I don’t like the ST myself, but the Mary Sue argument is very silly and indicative of one’s attitude towards women. “We don’t hate women, we hate poorly written characters” doesn’t apply when a person defends the prequel trilogy over these films.
The Mary Sue argument is not indicative of a personal attitude against women. That is ridiculous. A person can think that Rey is a Mary Sue without thinking that all other strong female characters are Mary Sues.
I wasn’t talking about the argument as a whole, I was refering to it in the context of ST criticism. As it turns out, in those films there’s no proof that Rey is some kind of overpowered protagonist with no flaws. She doubts herself constantly, characters can best her physically, and the bulk of The Last Jedi consists of her and other characters failing to do things. So naturally, her being described as Mary Sue raises a few eyebrows.
In the context of the first six films she is an overpowered protagonist, as she just has all these Force powers despite not getting any training within a matter of days
In this context Rey is seemingly no more overpowered as two of the main protagonists from those first six films; a 10 year old child who blows up the Control Ship in TPM whilst flying for the first time in space, or with Luke piloting an X-Wing in battle and going on to blow up the Death Star (just like flying T-16s, apparently 😉) - both of whom had little-to-no training; both also within a short amount of time.
It shouldn’t surprise you, that I disagree. While all protagonists have had their moments of “Gary Stu”-ness if you will, there are a couple of elements, that come into play here. For one there are a number of skills that have been consistently attributed to trained Jedi, or more experienced students of the Force, the Jedi mind trick, the Force pull, lifting rocks, etc have all been used to display the protagonist’s progression, or lack thereof, in learning the ways of the Force. In ROTJ Luke is shown performing the Jedi mind trick for the first time early in the film. This was clearly done to show how much his character had progressed since we last saw him, and since we saw Obi-Wan perform it in ANH, when we were all in awe of what a Jedi can do. It represented the point on the horizon, the impossible made possible by learning the ways of the Force. Having Rey perform the Jedi mind trick, and the Force pull at this early stage of the story diminishes that, and sets her apart, in that she apparently doesn’t have to go through the trials and tribulations, that previous protagonists had to go through to reach that point. Secondly, defeating the dark side apprentice has consistently been used as the sort of end-boss scenario throughout the films. It has been presented as the final trial a student faces before becoming a Jedi, and the moment, where the temptation of the dark side is at its peak, because it may help the student obtain victory, but at a terrible price. Again having Rey defeat Kylo Ren very early in the game, without a hint of temptation, diminishes what came before, and again sets her apart. I think these are legitimate, and reasonable criticisms of how the creators played fast and loose with the previously established lore, and thus invited accusations of the character being too powerful too soon, which in a more, and more polarized atmosphere resulted in Rey being labeled a “Mary Sue” by some of the more extreme corners of the fandom.
but despite that her Force powers, and abilities still grow exponentially.
Can I ask what are Rey’s force powers that grow exponentially you are referring to? Are there examples of these powers growing ‘exponentially’? Stronger, sure. With more understanding of the them (late in the film) - of course; yet that likely comes from more practice over time - along with the teachings and training from Luke.
Practise over time would be a logical explanation, if the two films didn’t play out over a very short period of time. When Luke does a Force pull in TESB with great effort, most accepted this, because years had passed since the destruction of the Death Star. Practise over time, and discovering hidden powers with that practise makes sense in that context. Rey goes from being a newbie at the start of TFA to her and Kylo being pretty evenly matched in their fight against Snoke’s guards, to this in what seems a matter of days:
Rey thus progresses in her control over her Force powers over two films, like Luke did over a trilogy, which spans years, or like Anakin did over a trilogy, which spans over a decade. This would not be an issue, of we weren’t made aware, that the ST developments take place over a much shorter time span, and without the training, and guidance, that previous protagonists had recieved.
No worries on disagreeing - or having that different view 😃 Yet it is now the time spent learning the mastery of the Force Powers you have an issue with in comparison with the first six films - not the supposed ‘overpowering’ or ‘despite that her Force powers, and abilities still grow exponentially’ as to which you originally stated? Or that she has done this in a different way to what has come previously? Okay, fair enough.
It’s great to have a thoughtful debate on this subject, thanks for that! 😃 No, I still maintain she is overpowered, and that her power grows exponentially, despite not having the previously essential factors of time, and training. I say this, because she goes from being able to perform, what were previously advanced Force powers, to defeating a wounded Kylo Ren, to being able to compete at the level of a well trained Force user like Ben Solo in their fight against Snoke’s guard, to the Force pull stalemate, that ends up destroying Anakin’s lightsaber in what seems a matter of days.
I did refer to two overpowered protagonists’ achievements from the previous six films at a time before (or shortly beginning) their training/awareness - a la Rey on her journey; and not towards the end (which obviously hasn’t happened for Rey yet) - though if you wish to change the context again, then okay.
I’ve already argued these situations aren’t comparable, because neither Anakin or Luke were able to use advanced Force powers, or defeat a trained Force user before they received training. In fact both Anakin and Luke were defeated by the dark side apprentice, when they did receive training. Now, we can point to Anakin seeing things before they happen, and being able to compete in podraces, or him destroying the droid control ship (which was down to luck more than anything else), or to Luke guiding the missile into the exhaust port in ANH, as being overpowered, and in relation to many other characters in this universe they are, but that is beside the point. The question is are they overpowered in the context of what has been established about Force users and students of the Force in the past? The answer in my view is, that despite the fact that Anakin and Luke have been presented as having great potential (Anakin having the greatest potential ever recorded), learning the ways of the Force, and controlling it, has consistently been presented as being very hard to accomplish, and so despite their talent, it was made abundently clear, that Anakin and Luke would never be able to reach that potential, and compete at the level of a trained Force user, without time, training, and guidance.
‘Again having Rey defeat Kylo Ren very early in the game, without a hint of temptation, diminishes what came before, and again sets her apart.’ You refer to the fight where Kylo - who hasn’t yet finished his training - (and has been shown to be emotionally unstable) was injured, weakened emotionally by killing his father, and ordered by Snoke to bring Rey to him - not kill her - but to capture her… and one he was completely on top of until Rey let in the Force to guide her… it doesn’t fit with your claim. It is apparent that she will face Kylo again in IX - and that the ‘terrible price’ you believe Rey (as the protagonist) should pay is likely still to come.
For one Kylo Ren may not have finished his training, but he was trained for years by both Luke, and Snoke, and thus was an advanced Force user being able to pull off amazing feats, we had never seen before, like stopping a blaster bolt in mid-air, or freezing an opponent with the Force. Kylo may have been injured, and emotionally compromised, but he seemed to have little trouble dealing with Finn, who received military training, and Rey up to the moment, that she let the Force guide her to victory. Which leads me to my next point, just closing your eyes, and then becoming a lean, mean fighting machine is not how the Force works. We’re talking about a novice, who up to that time believed the Jedi were a myth. As Obi-Wan said to Luke after training with Yoda:
“You can feel the Force, but you cannot control it.”
So, even after receiving training from the most powerful Jedi Master in history, Luke, who like Rey was a prodigy, cannot control the Force, let alone be expected to defeat a trained Force user, like Darth Vader, or Kylo Ren. It would be like winning a Formula 1 grand prix after receiving a week of training. What Obi-Wan is saying to Luke is, you may know where the gas pedal, and the breaks are, but you cannot control it. Driving in a simulator is not the same as driving a 1000 HP car on a real race track, and it will take years for you to master the skills to do it. This is a dangerous time for you, as you have enough skill to be able to start the car, and drive on a straight track, but once you reach some curves, odds are you will be hitting a concrete wall. Luke didn’t listen, and so Luke losing his hand in his fight against Vader, is him running into that concrete wall. Now, TFA would have us believe Rey, who has never even seen a Formula 1 car, or any car for that matter, just gets into one, and defeats a former Formula 1 champion. Even if that Formula 1 champion has a disadvantage, as Kylo does in his fight, it’s still highly unlikely for someone, who should not be able to control such a powerful machine, to finish the race, let alone come in first.
Now, I’ve already argued Kylo not having finished his training is not really a good counter point, because he’s obviously at a very advanced level, with the powers he has displayed, and knowing he’s been trained by two very powerful Force users, Luke and Snoke over a period of years. However, even if for the sake of argument, I would find that explanation reasonable, how does that reflect on him becoming the Supreme Leader in the next film? This is what bugs me about this. The character of Ben Solo goes from being an apparent master at the start of TFA to being greatly deflated by the end of the movie, which, if we ignore the situation with Rey for a moment, is fine. I mean, he is presented by TFA as kind of a poser, hiding behind a mask, pretending to be Darth Vader. However, I feel you then have to follow through with this, and so he will need to go through some kind of training (as suggested by Snoke at the end of TFA), or major development to be a credible threat again, but apparently this poser gets to not just be Darth Vader, but the Emperor a few days later (and every bit as immature, and petulant as he ever was to boot).
You refer to the scene where Rey makes that face (hardly ‘smiles and giggles’) after shooting down TIEs in trying to save more of the Resistance - her friends - who are on a ‘Hail Mary’ of a mission in attacking the First Order’s Door Ram with ski-speeders - upon her arrival at Crait:-
It is strikingly similar to Luke’s face or his emotions on display here (yet with less time passing); just after Obi-Wan’s death and being consoled by Leia, after they had escaped the Death Star, and also shooting down TIEs:-
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=k4dMh2SmJqY (‘That’s it! We did it!’)
It is similar, but that speaks against ANH, not in favour of TLJ. I think the PT and SE have made clear Lucas is not a master of tone, and that weakness is on display in this scene. However, I would also argue Lucas at least reserves a little time (not enough, mind you) for the character to reflect on what has happened in the consolation scene with Leia. Had Lucas gone the way of RJ, that reflection scene would be missing entirely. Secondly, I would argue the general tone of ANH is quite a bit different from films like TESB, and TLJ. ANH is a fairy tale of sorts, and the general tone is one of adventure and excitement, while films like TESB and TLJ take on a much more somber, and serious tone, and so I would say such a tonal inconsistency is more detrimental to a story like TESB, and TLJ, then for a story like ANH, or TFA.