That's right, I've finally gotten around to writing a review of the franchise. The one thing virtually everybody agrees is good (besides Lord of the Rings I guess). As with most things, everybody is wrong. Here's a list of major criticisms:

  1. The morality. This is a very broad criticism that has a lot of facets. For one thing, the badguys are all strawman chaotic evil, and the goodguys aren't even that good. They're lawful neutral at best (I argue that point in a separate article). Now a flawed goodguy is normally a fine thing, but only when they're portrayed to be flawed. The Jedi are portrayed to be essentially perfect in the canon films. Not to mention it's statist, but that's to be expected. The intense black-and-white framing with no grey is also unfortunate.

  2. The force is a fluffy magic system. This problem shows itself in many ways, so I'll just give one example: why can't Jedi fly? We know they have self-telekinesis.

  3. Fake sci-fi.

  4. A moderate case of sexism during the original and prequel trilogies. I bet Lucas thought he was being so egalitarian by including a female main character in both trilogies. It's not very meaningful when neither of them are Jedi, and Padme exists purely to support Anakin's arc. As for Leia, honestly I feel like you could just take her out of the original trilogy and the story would be much the same. And although the sequels seem to be doing away with this problem, after seeing how Episode 8 went I'm a little worried that we're going to end up with the exact opposite problem: Rey and Leia against Kylo. It doesn't help that Rey is the most overpowered hero Star Wars has ever seen and Kylo is a total wuss.

  5. The droid rights problem (see the Solo section at the bottom). The droids in Star Wars are pretty clearly supposed to be sentient, but they seem to have no rights - none of the heroes ever object to them being sold as property by the Jawas in the beginning of A New Hope, never having a say in anything, or the practice of regularly wiping their memories.

    The same thing applies to clones: no rights, they're bred to be soldiers and either don't have a choice in the matter or there are magically never any who don't want to do this. What's that? They explore this in the Clone Wars show? Yeah, but they don't address the obvious implication that um, the Republic is evil.

  6. The gross incompetence of enemy mooks in every Star Wars movie. I don't think I need to explain why this is a bad thing.

Now I'll do some movie-specific criticisms. I'll list them in release order.

Episode IV: A New Hope

Episode V: The Empire Strikes Back

Episode VI: Return of the Jedi

Episode I: The Phantom Menace

Episode II: Attack of the Clones

Episode III: Revenge of the Sith

Episode VII: The Force Awakens

Rogue One

Episode VIII: The Last Jedi


And I'll probably come back and add some more of the more minor and movie-specific criticisms later on. Still, Star Wars is a huge improvement over other pervasive franchises like Lord of the Rings and Harry Potter. It's good enough that I plan on watching Episode 9.


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