This is old news now, but I hate to leave things unfinished.
Original annoying article: 40 Unforgivable Plot Holes in 'Star Wars: The Force Awakens'
Part one of my response: The 40 Plot Holes That Weren't
Click through for the rest.
21. Kylo Ren has such a Force-enabled sense of where his father is in the Galaxy that when his father lands on Starkiller Base, Ren immediately exclaims to himself, "Solo!" Yet a few minutes later, when Ren is just twenty feet from Solo, he can't detect him -- and actually starts searching for him in the wrong direction.
The Force has never given a precise location for anyone. Darth Vader sensed that Obi-Wan Kenobi was nearby on the Death Star in Star Wars: A New Hope, but he couldn't pinpoint him. Darth Vader knew Luke was in the same room in Star Wars: Return of the Jedi, but still couldn't pinpoint him. To quote Han, "That's not how the Force works."
22. How lame is Han's attempt to convert his son? Han knows Ren (Ben) has just participated in the genocide of literally billions of people on multiple planets and moons, and he basically says to him, "Hey, this just isn't you, buddy..." Of course his son kills him! What else was going to happen?
Like Darth Vader and Alderaan, Kylo Ren is not the one with principal responsibility for the destruction of a planet (or several). He neither gave the order nor pulled the trigger. This doesn't make him innocent, though, since he clearly condoned the act. That said, parents are prone to forgiving a LOT when it comes to their children. Was Han awkward about it? Sure. Who expected anything else from Han Solo?
And "Ren" is a title, not a name.
23. Why do Rey and Finn just stand by watching as Ren murders Han? They didn't know Ren was Han's son, so the drama on the catwalk must have looked absolutely bizarre to them. Why didn't they think to fire even a single blaster shot down at Ren (given that he was just standing there on the catwalk) until -- from their vantage-point, with the knowledge they had at the time, entirely predictably -- Ren killed Han?
It was not obvious that Kylo Ren would kill Han; Han was obviously trying something, and they were seeing how it would play out. They were also very far away, much farther than Chewbacca. It's not like they had sniper rifles.
24. Rey says that the Millennium Falcon is "garbage" and hasn't been flown in many, many years. Indeed, it's such junk, in her view, that she won't even board it when she's about to be ripped to pieces by twenty Tie Fighters. Then she gets on board and it basically flies perfectly. So much so that it's not at all clear why no one has been flying it, let alone why its owner (Unkar Plutt) hasn't tried to sell it at any point over the past dozen years -- despite the fact that Plutt appears to live in a hovel.
She didn't want to take the Falcon because there was another ship that appeared to be in much better condition almost as close. When that option was removed, she was happy to take the Falcon. Since she had never flown it, she had no idea just how good it was beneath its modest exterior. People dismissing the Falcon because if it's outer appearance is a running joke in Star Wars.
As to why it was sitting there unused... good question. Maybe the next movie will answer it.
25. Why does Plutt offer Rey 250 times her usual pay for BB-8 and then, when she says "no," simply tell some of his heavies to just steal it? If Plutt is enough of a baddie to order it stolen at all, why not just steal it from the outset instead of first offering some random urchin the biggest financial windfall she's ever seen?
Buying the droid would have been quick and simple, and the First Order would have more than compensated him. When that didn't work, he did send his heavies to just steal it, and Rey handed them their asses. Seems like trying to buy the droid was a good idea, almost as if Plutt knew that Rey would put up a fight.
26. Maz Kanata is a friend to the Resistance. So why is she hiding Luke's light saber from them? Wouldn't she give them anything she could to help them find Luke, and doesn't it in fact turn out (as anyone could have supposed) that Luke's light saber is indeed helpful in tracking the last Jedi down?
Isn't that a long story for another time? We don't know when she got it, how she got it, who gave it to her, or any instructions she might have received regarding it. She was apparently waiting for someone like Rey to show up, and she did what seemed right to get the weapon into Rey's hands.
And incidentally, the lightsaber did nothing to help find Luke.
27. How did Kylo Ren manage to get Darth Vader's mask into his little fetish den? This is only the most significant piece of memorabilia in the entire Galaxy. Not a plot hole per se, but still odd. And yet a similar question could be asked of Rey: how did she get that X-wing pilot helmet, and why doesn't she sell it for food? And why does Teedo (a fellow scavenger on Jakku) just give Rey BB-8 after capturing the droid, given that as an experienced trader Teedo would already know that (as Rey quickly discovers) BB-8 is worth 100 times more than any random pile of junk either he or Rey could ever offer Plutt? Now that is a plot hole.
The one person who would know exactly where Darth Vader was buried was Luke Skywalker. Gee, who did Ben Solo train with for an unspecified period of time? And you know what else happens when someone is training as a Jedi? They're sent to some place that is strong with the Dark Side of the Force as a test, maybe a place like the grave of a Sith Lord.
How did Rey get the Rebel pilot's helmet? She's a tech scavenger working the wrecks of ships that fell during one of the last battles between the Empire and the Alliance/Republic. We saw wrecked X-Wings on Jakku. Why not sell it? She apparently thinks it's worth more than Plutt would pay her for it.
Teedo and Rey have obviously run into each other before, and we know that Rey can take care of herself. Teedo apparently decided that it wasn't a fight he would win. Beyond that, the Teedo encounter took place before the First Order started looking for BB-8, so he probably wasn't worth that much at that point.
28. How does Finn find Rey's settlement, given that the film makes clear that all Finn can see, after his Tie Fighter crashes, is endless dunes in every direction?
Partly luck, partly that Poe was heading back to that area to find BB-8, and maybe a little push from the Force.
29. Who trained Rey to fight with a staff as effectively as she does, given that (a) she is an orphan with no friends or family, and (b) she has never been in a battle, but is, rather, merely a scrap-metal scavenger?
There may be any number of people on Jakku who could train someone to fight with a staff. Also, necessity may have forced Rey to figure it out on her own in the decade or more that she lived there. She's been competing with other scavengers for years, so it's quite likely she has had to fight over items she has found or good locations to work.
30. If Finn is such a good guy that he would try to save Rey the moment he saw she was in distress, doesn't it further call into question just how in the world the order to kill civilians on Jakku was the first time he'd ever had qualms about doing something the First Order had asked him to do?
That order to kill civilians on Jakku was the first time he had really been told to hurt innocent people. How many times does it need to be said?
31. Given that all Poe knows about Finn is that he's a First Order defector, why does he seem happy to see Finn just seconds after (and perhaps as) BB-8 tells him Finn is alive? There's no real reason for Poe to trust Finn -- or care about his well-being -- at all. Rather, he would assume, as anyone would, that whatever Finn did or did not do on Jakku, he surely had committed other atrocities for the First Order (and killed many a Resistance fighter) before then.
Finn rescued his ass from a Star Destroyer. He had no reason not to believe Finn's story. The First Order had already gotten the information it wanted from Poe, so there was no reason for some trick involving a Stormtrooper.
32. Kylo Ren takes his mask off pretty readily, and in pretty mixed company, for someone determined to wear super uncomfortable headgear perpetually.
You don't know how comfortable or uncomfortable it is, nor do you know what useful high-tech features it might have. We know he wears it partly as an affectation to emulate his idol, but unlike Darth Vader, he doesn't actually need it. That said, he didn't take it off in the presence of any "mixed company" that he expected to live.
33. Why does Kylo Ren assign just a single Stormtrooper to guard Rey, the most valuable prisoner in the history of the First Order?
That's a bold assertion of her importance, but given how she was secured to that chair and the fact that she was in the middle of a First Order base surrounded by enemies, there wasn't much reason to think she would get loose or have anywhere to go if she did.
35. Why do the Rathtars immediately kill every human they encounter -- except Finn, who is randomly dragged off just long enough to be rescued?
Given it had just eaten any number of people, it may have been saving him for later.
36. Why are all Stormtroopers human (or humanoid)? If by the time of the First Order any clones being raised to be Stormtroopers are no longer clones of Jango Fett, why aren't there now Stormtroopers of every species as well as every (human) race? Why aren't there flying Stormtroopers from the same species as, say, Watto (from The Phantom Menace)?
Was the blatant racism of the Empire not evident to you in the original films?
37. If basically everyone in the Galaxy knows the Force is not a myth -- for instance, every single Stormtrooper in the First Order, who has seen Kylo Ren use it or heard tell of him using it; every single person in the Resistance, who knows the Resistance is looking for Luke Skywalker; every single person in the Republic, which was first established in part by the heroism of the Jedis -- how is the existence of the Force a total shock to Rey? Jakku is sheltered, but as we know from the film (cf. Lor San Tekka) there are many people on Jakku who either have seen the Force first-hand or heard first-hand accounts of it from visitors to the planet.
The existence of the Force is not a shock to Rey. The possibility that she might be sensitive to it is. Many people acknowledge its existence, but very few have actually seen it in action or know what it can really do.
38. Is Supreme Leader Snoke actually a giant? Because if not, wouldn't him using holographic technology to make himself appear huge be a pathetic affection signaling deep-seeded insecurities? Even the Emperor never did that; he just appeared normal-sized or tiny. And if Snoke is a giant, how come we've never seen a humanoid that size in Star Wars before?
We have no idea whether Snoke is a giant or not. Have you forgotten Darth Vader's conversation with the Emperor in The Empire Strikes Back? When the Emperor's holographic image filled the room?
39. Why would the First Order spend untold quadrillions of [insert unit of money here] to build the Starkiller Base, when a similar concept and design plan had twice before been destroyed with minimal difficulty by the rebels? And doesn't the recurrence of this tactical error for the third time in the (relatively) brief history of the Empire/First Order suggest that everyone in the First Order who was involved in the construction of Starkiller Base, at every level of management and authority, should be instantly shot in the head? (Of course, it's too late for that by the end of the film, but still.) How positively brain-dead is Snoke to have learned literally nothing from history? And for those who say that clearly a solar-powered Death Star is way better than a non-solar-powered Death Star, well, clearly not!
The Empire/First Order are obsessed with superweapons. Yes, the Death Stars were destroyed, but the difficulty was hardly "minimal".
40. Is there any other film franchise in the history of cinema that would be permitted, by its fans and by critics, to recycle so many plot points?
This film is, indeed, very derivative. This appears to have been a conscious choice to bring back the feel of the original film. That said, there are still plenty of differences to make this story distinctive.
Seth Abramson, if you don't like the film, that's fine, but most of your criticisms are crap.