I have actually really held off on telling people the particulars of why I thought the movie was 'really good'-which in Jimmy T speak is "way better than okay!"
I didn't think it was great.
Oh, greatly made, looks great, great effort.
But I also understood a few things going in.
They would all die. Duh. Not a doubt. I would have actually been happier to see the Empire pilot...Bodhi survive, and somehow pretend to show him at the final scene of ANH getting ready to attack the Death Star. So, I was really looking, REALLY looking to see how I get locked into these characters before they went. For me, the best part was the friendship of Blind Non-Jedi and his partner Machine Gun Dude. Their friendship shown through the whole movie; and I got that they were lost and adrift in life without purpose and duty, and they found it. But the rest? Well, they had some really great scenes, but I was truly 'meh' to a lot of them.
Mads Mikkelson just about made this movie great by himself with his theater acting piece of the hologram message.The anxiety and fear of the life he lived, his resistance even when he mostly believed there was nothing to live for, and the love that shone for a daughter who had had to trust was alive was the best acting piece of the movie. Just wonderful.
For me, the 2 parts that really drove me out of the movie were 1)a story plot aspect, and 2)A visual tactic and pacing tactic.
1)-The Rebellion gave up. Called it quits. Threw up their hands and went home. WHAT?!! I was so pissed at that big council meeting. 'Things seem to hard. I know we've been rebelling before now, but nope, we can't do it anymore.' SO PISSED TO SEE THAT. Shitty, lazy writing, and it to me, it throws the Rebellion into such a poor place that I can't describe it. Then, they only turn around once they find out Jyn and her crew decided to do the mission anyways. I hated that the Rebellion was 'fractured' , albeit briefly, in this movie, and only came back together when a plucky group of adventurers came together to spit in the eye of the Empire. The Council couldn't have easily said "We'll need to splinter and hide. Disappear into the galaxy. Make plans at our back up rendezvous site after the Empire has lost track of us. This could set us back years." Not this "Ulp! Rebellion over! Everyone go home to their subjagation worlds and rules! Good knowing you!" HATED that.
2)-that damned video game progress pacing at the end of the movie. Wanted a WW2 movie in Star Wars? We got it (which isn't the complaint). The complaint is how they had to get the DS plans by finding and physically manipulating a crane system to pull the data pack out. WHAT? That part is so dumb in the video game. Wait! Now you have to jump out to physically retrieve them, then climb the tower for tension! (actually, this is the least of my concerns right now). But at the top of the tower, you must push your way through 3 telescoping portals to reach the summit. WHY?! Heat vents? to the outside? So, what, birds could sit up there and shit down on your huge data banks? Fly in and nest? Or when it RAINS? why was that there? Because, plot. Plot to slow Jyn's progress down to increase a fake 'tension' to her plight. Ugh.
THEN (see, I kept getting madder), THEN the super cathedral skyscraper dish is out of alignment. Okay, no problem. Just go out to a random computer-OUT IN IN THE OPEN ON A 60 FOOT LONG CAT WALK AWAY FROM THE MAIN TERMINAL.
WHAT?!!! WHAT IN THE F***ING HELL IS THAT FOR??!!! The entire tower is a computer bank and processor, but you need to go, what, eye up the big f***Ing dish and eyeball that it's in alignment? No, because plot. To make Jyn get shot at and OH! make it seem like she might fail!! (at this point, you know for sure that this movie directly goes into the opening crawl of ANH. Tension is gone, you know that they succeed. But, Jyn's purpose is slightly delayed, all to see Krichek or whatever his name is come out to be all Imperial, only to have Cassian come out and be all heroey.
Then they don't even try to leave? Steal a ship? They take a walk to the beach? Neither of them was so wounded that they would bleed out and die.
wow. haven't told anyone that. Hope I didn't ruin anything for Jeff. I truly do.
Even as derivative as Force Awakens was, it made me feel wonder and joy watching. I lost that feeling going through this movie.