“Star Wars: The Force Awakens”: The All-Spoiler Entry

Captain Phasma!

Hey, remember that time we had high hopes for every well-dressed new character in The Force Awakens?

Previously on Midlife Crisis Crossover: we saw Star Wars: The Force Awakens! The previous entry was the requisite MCC review-not-review, but lighter on details this time for the benefit of those fans who want a fighting change to see the movie with as few surprises spoiled as possible. According to my son, some deranged Expanded Universe fans were invading random YouTube comments sections for videos that had absolutely nothing to do with Star Wars and were posting major TFA spoilers because they are bitter and they are twelve. Between the heavily armed loner gunmen we fear are waiting at the crowded theater lobbies and the entitled trolls waiting to type furiously at innocents at home, the cinema experience is strangely more challenging and less fun than ever.

That didn’t stop us, though. We had thoughts and I remembered to write down many of them. Here’s a COURTESY SPOILER WARNING in case you somehow overlooked the title.


* ACKBAR ACKBAR ACKBAR! With original puppeteer Tim Rose still under the hood.
* Everything about abandoned but self-sufficient Rey, Finn attempting to redeem himself for his upbringing and employers, and that darn expressive BB-8, all from start to finish.
* The 21st-century camerawork, not afraid to change up the series’ staid visual style.
* Kylo Ren as a de facto Sith apprentice who refuses to sublimate his emotions through harsh glowering and finds himself prone to evil tantrums.
* A MOCAP’d Academy Award Winner Lupito Nyong’o as Orange Yoda.
* Stormtroopers successfully committing unredeemable evil.
* Best spaceship battle: Rey/Finn swerving through the Star Destroyer husk in the Millennium Falcon.
* Second best spaceship battle: the one with the longest tracking shot down on Planet Endor-With-Businesses.
* The numerous intentionally funny parts, of which the prequels had not nearly enough.
* The lightsaber battles won’t enter the Ray Park Hall of Fame, but at least some of them were supposed to appear rough and untrained.
* Finn’s loose, any-guy-from-the-audience patter and demeanor, which would’ve gotten him banned from the prequels.
* Han Solo: still one of the best.
* Chewbacca: better and more vengeful than ever.
* Fun bit parts for Max von Sydow, Heroes‘ Greg Grunberg, Ken Leung from X-Men: The Last Stand, and the two greatest fighters from The Raid.
* The complete lack of discussions about trade negotiations, intergalactic taxation, imports, exports, and other dull topics from Space Social Studies class.
* Catching the faint, mandatory Wilhelm Scream during the tied-down TIE Fighter sequence.
* The fact that not all questions were answered right away, leaving some toys for writer/director Rian Johnson to play with in Episode VIII.


* Complete lack of preamble before the Star Wars theme kicked in. Obviously they can’t use the 20th Century Fox Fanfare anymore, but the moment of silence for the lonely Lucasfilm logo started things off on the wrong foot.
* My wife’s complaints at various points that “The Expanded Universe already did this.”
* The Indominus Rex of Death Stars.
* Gwendoline Christie as the new Boba Fett.
* Andy Serkis as the Great and Powerful Oz.
* Third best spaceship battle: all the rest, because thousands of CG spaceships flitting about pell-mell and going pew-pew-pew at each other at the same time doesn’t do much for me. Space dogfights haven’t changed much since Babylon 5 or Deep Space Nine‘s final season.
* Still unclear on the differences between the First Order, the Empire, the Republic, the Resistance, and the Rebel Alliance.
* The New Cantina with the magical Jedi Temple basement that no one ever stumbled across before Rey showed up.
* Seeing the catwalk over the chasm and thinking to myself how nothing good ever comes of bridges over chasms.
* Seeing Han looking forlornly from hiding at Kylo Ren on the bridge and knowing exactly how the next five minutes would play out, beat for beat. I love seeing a film without suffering any major spoilers in advance, but there’s a different kind of dissatisfaction when I can predict where a major scene is going without them.
* The two best fighters from The Raid got to do exactly zero martial arts.
* “We have this partial star map with Luke’s whereabouts, but we can’t find it without the rest of the map!” Or you could go to a planet where someone’s invented astronomy, let them peg exactly which constellations are showing on the map fragment, and plot a course straight to Lukesville without worrying about how that stubborn R2 is holding out on crucial info and ought to be tried for droid treason or robot contempt or whatever.
* A dead stop at lightspeed should’ve wrecked the Falcon so many times over.
* The two best fighters from The Raid got to do exactly zero martial arts.


* Domhnall Gleeson as an emphatic commandant glad to be done with his Argentina hideaway for good.
* Kylo Ren with his mask off, nervous and afraid, looking less like Han or Leia and more like Johnny Utah.
* The cameos I didn’t or couldn’t possibly have spotted, including Warwick Davis and several mentioned in a helpful article.
* Fifteen whole seconds of Luke. His lips said nothing, but his eyes said “To Be Continued”. ARGH.

We have plans to see TFA at least one more time in the next two weeks, so I’ll be curious to see what changes or gets added to either list. If nothing else, I’m hoping to better savor Ackbar’s big scenes, because our commanding fish-man totally got the short shrift here.

9 responses

  1. I enjoyed the heck out of it! Hope you don’t mind if I add my own thoughts:
    Bummer that you are undecided on Domhnall!! I loved his icy creepoizoid acting and constant look of perturbed evil (which also reminded me of a wealthy, spoiled, constipated bager as weird as that sounds…) & I didn’t really care for Gwendoline’s role either. I don’t know if it’s her or the character but it was forgettable for me. I knew she was in the movie but totally forget and didn’t recognize her voice.
    I appreciated the humor in the movie and how much some of the characters seemed like could’ve been straight out of the original trilogy (like Poe who I hope to see more of).
    I was iffy on the Andy CGI dude-blob but I’m open to it and wherever it’s going.
    I actually liked Adam Driver unmasked though I didn’t expect to. Something about him being a sweaty, angry brat worked for me and I loved the contrast between his voice and the mask and his bear face.

    My only issue with the Han & Kylo scene you mentioned was that I agree it was totally predictable so that plus how lonnnng it seemed to go on for was torture.

    I didn’t care for Chewbacca because his personality seemed to be drastically different from the old Chewbacca which was odd to me…but I appreciated when he went bonkers.

    I have many more thoughts but who cares! I’m making pancakes and they are going to burn.

    Nice post!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks! Nice response, too. Hope the pancakes were saved!

      I was mostly on board with Domhnall except for the big speech when, as my wife puts it, “he channel his inner Goebbels”. He was SO far out there in that moment, I’m having trouble deciding if that was overkill or just-right-kill.

      I wish I’d had more to say about Poe. He wasn’t bad and I’d like to see more, but Rey and Finn totally upstaged him.

      I’ve never seen Adam Driver in anything else except articles about Girls, which I will never ever ever ever ever ever watch, so I’ll cop to some bias there. But in costume, he was a fantastic villain.


      • The pancakes were saved and delicious!!
        Ah, you know I can’t even remember the big speech (I’m sorry Domhnall!) but I may see the movie again so I’ll take note of that scene.
        I think I recall you talking about your non interest in Girls before maybe? I can’t be sure as to why I did this but I watched the first two seasons when they were available On Demand. I guess I was curious and hoping for a great show but I found none of the characters likeable at all and they even tended to disgust me a little bit. I don’t have to relate to a show to like it but I felt a huge distance between myself and the characters. I have no issue with their promiscuity or anything like that, I’m not judging that stuff, I just found them intolerably annoying and kind of ugly on the inside for the most part.
        There’s a movie called Tracks on Netflix that was pretty good. It’s about a woman who travels with her dog and some camels across part of the Australian desert and it’s based on the memoir of the woman who did it in the 1970s. Adam Driver plays a National Geographic photographer. He’s not spectacular or anything in it but I think he was better in that role than a few others and anyway it was a good movie. It’s on, or was on, Netflix streaming if you’re ever interested. He’s not in it much as most of the trek is done by Mia Wasikowska’s character alone.


        • Thanks for that — I always appreciate Netflix recommendations. I think I vaguely recall seeing a capsule review of Tracks way back when, but it didn’t stick with me. After TFA I’m curious to see what else the cast can do, including Driver, so consider that one added to my queue. Your impression of Girls matches my expectations — ugly-on-the-inside people letting it all out. I’ve seen the occasional write-up in EW, whose reviewers adore the show, and a lot of what they praised sounded like the opposite of me. I’d much rather see Driver in Tracks, even if only for a few minutes.


    • I can safely say TFA wasn’t my favorite film of the year, but it outpaced my expectations. And your TFA review was one of several that I had to save till after I saw it AND wrote down my thoughts first so I wouldn’t be consciously copying anyone else. Really interested in checking out your entry ASAP…

      Liked by 1 person

  2. I always liked Star Wars, but was never one of “those fans,” so I went in with no expectations beyond a hope of being entertained. Mission accomplished. My only disappointment is the 17 month wait to find out what’s next.


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