrakis! A man who has gone exorcised demons and given voice to Vigo the Carpathian! Kinda a waste to have him in the film the way he was. Next up, I'd like to see Micheal Ironside or Sigourney Weaver be brought in...

Re: Star Wars Episode VII Discussion ***SPOILERS***

Posted: January 10th, 2016, 7:03 pm
by ptdebate
There was another thread of discussion brought up which I'd like to talk about--Force Awakens alluding to ANH to such a degree that it borders on plagiarism. I retort that ANH's allusive structure is a deliberate artistic choice, one that evolves from not only the content of Star Wars' history, but also the approach that Lucas has always taken with this series.

We know that J.J. Abrams' film output consists mostly of reboots, reimaginings, and homages. But The Force Awakens clearly tells a story that picks up after the classic film that inspired it. A sequel to a classic work is something new for Abrams.

And yet, there are obvious callbacks to the original. There are similar plot devices, arranged differently. The "bones," as Abrams calls them, are a classic, tried-and-true formula. The other stuff--far and away the most important stuff--is new.

Kylo Ren is an aspiring Sith--a user of the Dark Side of the force--who is tempted by the light. Formerly trained as a Jedi, he is on his way to being a Sith apprentice. He is not a complete villain, just as Rey, who has only just begun to make use of her connection to the force, in not yet a complete hero. Rey and Ren encounter one another and the former succeeds, although it could have easily turned out otherwise. What if Maz had never opened Rey's eyes to her true destiny? She would have failed against Ren despite the latter's lack of clarity and focus.

As Lucas himself said, these movies are less about spaceships and more about personal relationships that span a galactic scale. And as Lucas himself created films 1-6 with a repetitive, ring-based structure (see:, Abrams adopted an approach with TFA that deliberately echoes the past while laying the groundwork for the future.