Star Wars Resistance: 10 Reasons Every Star Wars Fan Needs To See It

Placed in a very new era of Star Wars, Star Wars Resistance is the third animated series to tell untold stories of our favorite galaxy far, far away.

Reason 1: Dave Filoni Is A Jedi Master At Storytelling

Dave Filoni has earned my trust as a storyteller. He never ceases to intrigue me, surprise me, and leave me feeling as though I have been fed a rich and fantastic meal, even though the “cuisine” varies for every show.

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The Clone Wars was heavy with layers, awesome in the moment but also bearing the weight of the impending collapse of the Jedi Order/Republic and the rise of the Empire. We feel the clock ticking down in every episode as heroes and villains battle for dominance in the dying sun of an era.

The Clone Wars gave the Prequels a greater sense of purpose and meaning, and it taught us that even the battles that are lost in the moment still matter and pave the way for future victories.

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Star Wars Rebels (my personal favorite) carried on the tradition with a much simpler approach to the story. We had a smaller cast of characters but got to go far deeper into the intimate familial relationships they created. The character development was gorgeous.

Threads that had begun in the Clone War era were woven into this raw and gritty Rebel world with the deft hand of a master weaver. Season 4 of Rebels contained some of the most breathtaking Star Wars storytelling and lore I have ever seen in my life.

Hope is the key theme of this series and it was fully respected. I ended the show in tearful wonder.

Each of these stories has the potential to merely be a copy of its predecessor show(s), and certainly mirroring scenes, as well as crossover storylines/characters, are used to each story’s advantage.

But Dave always makes something entirely new while maintaining the same heart in all of his work. It’s a delight to see each new thing created by this man because he has a gift.

Reason 2: Star Wars Resistance Will Only Have 2 Seasons

I do really enjoy this show, so I am sure that when the final credits roll I will feel some sadness about it ending. However, only 2 seasons means that they have a plan and they know where they are going to wrap up the story beautifully. 

I will take 2 well-written, well-crafted seasons over Season after Season that gets watered down and wanders as the writers drift into apathy and unnecessary, trumped-up romantic drama. Or aliens.

Then again, this is Star Wars, so aliens wouldn’t really stand out that much.

Reason 3: The Timeline Is Current To Our Sequel Trilogy.

Season 1 begins 6 months before the events of The Force Awakens and ends on a cliffhanger during the events at the end of The Force Awakens and The Last Jedi.

It’s so neat to be experiencing a show that is in “real-time” with the movies we are currently enjoying. Filoni has connected the show with the movie story so perfectly.

You know what happens in The Force Awakens, this is the story leading up to that story. We get a delightful peek into the build-up and behind-the-scenes of The First Order, The Resistance, and some of the chief characters who are at the center of these dramatic events.

kazua and the resistance

The new season will serve as a bridge story that takes place between The Last Jedi and The Rise of Skywalker.  “The final season of Resistance takes place during The Last Jedi and leading up to the events of The Rise of Skywalker,” a Disney rep said. “With the movie coming up in December, this was a natural place to end the show with an epic finale.”

Reason 4: Kazuda Xiono Is Truly the Most Unlikely Hero For the Main Character

Our previous show MC’s were both Jedi proteges, Ahsoka Tano, and Ezra Bridger. Both of those characters were very intuitive, had street smarts and raw skills that gave them a leg up on their journey to becoming some of the most powerful characters we’ve ever met.

The movie MC’s have also been “Chosen One” levels of awesome.

And Kazuda? Well…he’s a…” good person”.

kazuda closeup

This kid could choke on the air without breaking a sweat. He essentially does half of the time. You’d think that would be annoying but in actuality…

He’s kind of crazy adorable.

Kazuda Xiono is the son of a wealthy senator in the New Republic on Hosnian Prime. He grew up with a silver spoon in his mouth and was trained by the best in the New Republic Navy.

He is an incredibly skilled pilot, but he didn’t gain any real-life skills until a mission to deliver a message to the Resistance put him in the direct path of none other than Poe Dameron.

poe and kazuda

Poe sees something in Kaz, a spark of potential that he is willing to blow into a flame.

Kaz leaves everything he knows overnight to be stationed on a remote oil platform and spy on behalf of the Resistance, gaining intel about the platform and potential First Order involvement.

And he’s terrible at it…for a while.

kazuda awkward

This kid has no practical skills, no idea what anything costs or is worth, and is about as low-key as a town parade. Why on earth did Poe choose him to be a spy?

The greatest gift of this show (and there are many) is watching Kaz grow and succeed against all odds, even against himself.

His determination to not let Poe down, as well as his genuine love and concern for the people around him, transforms this awkward and messy kid into a brave leader. By the end of Season 1, we too see what Poe saw within Kaz.

kazuda getting serious

The New Era of Star Wars is all about the idea that anyone can make a difference, whether you are a stormtrooper, a scavenger, or a spoiled rich kid with a heart that’s often bigger than your brain. Resistance emphasizes this concept in a very visual way with the character of Kaz. It’s deeply encouraging.

Reason 5: Poe Dameron

Oscar Isaac is the most believable voice role I have ever heard in my life. If you have not gotten enough of a Poe Dameron fix from the movies then watch this show!

poe

Poe carries himself with the same lazy grace and daring decision making as he does in the movies. He’s 100% the Poe of the big screen, even down to his “selective hearing” when it comes to General Organa’s orders.

Oh yes, that makes for a purely delicious episode.

These flaws and tension in regards to his character add to the realism. To Kaz, he’s a hero and a mentor. But Poe still has room for growth, as we all do.

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Poe shows up quite a few times throughout this series, and some of my favorite episodes include the ones where he and Kaz go on “missions” together. They are the kinds of episodes that, while still moving the story forward, are made by a fan for the fans who want to have a good time.

And any moment when Poe is on screen he is giving you a good time.

poe on mission

The Poe and BB-8 love is as strong as ever, which leads me to my next Reason.

Reason 6: BB-8

To me, BB-8 is the best thing since sliced bread.

kaz and bb8

Every Star Wars story is marked by a remarkable droid. The Sequel Era is truly BB-8’s domain, and like every other droid in every other story, BB-8 essentially keeps everyone alive all the time.

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We get to see even more of his quick wits and antics, and as well as a hint of droid romance that just delighted my soul. How is it possible to love a little metal sphere this much?

bb8 and his girl

Reason 7: The World Is Fascinating

The Colossus is an oil platform in the Outer Rim. It’s a very self-contained and yet colorful world. This rig runs on an “everyone in their place” system that is both orderly and also confining to many of the characters.

the market resistance

The Colossus only works if everyone does their job, which makes for a sense of community that is hugely important for various parts of the show.

resistance oil platform

The most exciting aspect of this world is the regular sky races and the team of crack pilots known as “the aces”. They are the local celebrities as well as the protection force called upon when pirates attack. It’s a distinct culture where skilled pilots with good equipment sit at the top of the food chain.

oil platform

There are the local regulars who add flavor and spice to the story.

Still, the constant threat of pirates and the regular visits from First Order officers remind the characters that they are not as “remote” and “safe” as they would like to believe.

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This world is distinctly Star Wars without having any visible connection to The Force, the planets/systems we are more familiar with, or any Force-sensitive characters.

It’s exotic, it’s full of unique species and people, it has its local heroes and villains. It has its “monsters”, local politics, and time-honored traditions.

The animation is b-r-e-a-t-h-t-a-k-i-n-g.

We’ve stopped off at places like this before in Star Wars stories, but never have we set up shop in one. The setting is a delightful treat.

the races resistance

Reason 8: The First Order Is An Unkown

As an audience, our first introduction to The First Order came through the eyes of characters who knew their threat well.

Finn fled its cruel tyranny. Poe was teething and fighting The First Order at the same time. Leia has been at war with these kinds of baddies her entire life, she was literally birthed at the beginning of the struggle. Rey was introduced to them via surprise air raid.

first order jerks

But the characters of Resistance? To them, The First Order is unknown.

Is it the oppressive Empire all over again? Is it a vague and irritating shadow? If we just mind our own business the First Order will surely mind theirs…right? What if they are actually here to help us?

It is a neat perspective to see how different characters view TFO and how the unfolding story affects them. Off-hand comments and lightly expressed perspectives suddenly gain intensity and weight as life gets more serious.

As the season builds towards the climax, the audience sees the stars aligning to the well-known events of The Force Awakens and the tragedies that are unsuspecting characters are in for. If only we could warn them.

It’s painful to see the places where ignorance and deception in regards to The First Order’s villainy lead characters into places of loss and heartache.

The First Order

Reason 9: Responsibility, Discovery, Redemption Tragedy, and Betrayal Take It To the Next Level

kazuda spy

Dave Filoni lulls us into a false sense of security with Resistance. He uses a much lighter touch with these characters as well as a more relaxed and goofy sense of humor. This is certainly the most “kid-friendly” series he’s made thus far.

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But do not let that light touch fool you, this show tells a compelling story that brings many characters on a journey with real themes. Some things will lift your spirits, other things will break your heart.

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There is redemption. There is growth. There is deception. There is betrayal. There is loss. There is triumph.

It. Gets. Real.

hosnian prime gone

Reason 10: We Ended On A Cliffhanger Heading Into Uncharted Story Territory

For once we don’t know everything that’s going to happen next, just like our characters.

We know what more of what they are capable of and where they still need to grow. Our characters have surprised us and taken us on a journey.

But starting Season 2, we all know their biggest battles are yet to come.

It’s not the longest Star Wars ride we’ve ever been offered, but it’s a good one.

commander oil platform

There are still unanswered questions, looming threats, and broken hearts.

Star Wars of any era carries that golden quality that sets the really good stories apart from the mediocre ones.

It’s constantly showing us a reflection of our real world and our real stories.

This reflection just happens to take place in a galaxy far, far away.

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Star Wars Resistance returns on October 6, 2019, on Disney XD. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Flynn Rider: Reimagining the Disney Prince

The 2010 Rapunzel story Tangled was an instant classic and remains in a place of high honor.

Much of this is due to the charming and roguish Flynn Rider, adorable crown thief- turned into the adventure partner and harmonizing prince we ladies dream about.

Was it his gorgeous face that caught our attention? Uh, well, yeah, that certainly helped.

His sense of humor? Mmmhhmm.

The smolder? It certainly did not damage his cause.

the smolder

 

As much as we love his charming exterior, what really sold us all on Flynn Rider was the way he changed the “face” and expectations for the classic “Disney Prince”.

The character that came closest to Flynn Rider before he hit the screen was most definitely Aladdin. Not only was he also an adorably mischevious thief, but rather than just a pretty face with a castle we were given a more 3-dimensional character who had his own backstory, own dreams, and own failures.

Still, Flynn Rider, or shall we say Eugene Fitzherbert took it to the next level.

Flynn Rider started out as a self-seeking jerk.

You are talking to a girl who loves the good guys. I have only fallen for the “bad boy” twice in my life and those two bad boys ended up becoming the best of the good boys. #edmundpevensie #captainhook (Apparently I go for dark good looks as well? Hmm…)

But it is wise to admit to ourselves that everyone is human, male or female.

We have imperfections, we have broken places, we have pockets of selfishness or places of retained anger. There are things about ourselves we would like to change and things in others we find hard to overlook. We’re really messy, and sometimes kind of ugly.

Flynn Rider is something of a scoundrel. He double-crosses his own partners-in-crime in order to keep the crown for himself.

When Flynn arrives at Rapunzel’s castle, he has an initial moment of awe over her beauty, but it passes like a cloud over the sun and then he’s back to scheming again.

Can I just say how much I love the fact that Flynn and Rapunzel broke the “love at first sight” Disney couple trope?

I 100% believe in love at first sight. It happens all the time in real life. I just think it’s a good idea to present more than one way for a couple to fall for each other. Many couples discover each other over time, building one step upon another. Such is the case for Flynn and Rapunzel.

Flynn Rider has eyeballs, anyone with eyeballs can see how beautiful Rapunzel is. He has a normal human reaction to her appearance and then he starts trying to pull one over on her. His own selfish needs and desires trump whatever reaction she just created in him.

#canayoneelserelatetothis

I’m not saying we need to stay here, by the grace of God and Jesus’ death on the cross I am redeemed from the selfish choices that I make, I am in the process of becoming more like Him every day. But I still make mistakes.

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Flynn’s plan to frighten Rapunzel ends up placing them in a situation of danger where Rapunzel’s indomitable spirit and open heart earns Flynn’s respect.

She takes a roomful of gross and scary (and anatomically incorrect) men and turns them all into mush by seeing beneath the surface and touching their hearts.

Follow that up with an epic escape from multiple foes that succeeds when it shouldn’t…

…yeah, Flynn looks at Rapunzel with new eyes.

He is impressed, there is more to her than he at first thought. The sweetest thing is that Rapunzel does all of this without the intention of winning someone’s approval or respect. She is merely being herself and is entirely guileless. It’s refreshing, tantalizing, and touches a long-hidden part of Flynn Rider.

Enter, Eugene Fitzherbert.

First respect, next we go to a new level. Vulnerability.

Flynn and Rapunzel find themselves in a dark cave with water rising. #thisismyworstnightmareminussomesharks

The idea that they are facing death gives Flynn the courage to reveal one of the most precious and tender parts of himself…his true name.

Eugene Fitzherbert. It’s soft and sweet. Rapunzel listens with such kind respect, she proves to Flynn that not only is she someone he can rely on in a pinch, but she is also a safe person to trust himself with. His true self.

The theme of revealing their inner selves continues by the fireside where Rapunzel reveals the story of her magic hair and Flynn tells her about that special book that gave him oxygen to dream during the tragedy of his childhood as an orphan.

Whoa, a sad orphan who used to read this book to the younger orphans? A kid who grew up and took on the name of his literary hero to try and build a life of plenty for himself to replace the history of lack and lovelessness?

I. Am. Intrigued.

We begin by seeing Flynn through the mask he has invented for himself – a careless and debonair thief who needs no one. #funnybutnotmarriagematerial

Within the course of about two scenes of tender and revealing moments, our perception is entirely changed to match what is this character’s truth.

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Flynn is not a typical Disney prince. He is just as broken and in need as the princess is. He needs her as much or more than she needs him. They need each other in different ways.

It’s a beautiful picture of so many real-life relationships where you take two extraordinary individuals who each bring something neat to the table, but together they create something wonderful.

Together they end up helping each other heal.

Together, they dream a new dream.

We started with respect, leveled up at vulnerability, and now we bring in attraction.

Flynn is sooooo attracted to Rapunzel. She has had a deprived life in a way different from his, but no less real. However, her deprivation has made her kind, patient, and eager to enjoy every little thing.

The word that best describes Rapunzel is “wonder”.

The biggest dream of her life has just been to go and see these beautiful lights that fill the night sky on her birthday.

Flynn has been everywhere and thinks he’s done everything, it was all old news to him until he met her. 

Rapunzel reintroduces Flynn to the idea of wonder, and during that process, he finds himself deeply attracted to her.

I love the montage of this glorious day in the town that leads up to one of Disney’s best romantic songs in existence. It shows Eugene and Rapunzel falling for each other in such a sweet, specific way that celebrates life.

Falling in love with Rapunzel doesn’t just bring stars to Flynn’s eyes, we get to go so much deeper into the why behind his love for Rapunzel that we do with many other Disney princes.

Rapunzel reawakens the Eugene within him, reminds him of who he is, and gives him the courage to dream something far bigger than just a castle of his own.

Rapunzel and Flynn’s story reminds us the power of human connection to create change as well as the healing capability that true love can bring.

And what is true love? It has been said in passing in so many stories, but we actually get to see it lived out in Tangled in a way that blew my mind.

True love is a sacrifice.

He first respected her, then he allowed himself to be vulnerable with her. His attraction grew alongside hers, but Flynn’s love was proven to be real when he sacrificed himself for her without a single selfish thought…

…he actually dies for her.

Flynn’s sacrifice is not pretty, he gets stabbed in the back and is bleeding out on the floor. #thisscaredmesobad #disneybrokealltherules

There were no grandiose words or declarations of valor. There was no masterful sword fight against a dragon (the dude lost a duel to a horse, y’all), no sweeping in on a vine to rescue the girl. No magic shoe to gallantly slip on her foot.

He is weak and bleeding out on the floor. In hoarse tones he calls her to come close to him.

In a swift motion he uses the last of his strength to take a shard of glass and cut off all of her hair…freeing her forever from her lifelong bondage.

The shock of that moment hit me like a tidal wave in the same way it does for the other characters. Rapunzel can’t even comprehend the fact for a moment that her hair, the source of her magical strength as well as her hideous bondage is gone. Mother Gothel is in the throes of death (whew, that was ugly), and Flynn is dying.

As Rapunzel cradles a dying Eugene in her arms, they have such a broken and tender moment where they tell each other “You were my new dream.”

eugene dying

 

I love this! The word “dream” gets thrown around so often in our stories and our real world.

It gets watered down, misused, abused, and people practically kill themselves in the pursuit of what they believe to be their “dreams” only to reach the end and find themselves with no one.

Flynn Rider, or rather, Eugene Fitzherbert thought he knew what a dream was, and then he met Rapunzel. And she became his new dream.

The word “dream” is redefined for both of them as they realize that the true dream to is share a lifetime of meaning and purpose with someone you love. Together you create something bigger than yourself.

Flynn’s entire life has been about achieving his “dreams”. He actually finds out what his true dream is, and he gives it all up without hesitation in order to ensure that the woman he loves is safe.

This is pure true love. This kind of dream and this kind of love make so many other imposters fall away to ash in the face of something as deeply rich and full of potential as Rapunzel and Flynn’s love for each other.

It makes the moment when Rapunzel’s teardrop heals him all the more amazing as yet again, she does the impossible by simply being herself. The payoff of this movie is incredible.

We went deeper, therefore we celebrated bigger.

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Respect. Vulnerability. Attraction. Sacrifice. Joy.

flynn and rapunzel in tower

He’s the “perfect” man, physically the man has 0 faults. But Disney secreted a real-life, 3D human in a perfect package.

Flynn Rider completely reinvented the way we looked at Disney men and opened the door for characters like Kristoff, Kit (Prince Charming), Prince Adam (live-action Beauty and the Beast), Finn (Star Wars: Sequel TrilogyAladdin (live-action Aladdin), and so many more to come.

Flynn was so perfect it wasn’t even real, and yet, they managed to take the “perfect man” and teach us the beauty of imperfection as well as the depth and meaning of a true dream and the true definition of love.

To one of the greatest Disney characters ever created.

Flynn Rider, we love you.

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Thor 4, Why I Don’t Want It

Yesterday it was announced that Taika Wahiti (Thor: Ragnarok) would be directing the fourth installment of the Thor movies, starring Chris Hemsworth…

…wait, the fourth installment??? Did we actually ask for a Thor 4?

Without a doubt, there are going to be fans who are excited about this. Not all fans feel negative about the road Thor’s character has taken. Those fans are having a really great day right now, and I do not begrudge them that.

(Y’all, if Captain America 4 were ever announced you would hear me give the squeal heard around the world, so I get it).

I, however, am not at all pleased with where Thor ended up when the credits rolled in Endgame.

Please, stop disrespecting Thor even more than you already have.

I was a fan of the first two Thor movies. His first film was actually my introduction into the MCU and I loved it, I loved him.

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His transformation from Grade A royal jerk to a compassionate hero was lovely. I liked him and Jane together. I loved how powerful he was. I thoroughly enjoyed his involvement in both The Avengers and The Avengers: Age of Ultron.

Ragnarok was a deep disappointment to me. To drastically change the tone of Thor’s storytelling and practically obliterate all ties to his earlier movies on the third installment of his series was awful to me. It felt like someone had accidentally picked up a Guardians of the Galaxy script and a “Thor” movie was made instead.

That being said, even I can admit that Ragnarok was a proper continuation of Thor’s character arc. Ragnarok pushed Thor to a place that 4 previous movies hadn’t been able to get him yet.

Thor became the king.

It was a nice arc and Ragnarok was a vital part of that.

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Thor: He learns what truly makes a hero, he learns humility and kindness. He uses his might to protect rather than ravage. He begins to have an appreciation for humans. He learns what worthiness actually is as he becomes worthy of the hammer. It’s glorious.

The Avengers: He grows beyond just an almost patronizing appreciation “I must protect these infants” for humans and learns to see them as comrades and equals. He joins a team rather than fighting alone. He chooses what is right over family loyalty.

Thor 2: Again, he chooses what is right over family loyalty. His father is an idiot, Thor goes against his father and commits treason because it is right. He chooses to love someone even though it may devastate him later on. And he chooses to be honest with his father about his lack of desire to be king.

thor and his father

Age of Ultron: Thor sees the beginning pieces of Thanos’ plan as well as the future of Ragnarok. This sets him off on a journey of discovery across the cosmos and sets a lot of things in motion.

thors vision

Ragnorok: Through the exposure of Loki’s deception, Odin’s death, and Hela’s unleashing on Asgard, Thor has to finally step up to the plate to become who he was born to be.

thor gladiator

He loses everything, his father, his hammer, and his dignity as he is reduced to being a gladiator for sport. It’s a lot of hits at once. He feels very low but he refuses to give in to grief as his desire to take care of his people and do right by them is stronger. #hero

Against all odds, Thor makes it back to Asgard where has to fight his sister, the goddess of death, without his hammer. He is mighty but at this moment she is mightier. Until he ends up in a vision where his father reveals the truth, “Are you Thor, the god of hammers? The hammer was only to help you channel your power.” And the final bit of encouragement that we have all known about Odin and Thor, “I’m not as strong as you.” “No, you’re stronger.”

Next up is the most epic takedown and my favorite part of Ragnorok (THIS IS THOR) where the god of Thunder blasts his sister and her armies with his lightning because THAT’S who he is!

Ragnarok ends where Thor has to allow the destruction of Asgard in order to save the true heart of Asgard, his people.

He is down one eye but looks very regal and handsome as he is crowned king and takes his “throne” aboard a borrowed ship among the surviving Asgardians and a ragtag group of friends. His brother is at his side once more and we hear the same coronation music we began this journey with back in 2011. It was really, really nice.

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  • Thor had to gain humility and perspective before he was ready to be king.
  • His knowledge of the greater universe enabled him to be exactly what Asgard needed when they needed him most. Odin could never have been what Thor is.
  • He forgave Loki and paved the way for them to rejoin as brothers and friends.
  • He brought Valkyrie back from her drunken despair and gave her purpose.
  • He saved Bruce and destroyed Hela.
  • He had to grow beyond the hammer and he did an awesome job. And it was THEN and only then, after all of this learning and connecting with other people that he became the king he was born to be.

Infinity War: Enter, Thanos. Thanos never played fair, so, I don’t blame Thor for any of this mess. To me, the Thor of Infinity War was the most glorious Thor I have ever seen. He was the perfect combination of all that he had been and all that he was becoming. He WAS the god of Thunder, his arrival on the field of battle in Wakanda is one of my top 3 moments in that movie.

infinity war thor

Thor still made mistakes (GO FOR THE HEAD) as did all of our heroes. And I knew Thor needed to have a meltdown at some point. You cannot lose literally everything and never break down.

Endgame: Thor tries to defeat Thanos, and while he does kill him, the damage done by that Purple Abomination cannot be undone. So Thor disappears into New Asgard and becomes a drunken pile of a depressed man.

chunky thor

Believe it or not, I was actually pleased with this. I needed Thor to be human enough to fall apart after all of the hellish things he’d been through. I felt that this was appropriate, all the more so for how handsome and grand he is. That beer belly didn’t bother me, the tears in his eyes just made me ache more.

Thor is brought back into the action by his friends who still believe in him. He contributes what he can to the plan, and then he goes back in time with Rocket (love this pairing) to the day his mother died in order to retrieve the Reality Stone.

I loved this part. I felt like it restored some of the first two Thor movies to us.

Thor is totally falling apart, and Rocket has to be the one to save the day. #thisracoongetsitdone

Oh! But that scene with Thor’s beautiful mother, Frigga! I loved, loved, LOVED that scene! I have always felt that she was an underused character, a rich well of untapped potential. Odin was a mostly rotten father, but Frigga? What a mother!

thor and his mother

Thor needs his mama, that great and mighty god of Thunder who has fallen so low just needed his mama to look into his eyes and actually see him.

He needed her to gently brush back his matted hair as if he’s still arrayed in royal robes and love him as only a mother can. She listened. She encouraged. She blessed him, and she told him with so much love and compassion to eat a salad. It was such a gift, that scene.

And that moment gave Thor the courage to face the final conflict against Thanos. He is still worthy, Mjolnir still comes to him. It’s a beautiful moment of encouragement for anyone who has ever faced grief and depression.

thor depression

He fights the battle well and we see once more, the god of Thunder is still with us.

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Thor is among the victorious Avengers who are still standing when the dust settles *sobs* and he returns to his people in New Asgard to begin a new life as their king. He’s been humbled and is raw, but he is still a worthy hero and he deserves a second chance, what a triumph…

…oh wait, no, he actually decides to become a homeless man and go traipsing around space with the Guardians?!?!

He leaves New Asgard in the hands of Valkyrie whom we have only known for a movie and a half? Didn’t he already give up a chance to be king once before, only to take the throne in Ragnarok because he was finally ready???

You mean to tell me that I just went through 6+ movies of bringing Thor to this incredible place of a complete arc where he actually became his own kind of king despite every obstacle —only to have him be treated like some half-eaten leftovers that the filmmakers wanted to put in the freezer to reheat later???

Thor + Starlord for about 5 minutes = funny.

Thor + Starlord for a long time = disrespecting both characters.

thor and starlord

Starlord was already given a raw deal in both Infinity War and Endgame. He was treated like a laughingstock and idiot. Is he sometimes an idiot? Absolutely. Has he been through horrible things and grown immensely as a character and made grown-up/mature/hard decisions on behalf of other people? YES! WATCH HIS DADGUM MOVIES! He’s saved the Galaxy twice!

And Thor, Thor is funny, but he is NOT a laughingstock! Stop it!

Both of these characters deserve to be worth more than just a laugh.

And as for Thor 4?

If Thor had actually made the harder choice to go back to New Asgard, face his people in humility, and try again, I would actually be looking forward to Thor 4. I am curious about this New Asgard, how the Asgardians and the humans interact.

Thor has almost become a child of two realms, Earth and Asgard, he would make a neat king. Would he find someone new to love? Would some more of those “ancient enemies” that the Asgardians seem to have a cabinetful of show up and we could see an awesome alliance of Asgardians and Norwegian fisherman against Said Ancient Foes? What is living in New Asgard like in 2023?

Thor’s choice in the final moments of Endgame was not only out of character for him, it pretty much stabbed in the back a beautiful character arc that has been in the works for 6+ movies.

I was so, so, so disappointed. Thor is one of the Big 3, both Steve and Tony had stunningly gorgeous arcs that ended appropriately for their characters. And Thor was left as a homeless man.

the big three endgame

Dear Marvel, I don’t know if you are trying to replicate the success of Ragnarok or what, but I sincerely doubt that’s ever going to happen. Too many people are disappointed, too much has happened. Let a dead thing lie, don’t try to stir it up again.

Marvel is more than welcome to prove me wrong, I wish nothing but the best for the people involved in this film. I’m not a crazed jerk who starts uttering death threats just because I don’t want a movie.

I just cannot fathom why Thor 4 would be their first choice when we have so many other, fresher characters to work with. You think Thor (who is a strung-out character) is a good use of your resources when you are literally the top dog right now???

ragnarok is it though.gif

#yesijustwantedtousethisgif #youwouldtoo

I have to wait on another Ant-Man and the Wasp but you have time for Thor 4???

For the first time in my life, I don’t want another Marvel movie.

So, are you #TeamThor4 or are you #NoMoreThor? What do you think the next installment will be about? Were you excited to hear about Thor potentially joining the Guardians? I’d love to hear any and all opinions.

 

 

Aladdin

One Jump Ahead

“Riffraff,” “Street rat”
I don’t buy that
If only they’d look closer
Would they see a poor boy?
No, sirree
They’d find out
There’s so much more to me…

Speechless

Here comes a wave meant to wash me away
A tide that is taking me under
Swallowing sand, left with nothing to say
My voice drowned out in the thunder…

…I won’t be silenced
You can’t keep me quiet
Won’t tremble when you try it
All I know is I won’t go speechless
‘Cause I’ll breathe
When they try to suffocate me
Don’t you underestimate me
‘Cause I know that I won’t go speechless

To be heard.

To be seen.

To be known.

This, my friends, was the purpose of Aladdin.

I want to discuss a few scenes that stood out to me as hugely important for the story, but even more than that, they rang true for the world we live in.

Scene 1: Aladdin giving up his dates for the starving boy. Aladdin intervening on Jasmine’s behalf in the marketplace. Aladdin saving the girl from being trampled by Prince Ander’s entourage.

A combination of many small moments that clearly define Aladdin’s heart. He is a colorful character with large helpings of mischief and insecurities, but there is one overwhelming fact about who he is.

Aladdin is a prince

He is the diamond in the rough. Aladdin essentially lives hand to mouth, but he is not completely self-focused. He sees the needs of those around him and intervenes on their behalf.

It is this heart that wins Jasmine over. She’s seen enough glittery people to last a lifetime, what she longs for is substance. She finds substance in this street boy with a big smile and kind eyes.

Substance over style. Style fades, substance grows.

Scene 2: The Best First Date Ever

Likely the most iconic Aladdin scene in existence, the magic carpet ride where Jasmine and Aladdin get a chance to connect is beautiful.

In the animated movie, we see our two lovebirds fly around well known worldwide landmarks such as the Sphinx in Egypt or the Great Wall of China.

In this version, the landscape is far less defined or varied. I believe this was done for the purpose of enabling the audience to focus in more on the two people in the scene and their intentional interaction with each other.

One moment Jasmine is holding onto Aladdin’s arm as he makes a steep turn, another moment he’s handing her the “reins” so she can have a turn flying. They are singing together, he’s looking at her with pure delight because of her joyful response. She is enthralled with the opportunity he has given her to be 100% herself at this moment.

He loves conversing with her and he wants to hear what she has to say.

She SEES him. He HEARS her Aladdin

They communicate.

You can see the power created by these two. Aladdin’s life experience and mingled with Jasmine’s authority and education make them the perfect couple to lead Agrabah into the future. They share a similar heart that points them both in the same direction.

So many people are struggling with communication. So many people are involved in power struggles with one another that not only cause them harm, but also those around them who depend upon them.

Jasmine and Aladdin struggle, just like anyone else, but they persevere, and when the credits roll they have reached a strong place of connection.

Jaladdin communicating

Scene 3: Jasmine’s confrontation with Jafar. Jasmine’s almost wedding to Jafar.

The new song “Speechless” is one that brought tears to my eyes. We need to be paying attention right here. The two cultures represented in this fictional world are the Arab/Middle Eastern culture, and the Indian culture. Jasmine represents both.

These two cultures are among the worst in the world for how horribly they abuse and oppress their women. Many Middle Eastern women are wrapped up from head to toe, they cannot drive, they cannot be educated, they cannot work, they cannot even go places without a male escort.

They are not to be seen and certainly not to be heard! Women are treated like despised objects or pretty toys to be used on a whim.

*This may not be the case for every woman or family in these countries, it is not in any way my intention to claim that or disrespect those who are from these places but not living this way. But the injustice I speak of is a true reality for millions, and we need to be willing to stand up and acknowledge that without fear of “offending” someone. These women deserve more courageous actions on their behalf.

In India, millions of women have been downtrodden for centuries. Many of the old traditions are harsh on women. If a woman cannot produce children (which is often the result of abuse or malnutrition), she is often scorned and abused by either her husband and or her in-laws. Women fear to walk to someplace as necessary as the village well for fear of being raped or murdered on the way. Oh yes, rape often isn’t even treated as a crime. Thousands of women have died from starvation, abuse, murder, malnutrition, or working themselves to death. 

These silenced, abused, downtrodden women are crying out for a voice.

Jasmine essentially a prisoner in a golden cage.

Jafar takes personal pleasure in controlling and silencing Jasmine.

The look of glittering delight in Jafar’s eyes as he forces her to speak vows of marriage to him turned my stomach. I saw that scene in horror, as I can imagine just how many precious women throughout history have found themselves in the same situation. Unlike Jasmine, however, there was no one coming on a magic carpet to give them a way of escape.

This scene was a cry for justice. A cry for the women Jasmine represents who are precious and beautiful, who have amazing things to share with the world. These women who remain unseen, unheard, buried.

jasmine giving a voice

I know I went out of order here, but let’s talk about Jasmine’s confrontation with Jafar that happened before her forced almost-marriage.

She is being led away by the guards who were her own servants but a moment before. Her beloved father and handmaiden are unable to help her. She had to silence Rajah (who was glorious) to keep him safe.

In her mind’s eye, she pictures everyone else disappearing, every person who is an obstacle to what she knows is right. She cannot be silent, not this time!

Rather than just swallowing it again, Jasmine makes her stand.

She speaks out in a strong voice. She ignores the degrading words of Jafar and focuses all of her energy on speaking to Hakim, the noble lead guard who truly desires to do what is right.

Jasmine speaks to him personally, she knows his story and she cares about it. She appeals to his integrity and deepest desire to do the right thing. She exposes her deep heart of love and compassion for “my people”. And she gives him an opportunity to change his course of action. At this moment with the information they have, Hakim is a pivotal character for what happens next.

Jasmine sees him, she calls him by name. She knows his story and his heart, which means she has heard him. Jasmine does not speak on her behalf but rather on the behalf of her people, he and his people are her priority. And Jasmine gives him an opportunity to make a different choice, she gives him a chance to be his best self.

Jasmine true, sacrificial leadership.

Jafar may as well be a shadow in the back of the room, all of Jasmine’s focus is on Hakim and the future of Agrabah. She doesn’t attack, she doesn’t tear Hakim down, she builds him up with truth and calls the good man out of him.

It’s a beautiful, powerful, encouraging scene. While it seemed to do little good at the moment, it does truly change everyone’s future as Jasmine unconsciously opens her father’s eyes to her true worth as a strong and virtuous leader for Agrabah.

Scene 4: Aladdin Selflessly Walks Away

Both Aladdin and Jasmine are given opportunities to be heroic in the climax of this movie, but it is called Aladdin for a reason. When it comes down to it, Aladdin is the one who has to defeat Jafar.

Aladdin is not a brawny warrior like Hercules. He’s not a gallant and gorgeously arrayed prince like Phillip or Charming or even Beast once he’s been declawed. Aladdin is very simple and straightforward.

The reason Aladdin became “Prince Ali” and got himself involved in this mess was a noble one, he loved a girl and wanted to win her heart. During that time he has been stripped down to the core of his deepest longings and hurts, and he almost loses focus on who he is because of it.

Aladdin humbled

But here is where the diamond comes out.

Aladdin has the humility to recognize his mistakes and turn them into life experience. He sees the flaw in Jafar’s arrogant plan and manipulates Jafar into a natural course of actions and consequences. Jafar’s own pride and ambition lead him to the prison he chose for himself. #poeticjustice

Aladdin just saved the day. He could reason out that he deserves another wish, a wish that could elevate him in the eyes of the world and especially the eyes of the woman he loves. Instead, he again shows that selfless spirit and keeps his promise to free Genie even though it gains him nothing materially.

Aladdin just saved the royal family, an arrogant “hero” would demand recompense.

He does not. He looks at Jasmine, still loving her as much as the first day he met her, and he apologizes. He looks at everyone with humility and respect and walks away. #thisissosexy #jaladdinforever

As Aladdin walks out of the palace to return to Agrabah’s streets, he looks down at Jasmine’s hair barret with deep tenderness. He loves her and treasures her, and he always will. But because he loves her he is willing to walk away because he believes that is what is best for her.

True love Jaladdin

Jasmine has been treated as a pretty bird in a cage. Not a person.

A mere prize to be won, not a heart to fall in love with.

An obstacle to control or crush (I’m lookin’ at you, Jafar).

A child who must remain hidden for her protection. Not a mature young woman.

It’s all about what someone can get from her, or keep from her, or keep her from.

Jaladdin giving her his best.It was humble, it was peaceful, it was confident. Somehow Aladdin walks out of that gate with his head held high because he now knows his own worth, and he stayed true to his noble heart.

Yeah, I’d run after him too, Jasmine. #substanceoverstyle #diamondintherough #putaringonit #jaladdin

I loved that Jasmine runs to him on the street by herself. No guards, no entourage, no handmaiden or father. She may be the sultan now (a quick line that she uses to tease him) but she truly comes to him as herself. He heard her, he knew her for who she was when no one else did.

It’s humble, it’s normal, it’s sweet. And they have a beautiful kiss among their people, in the streets where they came together, in the streets of the place they both love.jladdin kiss

Jasmine knew her own worth but struggled to be heard. Aladdin doubted his own worth, he struggled to be seen.

 

Jasmine saw Aladdin, and Aladdin heard Jasmine.

And God saw that it was good, people. It was good.

Genie

Holy cow! Y’all, what? Robin Williams created Genie, and no one can ever replace him! Will Smith not only honored the character Williams created but he also didn’t try to replace him, he became his own Genie.

Genie took me by surprise multiple times, while he was not anywhere near as spastic as Robin’s Genie, he was regularly unexpected.

The Genie/Dalia romance was brilliantly used to fill in the story/characters and add a lighter balance to the romance scale. Jaladdin was dealing with heavy-duty issues that held kingdoms in the balance, Denie was talking about goats and boats. We needed both. #denie #jaladdin

DenieI can’t imagine being trapped and forced to do the will of whatever jerk happened to grab your lamp and give it a rub. If you actually consider Genie’s life, it’s pretty horrible.

Genie fell in love with Dalia, and he desired a normal life. He has all the power in the world and yet he’s as much a prisoner as someone in a dungeon. Dalia increased my longing for Genie’s freedom. When Dalia was being pressed down by Jafar’s dark power Genie’s sorrowful face for the woman he loves made my heart hurt. He was helpless to protect her.

This isn’t funny anymore, this is real.

The look of pure shock and deep emotion on Genie’s face when he realizes he is free was a beautiful moment. I loved the hug he gave Aladdin. The hug+his face spoke volumes.

genie and aladdin

I wasn’t overly fond of how the movie began, I felt it had a weak opening, but by the end, I was in love.

I did enjoy the first shot that skimmed over Jafar in the desert, Jasmine in her palace, and the torchlit houses of Agrabah.

But I felt that they rushed through the iconic scene of Aladdin weaving his way through the streets, stealing and smirking aka making a nuisance of himself. And since they made the decision to combine Aladdin’s first introduction with him and Jasmine meeting for the first time, I think they should have given it a less choppy, sped-up rhythm. It was an unnecessary sacrifice that bought them nothing.

I recognize that the filmmakers wanted to flesh out other parts of the story more, and I respect that. I just do not think they made the right call in how to carry that out.

Let’s talk Jafar.

I heard some people complaining that Jafar was too weak. He didn’t look or sound as scary as the animated one.

Ahem…have y’all seen the animated one? The animated Jafar is not anatomically correct. Animated characters are often exaggerated for effect or to bring across a specific message.

So please, drop that argument. This is supposed to look real, this is a real human playing this character.

And Jafar? Jafar was savage. 

Jafar was a perfect villain

Real villains aren’t always weirdly shaped with angry eyebrows and menacing voices. They are often normal-looking people with dark hearts. Jafar was a villain who was all too real, he reminded me of some true villains from history. Jafar was also supposed to be a dark reflection of Aladdin, someone who Aladdin could have been. Jafar even makes the comparison to Aladdin outside of The Cave of Wonders.

Jafar made my blood boil. 10/10 villain status.

This is the first live-action Disney Prince(ess) movie that I feel could actually support a sequel.

I have loved all of the live-action remakes up to this point. But I do not think that all of them need sequels. Cinderella was a very intimate, self-contained story. It was perfect. Beauty and the Beast was a more complicated tale, but it finished itself well at the ending. You feel whole by the end of both films.

While Aladdin also leaves you feeling deeply satisfied, you also have room for more.

REASONS ALADDIN CAN ACTUALLY SUPPORT A SEQUEL

I was utterly delighted in this movie, they got the big things correct and made room for fleshing out the story and characters. They delivered big moments and characters while also filling in a thousand tiny details (magic carpet building a sandcastle, anyone?)

Aladdin is my favorite old prince(ss) movie. I was so excited for this live-action version and I was not disappointed. I am enjoying myself immensely and I cannot wait for more!

a whole new world gif

Disney Live-Action Remakes: Not Losing What We Have, But Becoming More of Who We Are

Disney: Why Disney+ is a Good Thing

Frozen II

FinnRey Is True, Sacrificial Love

 

 

 

 

 

The Important Role Food Played In Avengers Endgame

Endgame was without a doubt the most “human” Avengers movie to date.

Everything from the different, non-superhero music “Dear Mr. Fantasy”  in the opening credits scene to the fact that Natasha Romanoff spent most of her non-Voromir scenes wearing comfy lounge-wear set a different tone for this story.

After everything that has happened over the past decade, the Russo brothers wanted a heavy emphasis on FAMILY in this story.

We’ve always been told to see our characters as a family. They have acted as a family with the teasing/inside jokes, and shared living spaces (yes, Vision, we’ve talked about this, you still need to knock on Wanda’s door before entering).

We’ve also seen them hurt each other and break one another’s hearts. We’ve seen the damage that can result from a family being broken apart. Civil War felt like a personal punch to the gut.

The Russo brothers confirmed that had the Avengers all been united in Infinity War that they would have actually beaten Thanos. It was possible, they had the power. But they were fractured, fighting on separate fronts, therefore they lost.

It’s a sobering reminder to us how important unity is and just how powerful families walking in unity can be.

We lost everything in Infinity War, but we also gained something that was Thanos’ ultimate undoing…

We got our family back, and this time they were stronger for the breaking.

One of the chief ways the Russo’s communicated this idea of togetherness and family was through a very visual feature.

Food.

I have never seen a Marvel movie that has this much eating in it. Sure, we’ve gotten cute moments of eating before. The famous “Shawarma” scene from the first Avengers is probably the most memorable one.

Food is necessary for our continued existence, but even more than that, food is a part of who we are.

When someone dies, we bring their family food. When a new life enters the world, we bring food.

Weddings are celebrated with food. Birthdays, sporting events, parties, and holidays as well.

People enjoy food together on dates, during long work hours, late night snacks, last minute taco runs, etc.

Food can also be used as an escape. Food can mark times and seasons as well as locations.

Food is comfort. Food is tradition. Food is artwork. Food is memories. Food is home. Food is a new adventure. Food is family. Food is gathering. Food is escapeFood is healing. Food is normal. Food is special. Food is celebration. Food is personal. Food is uniting. Food is provision. Food is safety. 

Food is the common thread that ties a whole life together, the good, the bad, and the glorious.

Avengers: Endgame was meant to tie all of the previous threads of the MCU together just as it was also meant to tie our characters together more strongly than ever before.

Every film is a conglomeration of many parts. If the set guy doesn’t do his job as well as the lighting lady does hers, the whole movie suffers. The musicians have to create music that illuminates the story. The actors have to bring the lines the scriptwriters wrote to life. The director has to see a million details and arrange how they come together in order to create a masterpiece.

No detail is too small. It is no mistake that there was so much food shown in this story, it was an excellent use of setting+props+actions to communicate the keyword, the solution, the most important theme for this entire story.

Together.

We open the movie to Clint Barton having an archery lesson with his lovely and strong daughter. In the background, his sweet wife is fixing hotdogs for lunch while the boys play catch. It’s calm, peaceful, and homey.

hawkeye farm scene

Clint pays no attention to the ankle bracelet he is wearing, it’s a forgotten object of his other life. This place, these people around the picnic table, this is his life, his heart, his home. Hotdogs at the picnic table, it doesn’t get much more normal and relatable than that.

One moment his wife is calling out for condiment orders, the next moment Clint’s entire family is dust. A very normal, familiar scene is turned into a horror show as he runs around screaming their names. The normalcy is polluted by the tragedy and shock.

Natasha Romanoff sits at an empty Avengers headquarters and talks to all of her super friends across the galaxy, trying to keep the whole universe safe at once.

And she’s making a peanut butter sandwich. A girl still has to eat, it is a strange juxtaposition. A woman in lounge pants making a peanut butter sandwich while managing intergalactic tensions and listening to the horrendous crimes her best friend Clint is committing in his grief.

She can barely choke the sandwich down, the peanut butter and the lump in her throat and her chest are in conflict with each other. #youcantcryandeatpeanutbutteritsscience

Steve Rogers drops by, and after threatening him with the sandwich Nat affectionately slides it across the table towards him. It’s a comfortable, casual kind of hospitality that shows their intimate friend/sibling relationship and trust.

nat and the sandwich

Scott Lang arrives in a flurry, he’s excited and he’s hungry. “Is that anybody’s sandwich? I’m starving!” #ilovethismansomuch

He downs the discarded sandwich in between sharing his brilliant idea to use the Quantum Realm to bring everyone back.

One sandwich tied together multiple characters. It was a strangely normal object in the midst of abnormal circumstances. It connected heavy grief, deep friendship, and new hope.

The hope of a new possibility. The sandwich connects the old mindset, the ruins of the previous era to the birthing of the new one that will drive the entire rest of the story for this movie and all that follow.

Tony Stark comes out of a very normal-looking cabin (normal for a Stark) to go bring his messy-haired little princess in for lunch. It’s such a darling domestic scene that highlights everything we ever wanted for our beloved Ironman.

A car pulls up, Steve, Nat, and Scott get out and interrupt the moment. Tony pours them some sort of healthy “smoothie”? A homemade smoothie likely made from the same vegetables we saw growing in the garden between the cabin and Morgan’s playhouse. They talk “quantum physics”  and saving the world, and Tony invites them to stay for lunch. They have to decline and leave to go talk to Dr. Banner.

tony and morgan

Later on, Tony is doing his dinner dishes in yet another scene of beautiful domesticity. The great Tony Stark does dinner dishes, AND in a moment of distraction, his own water sprayer attacks him. I loved that moment. He may be a genius/billionaire/superhero but even he gets attacked by his own water sprayer! #beentheredonethatandsohaveyou

He pulls up the specs to play with the idea of time travel while drinking another health drink (a neat callback to his famous green chlorophyll drinks) and munching on nuts.

Tony falls into his chair in shock at the discovery that this plan could work…only to be interrupted by Princess Morgan who wants juice pops. He tucks her in later and finishes off the juice pop.

 

Almost Tony’s entire story is summed up and highlighted by the use of food in these scenes. A callback to his earlier green drinks that were once upon a time his attempt to give himself a few more days to live in Ironman 2. 

His new life is such an opposite to the previous days of flashy towers, unhealthy sleep and eating habits, superficial relationships and constant noise.

This new life is deep, rich, simple, and pure. It’s wholesome and nourishing, just like the kinds of food we see around the Stark household. The juice pop is playful and childish, but it represents Morgan, therefore it’s utterly precious in it’s meaning.

Tony tells his wife that he may actually be able to save the world, all the while he is still playing with the stick from his baby girl’s juice pop.

This moment is huge for the Starks. Rather than jumping the gun, Tony actually has a calm and honest conversation with his wife that shows the vast growth and maturity of him as a character and of their relationship as a couple.

Pepper also shows huge growth as she actually listens to him, lets him know that she knows who he truly is, and gives him permission to pursue this new direction, knowing full well that she may lose him as a result. Tony is at peace when he makes this step, and he’s in unity with his wife. That peace enables him to unify with the rest of his family.

I believe that is why Tony is so incredibly successful this time around. Home and family were rooting for him now, he wasn’t reacting anymore, he was making conscious choices.

That sweet cabin with its vegetable garden and playhouse and two lovely ladies and a freezer of juice pops, that is why Tony Stark was able to defeat Thanos.

After thinking that Tony was out of the picture, Steve, Scott, and Nat go seek out Dr. Banner/aka Professor Hulk…and they meet at a diner.

The Dr. Banner of old would have been horribly uncomfortable in this casual, well-peopled setting, he would have felt exposed and nervous and been unable to relax. This time around Banner is fully in his element. He’s downing giant bowls of eggs and sausage and taking time for cool selfies with the neighborhood kids.

hulk at teh diner

It’s stinkin’ adorable. This big, green “Hulk” sitting at a little diner table eating eggs and sausage talking Quantum Physics, Time Travel, and selfies with his pals. Oh yes, and we noticed the “looks” he and Nat were trading. #youthoughtwewouldntnoticebutwedid

The small American diner is a common experience many of us have had throughout our entire lives. It is in this setting over eggs and sausage that part of our team comes together and begin a bizarre plan to save the world.

In previous movies, these kinds of plans were usually made dramatic surroundings, be it the Avenger’s Tower or the ruins of New York streets. The only thing that comes close is Nat and Steve enjoying breakfast at Sam’s house while they make a plan to take Hydra down. But that moment was still a reactionary thing.

Good, high quality food requires excellent planning, preparation, and proper execution. Just like good food, this Time Heist the Avengers have to pull out cannot be a haphazard plan, this is their Sistine Chapel. This is their Great Wall of China. It’s their masterpiece.

Our heroes have had to react after the fact so many times over. In their line of work, that’s often the only way to do it and maintain some balance of freedom. Like Cap says, “I thought the punishment came after the crime.” It’s hard to anticipate every threat without aiming a whole gun at the world.

But this time around they have had five years to sit and think about Thanos’ crime. This time they have a chance to take a breath, assemble the pieces of their plan carefully, do their research, and launch from a place of preparation.

This isn’t a quick breakfast before or shawarma after, this is a fine, full meal that our Avengers have planned. Most of our characters have grown immensely over the past 5 years, they have nourished different parts of themselves that were always on hold before.

Scott Lang is sitting outside about to enjoy a lovely taco when suddenly all of his toppings are blasted out of his shell by the arrival of the Milano bringing Rocket and Nebula. He stares open-mouthed (oh how I love this man) only to be called an idiot by Nebula (WHY? Cause he’s excited to see a spaceship? I call that charming, sister, get over yourself!) And then he’s scared half to death by the arrival of Rhodey, who thoroughly enjoys calling him “Regular-sized man.”

I was so panicked that Scott would be left a laughingstock with no taco, but then Hulk walks by, beams at him, and gives him not just one taco, but two. Scott beams back. It’s one of the most adorable moments of the whole movie.

hulk gives taco

Hulk/Banner is so chipper, so benevolent, for how heavy some of the other parts of the movie are, Banner’s turnaround was really refreshing to me. This moment showed just how far he’s come, how at peace he is with himself. It also cemented the fact that Scott is an accepted member of the family now, he gets to share their tacos.

Tacos are playful and celebratory. Both Professor Hulk and Scott Lang provide some of the lightest moments in this movie, they were bouyant characters who lifted it up even as the subject matter and parts of the storyline were really heavy.

We see food used in a negative context with Thor. From the bulging beer belly to the pizza that looked non-to-fresh (where did he even get pizza in New Asgard?), we see that Thor has not been nourishing himself well in the past five years.

chunky thor

I do not judge him, that man had taken more hits of grief one after another than almost anyone else leading up to Thanos. His personal crash dive was inevitable and made him more “human”. But food has had a negative effect on him, it has become an escape as well as a prison to him.

Even this very shocking change in our handsome god of Thunder made this movie seem more normal. We have experienced grief, and many of us have medicated with food, and some have medicated with alcohol.

But just like we try to bring those broken brothers and sisters back into the fold, so our Avengers family bring their broken brother back home. He may feel unworthy, but they have not forgotten who he is. They still need him, they still want him. It’s a beautiful thing.

Gathering together in unity around a feast of ideas, personalities, abilities, and experiences; this is how the Avengers save the world. Together.

The most prominent scene involving our Avengers and food is around the dining room table during the Time Heist planning montage. It’s an utterly charming montage of people sprawled all over furniture, storytelling, note-taking, and yes, eating noodles.

I loved, loved, LOVED this quick scene. No, I didn’t appreciate Rocket giving Scott such a hard time for his excitement over space. GUYS! Would you all give this man a break? Part of what I love about Scott is his open-eyed wonder and enjoyment of all the super stuff around him. He’s exactly how I would be if I suddenly became a superhero but I was still me. He’s adorable.

scott endgame

But we see most of the team taking in some delicious looking Chinese takeout. Thor is at his drinks again. Rocket is walking on the table as he shares about the Power Stone, and no one blinks an eye. Hulk is eating a giant carton of ice cream that given the color and ingredients we can only assume it is Ben and Jerry’s Hulk Hunka Burning Fudge flavor mentioned in Infinity War.

They are all so…weird.

Rocket is on the table. He’s a raccoon with a deadly shot, brilliant mind, and sassy mouth, and specific cleanliness standards just like any other raccoon. Thor, King of Asgard, the god of Thunder is wearing a dirty hoodie and drinking cheap beer. This dude can literally fly and channel lightning through his body.

Billionaire, genius, playboy, philanthropist-now-husband-father Tony Stark. Serum-super WWII hero Steve Rogers.

Nebula, an alien/cyborg who really needs to see a counselor. James Rhodes, former military-rule-stickler turned Avenger who gets around with his robotic legs.

Scott Lang, a brilliant thief who can become smaller than comprehendible or the size of a giant. Natasha, formerly a ruthless killing machine turned into the biggest, sweetest heart we’ve ever seen.

Clint Barton, husband, father, expert bowman, samurai assassin? And Professor Hulk. He’s huge, green, playful, and sophisticated.

They are so weird, but they are teammates. They are partners. They are a family. They have gathered together as individuals carrying their own griefs, their own burdens, their own regrets.

They also came to carry each other’s burdens as well, to stand side by side and fight not just for their own sakes, but for the sake of their loved ones and millions of strangers.

A family dinner with the Avengers means that the earth is about to shake. Good is about to happen. Darkness is about to fall from its throne. This family is gearing up to take down evil and bring life together.

avengers planning endgame

The final mention of food is the one that brings us full circle in this decade of films. It’s the part of the movie that got me the hardest.

Cheeseburgers.

Dangit, Happy! I cried harder when Happy got choked up than at any other part of this movie.

Cheeseburgers. Cheeseburgers.

Cheeseburgers marked the turning point of Tony Stark. The moment he came back from captivity in the Middle East the first thing he asked for was cheeseburgers, and a press conference.

Tony had come back from the Middle East a changed man. He saw a bigger picture now, he was not just living for himself anymore, he had decided to use his incredible gifts to make the world a better place. “Don’t waste it.” 

Tony didn’t. He made a heck of a mess along the way, he made a lot of mistakes, hurt some people, but oh man, he did NOT waste it.

The sweet moment where Happy is cuddling Morgan on the front porch and being a kind, fatherly figure to her was such a precious, gut-wrenching moment.

Like father, like daughter. Morgan just did something really hard, and she’s setting out on a new journey that is going to be hard, she wants cheeseburgers. #somebodyhelpmemyhurtiswounded

cheeseburgers

This movie is a masterpiece. It brought together so many precious stories, so many beloved characters, so many hard and triumphant moments. It used imperfect characters to bring heartache and healing.

It gave us redemption, second chances, and a new future. It encouraged us to walk out of those theater doors as changed people, changed for the better.

The use of food in this movie was like a thread in a rich tapestry, a bit of theme music on low volume, present but subtle.

It added to the richness and the purpose of this story and appealed to our personal experiences. It reminded us of old and precious memories and gave us new ones. It marked times and seasons, it tied our characters together and drew them even closer to us, the audience.

Endgame is unlike any movie I have ever seen in my life. I don’t know if you could replicate that level of amazing. Like a fine meal, there are so many layers to be addressed.

I left the theater feeling very full in my heart. Some parts of the feast that was Endgame were sweet, others were bitter, some were salty. But regardless, I walked away feeling full.

Future filmmakers should take notes from the excellent use of food in this movie. It was not a 100% necessary element, but it was used effectively to flesh out a story in an unforgettable way.

Thank you, Anthony and Joe Russo, you gave us a feast.

Endgame: Sam Wilson the New Captain America

Dear Chris Evans

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

FinnRey Is True, Sacrificial Love

Yesterday I covered why Reylo needs to be seen for what it is, abusive.

Abrams and Johnson gave us a brilliant example of what-not-to-do to win and keep the girl.

blow that piece of junk

At the same time, we were also given a beautiful example of what true love looks like.

FinnRey

finnrey hug last jedi

I cannot remember falling in love with the idea of two characters together faster than I fell in love with Finn and Rey. I was sold within the first 3 minutes of their interaction, the chemistry is that real.

Finn

Finn is a glorious character to me. He gave a face to the face-less stormtrooper and showed us in a new way how heroes can come from anywhere. Finn often stumbles or stutters his way through his actions, but his heart is so noble and fierce that it always wins out. Finn is simple and powerful as a character.

finn the last jedi

Rey

Rey’s heart of compassion was shown the moment she rescued BB-8 and let him come home with her (we all know he slept at the end of her bed that night). True, she was grouchy about it at first, but let’s give her some grace, it had been a long day. She proved how true her heart was when she was offered 60 portions for BB-8…and she turned Unkar Plott down. This sets her apart from every other creature scratching for survival on that junkyard planet and points to the fact that she’s nobler, higher, and destined for more. Her principles out-weight her fear for her future needs.

rey and the baby

Rey and Finn, unlike Kylo and Rey, are not actually as similar…on the surface. However, in their hearts, Rey and Finn are cut from the same exact heroic cloth.

Rey and Kylo are both strong in the Force, they are the light and dark sides of the same coin, but that does not mean they fit together.

Finn is an ex-stormtrooper, a fact that he hates. However, his military training and insider knowledge of the First Order prove invaluable during the progression of this story and his involvement with Rey. He knows military history, First Order Equipment, and battle strategy. He uses this knowledge for key missions in both The Force Awakens and The Last Jedi.

The thing that Finn hates most about his past is actually the thing that he uses time and time again to save his future.

Rey hated her life on Jakku, but it taught her valuable skills. She’s smart, quick-thinking, an athletic warrior and a genius mechanic.

Like Finn, the most painful parts of Rey’s past have become the keys and tools to unlocking her future.

Practically speaking, their strengths and weaknesses complement each other. They are a shockingly good team, a fact they discover within just a few minutes of meeting each other.

 

And then there is the cuteness of this “you’re awesome” “no you’re awesome” session where BB-8 is feeling like a third wheel.

im finn

im rey

This is only the second time Finn has connected with a human being in his life. For Rey, this is the first time. They look at each other with amazement because they didn’t know nice humans like this existed.

Finn and Rey are not the same in their giftings like Kylo and Rey are. What Finn and Rey have is the same heart, which is vastly more important than the same skills.

True love happens when two people who have the same heart and intentions towards life find each other. They are not the same person, they have different skills and stories, but they are pointed in the same direction and care about the same things.

We attract what we are. Rey and Finn are attracted to each other and brought together because they are pointed in the same direction and have the same heart.

rey and finn

Kylo’s first introduction to Rey was him knocking her out and kidnapping her. #howromantic

Finn’s first introduction to Rey happened when he moved to help her once Unkar Plott’s thugs began attacking her. Read the difference between Kylo and Finn here. One came to kidnap and use, the other came to help with no thought of personal gain.

finns sense of justice

Finn is on the run, wanted, and in an easy-to-spot location. He lost his only friend, has no experience or resources, just spent hours in the desert wearing all black (that’d take me down), and just drank water full of Happobore snot.

Finn has nothing. He’s on a godforsaken planet where everyone is rude or doesn’t speak his language. A person who is only concerned with their own survival would keep a low profile, stay out of trouble, and certainly not get involved in a fight without a weapon.

finn to the rescue

Finn does NONE of the above, strategically, he does the dumbest thing. He sees some thugs hassling a girl, and he runs over to help, “Hey!”

He doesn’t know the story here, who the ruling class is, nothing! All he knows is someone is being attacked and he’s not okay with that. Finn to the rescue!

Stupid? Maybe. Noble? Totally. Our first scene with Finn showed his horror for cruelty and his unwillingness to be a part of it. But this moment goes even farther to define his character. He is not just going to remove himself in protest, he’s going to get involved when someone needs help. What is it they say about evil?

The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is that good men do nothing.

Finn is not going to do nothing, even if that’s what he thinks he wants, his actions keep contradicting his surface-level fears and beliefs.

rey kicking rear

He runs to help…but, wow! This girl can kick-rear! He pauses in his heroic charge. This facial expression is just the cutest. His face says #impressed and he glances around to see if anyone else just saw what he did.

finn impressed

This may seem like simple fangirling on my part, but it’s so much bigger than that. This detail ties into one of my absolute favorite aspects of Finn and Rey’s relationship.

Finn absolutely loves Rey for who she is. He is immediately attracted to her heart, desires her good opinion, and believes 100% in her capability, sometimes more than she does. 

Kylo Ren wanted Rey and what she had to use for his own gain, whenever she refused him he became angry and fearful because her strength threatened his control.

Finn delights in Rey because he loves everything about her. He enjoys her, admires her, and celebrates her strength.

True love does not fear someone else’s strength, rather, true love values a person and celebrates all that they are.

Finn is so excited that Rey exists, the moment he meets her he has someone he loves to fight for. Over a short time that love grows bigger than his fear of what he fled.

Finn displays his appreciation for what Rey can do throughout The Force Awakens. When they are about to be boarded (they believe Han and Chewie are actually The First Order) he asks her to unfix the gas leak to conquer the Storm Troopers “..their helmets filter out smoke not toxins.” Again, pairing his knowledge + her skills = effective team.

Onboard Han’s freighter ship Finn and Rey are hiding while Han “talks his way out” of trouble with the gangsters. Hearing that the situation is getting out of hand, Rey comes up with a mechanical solution.

finn proud of rey rathtar

Look at his cheesy grin. He thinks she’s just the dadgum smartest thing and doesn’t even question that her trick worked.

Uh oh…

What?

Wrong fuses.

Later on during the escape from Starkiller Base Finn leads Rey to the precise spot where she can remove the whatcha-ma-call-it (she’s the mechanic, not I) to get Han and Chewie into the core for some explosive activity.

In The Last Jedi Finn and the other 7.5 Resistance members remaining head out in the equivalent of rusted soda cans to take on the best The First Order has. They’d be toast, but who should show up at just the right moment? Rey!

While Kylo is screaming “Blow that piece of junk OUT OF THE SKY!” Finn is having the exact opposite reaction.

finn woo yeah falcon

Wooo! YEAH!

The man is screaming in pure glee. His face is at first shock, next glee, and then proud certainty. He knows exactly who is on that ship and he knows his girl is gonna kick some First Order butt!

When Rey uses the Force to move rocks (oh the poetic humor of that) she’s never done this before and holy cow I cannot believe that worked!

rey holy cow that worked

Poe is amazed. Finn is also amazed, but it’s different. Poe is gaping and Finn just accepts the obvious of course she can do it and goes running to her.

rey can move rocks

Which leads me to my next thought.

Finn and Rey are constantly reaching new heights in their abilities and character growth because their desire for the other person to be okay is bigger than their fear or comfort zone.

Finn and Rey really care about each other.

rey resistance fighter.gif

Finn’s immediate desire to impress Rey and have her think well of him is really cute. Finn is kind of like an adorkable puppy, so at first glance, this looks like puppy love.

finn i am with the resistance

Everything following that scene, even events that take place within just a few hours of their first meeting confirms that Finn’s crush is more than just a crush.

He hears the approach of the tie-fighters and grabs her hand, she’s not gonna die today if he can help it.

FinnRey

An explosion sends both Finn and Rey to the ground. Rey recovers first and reaches over to her fallen companion.

Hey!

Finn starts and instantly turns to her with a look of true concern.

finn are you ok

Are you okay?

Rey stares at him like she hadn’t heard him correctly. Wait, what?

rey are you ok

Finn is the first person in Rey’s entire life to ask if she was okay. No one has ever cared before.

Can you even imagine?

I already covered the cuteness of the following scenes above (I know this is not chronological but there is a method to my madness).

finn and rey rathtar gif

 

When the Rathtars escape Finn shows yet again that he truly cares about Rey. Like Rey, Finn has been emotionally starved his whole life, however, his reaction to that lack is to instantly wear his heart on his sleeve. Rey is far more reserved about her responses in the beginning, but it doesn’t take her that much longer to start showing her affection in return.

Nooo, noo, noo!

Finn! Finn!

REY!!!

REY, RUN!!!

Poor, terrified Finn is about to be eaten quite violently, but he’s screaming at Rey to keep running.

Rey is a stayer, not a leaver, so she uses the same trick that got them into this mess to get them out of it again, saving Finn.

On Takodana Finn’s fears overwhelm him and he walks away from the mission to get BB-8 back to the Resistance. Maz is disappointed. Han looks sympathetic and sad. Rey…Rey is devastated.

You can’t just go, I won’t let you. (She’s been left before, not again, she cares too much.)

I’m not who you think I am.

Finn, what are you talking about?

I’m not Resistance! I’m not a hero.

He’s looking at her with so much shame.

finn im a stormtrooper

…I made a choice, I wasn’t going to kill for them. So I ran, right into you. And you looked at me like no one ever had. I was ashamed of what I was. But I am done with The First Order, I’m never going back.

Rey, come with me!

Don’t go!

finn take care of yourself

She didn’t even blink at him being a former Stormtrooper. She just pleaded don’t go. She’s found someone real, please, please don’t go.

He’s still too scared, you can see how much he wants to be with her, but he leaves anyway. This is his low point as a character. Still, he asks her very sincerely to take care of herself.

rey don't go

The fact that Rey would even be tender enough to let herself grow attached to someone so quickly, and then ask them to stay is incredible. It speaks of her tender heart and of the true connection she and Finn have.

True love makes you braver.

It’s brave of Rey to open up her heart. Right now, it looks like that decision is about to get her hurt again. Finn thinks he can just walk away…but…

Where’s Rey?

Finn needs a t-shirt with this phrase. Rey disappears into the forest after her terrifying visions and the rest of Takodana stares at the skies in horror as Starkiller Base destroys the New Republic. Finn runs up to inform Han of what is happening and then stops where’s Rey?

The explanation from Maz Kanata (this girl gets things done) and the arrival of The First Order get things in motion.

Go! Help your friend!

She’s figured out Finn’s motivation, so she plunks that lightsaber in his hand and sends him off. And he goes.

I’m done with The First Order, I’m never going back.

He literally said that like an hour ago and now he’s charging into the ranks of a warzone, wielding an unfamiliar weapon with courage he does not believe he possesses. He’s doing it because he knows that Rey needs him, and that need is stronger than his fear.

finn horrified

The horror in Finn’s eyes when he sees Rey limp and being carried off by his worst nightmare is legit. I was already sold on Finn, but the acting here of pure devastation and anguish sold me on John Boyega as an actor. WOW!

Finn goes running and screaming (again, bad battle strategy) towards a horde of Stormtroopers and Kylo Ren. He’s not thinking, it’s pure emotion right now.

The rest of the movie is Finn acting in direct contradiction to what he says he wants, and that is to get as far away from The First Order as possible.

This guy, this scared, inexperienced guy comes up with a plan to get himself behind enemy lines and sneaks himself, Chewbacca, and Han into the base. Once there, he confronts and conquers his former slave driver, Phasma, to accomplish the mission. Next, he comes up with a plan to save Rey. It’s a terrible plan, but an incredibly brave one that actually includes him running in to draw fire. He may not even live another hour but as long as Rey is okay, he’s okay.

finn im just here to get rey

I’m done with The First Order, I’m never going back.

When Finn first fled The First Order his only goal was freedom and escape. Now that Rey is in his life, his only goal is making sure that she’s okay, this goal is to the detriment of his original goal.

Actions speak louder than words. After Han’s death Rey and Finn attempt to make their escape back to the Falcon. Kylo shows up (can the man portal jump, how’d he get there so fast?). Rey yells, Kylo knocks her against a tree, Finn is devastated again.

Rey is down for the count. Finn takes up that lightsaber again and engages in combat with a vastly superior foe, one whom he has been terrified of from the beginning.

It is Finn’s screaming that awakens Rey, she opens her eyes in time to see Kylo slash his back open and leave him still and cold in the snow. Kylo reaches for the lightsaber with the full expectation of it coming to him, but it goes to Rey instead.

rey lightsaber scared

 

You can see the utter shock in Rey’s face, it is the same shock she has when she is actually able to move the rocks on Crait to save the Resistance. She’s shocked, she’s scared, but she is doing it because she has to.

In The Last Jedi Finn awakens with one thought.

Rey!

Where’s Rey?

His motivation for most of the second movie is to ensure Rey has something to return to. He knows she will come back, and he’s going to make sure it’s safe for her to do so. Rey is on a personal mission, but even bigger is her knowledge that the people she loves (like Finn) are counting on her to come through for them. She goes to the scariest place to face the scariest people to accomplish this mission.

True love fights for the other person.

True love is focused on giving, not getting. When two people in a relationship are both focused on giving, more needs are actually met.

True love never stunts growth, it creates growth organically.

This is so true for FinnRey. They both face their greatest demons and reach new heights because of their interaction with each other.

And now for the biggest, most beautiful thing of all.

finnrey

She’s lived a life of misery waiting for one thing…someone to come back for her.

He’s never had anyone to care for in his life…until he met her.

The last thing Rey heard from Finn was that he was leaving. Like the survivor that she is, she escapes from Kylo’s clutches and starts creeping around the base, looking for an exit strategy. She’s on her own, like always, and doing well. But she’s scared. She’s been scared her whole life and this is the worst time yet.

She turns a corner…

And there they are. There he is. Han asks,

Are you alright?

Yeah.

Finn is relieved but still concerned.

What happened, did he hurt you? (clearly he was imagining the worst and who can blame him)

We came back for you.

*Chewbacca noises. Guys, I think Chewie is a FinnRey shipper.

Rey stares at Finn in utter shock.

What’d he say?

He said it was your idea.

The Hug Part 1

rey hug tfa

This look, this hug, wow. Finn has no idea just how much his actions mean to Rey. He came back for her, she matters to someone.

He cannot fill every hole in her heart, but he just healed some major ones.

finnrey hug Starkiller base

And he holds her like she is so precious to him. The amount of peace and hope these two find with each other is vital for the next movie, The Last Jedi.

Kylo Ren tries to reinforce Rey’s feelings of worthlessness so she will turn to him for a sense of value, and he can use her power. 

Finn risks everything to go and save Rey because he already loves and values her apart from anything he can gain from her. This action tells her for the first time in her life that she is loved. 

*From a deleted scene in The Last Jedi, BB-8 shows Finn a recording of Rey’s parting words to him. Pretty sure BB-8 is also a FinnRey shipper.

finn reys goodbye

The most disappointing part of The Last Jedi to me was that Finn and Rey spent most of the movie apart. John and Daisy felt the absence, the fans felt the absence, the characters felt the absence. But they never forgot each other, they just did their best to work towards the same goals in their separate locations. They loved each other from afar.

There was value added by Rey’s interaction with Kylo and Finn’s interaction with Rose. These new characters not only added the lucrative “love triangle” edge that is super annoying, but they brought something fresh to Finn and Rey that they could not get from each other.

 

Finn couldn’t fully commit to his future until he stopped running from his past. Rose pushed him to that point.

Likewise, Rey could not have the proper perspective on her future until she had faced her past and chosen not to let it define her. Kylo pushed her to that point.

Even so, Finn was never in love with Rose, and Rey was never in love with Kylo. I mentioned in the Reylo article that Rey felt compassionate empathy for Kylo, not romantic love, which is part of why she was able to walk away when he refused to do the right thing. Finn had respect and appreciation for Rose, but c’mon, have y’all never seen a one-sided kiss before?

chewie finnrey shipper

See? Chewie ships this! I am DYING to know what he said here, somewhere in some drawer there is a sheet with Chewie’s lines in English. It’s a National Treasure and someone needs to steal it.

Finn and Rey both care about people and their stories (remember, cut from the same cloth?)

Rey cared about Kylo as a person and took the time to hear his story. Finn cared about Rose as a person and took the time to hear her story.

The chance Finn and Rey took with these new people actually moved them past their greatest hurdles and fears to the next level.

And then…

The Hug Part 2

rey moves rocks

This is Rey’s face as she sees Finn running towards her.

finn hug tlj

The amount of non-verbal communication happening here is breathtaking. Finn’s face has so many emotions. Relief, exhaustion, and deep, deep love. He lets out a sigh like he’s been holding his breath this whole time. He’s finally home.

finnrey hug tlj

Rey’s face says one thing, peace. Her face has not been this way for the entire movie. Resolved? Yes. Brave? Focused, determined, angry, afraid, sad, it has been all of those things, but this is the first time she’s been at peace. She’s home.

You are at home with someone who truly loves you.

Finn and Rey are a beautiful picture of how two people with broken places can bring healing to each other. They help each other grow. They give courage to the other one even when they are not together. They appreciate each other for who they are. They are willing to sacrifice for the other person. Finn and Rey show each other true love.

Ladies, don’t be afraid to hold out for a Finn, you will NOT regret it.

Gentlemen, a girl like Rey is the kind of girl you can spend forever with. Keep that in mind.

And the last one is just me indulging my fangirl feels.

rey in finns jacket

She was dressed for the desert. This is a snow planet. He gave her his jacket. I’m done!

See you at the movies!

Reylo Is Dangerous, Stop Glorifying It

The Last Jedi: Where No One Had Gone Before

Reylo Is Dangerous, Stop Glorifying It

Prepare for a very bold post, because this needs to be said. Warning, not all parts of this post are PG.

Reylo, the ship for Kylo Ren and Rey in the recent Star Wars trilogy is very popular.

I’ve seen fanart, posts, and social media buzz about “Reylo”. How “sexy”, how “gorgeous”, how “hot” it is, etc.

its a trap gif

Please, please, PLEASE just stop.

I am a die-hard FinnRey shipper. I will not apologize for that. But my reason for being so vehemently opposed to Reylo is not directly tied to it being in opposition to my ship.

The entire idea of Reylo is stomach-turning to me because it is abusive, controlling, and all-too real for thousands of men and women in the world. What people are fantasizing about and hoping for onscreen is an actual nightmare reality that is destroying lives every day.

Kylo Ren

Kylo Ren is an utterly fascinating villain. I’m even going to venture to say he is one of the most interesting villains in the Star Wars universe.

Kylo is conflicted, a mix of human and monster. He’s vulnerable, he’s powerful. He’s full of contradictions. Adam Driver has done this character justice. I have looked into Kylo Ren’s big, beautiful brown eyes and in my heart, I have begged Ben Solo to come out; even after Han Solo died at his own hand. I love Han Solo, so that’s some powerful storytelling right there.

I look at Ren and I see him as his mother and father would love to see him. I see him as Chewbacca must remember seeing him. I see him as who he could be. I hate how lost he is.

kylo ren the last jedi

I feel all of that, but that does not change who Ben Solo is choosing to be.

Despite his conflict, Ben/Ren continually digs himself deeper into the hole of darkness. He is obsessed with control, driven by fear and bitterness. His power and pain make him both weak and cruel. He can appear incredibly human, even reasonable at times. But the moment he is told “no” Kylo Ren descends into rage and hatred, often towards the very person he was trying to win.

Rey

Rey is also a mixed bag of vulnerable and powerful. She lives with the raw wounds of abandonment and lovelessness gaping in her soul at all times. Her incredible skills as a fighter, mechanic, and pilot were all born out of survival. Imagine what she must have suffered, what must have been taken from her as a child to bring her to this point?

Rey is desperate for someone, anyone to love her and come back for her. She wants to belong, to know that she has value. She has been treated as worthless waste her entire life.

rey

Despite all of the tragedy and pain of her past, Rey has still emerged with more compassion and courage than anyone would expect given her past. Her heart is tender, her sense of right and wrong are intact, and she chooses to fight for those things at great personal cost. She boldly says “no” when evil tries to manipulate her into saying yes.

These two are meant to be a dark vs light reflection of each other, they are meant to be similar.

ben and rey

But these two do not belong together!

Kylo Ren and Rey are similar, but their entire life perspective and goals are diametrically opposed. His pain has made him cruel, her pain has made her kind. He wants to control his world, she wants to free hers. He burns connections, she creates them. He uses his power to hurt, she uses her power to rescue.

These are the black and white practical reasons why Reylo will never work. These would be enough, but let’s look at the biggest reason why Reylo is wrong.

Reylo is abusive.

kylo ren rey takodana

Before Rey knows what she is capable of, she is incredibly vulnerable. She has no control. Kylo has a predatory interest in her like Snoke had in him before his seduction to the Dark Side. He senses she is special, he wants her power.

Abusive people want what you have because they believe they can use it to increase their power/self image/control/happiness etc.

Upon discovering she knows the location of the map, he knocks her out and kidnaps her. Why is any of this attractive? If I walked in on this scene I would shoot first and ask questions later. This is “Reylo’s” first meeting; helpless Rey, controlling Kylo. *gags*

kylo ren creep

Next up we have this scene.

As a woman, the first half of this scene made me extremely uncomfortable. It’s basically every woman’s nightmare scenario of being restrained and helpless in the hands of a ruthless man. The body language Kylo uses as well as his intimidating words,

…you know I can take anything I want…

made me feel ill in my soul. I felt violated on Rey’s behalf.

A fan pointed out this scene felt like an assault upon Rey, something that J. J. Abrams confirmed was his intention. This is a “mental assault” scene. We are meant to feel disgusted in our core.

Rey blew me away. She refutes his mental assault, overpowers him in the Force, finds his greatest fear, and leaves him shaking on the ground.

The joy of this scene has everything to do with Rey’s victory over her kidnapper and nothing to do with any Reylo chemistry.

Dear Reylo Shippers, are you really finding this kind of interaction romantic? Do you want your romantic partner to treat you this way? Really? 

That’s not a relationship, that’s a crime.

Kylo Ren reports back to Snoke an emotional basketcase.

“She is strong with the Force, stronger than she knows!”

“Supreme Leader, I can get the map from the girl, I just need your guidance.”

The anger that we see written in every line of Kylo’s body as he marches back to his prisoner speaks of his true heart. Kylo does not like to be crossed, when he is refused what he desires he becomes angry.

Abusive and controlling people are made angry by someone standing up to them.

After the dreadful scene where Kylo Ren kills his own father, he meets with Rey again…

…where he flings her backward into a tree (thank heavens her hair buns take the brunt of the impact!). Rey falls into the snow unconscious where she would once again be at Kylo Ren’s mercy if it were not for someone who truly loves her taking up the lightsaber to fight and protect her.

Jedi Finn

Don’t worry, the FinnRey post is coming.

Our final Kylo Ren/Rey moments in The Force Awakens take place over an absolutely gorgeous lightsaber battle.

Kylo recognizes (like the rest of us watching with gaping mouths) that this girl Rey is a one-of-a-kind person who is going to change the galaxy with her power. He wants in on it, so he tries to manipulate her inexperience and desire to belong,

…you need a teacher! I can show you the ways of the Force!

confronting ren

Big mistake, he just helps Rey unlock even more power by reminding her of Maz Kanata’s wise words about letting the Force in. Rey leaves Kylo bloodied and beaten in the snow.

In The Force Awakens Kylo Ren wanted Rey’s power, but by the end of The Last Jedi, he also wanted her heart. 

I do not blame anyone for falling in love with Rey, good or bad.

Rey is the kind of person who infiltrates people’s armor and gets to their heart. She’s magnetic. So let me say, I do not blame Kylo Ren for falling for her.

I do not think Rey was ever in love with Kylo Ren, I think she had compassionate empathy for him. There is a huge difference between the two, and it is because of this difference that Rey does not end up a victim of a bad relationship, instead she wisely walks away.

One of Rey’s strongest virtues is her compassion. She herself has suffered, therefore she recognizes and has sympathy towards others who have also suffered. It’s why she is so willing to help the Resistance. It’s why she opposes the First Order. Rey also cares about the truth.

Rey seeks out Luke expecting one thing, a wise mentor who will save the day. Instead, she finds a bitter old man with a jaded view of reality and no desire to help the ones who need him most. It’s pretty disappointing.

And then this happens.

ren and rey force bond

This series of Force Time calls were very powerful, and I can understand why some people were drawn into the connection between Rey and Ben. Ben shows some of his most broken, hurtful places, and Rey allows herself to see him as more than a monster. Redemption is a powerful force, the idea of love changing someone and healing brokenness is a good, good thing.

If only Ben Solo had actually decided to change…

kylo ren, I want you to join me

I really thought he might. The conflict in his eyes was real. The emotion he had when he looked at Rey was real. The revelation of what truly happened that dreadful day between Luke and Ben needed to come out into the light. Rey was right to give Luke a smackdown and call him out on his lies, bitterness, and false humility.

When Rey goes to Ben, she is going with the hope that he can be redeemed, thus changing the tide of the war and saving the Resistance. She wants a better future for him as an individual, as well as completing her mission. She never forgets that she loves people who also love her, and they are depending on her! She is not just doing this for herself, she is doing this for them.

She goes into the very jaws of the Dark Side. She faces Snoke, Snoke does his obnoxious “I know all” bit…and then this happens.

snoke the last jedi

Ben/Ren kills Snoke.

I was shocked. I was delighted. For the first time, I didn’t really feel like I knew what was coming next, I actually believed Ben Solo had returned. And then this glorious scene happened.

And I believed it. I truly did. I believed that Ben Solo had been redeemed. He had me fooled.

Unstable and abusive people are often very good at pretending to change while actually staying the same. That, or their view of reality is so twisted they see themselves as the hero and everyone else who opposes them as the villains. Such is the case with Ben Solo.

Rey believed as I did, bless her heart, sweet girl! She believed it had worked, Ben Solo was redeemed.

The fleet! There’s still time to save the fleet, order them to stop firing!

Ben?

He turns, and she sees his face. He’s not going to save the fleet, he wants to let it all be destroyed. He’s decided what his own version of “redemption” looks like and it looks like him killing off her friends and controlling the galaxy. He wants to let everything burn down, The First Order, the Resistance, burn the pain!

She pleads with him, and he begins to get angry.

No! You’re still holding on! Let go!

Kylo see Rey’s grief, he truly believes he understands it, he believes he has the answer. So he goes for her deepest wound, being abandoned by her parents.

It’s entirely possible Kylo truly thought he knew who Rey’s parents were. We have yet to see if the revelation that her parents were “filthy junk traders who sold her off for drinking money” is true or not. Kylo believes himself to be a hero, he may even believe himself to be Rey’s hero rescuing her from her attachments or ideas that are holding her back from “true growth”.

He’s either intentionally evil or massively deceived, either way, his next words left me feeling incredibly upset. Many Reylo shippers find them romantic, I see them for what they are…a trap.

You have no place in this story, you come from nothing.

In this statement, Kylo reinforces Rey’s feelings of utter worthlessness.

you are nothing kylo ren

You’re nothing…but not to me. 

Abusive/controlling people often isolate their victims from anyone or anything that could speak truth into their lives. They want their victim’s whole sense of worth to be derived entirely from them. They hold all the cards, they are their victim’s everything.

It’s pretty nauseating. Look at it in the face, Reylo shippers, I know it’s ugly, but it needs to be seen for what it is. This is NOT romantic, this is evil. This is a lie. Even as Kylo is saying this it is a boldfaced a lie! Rey wants to save the people in the fleet because they matter to her. Those people don’t see her as nothing! He’s smart enough to figure that out, but that would work against his beliefs and his agenda.

And then Rey resists.

Rey is an incredible person. Even at her lowest moment, she has come far enough to see the truth for what it is and to value herself regardless of her circumstances or past. Throughout this movie, she is brought face to face with grief, failure, disappointment, and rejection (some of her worst fears and wounds) and she does not give in. The strength this young woman possesses is utterly astounding.

She resists lies and evil where Ben Solo could not

She gets up after failure where Luke Skywalker remained on the ground…

Rey actually emerges even more powerful in character and ability.

rey moves rocks

And Kylo Ren hates it.

Abusive people hate being told no. They hate and fear someone who is stronger than them. Finding something beyond their control is repulsive to them.

True love leaves room for discussion and compromise, for change. There is no “it’s my way or the highway” in true love. True romantic love involves two people in partnership, not one person who decides all, even right and wrong.

If there was any shred of hope left for Reylo after Rey point-blank tries to take the lightsaber from him, Kylo utterly destroys that shred in what is the most disgusting display of a toddler tantrum I have ever seen on screen.

First, Kylo tells Hux that Rey is responsible for all of the Snoke pieces lying around.

Abusive people love to blame people for their own actions.

Next Big-Man-In-Control Kylo takes The First Order down to Crait to utterly obliterate whatever is left of the Resistance. The hatred in his face is clear. He probably would have succeeded too…

But who should show up in that glorious hunk of junk to kick him in the face? That’s right, Rey.

“BLOW THAT PIECE OF JUNK OUT OF THE SKY!”

*Can you feel the love tonight?* No, please, tell me again how much Kylo loves Rey. Tell me as he tries to have her blown to pieces (you cannot tell me he doesn’t know who is on that ship).

Next up we have good old Uncle Luke showing up, an action that Rey motivated. Kylo orders some overkill I want every gun we have to fire on that man…you know you have made a fool of yourself when Hux looks like the reasonable adult in the room.

kylos tantrum

That’s enough!

Do you think you got him?

During his enraged confrontation with Luke, Kylo screams,

I’ll destroy her!

This guy is making Mr. Darcy’s first proposal to Elizabeth look like a Pulitzer winning speech.

Rey rescues The Resistance. Luke gets the last laugh. Kylo Ren is left alone (technically victorious) and utterly miserable in an empty base.

A Force time call with Rey opens up…he looks up at her, pleadingly… (I know I just tried to kill you but I’m so lonely)

kylo on crait

…and she shuts the door in his face.

rey on crait

No, no, Ben.

Rey has the wisdom to know she cannot save someone who does not want to be saved. She is moving on with her life, she did her best, but now it’s time to let it go and fight.

Ben Solo/Kylo Ren represents far too many people in real life. These people are truly broken, hurting, and yes, they do have value. These people were made in the Image of God. Yes, these people do need to have other people come into their lives and love them through the ugly.

  • Before a Kylo Ren type person can be helped, that person has to see their need for help and be willing to accept it, until that happens you can lose yourself trying to “save” them when they do not wish to be changed.
  • Once this type of person actually desires to receive help, the kind of people who should be involved are trusted mentors, sometimes doctors, counselors, and peer level friends. All of these people need to be strong enough in their own character to create healthy boundaries and call their friend on the carpet when something is wrong. These people need to hold their patient/friend/client accountable.

This kind of loving help should NEVER be in the context of a romantic partnership, because partnerships require trust. And you cannot trust someone like Kylo Ren.

We have a responsibility to point out evil things for what they are. We need to teach our children what trustworthy people vs. unstable and abusive people look like. We need to learn this ourselves.

Reylo is so much bigger than just a movie ship, it’s a broken and overly-romanticized type of relationship that leaves nothing but wreck and ruin for both parties involved.

If you are with a Kylo, know you are worth more! You are not worthless, you are not useless, you are not a mistake, YOU ARE LOVED! There is more for you in this life, please seek help.

If you are a Kylo, know that giving and receiving real love is vastly more satisfying than control, there is more to be had in this life than you are currently experiencing. YOU ARE LOVED, please seek help.

Next up, how FinnRey shows what true, sacrificial love looks like.

rey and finn

The Last Jedi: Where No One Had Gone Before