Then came TLJ. Over the two-year gap, my state of mind about Star Wars veered near complete apathy. I couldn’t bring myself to care, and I thought Star Wars just wasn’t for me anymore, but I still planned on seeing the movie, partly out of curiosity, partly out of a lingering sense of obligation. I had heard beforehand a couple vague rumors about some controversy over a thing Mark Hamill said in an interview about Luke. I went into the movie with low expectations, but still a little hopeful that the story was heading in a worthwhile direction.
I left the theater depressed.
As it stands I feel lots of apathy because the story I grew attached to feels incomplete and like it’s missing important pieces to the puzzle.
Apathy–there’s the deadly word in art. When you don’t feel anything for the characters, it’s a death sentence for the story. You guys mention it, and it’s a microcosm of the problem for most of the audience.
No one felt anything for the new characters after TFA. They just weren’t interesting or compelling. The hero is only as good as the villains–and the villains were terrible in the sequel trilogy. They were reduced to jokes–or, worse, boring.
Some people mentioned Poe mouthing off to Kylo as a bad start. That’s very true, but it could’ve been salvageable with the right character development post-TFA. Han mouths off to Imperials but suffers for it often, climaxing in Vader capturing him and freezing him. However, TLJ and ROS both made Kylo ineffectual and weak–he loses every fight with Rey. That’s not an interesting or threatening villain.
Hux, Phasma, Snoke, Pryde–who cares about any of them? They never seriously hurt the heroes and die as jokes. Snoke’s final scene is him cartoonishly lying there like Jar Jar, tongue hanging out and all. Hux gets slapped around by everyone INCLUDING the comic relief character Finn. Phasma does nothing memorable at all.
Vader was a threat. Darth Maul was a threat. Palpatine was a threat. There’s a reason why everyone remembers those characters, because Lucas knew how to write the most basic requirements of the hero’s journey: the villain has to be a credible challenge to be overcome.
Since nothing permanently bad happens to Rey or Finn or Poe, there’s no emotional engagement, so no one cares about them.