The story you could have told:
After Leia was injured (in what by all rights should have killed her), Admiral Akbar, a character established in the original trilogy, a well-known, established character from many subsequent stories, takes over; making the subsequent death scene a dramatic meaningful moment, as it’s the end of a character with a forty-years history.
But you needed yet another “strong female leader” character, so instead, the story you told:
Akbar ends his forty-years history in a quick, meaningless off-screen death, to be replaced by a new character who doesn’t contribute enough to generate any real connection to the audience, ensuring that aside from the cool visuals of her stunt, no one really cares about her sacrifice.
The story you could have told:
Akbar has a plan to get the resistance to the nearby planet, and lets everyone know, as an intelligent leader would, but holds off as long as possible to allow Finn and Rose to complete their mission.
But you needed to make sure the “strong female leader” character was portrayed as superior to the male characters, so instead, the story you told:
The “strong female leader” decides there’s no need to let anyone else in on the plan, even when a decorated office, along with a large number of your staff commits mutiny based on their appraisal of what little information you deemed necessary to give them. She could have avoided the situation by explaining. She could have defused the situation by explaining. Instead she wasted everyone’s time, so that you could squeeze in the “haha men are silly” scene, at the expense of one of your main characters.
The fact of the matter is over half of the movie was COMPLETELY POINTLESS and added NOTHING. The entirety of Finn and Rose’s mission? POINTLESS! Nothing is accomplished, and all the efforts are tossed out the window so you could have your “strong leader/silly men” moment.
It wasn’t enough that you have TWICE now had female characters suddenly know to perform Jedi-Master lever feats without any training or instructions whatsoever. Obi-Wan died because Luke Skywalker, despite his strength in the force, wasn’t ready to properly wield it until he was trained, but Rey could hold her own against a well-trained Kylo Ren, and Leia could SURVIVE BEIGN ENVELOPED BY FLAMES AND BLOWN OUT INTO THE VACUME OF SPACE, and then just drift back into the ship. This wasn’t enough “girl power.”
No, Mr. Abrams, we’re not “threatened by strong female characters.” We’re annoyed with bad writing, and we’re pissed off that you’ve placed a higher level of importance on marketing to your “Disney Princess” audience than to telling a good story. Representation is good. But simply tossing as many women and minorities as you can into a story DOES NOT MAKE IT A GOOD STORY.
Do you understand that you have fans who spent their entire lives loving this franchise, who spent thousands – TENS of thousands - on merch, media and experiences, who built an almost disturbing amount of their lives around it; who are just giving up on it entirely over the direction it’s going?
Do you understand how creatively lazy, how arrogant, how downright irresponsible it is to completely brush off any and all criticism of your work as “eh, they’re just threatened by strong women?” It’s so transparent. You people build this little “progressive bubble” around your work. You add women and minorities, and then, if people like your work, you dislocate your shoulders by patting yourselves on the back, and if people don’t like it, it’s not because it’s bad. It’s not because it’s filled with things that made no sense. It’s not because you altered cultural icons, no no no, it’s because of prejudice.
Tell yourself whatever you want, but when you start seeing this type of fan revolt with a franchise this strong? You’re doing something wrong. Period.