WARNING! There are spoilers to Star Wars Episode VII and Mockingjay Part 2. If you wish not to have them spoiled do not read. This will be done in two parts so you don't have to read a massive brick of text. These are just my opinions and observations and am in no way trying to claim any of this as objective facts. So I've thought about this for awhile because I've noticed in recent works where women are taking more of a spotlight role in hollywood action films that there is just something missing. And no, the missing thing is not a penis dangling from their crotch. It's character development.
So there's two main examples of this I want to look at. The first one is the main protagonist of The Hunger Games Katniss Eversdeen. And secondly every guys hearthrob, Rey, of Star Wars Episode VII.
So I have not seen the latest Hunger Games film but I did read the Trilogy novels when I was younger. But what I noticed right from the beginning of the first book was that I absolutely despised Katniss Eversdeen. There was not a thing about her I liked. However, I thought to myself that this is how it starts. The main character isn't perfect but they'll develop as time goes on. A good example of this is Luke Skywalker of the orginal Star Wars trilogy.
Luke Skywalker is the embodiment of the heroes journey. There's a bit of a joke that Luke is nothing but a whiny little crybaby. If you watch Episode IV(I am not calling it A New Hope) and a bit of Episode V he is a bit immature and complains quite a few times
Not exaclty what you would think is the hero of time is it? And not only that but if you have watched the original trilogy then you'd know that Luke absolutely gets his ass handed to him in his fight against Vader in Episoe V "The Empire Strikes Back" But that's part of the hero archetype. You have a flawed character both in their ability and in their maturity/mental state. But as the epic goes along they experience loss and suffering but they also find an inner peace while becoming stronger and through experience they gain maturity and enlightment. Part of the central theme to the Hero's Journey is that they become a better person along the way. In the final chapter of the original saga Luke not only because an incredibly powerful jedi compared to the previous film but he also grew as a person. He gained an inner peace and confidence he never had before.
So now we return to Katniss Eversdeen. Is she a flawed character? Absolutely. She's incredibly impuslive, irrational, a bit spoiled, loud, whiny, and frankly hardly ever thinks anything through. So you better get used to seeing Jennifer Lawrence making this face a lot. Because it's going to happen. A lot....
The Heroe's Journey looks like it's about to be embarked upon by her you might think? But this may not be the case. As I read through the novels I couldn't help but feel she wasn't doing too much in the way of introspection. Yes she decided that Peeta was a better person than she was and thus was willing to die for him by the end of the first book but that was about all there was to that. I found that this child that I absolutely despised at the beginning of the first book was still as irritating at the last page of Mockingjay. Like I have said I haven't seen the final film so I'm not sure if she does the impulsive action against the President. Even if her actions can be justified she was still as spiteful as she ever was and she frankly never grows as a person. Literally the only character development was deciding which unrealistically perfect guy she was truly in love with(gee this is original and isn't exactly like The Notebook or Twilight where a girl who has two absolute hunks pining after her where frankly no one understands why such men would want that girl but for the sake of plot and romance they do). Maybe it's my bias of just not caring for Romance in stories/films but I just found it to be dreadfull that half the time we read what she's thinking were about which guys life with a perfect body and perfect personality she was ruining more and her feelings about them. I feel Katniss Eversdeen had so much potential to become so much more. But instead she goes from being an impulsively, loud, cries and wails way too many damn times, too impossibly stubborn to work with person to being an impulsively, loud, cries and wails way too many damn times, too impossibly stubborn to work with person. She did not follow the Heroes Journey. She stumled and fell face first in the mud somewhere near the beginning of the journey and then a bunch of people carried her to the end.