As far as her powers go, I’m under the impression that the Force has literally awakened in the ST. I don’t think it is a static, non-changing energy field. Every Force-user in the ST, including Rey, are capable of powers we have never seen before until now, and I think the Force itself is playing a part in it, hence The Force Awakens. Could they have made it more nuanced or something? Sure, maybe, but it doesn’t ruin the movies for me. I’m satisfied with that and have moved on.
Yes, this seems to have come about because the current filmmakers are telling two new stories (in the films) at the same time: a character whose inherent affinity with the force is stronger than we’ve seen before, and a force-using protagonist who happens to be female.
I don’t think this accurately describes the situation. What the filmmakers have done is introduce a character that no longer obeys pre-existing and well established lore by being able to perform acts that previously could only be performed by individuals who were trained in the ways of the Force. This in of itself does not have to be an issue, if the concepts behind it are well established. However, TFA gives practically no explanation for Rey’s sudden Force abilities, leading to a host of fan theories that explain her abilities by some hidden past. While TLJ only hints at an explanation with darkness rises and light to meet it, as if it was an already established concept. Meanwhile neither Luke or Yoda recognize Rey’s unique status, and just treat her as the next Jedi in line. So, we end up with a character who follows a similar trajectory as Luke or Anakin ending up confronting the big bad in a throne room setting, while the story largely glosses over the explanation of how she is able to perform these amazing feats. In addition the fact that Rey is able to turn on God-mode at her convenience is criticized by many as detrimental to her character, and defies what many consider to be good storytelling.
Now being a critic of this aspect of the ST myself I’ve seen many analyses of Rey’s character, and rarely have I run into a critic who dislikes Rey simply because she is a female. In fact this is a line of thought that usually comes from those that wish to put critics of the ST into a bad light. The argument more often than not follows the predictable trajectory, where a ST fan argues why they disagree with some of the criticisms against Rey’s character, and thus concludes that since they see no merit in these arguments, there must be some sinister reason why others adopt this stance, and so they must be misogynist, racist, and what not. They simply cannot fathom the idea that a character they consider to be a good, can be considered bad by other reasonable people, and so they use the gender of the character to stifle what would otherwise have been considered reasonable criticism for breaking the pre-established rules, and lore of the Star Wars universe. So, while I condemn all people who reject Rey or any other characters based on gender, race, sexual orientation, I equally condemn those that weaponize gender, race, sexual orientation as a means to attack critical fans, the vast majority of which express their criticism out of love for the franchise, not because of some evil agenda.
Hear hear Dre!