The entire galaxy has Star Wars fever, as J.J. Abrams’ The Force Awakens has shattered opening weekend box office records and earned mostly glowing reviews. But the film’s harshest – and least expected – critic could be the Vatican’s daily newspaper, L’Osservatore Romano, which trashed the sequel for its lack of convincing antagonists. “The new director’s setup fails most spectacularly in its representation of evil, meaning the negative characters,” reads the non-bylined review, via Los Angeles Times.
“Darth Vader and above all the Emperor Palpatine were two of the most efficient villains in that genre of American cinema,” the article continues, noting that Abrams failed to craft evildoers on that same grandiose scale. “The counterpart of Darth Vader, Kylo Ren, wears a mask merely to emulate his predecessor, while the character who needs to substitute the Emperor Palpatine as the incarnation of supreme evil represents the most serious defect of the film. Without revealing anything about the character, all we will say is that it is the clumsiest and tackiest result you can obtain from computer graphics.”
While many critics have praised The Force Awakens for evoking the spirit of the vintage trilogy, a few outlets have slammed the film for relying too heavily on that approach. The Vatican’s paper dubs the film “more reboot than sequel,” adding, “[It’s] not a classy reboot however, like Nolan’s Batman, but an update twisted to suit today’s tastes and a public more accustomed to sitting in front of a computer than in a cinema.”
L’Osservatore Romano was established in 1861 and aims to “provide complete and accurate information on international affairs and the cultural debates and events happening in the Church on every continent.” But they’ve also made headlines for their film reviews, including a five-star review of James Bond movie Skyfall and a positive assessment of Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows – Part 2.