The Biggest Ways J.J. Abrams Screwed Up The Force Awakens

To say that The Force Awakens was utterly unsatisfying would be a bold-faced lie. The film certainly filled our every Star Wars desire, left empty and broken by the disgusting mess the prequels made. However, director J.J. Abrams made a few mistakes that, in all honesty, should really take our five star rating down to only four. We're still eagerly anticipating Episode VIII, but here are our quibbles with Episode VII. And stop reading right now if you want to avoid some major spoilers...

Oscar Isaac's minimal screen time

Perhaps our biggest complaint is the glaring lack of screen time Oscar Isaac's Poe Dameron receives. Based on multiple press interviews and our initial viewing of the film, we know that Dameron is the third in this nu-trinity of heroes. So what's up with the major skimping on his screen time? This ultimately weakens the film by not giving the audience enough time to bond with Dameron, thus robbing Abrams of the emotional connection and bond we formed with Luke, Leia, and Solo in A New Hope.

Case in point: because we're not given ample time to bond with Dameron, the X-Wing battle scene at the end of the movie is less than climactic. Normally a pivotal, gripping moment essential to many a Star Wars film, it holds all the action of a well-rehearsed battle scene and none of the emotions that really amp up the audience. Then Abrams contrasts it with a lightsaber battle that's perhaps one of the most emotional and well choreographed since Luke's battle with Darth Vader in Empire Strikes Back. We'd been given ample time to bond with Daisy Ridley's Rey and a brilliant inside look into Adam Driver's Kylo Ren giving their snowy battle the amplified emotion necessary for the audience to truly connect with a hero's battle. The end result is a gigantic and amazing-looking X-Wing battle that loses much of its potential emotional oomph. All in all, we better be seeing a lot more of Oscar Isaac in Episodes VIII and IX.

The return of R2D2

Talk about anticlimactic. The end-of-movie return of our favorite astromech droid, R2D2, is all too convenient. Early in the movie, we learn that the droid has been in low power mode since the disappearance of Luke Skywalker, which means that R2 basically spends the whole film chilling in a corner collecting dust. Now all of a sudden, once the Resistance has defeated the Starkiller Base, R2 wakes up? Really? There isn't even any pomp and circumstance surrounding the return of an old favorite. Just a few lights and sounds, and all of a sudden the droid conveniently projects the rest of the missing map to Luke Skywalker. Maybe we don't need an entire scene dedicated to the revival of a droid, but a little more build-up—and a lot less plot convenience—would have been appreciated.

C3PO's red arm

Did anyone else think this moment is just straight up weird? While Abrams told Wired prior to the movie's release that Threepio's red arm was a moment he used to "mark time," as if alluding to battles we hadn't seen or flashbacks still to come, we're just not buying it. Threepio was taken apart countless times in the original trilogy and countless times he was put back together, all gold, back to normal. This red arm thing seemed more like an unnecessary throwaway gag. Chances seem better that the decision to paint the droid's arm red really had more to do with selling new toy versions of old characters.

The defeat of Kylo Ren

While we love everything about the snowy lightsaber scene at the movie's climax, it seemed like Adam Driver's Kylo Ren should have at least lost a finger or two in its aftermath. After all, just about every other lightsaber fight throughout the Star Wars franchise ends with at least a lost limb, and we already know that Abrams took his cues from previous installments of the Star Wars saga. But all Ren suffers is a scar on his face. That's bad, but considering how things go for every other lightsaber loser, he gets off unbelievably easy. And there's justification within the story for why he should've been "disarmed," too. It would have brought Kylo Ren even closer to the grandfather he idolizes and given him more reason to seek revenge on Rey and Finn, advancing the storyline of the struggle between Light and Dark for the trilogy as a whole. Overall, it seems like the scene should've had greater consequences for Ren considering how handily Rey defeats him.

The Luke storyline

We're treading lightly here because we understand that there are two more movies to play out this storyline that very well may make Mark Hamill's minimal screen time in The Force Awakens well worth it. But honestly, the hype surrounding Luke Skywalker was just not worth it in the end. We feel like maybe Abrams could have tampered down the press buzz on that one. The entire Star Wars fanbase and everyone else in the world was expecting a huge role for Luke considering the chatter surrounding the Skywalker's mysterious absence from pre-release materials. But it seems that everyone was sorely let down when the true storyline came to light. Let's hope Episode VIII delivers in a big way on this point.