This past week I’ve seen an article pop up a few times listing 40 Plot Holes from The Force Awakens. The list really is not very good, partially because I enjoyed The Force Awakens immensely but mainly because it’s just a low-quality article written by someone who seems not to understand how movies work in general or who wasn’t paying attention to this movie specifically. To demonstrate this, I will go through each proffered “plot hole” and assign it to one of four categories. These categories are:
Coincidence: The Star Wars universe is one where things are sometimes guided by the Force. The proton torpedoes sometimes just make it into that two-meter exhaust port. Sometimes the droid lands exactly where it needs to on the planet right near the very people who will help it get to where it needs to go. Scoundrels like Han might call it “luck,” but others know it to be the workings of a higher power. These aren’t plot holes–they’re how Star Wars movies work.
Future: The Force Awakens is the first movie in a planned trilogy, just like A New Hope. Yes, there are some unanswered questions, but that’s how trilogies work. Some things are intentionally left out and would have made the movie incredibly unwieldy and plodding. If these are unanswered after Episodes VIII and IX then maybe it’s a problem, but for the present let’s chill, shall we?
Not a plot hole: Some of these are just pouty reactions by someone looking for other problems to pad out a list of 40 plot holes. Let’s call them like they are, shall we?
Plot hole: The rarest of the categories (as we shall see), this is just something that can’t be readily explained or is an actual problem that better writing could have fixed/anticipated.
Finally, MAJOR SPOILERS in the rest of the article. With that warning, let’s have a blow-by-blow account of the list, shall we? (I’ve reproduced the questions in italics before my answers so you don’t need to go back and forth between articles, but I’ve left off the elaborations each question has in the original article unless they’re part of my response or relevant)