More than a few things stuck in my craw about the star wars reboot. But there were two things that really bugged me on my second viewing.
Like everyone else I loved the rise of “Girrrl Power” - the lead character, Rey’s, perpetual rejection of a traditional gender role to her male champion, Finn - like where they met under fire - she yells “Stop holding my hand” - and then outruns him! While I enjoyed this - like nearly everything else she did throughout the movie - as she became preturnaturally good at everything, that started to bother me.
Now, I note, that I hate the hapless/hopeless female trope also - the “Willie Scott” character in The Temple of Doom, ugh! - but this new myth of the competent woman is also magical thinking at it’s worst, just as it is when a male character is displayed with excessive competence with no plausible means have having acquired it.
The movie doesn’t show the endless hours she spent awake with a manual to the XB-55G, or covered in grease while fixing the millenium falcon - and maybe she spent that time RTFMing all the manuals for the gear and boning up on warp drive… but it seems more like she’s spent her time scrabbling for broken gear in exchange for food at the time the movie takes place.
Magical thinking… The competent woman - as if you can go from barbie dolls to to an alien wrench overnight. Becoming competent takes practice - “training”, as Yoda said - and if you are in a place where getting a textbook requires an airdrop from space, where you can’t even get enough food to eat on a regular basis - you aren’t going to get that education you need.
By the time the movie got to her kissing her sleeping beauty goodbye, I’d lost it on this front.
And secondly… where the movie got to me most, was Han Solo being portrayed as a wuss.
Leia Organa says “bring our son home” - And Han gives us this far off, resigned look…
Saying: “Oh, sure, honey, that son of ours that just killed uncounted billions on 3 planets, totally destroyed our attempt at rebuilding the jedi knights, and is about to try killing us and everything we’ve worked for, I’ll bring home…”
Yea, Han Solo, the guy who shot first, the eminently practical rogue, a good man in a fight, a swindler capable of shorting two gangs at the same time and living to tell about it - is, in this movie, the epitomy of overly permissive parenting.
There is, honestly, a time when you should give up on someone, throw them in jail, and/or shoot on sight… and somewhere between breaking up your pre-school in an orgy of mayhem and murder and destroying your first planet, killing billions, is that point.
The Han Solo I knew, the one I grew up on, would have been angry, would have said he’d bring him home… in a box! He’d have said the same things Bill Cosby’s dad did as he brought his belt out to shape him up - “I can always make another kid” - and maybe he’d have planned ahead: “Chewie, if you see my son, shoot to kill!”.
That would have set up some real dramatic tension - the raging father vs wayward son… and Han’d at least, have gone down fighting, instead of being a wuss.
Han Solo is dead, and I miss him.