I liked Star Wars: The Force Awakens, thinking of it as a solid B with problems but fun overall after that first viewing.
Captain Phasma vexes me, though. She is the most striking visual, a chromed out stormtrooper with a custom blaster rifle and a cape that screams swagger. I wanted to get an action figure of her to put on my desk. I wanted to adore and fear her, leaving the theater worried that Finn had her out there, looking for the traitor stormtrooper who dared take his own name.
She didn’t get to do anything. She was Boba Fett without a bounty.
When Finn took on the stormtrooper who called him a traitor, it was a faceless minion with a sci-fi police baton. I’m going to leave that easy piece of cultural criticism alone for now but c’mon, the first black protagonist in Star Wars movie history and he’s beaten with a sci-fi police baton. Really?
Finn is about finding one’s own voice, face and name outside of the stormtrooper’s cruelty and here’s Phasma, someone who has found a way to be an individual, someone who is allowed to take the uniform and make it her own. What terrible things has she done to be allowed to have a name and be an individual?
That conflict between Finn and Phasma should have been played out through laser fire, pew-pew-pew and quips. We should have gotten the first round of their battle started with more to come.
Instead, Phasma fell into a metaphorical Sarlaac Pit, probably on an editing room floor.