Formless wrote: ↑
Honestly, I actually don't
like Poe either, and could tell from the instant he came back from the dead that it was a last minute revision to the original script for TFA. Which we kinda know is in fact the case, J.J. liked the actor's performance so much he quickly became a pet character of the movie. And he felt like it. So if anything, for The Last Jedi to bring him down a peg was admittedly satisfying... but the main problem was that the middle portion of the film was so damn boring
. Its two assholes bickering about who can be more petty, and unfortunately Holdo wins that pissing contest. Which would be fine, if only the film and the filmmakers would stop lionizing Holdo! Somehow she overtook my annoyance with Poe's Mary Sue-ish characteristics by just being written terribly. Worse, I find the constant insistence by defenders of the film that she is some kind of "powerful female character" to be downright missing the point of feminism.
Right, Holdo not being perfectly polite and respectful to the guy who got demoted for getting a bunch of people killed and then introduced himself by misrepresenting his rank is clearly pettier behavior than him critiquing her from the start because he wasn't impressed by her speech, introducing himself by misrepresenting his rank, insubordination and conspiring behind her back because he didn't like her tone, launching a mutiny, and getting hundreds of people killed.
And I call that sexist, because part of sexist culture is that women are endlessly critiqued over the most trivial aspects of appearance or tone, and expected to always be deferential and un-threatening to men, and to go to great lengths to sooth their egos, while men are entitled to act out and demand what they want.
I asked the question of whether or not TRR would be defending the character if she were male for a reason, because to my eyes she embodies a negative stereotype that women make for terrible leaders.
If she was male, I expect there'd be much less need to defend her. There's a reason I brought up George Kirk.
Also, the film clearly meant for her to be perceived as a good leader, so they claim that she was portrayed as a stereotype of women being bad leaders is false. You are taking YOUR view, that she is a bad leader, saying its the film's portrayal, calling the film and its defenders sexist based on that, while denying that you are sexist for holding the very view that you then projected onto the film to justify calling it sexist. Its nuts.
Somehow Hollywood got it in their head that female characters in a leadership position somehow have to do things differently from male leaders, as if to make certain we know they are a woman and not a man. But also that they have to make them seem like even stronger leaders without actually giving them leadership skills. Captain Janeway is good example of this problem. No other captain in Star Trek pulls rank as often as she does, but with her the writers do it again and again and again, as if pulling rank shows how strong she is compared to... honestly, I don't know who they think we are comparing her to, because she is still the only female captain to star in a Trek show. The truth is that we're comparing her to her male counterparts, and in comparison she doesn't feel like a terrible leader (unlike Holdo),
Right, the "terrible leader" who inherited a complete disaster, a vastly-outnumbered fleet with virtually no fuel, mass desertions and a decapitated leadership, held it together and pulled off an effective escape plan despite
an unprovoked mutiny, and ultimately gave her life to protect her people. And the only reason you can give for her being a "terrible leader" is essentially that she wasn't polite and deferential enough toward an entitled male subordinate who showed her zero respect himself. Oh, and that she didn't tell him the plan that only failed when he became aware of it.
but she doesn't come off as great precisely because she pulls rank on people so often. Its counterproductive to the writers intent. Picard can usually convince his colleges to do what he tells them to do through sheer persuasive skill, which is why so many people look at him as a great leader. I'm sure there are examples of him pulling rank, but none come to mind. Kirk has done it on occasion, but they were trying to portray him as a flawed man seeking to better himself whenever possible. And it helps that one occasion where he does it its to tell a lower officer to stop being a bigot to Spock.
Funny, I don't recall Holdo constantly pulling rank. I do recall her calling Poe out when he misstated his rank following his demotion.
Anyway, because of this problem, one of the best pieces of advice I've seen for writing competent female characters was to start by writing a male character instead, then go back and do a gender flip and see whether you can even tell they were written to be a male character in the first place. Turns out most of the time, their masculinity is as much an informed attribute as anything else, and about 90% of all admirable characteristics you want in a character are actually gender neutral. Its our own subconscious sexism and tendency to overthink it that causes us to forget that when its a female character. Once you do the gender flip, a few things about their background could change, but their skills can remain mostly unchanged.
While it is of course true that there are many admirable qualities in a character which are gender neutral, I'm also increasingly skeptical of the argument that one should just write women as men. Because the implication of that is that the only good way to write a woman is to essentially ignore a lot of the issues around sex and gender altogether, and pretend that those issues have no effect on a person's life, experiences, or how they interact with the world around them.
So with Holdo, it honestly gets annoying that for most of the movie the audience is only shown Poe's point of view for a good long while, so that no matter how much you dislike him, it appears like he has a point. Every character he interacts with during this sequence of the movie seems to agree with him. Finn goes with his plan as a matter of course-- Poe is the guy who got him into the Resistance after all-- but Rose goes along with the plan if only because of her tendency towards hero worship. When the mutiny first gets pitched, even bridge officers go along with his plan. How is the audience, who only sees things from this perspective, supposed to know that ultimately Poe is the one who is wrong? In fact, isn't surprising the audience with the reveal that he is wrong the whole point of the sequence?
It is intended, yes. The audience was clearly intended to be mislead, until the reveal.
I'm pretty sure it is, but there are two problems. First, there are no clues that a smart person could look at and see "oh, Poe is missing something here..." even in hindsight. It legitimately appears like she has no plan, so any plan he has is better than nothing.
Actually, as I have repeatedly pointed out
, the film does give several hints which, in hindsight, show that Poe was in the wrong. The first is his action at the start of the film, getting many people killed in a reckless and unnecessary attack against orders. This demonstrates him impulsiveness, insubordination, and poor judgement. This is reinforced when Legendary OT Hero Leia calls him out and demotes him for it. Holdo, meanwhile, is introduced as a hero of a prior battle.
Also, of course, there's the fact that when she does try to tell Poe the plan, he doesn't listen, but instead starts ranting that she's a traitor.
The film plays on audiences biases and gives limited perspective to keep the misdirection up, but in hindsight there are plenty of signs that Poe is in the wrong, and to say that the film gives no clues is flatly false. And I've demonstrated this point repeatedly. The truth is that the reveal "failed" not because there was no foreshadowing of it, or because Poe was really right, but because the audience (or, rather, a vocal portion of it) did not like the message. Which is also predictable in hindsight. Few people enjoy having their biases pointed out to them, and denial is generally easier and more comforting than self-reflection.
But second... well, it looks like he does
have a point, even in hindsight, because her plan didn't work. Let me repeat that. Her plan... didn't work. And yes, its because of Poe's actions, but Poe's actions are totally predictable. Indeed, the subversion requires them to be predictable. But let me repeat: its totally predictable that a subordinate given nothing productive to do will find something counterproductive
to do, and think its the right thing to do simply because no one will tell them what the fuck is going on. That doesn't feel subversive, that's exactly what it feels like to work at a company with a "mushroom management" problem. Its frustrating is what it is. No one wants to feel like they are being turned into a problem by a boss with a bad communication skills. Eventually people just stop giving a shit and quit, or in this case get frustrated at the filmmaker and start singing "I've No More Fucks to Give
Oh, you've just got to love this. You admit
that "her" plan (which was really at least partly Leia's plan, but I guess we're just ignoring that) only failed because of Poe's mutiny, but blame Holdo for the mutiny, then use that as proof that she's a bad leader- justifying the mutiny which supposedly proves she's a bad leader! What a perfect little circular argument.
So it doesn't feel like a teaching moment for the audience, instead people see the situation through Poe's eyes and realize, hey wait a moment, I've known a Holdo in my life! Fuck that person. They were the problem, not me. They couldn't communicate to save their life. Which is rather ironic given Holdo kills herself to save the fleet from her own fuckup. Oh, and the way she talks is the living embodiment of the Karen archetype. Subtly abusive, hides behind a paper thin smile that only belies they want to strangle you in your sleep but won't phrase it that way, wants to speak to your manager before you've even opened your mouth to help them, has that god awful haircut... yeah, her. Karen. Holdo is a Karen. Even Janeway would lose patience with her. Yes, I said it. Janeway is a better leader than Holdo. Demonstrably so, at that, because Janeway at least managed to get herself and more than a runabout's worth of crewmembers home to Earth alive! And, I mean, at least Janeway had seven seasons to prove she had basic competence as a captain. Holdo had only half a movie to prove herself as an admiral. And how do you get that position anyway in a fleet of only three ships and a fighter wing? Wouldn't the commander of the fighters outrank her? And not the one in the air, mind you, but the one coordinating the fighters from the ground. About the only way I can imagine Holdo got the rank of admiral is that she came from the New Republic and Liea decided to let her keep her rank for administrative purposes. It would certainly explain why she's dressed in a manner Star Wars had previously established to be the fashion of the aristocracy, oligarchy, and Bourgeois in Star Wars.
Wow, you can just feel the seething resentment being projected onto the character of Holdo here. Complete with hysterical, paranoid rantings about the female authority figure wanting to strangle you in your sleep.
I read this and my immediate thought is that you, like most Holdo bashers, are projecting onto her resentment you've felt toward women in your own life. Hell, you effectively admit
it. I can't prove it, but I'd guess that's probably true for a lot of Holdo bashers. It would certainly explain why so many of you seem so deeply and personally invested in proving that she's a terrible character, a terrible person, a terrible leader, and its a terrible movie, even to the point of ignoring or outright falsifying evidence.
I'm not even going to get into the completely baseless assertions that Poe must actually outrank Holdo for... god knows why, we all know the real reason is that he has a penis, and the semi-coherent rambling about how she only had half a movie to prove herself out of universe as if that's a reason why she's unfit in universe.
And, of course, you couldn't get through this lengthy tract of misogynist ranting without multiple sneering jab dismissing a woman's fitness to lead on account of her feminine appearance and dress.
But I digress. The funny thing, you know, is that I think a lot of these problems could have maybe been avoided if instead of some nobody we had never met before, Holdo had been replaced with Lando. First it would discourage the writer from having him act abusive to Poe, as we know how Billy Dee Williams plays the character and that's just not it. Lando is a scoundrel like Han, but he's more a gambler turned shady businessman turned heroic rebel. Insulting people, stealthily or otherwise, just isn't his style. But keep the part where he seems to be keeping Poe out of the loop because of the circumstances of the demotion. Make it clear he isn't talking to the man who had all the fighters grounded when the bridge was attacked and many of his friends killed or injured. Shock the audience with how Lando can still act after all these years when it isn't someone he knows and trusts, but don't make it an in-your-face attitude problem. Have the same events happen more or less, even the mutiny; but use the bridge crew as a way of communicating with the audience that there is a plan, and they are joining Poe's team because it feels like Lando is gambling with their lives. Which Lando would totally do, but people are primed to think of that as an admirable trait. We're primed to see it as bravery or cunning: but from another perspective, it appears to be reckless. Its something The Legend of Korra did with AtLA's characters, take some part of that character that we assumed was good and add nuance there. Like showing Aang's strong connection to his now extinct culture blind him to the favoritism he showed to his youngest son simply because he was the only other airbender in the family.
Oh yes, of course
the solution is to replace the original character with an old OT character.
And yeah, the audience would probably be more accepting of this. But it would negate the entire aspect of the Holdo-Poe conflict which is deconstructing entitled toxic masculinity- which is no doubt a big part of the reason why you prefer it.
Plus there are additional changes you could make regardless of whether the character is Holdo or, as I said, Lando. Again, the bridge officers could offer hints to the plan, without necessarily giving away the entire plan.
She did. She told him the plan, and his response was to throw a tantrum, accuse her of treason, continue his plotting, and reveal the plan over an unsecured com, resulting in the deaths of hundreds of people.
The filmmaker could also foreshadow the plan by using Finn and Rose's excursion: state that their little hyperspace capable pod has a cloaking device so that it can slip past everyone's sensors. Not only does that solve a minor plot hole in the film, but the audience will be kicking themselves in hindsight that they didn't think about how those cloaking devices could be used in this situation until Liea spells it out.
This is, at least, not an awful idea. Credit where credit is due.
And again, it would feel especially appropriate if it is Lando rather than Holdo, because its such an appropriate plan for a pirate like him. Escaping through wit, sneakiness, and a little bit of calculated risk rather than taking the heroic but dumb option of fighting and dying pointlessly. And of course, get rid of the damn hyperspace ram! If its Lando, he shouldn't have to die in the same movie as Luke, and the movies shouldn't have had an unintentional theme of killing off the cast of the OT anyway. But regardless, hyperspace ramming just causes too many SoD problems for too many people, clearly. Have them set the ship to self-destruct. Its, what, three kilometers long? I'm sure it can make a pretty big boom, and no one has to be onboard it when it does. Plus a debris cloud makes it pretty hard for turbolaser gunners to see their targets. But anything is better than hyperspace ramming.
Yes, God forbid that the franchise ever do anything new.
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