Hal 9000 said:
But seriously, I saw the film a third time this afternoon and finally feel ready to offer an informed opinion.
I really enjoyed it. The problems I had with it did not bother me upon repeat viewings. In this and other ways, it’s similar to Return of the Jedi. Both ape ANH somewhat, and I would have preferred them not to. But, TFA carries its flaws and holds up despite them, and its emotional beats resonated very well. Star Wars Episode VII is now a thing that exists, rather than a hypothetical full of infinite potential, and that reality bothered me a little at first. Seeing it for what it is, I think it’s a success.
Glad to see you enjoy it now Hal. I had a similar experience as you the first time, though not as extreme. It’s tough when you’ve anticipated it for so long, it’s literally impossible for it to live up to expectations (not just quality expectations, but content expectations, and sometimes this is for the better). Even though I kept telling this to myself going into it, it still nagged me a little while watching. I still loved the film the first time I saw it, but not even close to as much the other times I saw it.
It’s a funny thing when it’s an unseen film “full of infinite potential,” as you say. It can definitely be hard to reconcile when you finally see it. I remember when I first saw the film, and it gets to the scene with Lor San Tekka and Poe and it’s the first dialogue scene and I had this moment where I said to myself in my mind “oh my god, it’s just a movie isn’t it.” Before it exists it’s just a mystical unicorn. Part of the fun of Star Wars is the unknown, so, while finally figuring out what happens is obviously exciting, on some level it’s sad because that will never be a mystery anymore. But consciously we want to know everything. So the first time I saw it I had so many questions and consciously I was sort of like “come on, why didn’t they do this, why didn’t they do that,” but when I thought about it, what I wanted from Episode VII was too much for a single movie. Episode VII is the first of a trilogy and obviously there will be some mystery and obviously not everything will be explored in depth yet (I think part of the disconnect for me is that I saw the OT in one fell swoop rather than waited three years in between each). And that’s fine, and really it’s better this way.