1.Poe’s reckless behavior at the beginning of the movie feels so dumb that I couldn’t believe what was going on. He didn’t need to shoot any of the troopers and could have just tried to run away with BB-8. The surprise that he survived the escape pod crash also didn’t sit that well with me. I get that you shouldn’t assume characters are dead unless you see them die, but it just felt like a lazy gimmick to make us feel happy. However, the payoff isn’t really there because we’re never given a reason to like Poe outside of the fact that he’s a generic “good guy.”
2. I love Leia and Han’s discussion of Kylo and how they dealt with his turn to the Dark Side. Grief really affects people and while it’s sad, it’s not surprising that they would go back to their comfort activities. It’s easier to do drown yourself in labor than deal with the torrent of sadness and frustration. It helped humanize both the characters and made me care more about Kylo as well.
3. Han’s death scene absolutely gutted me because of how well it was directed. Adam Driver’s performance actually kept me wondering what Kylo would do. There’s an genuine emotional tension on whether or not he’ll go through with his machinations. Even the music tricks you because it feels hopeful at the beginning. The lighting makes the ambivalence more pronounced, with his face being covered in half shadow and half light. The decision to kill feels like an actual decision and not just a formality and I really appreciated that. The cast’s reaction to the death is what really brought it all home. Rey is gutted-one of the few people that cared for her even in the brief moments they had together is gone. Chewie has lost his best friend. Leia has lost the love of her life. It all works and there’s a torrent of anger and sadness that I didn’t expect to feel.