I feel like this is big enough to warrant its own topic.
Here's the drama:
1. Max Landis called Rey a Mary Sue
2. Lots of people think Rey progressed too quickly with her powers and didn't earn/train for such power
3. People are unhappy that Rey and Kylo Ren are doing things with The Force that we've never seen before
SO LET'S TALK IT OUT.
First-- is Rey a Mary Sue. I know Max Landis through friends, we've been in the same place a couple times and talked-- and I say this as somebody who generally likes him and thinks he's a great writer-- he does live to troll. He's amazed by the fact people take him so seriously.
When he called Rey a Mary Sue he was referring to the concept that in fanfic, a lot of writers will play fantasy fulfillment and write a character that is perfect at everything, and is clearly an avatar for themselves. As far as Rey was concerned-- he means her ability to do everything well and never truly be in peril.
He was NOT meaning it in a sexist way-- but calling out the first true female lead of a Star Wars movie is not an easy task. Technically, I think he's right. She is great at pretty much everything.
But here's the thing he fails to realize-- Star Wars is mythic storytelling.
Everyone is a Mary Sue.
Luke didn't fail at much in ANH. He failed constantly in ESB, then never again in Jedi. Myths are told in big sweeping strokes-- Star Wars has NEVER been subtle. All the heroes in Star Wars have been the best at their given thing. That's HOW Star Wars stories are told, and I don't think Rey is a outlier example in any way shape or form.
Did Rey progress too quickly with her powers. YES, she was doing things that it took Luke a long time to do-- but they didn't happen in a vacuum. First-- we have no idea of her past-- it's very possible she was trained for a time as a small child.
Also-- Luke progressed significantly on his own between ANH and ESB so I don't think it's out of line to assume she could pick things up instinctually.
And if you look carefully, when Kylo Ren is interrogating her, she's learning from him. He gets in her head-- but then she naturally defends herself and pushes back, and it scares him. She's heard of Jedi and what they can do, she experiences what Ren is doing to her-- why isn't this enough to give her some foundation?
Part of the problem is people seem to be using Luke as a benchmark for how she should progress. Why? He's one Jedi. As much as it wounds me to reference the PT-- its clear that the Jedi way of training has changed over time. There are also different aspects to the force-- why does she have to excel in one more than another or in a certain order?
I don't think there's enough of Rey's backstory known to cry foul on her abilities. Luke and Anakin both showed some instinctual use of The Force without formal training.
As for the actual powers seen in TFA... Kylo was strong with the telekinesis, sure-- but I don't think any of it was really out of line. People seem to forget that Vader plucked the existence of Leia as a Skywalker out of Luke's head rather easily. And he mentioned Leia had a considerable resistance to the MIND PROBE. I always assumed that was him trying to read her thoughts.
I guess the big thing people are losing their **** over is the lightsaber calling to Rey.
I guess my response to that is, just because we haven't seen that happen before, why is automatically wrong? Every movie showed us a new aspect of The Force. Why do we have to say if Luke and Vader didn't do it, it isn't legit?
In ANH Jedi powers were the mind trick, some precognition, some FEELINGS, some instinctual combat flying, and Ben speaking from the beyond. We didn't see telekinesis until ESB. And Luke pulled a fancy jump in there, but it wasn't until ROTJ that Luke got all flippy and jumpy and we saw him, Palpatine and Vader all probing each others minds.
Why can we not accept something new? If you didn't like the lightsaber calling to Rey, did you suddenly not like the fact that Luke gained the ability to jump and flip when we didn't see Vader or Obi-Wan do it in ANH?