The Existential Crisis of Not Liking The Thing You Used to Love

STOP READING HERE IF YOU DON'T WANT TO READ A STAR WARS POST! It's spoiler free, but if you feel like someone else's reaction could spoil it for you, turn back now and return once you've seen it.

...Okay. Let's get on with this.
This is not the positive review you're looking for.

This post is a very cathartic exercise for me, because since I saw The Force Awakens on Thursday, I have been in mourning.

My reaction to the film was "meh". I was a massive Star Wars fan once. I never would've met some of the most important people in my life if not for a mutual love of this franchise. So why do I feel this way? Why am I the dissenting voice when everyone else adores it?

I've thought a lot about why over the past couple of days and I keep coming back to this one thought - I was bored because I'd seen it before. The Force Awakens is the original film rebooted for a modern audience, and I wished we could've had a new story.

I am so sad that I can't join in with all of you squeeing and jumping for joy. I know that feeling. I love that feeling. I'm angry with myself for not feeling happier. But that's not what this film did for me. I so wish it had. It genuinely upsets me that I didn't love it. Have I become that cynical? It's not like it's a terrible film! It's very well made, but it didn't connect with me.

What happened to the part of me that loved Star Wars? Well, there's an answer to that last one. I'll get to it in a minute.

Despite my general level of meh, I thought Finn was brilliant and believable. His story is what will make me sit through at least one more film. I loved the return to practical effects, and when CG was used it blended in nicely - although time will only tell how well it all ages. All of my other favourite moments are epic spoilers, so SSSHHHHHHHHH!!!!

I also loved how diverse the cast was. I did laugh quite a lot, and I did enjoy the nods to the past. Even I'm not entirely dead inside.

It simply wasn't enough for me. The Star Wars universe is so vast, so why did the film rely on nostalgia and refuse to be its own thing? I found the writing kind of lazy. That plot worked in 1977 because audiences hadn't seen it in that way before. But now, having everything rely on "the Force" was tiresome.  I wanted to see Star Wars evolve, but it's still the same as it was at the beginning, even with its greater and much needed diversity.

And the villains... *headdesk* The way I see it, the Empire was based on the Nazis because even in the 70s, society wasn't so far removed from that period in history. These days, it feels like the Nazis are just the villain model of choice because they were so undeniably awful. The problem is everyone does it and it's old.

The rest of my problems are way too spoilery so I can't go any further. Instead, I will answer that other question I had for myself - what happened to the part of me that loved Star Wars?

That's pretty easy. Star Wars belongs in my past. I'm kinda hoping that by the time the next film comes out, I'll be able to see it as a casual film-goer (super casual, as I've seen a mere four films this year and would've happily skipped two of them), rather than as a fan. I still have very fond memories of Star Wars, but that's what they are - memories. They aren't new feelings. It's how I feel about hearing an old song. I still enjoy it, but it doesn't connect the way it used to. It just reminds me of how I used to feel.

I outgrew Star Wars, and that's okay. You're allowed to move on and change. I'm working through my mourning (because that's how I feel), and I think I'll reach a point when I can just enjoy the new films rather than adore them.

I still love the original trilogy, and if I'm honest, I'll always have an appreciation of the prequels (they are guilty pleasures, I think). Not adoring The Force Awakens doesn't mean I'll never like new additions to my favourite things ever again. And if I don't, well, that doesn't take away what I did love to begin with.

Oh, Star Wars, this does feel like a farewell. A fond one, but a farewell nonetheless.

Comments

  1. I loved it overall, but completely agree that the plot was too reliant on nostalgia. The whole supermegadeathstar thing really fell flat for me, as did everything with Kylo Ren and the First Order, and R2D2's plot convenient reveal.

    Hannah Bowman mentioned some issues with the plotting that I completely agree with: http://hannahbowman.tumblr.com/post/135649929109/what-went-wrong-in-star-wars-the-force-awakens

    Overall, I still loved the film -- Finn ,Rey and Poe Dameron (plus a lot of other spoilery things) were enough for me to overlook the repetitive plot. I'm hoping that this was JJ's 'cautious' movie, sticking to a familiar plot, and now that he's gained some trust he'll be a bit bolder in the next movies.

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    1. Finn is the reason I will go see the next one, but my goodness I need it to take a bolder step with the plot.

      Kylo Ren and co were exceedingly tiresome to me. I just needed something new. I don't need a rehash of all that's gone before. I already love that!

      hahah, yes, we must not discuss the spoilers ;)

      I think my problems with it are largely down to my expectations based on the old EU novels I devoured in my teens. I'm coming to terms with my reaction now, but it was a real punch to the gut to be underwhelmed by something I used to love so so so so so much.

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