Gender Roles - Women
Gender Roles - Men
Self-Esteem and Body Image
Gender Roles - Women: 5 Stars
Rey is a fresh addition to the Star Wars universe. She may be young and inexperienced, but she is smart, resourceful and fierce when the situation demands it. She was abandoned by her parents at a young age, and keeps herself fed by scavenging abandoned spacecraft for parts and exchanging them for her daily meals. In doing so, she's learned numerous tricks of technology and engineering, and has even taught herself to pilot the various machines that she strips. Rey has also been guarding herself in an unfriendly desert long enough to learn a few things about self-defense. She has enough heart to believe that her parents are coming back for her, but never comes across as foolish or naive about her circumstances. Rey is truly a perfect blend of sensitivity and grit that makes her a courageous and empathetic young hero.
Gender Roles - Men: 4.5 Stars
Finn is one of the more well-rounded male heroes you're likely to find in a Star Wars film. As a storm trooper of the First Order, he has the training and indoctrination to be a lethal killer, but he also has a strong sense of right and wrong. Strong enough to resist callous orders and turn against the brutal regime. Finn eventually finds himself torn between his instincts for self-preservation and his loyalty to Rey and the impossible fight for freedom. It's not often that a male hero is allowed to show this sort of fear and vulnerability in the face of danger, but Finn is able to do so without losing his pride or strong sense of justice.
Star Wars: The Force Awakens also brings back the unforgettable Han Solo, who is still a courageous fighter but has been somewhat humbled by time and circumstance. Han is less showy and aggressive this time around, and more of a reluctant mentor to the young people who stumble into his life. When all is said and done, Han shows himself to be far more than a skilled pilot who is quick on his toes and always able to evade capture. He is also a selfless and caring father, who puts his own life on the line to save his son.
Self-Esteem and Body Image: 4.5 Stars
It's not immediately clear whether Rey recognizes her own self-worth. She's been abandoned and exploited and has plenty of reasons to doubt herself. But she's quick to defend herself and take decisive action when she finds herself in danger. And perhaps more impressive yet, it doesn't take more than a few confusing, other worldly experiences to convince her just how special she truly is.
Rey is a traditionally pretty girl, despite the fact that her young body has been weathered by the elements. She is never made-up in a way that contradicts her status or her character, and her hair and clothing is always simple and practical. Rey is a positive example of how strength can be as attractive an asset as luxury, and that there is still a place in film for this sort of clean and unembellished beauty.
Plot: 5 Stars
Rey is far more important to this story than any clever or resourceful sidekick, and could easily be considered the film's primary hero. She not only takes on the responsibility of transporting the missing droid safely into the hand of the Resistance, but also stands up to the intimidating Kylo Ren on more than one occasion.
Star Wars: The Force Awakens is full of other strong, impressive women. Maz Kanata, for example, may be a grandmotherly type who looks after the misfits and reprobates of the galaxy, but she also displays a wisdom and sensitivity that is both powerful and engaging. In addition, Princess Leia Organa returns as a general of the new Resistance army, stepping back into the role that she knows best regardless of the personal demons that are haunting her. The pivotal contributions of these dynamic women not only make it possible for the Resistance to make a powerful stand against the First Order, but also gives audiences a fuller picture of the many faces that heroes can wear.
Character Development: 3.5 Stars
Rey has only a limited history to her, but she's given enough screen time and dialogue to build a loose personality. She's passionate about machines and fighting for justice, and when her tough exterior starts to fall away, we see that she's also a touch lonely and heartbroken underneath it all. She has her moments of intense fear and her moments of conviction, and in between are the rough foundations of someone whole and real. But more than anything, Star Wars: The Force Awakens takes Rey on a challenging journey from an invisible outcast to someone unique and powerful. Regardless of her empty past or lack of deep relationships, this difficult transition is enough to make Rey come alive and leave a lasting impression.
Room for Improvement:
Decades have passed since the Rebel Alliance's victory over Darth Vader and the Evil Empire, and a new enemy known as the First Order is now threatening the peace of the galaxy. Both the First Order and the new Resistance fighters are in search of a droid that holds the key to the whereabouts of the last Jedi Master, Luke Skywalker. It is up to a determined young girl named Rey, and her new friend Finn, to get the droid safely in the hands of the Resistance before they're discovered by the First Order.
Kelly is a labor law