Sunday, January 17, 2016

"Our adult vacation." "Yes. Want to see how long it takes this grape to hit the ground?" "Yes!"

 Wherein Jack likes the good guys.

 With the release of The Force Awakens - which I saw, loved, want to see again, as well as want to watch the other movies which I can't find ANYWHERE - there has been a lot of talk about good guys vs. bad guys. Or rather the good boy/ bad boy. (Don't throw things at me. I'm not here to point fingers and this isn't to pick at my friends who tend to like the bad boy characters more. This is just my ramble, nothing else.)

 I've watched all the Star Wars movies. I grew up watching the original and I really liked the stories, but especially as I got older. I then saw the prequel and had to put up with the never ending rants in defense or against Anakin. (I guess that is all still going on, even with a new movie for the world to poke and prod and pick apart.)

 I think by now, everyone knows about the biggest spoiler in The Force Awakens - the spoiler of who Kylo Ren really is. But if not then you might want to skip this post because I will be talking about him and I won't be keeping his real name a secret.

 Ye've been warned.

 It wasn't until the Anakin rants started that I realized there was even a good boy/ bad boy thing going on in the movies. As I said, I know a lot of people who like the bad boy characters more in movies. Or the ones which would be given that title. The darker ones, with the sad back stories and who don't always make the right choices. (Anakin, Kylo Ren, Han. Though I think Han might not be able to be considered so much a bad boy by the end, though I'm no expert on it.) I've listened to non stop defenses for these characters.

 Of course, I don't hate any of them. Anakin wasn't exactly a hero, he made a lot of mistakes, but in the end he died saving his son's life. He had a redeemable moment, which is something I love in character stories. Kylo Ren is certainly the bad boy in the new movie. (He kills his own dad, which I'm still mad about because no one just stabs Han through the heart. Rude.) Ren goes a little crazy, decides he's going to follow in his grandfather's foot steps - because that ended so well for Anakin - and kills all the other Jedi. He almost kills the hero of the movie, Finn, and then tries to kill Rey - who is either is sister or his cousin depending on what story line they are going with in this movie. (Ha, and you all assumed I wasn't that much of a geek, didn't you?)

 I, like I assume all of my friends who have become attached to Ren, hope he is redeemed by the end of the movies. Even with the fact he just killed his own father and the other Jedi, I still want him to be saved in the end. Just like I wanted Anakin to be saved - rather was glad he had been saved even after seeing his story.

 Now I'm not going to get into the back stories of Ren and Anakin. I'm not going to defend them or post anything against them. Because this isn't about them. Just understand I don't hate either of them, they just aren't my favorites.

 Sometimes I feel like I'm the only girl who really loves the good guy characters. (Not just in Star Wars but in other movies. I always go for the good guys. Steve Rogers has always been my favorite Avenger, even before Bucky showed up as a deadly assassin. Hawkeye was my other top favorite.) I like the stories of the guys who try to do the right thing. Does this mean I don't like a story where a character does things wrong, such as Tony, and begins to change and get better? No, I love that story line too, those just don't tend to be my top favorite characters. I do like them, I love to see them grow but still remain themselves - Shawn is another example - but in the end they're not the ones I would "fan girl" over.

 Such as in Star Wars, my ALL TIME favorite character in those movies is Luke. I've always loved Luke, even a little more than Han. Luke, without a supposed huge character arch. Luke who never seems to do anything wrong and is therefore viewed as too good to be believable, too perfect, too nice, too flawless, too wimpy.

 The same is with the new movie, and the prequel. I liked Obi Wan more then Anakin. I LOVED Finn in the new movie, so much.

 Why does this happen? Are these characters too perfect and good to be believable? Are their arches too small, or even worse, not there at all?

 I don't think so. They have struggles, just not the same ones. Luke didn't kill a bunch of little kids and then go after his best friend, after he almost killed his wife. Finn didn't kill all of the Jedi and then try and kill his master, only to later stab his father in the heart. But they didn't have a lack of struggle. In fact, they had pretty big ones.

 Luke lost everything he'd ever known. At first all he wants to do is leave his farm, to go on adventures, but then he sees how horrible adventures can really be. His uncle and aunt are killed, and without much warning he learns he's the last Jedi and has to save the world. That is kind of a lot to throw on a boy's shoulders, even a boy who wanted to go on adventures while stuck on a farm. But his real struggle and arch comes when he discovers that his father is the man who really, really wants him dead, the insane mad man who is trying to take over the galaxy and who he is supposed to kill. (Also that he had a twin sister he never even knew about.)

 Character arches don't have to be as huge as Anakin's, or take as long as Anakin's. An arch is bringing THAT certain character to his lowest point. Taking away everything THAT certain character needs to lose to reach that point. Like with people, this is different for each character. Anakin had to lose everything, but that still wasn't enough. To get him to his lowest point he is the one who had to take everything away from himself, and then realize he was about to continue doing that by killing his own son - with plans to kill his daughter once Luke was dead. It took him seeing someone else killing Luke, but his son still believing in him, to bring him back.

 Luke didn't need to go through all of that to be brought to his low point. He did get to that point, where he had to decide if he would hide and let the world take care of itself or if he would do the right thing.He just didn't turn into the bad boy character before hand, he always stayed the good boy character.

 The same with Finn. Finn's biggest struggle was in leaving the army, which he should get credit for. His whole life he'd been told a lie, and to decide on his own it wasn't the truth and to LEAVE is a big character arch in and of itself. He does slip back and forth for a while, like when he is going to leave Rey, only to in the end realize he is not the kind of man who can leave his friends when they need him the most. He goes back to face his biggest fear, recapture by the storm troops, to help Rey and Han.

 And I admire those characters. Why? Maybe because those characters are overlooked and misunderstood. Because they are viewed as being somehow less brave than the bad boy characters. Maybe even because they are sometimes seen as too good. Or maybe I like them simply because they are the kind of people I'd want to be around. Those who care more about others than themselves, who face their greatest fear for those who need them. Who do the right thing and don't let the world around them change them.

 I think I will leave it there. You now have my thoughts on this whether you wanted them or not.

 I leave you with a quote from Psych. I loved this scene. Jules might be my all time favorite girl character. She is serious about her job, sweet, quirky, girly, can shoot things including cross bows, can run in heels fabulously, and is also childish and will drop food off of a hot air balloon with Shawn.


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8 comments :

  1. You're not alone ;) I prefer the good-guy characters, as well. (Though Han is still my favorite, and if he is actually dead I will never forgive JJ and will refer to him as "Jar Jar Abrams" into perpetuity). The end.

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  2. Can I agree with EVERYTHING here? Well, except that young Obi-Wan is my favorite Star Wars character and Luke is second (that's minus TFA only characters because I LOVED Rey and Finn and I'm not sure how they interfere with Luke and Obi-Wan yet). I hate Kylo Ren. I want him to be redeemed, but there's no way I can like him when he's such a monster and I don't understand how one of my friends really likes him. He killed Han, and Han after he stopped being a scoundrel and became a mature good guy. The "bad boys"... they're the ones I want to help, sure, but they're not the ones I'm drawn to. I like Steve Rogers and Hawkeye. I like Kristoff better than Flynn Ryder. I like Rory Williams. I like the guys who always try to do the right thing, who aren't perfect, but ARE good. The ones who do have some growing to do, but don't need a 180 to be good. And I'll never understand the whole "bad boy" thing.

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  3. I like a good mix sometimes I like the hero, and other times I love the scoundrel.

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  4. YES YES YES YES.

    I LOVE THIS POST.

    I totally agree. What I do like about Star Wars is that the good guys are good and the bad guys are bad. There isn't a huge blurring of the lines, except, it seems, when fans get involved and they want to love the bad guy. But there's no doubt about it--Darth Vader was bad. Anakin made the wrong choices. Kylo Ren is the same. You can't condone the things that they did (or if you do...something's probably wrong....). YES, I really want him to be redeemed at the end. I love the element of that character arc in the story. BUT. I even more so appreciate Finn for his simple bravery and Rey for her innate goodness, just like I have to appreciate Luke, Leia, and Obi Wan. Because they're good. Is that not a struggle enough?

    So as a storyteller, both storylines are important. Though I will say that I think that creating a sympathetic villain for the sake of him being sympathetic (without making him/her stand up to what they've done and face consequences) is poor storytelling. Tell the story like it is. There are always consequences for darkness and being bad.

    Anyway...I could rant about this for a long time.... I should go....

    But yes. Loved TFA. <3

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  5. My favorite characters tend to be the "sidekick/best friend" characters... the comic relief, which is another whole topic in and of itself.
    Regarding good and bad, however, I think you are right to like the good characters. They are supposed to be liked because they are the hero.
    I like the "bad boys" for their complexity and I feel compassion for them, but they could never be my favorite characters. No matter what sad thing happened in their past to make them villainous, they still had a choice between good and evil and they chose evil. Snape, for example, is beloved by many because he was bullied as a child, because of his tragic one-sided love for Lily Potter, and because of his work as a double agent. Although I can feel sorry for Snape, I can't like him. He chose to be incredibly mean to Harry and his friends while obviously favoring Draco and the other Slytherin students—two things that a teacher should not do. Past circumstances cannot atone for present evil actions.
    Another struggle faced by "good guys" is simply being good. There are people such as Atticus Finch, Luke Skywalker, and Lucy Pevensie who exist in real life. It's not that they are "perfect," but that they are trying to do the right thing despite the world pressuring them to do wrong. As someone who has been labeled a "good girl" and tries to live righteously, I can attest that it is a struggle to stay "good," especially in this day and age. Such a struggle should be admired, not made fun of as "Mary-sue" or as unrealistic characterization.

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  6. Well said!
    Every character, good or bad, needs to go through a character arc and will likely face challenges. And hopefully come out better on the other side. (Or defeated. If bad, defeated is good.) I lean towards good characters but I like those with an edge to them as well. Thus, Solo is my favorite Star Wars character. And yes, he redeemed himself in the first film, so he's a good guy.

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  7. I just watched The Force Awakens myself and I totally agree with the points you made.
    And finally, I find someone who also thinks Rey is either a cousin or a sister! Absolutely none of my Star Wars friends believe in that theory at the moment.
    I don't believe I have a true preference. I always tend to go for different characters depending on the circumstances, but I really like your thoughts on this topic!

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