What Is a Mary Sue?

Yeah, I’m talking about a LOT of Star Wars lately, but with the Rise of Skywalker coming out tomorrow, I’ve been inundated with the franchise. I see it no matter where I turn. Between Disney+ giving me something to love in The Mandalorian and Respawn Entertainment giving me something to be mildly entertained by in Jedi: Fallen Order, I’m up to my eyeballs in lightsabers, droids, and…Mary Sues.

Lately, our entertainment media has been filthy with them as escapism industries have been trying to please what they think is their market by creating female-driven films filled to the brim with girl power. Sure enough, these films never do well. Even “Captain Marvel,” which made over a billion, had so much shadiness attached to it that it’s really hard to tell whether or not it actually did as well as advertised. We do know it didn’t do well with the general public who panned the movie up, down, and sideways.

These female-driven films tend to fail for a simple reason, but not the reason the feminists in Hollywood and the journalist pool think it is. They say it’s “sexism.” Moviegoers have a different word for it.

“Boring.”

Brie Larson’s “Captain Marvel” is what we call a “Mary Sue.” She has no flaws, she’s overpowered, and her character development begins and ends with “is woman, is powerful.” That’s not a character arc, that’s a socio-political statement. It may work in deodorant ads and in speeches on soapboxes, but you can’t make a movie out of that.

But since the new Star Wars movie comes out tomorrow, I wanted to address the Mary Sue we’re all going to have our eyes on soon, Daisy Ridley’s character “Rey” in the Star Wars sequel trilogy. What makes her a Mary Sue?

I want to start off by saying that I wanted to like Rey. She was abandoned on a desert planet where she was forced to live a life as a junker. She has aspirations of becoming more than that but feels tied to the planet she was abandoned on because she believes in her heart that her family will come to find her. As she grew up, she learned the ins and outs of starships and machines. She’s a mechanical expert who, having grown up a rough life, can handle herself in a fight if she needs to.

In the lineup of main characters introduced, she was the third to be seen when The Force Awakens begins. This was after we see Resistance star fighter pilot Poe Dameron get captured by The First Order (the Empire replacement) only to be released by the second main character Finn, a defected Storm Trooper who has been trained to be a warrior since childhood.

From a story perspective, you have a trio of interesting characters who complement each other. Each has a special skill they bring to the table as well as their own personality quirk. Dameron the cocky but dedicated freedom fighter who “can fly anything.” Finn the comedic and good-hearted warrior trained to fight since around birth, and Rey the “adorkable” expert mechanic who can handle herself.

Here are three characters that I would love to see interact in a world filled with space cowboys and space wizards against space Nazis.

But instead of working with these established characters, the movie tosses out Poe and doesn’t bring him back on till after the second half, and Finn, the man who risked his life to save Poe because his internal Jiminy Cricket began to chirp is suddenly too afraid to fight the very people who enslaved him from childhood. Instead, every single positive attribute that was spread across three characters is suddenly transferred to Rey, who hears about the force once and suddenly becomes an expert.

In the first movie, Rey proves to be a better fighter than Finn and is a pilot on par with Poe. She flies the Millennium Falcon better than Han Solo and seems to be able to fix the ship better than him as well, all of this despite having never flown it in her life. She’s never fired a gun but is an amazing crack shot with a blaster, even managing to kill a stormtrooper who had the jump on her from a distance and was wielding a rifle. She’s able to not only utilize the force to mind control a stormtrooper into releasing her from prison, she out force-powers Kylo Ren, a trained force user with years of experience under her belt when it comes to mind reading. She then proceeds to beat Kylo in a lightsaber duel despite never having wielded a lightsaber, and right after Finn, a trained warrior, loses that duel moments before.

It only gets worse in The Last Jedi, when Rey not only beats Kylo to a standstill and lifts a multitude of boulders with the force, she actually beats Luke Skywalker in a duel.

As a kid, we would role-play as characters, and if ever our characters ran into a problem we would just cook up a new power we have that helps solve it. Did someone try to cut you with a sword? No problem, because you’re wearing sword-proof metal armor. Did someone try to shoot you? Nice try, but your armor is also bulletproof. Is someone trying to overpower you? Well, you have super strength. Do you need to be sneaky? No one can see you because you can turn invisible.

That’s Rey in a nutshell. No matter what problem she comes across, she suddenly has the power to overcome it. It’s writing that I can only define as childish and story destroying. The importance and qualities of every character around her suddenly go away. All you really need is Rey because she needs no one.

She is the ultimate feminist message and she is mind-numbingly boring for it. I’m not just saying this because I despise feminism. I do. I’m saying this because it makes her character stale and two dimensional. She doesn’t grow throughout the story as the power was within her all along. She needs to learn nothing. In fact, she is the teacher. Her relationships don’t matter as she doesn’t really need anyone else’s strengths to fill in her weaknesses or flaws because she doesn’t have any.

She is a Mary Sue. A boring character with no real stakes or hero’s journey to go through. She travels from points A to point B overcoming every obstacle with her peerless skill and power, driven by righteousness, and with the admiration of all who know her.

It’s like a Hillary Clinton autobiography.

 

Brandon Morse
Senior Editor. Culture critic, and video creator. Good at bad photoshops.
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