After 3 years of waiting, the biggest movie of 2015 has finally arrived. Star Wars: The Force Awakens is here, but after years of hype, surely this movie couldn’t live up to expectations…or could it?
Star Wars: The Force Awakens follows the story of franchise newcomers Finn, Rey and Poe Dameron as they unite with established characters like Han Solo to fight the evil First Order. I can’t say much else because a lot of people are hypersensitive to spoilers, but what I can say is this: The Force Awakens brings back the magic and wonder of Star Wars in full force, providing a flawed but thrilling new adventure filled to the brim with nostalgia. It’s one of the best in the franchise, and it serves as a fantastic starting point for a new trilogy.
What I liked
Something that I was really surprised by was how interesting the characters were and how well they were played. Even though the characters were likable in the original trilogy, they could all kinda be summed up into one word when they started on their journeys. Luke was good, Han was a rogue, Darth Vader was evil, and so on and so on. In The Force Awakens, all the characters and their introductions are well developed and interesting. These are humans we’re dealing with, so they can’t always be described one way. I also really liked that they didn’t just set characters up to be “the Luke of this trilogy” or “the Leia of this movie.” And side-note: BB-8 completely steals the show as a new droid.
In addition to the new characters, I was impressed with how well each actor played their parts and brought their characters to life. Daisy Ridley stood out to me as one of the best performers considering how little on-screen acting experience she’s had, as she did a phenomenal job as Rey. Oscar Isaac and John Boyega were fantastic as Poe Dameron and Finn respectively, and Adam Driver made Kylo Ren a real character that could emote well with a mask over his face. Something else I was also a bit worried about was Harrison Ford coming back as Han Solo, but it’s clear to see that in this movie, he’s not just reading lines for a paycheck. He is an older Han Solo.
The story of this movie might be something people complain because tonally, it runs parallel to a lot of the original movies. Some things happen that you feel like you’ve seen before, but personally, I loved how well old themes were mixed with new ones. In addition to this, the movie shows us the events of these characters’ journeys in a way that gives us a glimpse at the scope of the universe. The original trilogy was great at focusing in on a small set of characters and their development, but sometimes, that meant the world felt a bit confined. The Force Awakens gives us a good look at just how vast this galaxy is.
Star Wars: The Force Awakens even has a refurbished, yet still classic understanding of action and humor. We get to see sabers clashing, X-wings and TIE fighters tearing each other apart, and while all of those invoked nostalgia, they still felt new and exciting. This movie delivered a surprising amount of humor, as well. No, not eye-rolling prequel humor. Legitimate situational humor.
The last thing I really liked about this movie was how many questions it left me with. Over the past three years, speculation has run wild as to what might happen in this movie, and while some of those questions were answered, The Force Awakens left you with a lot more than what you came in with. At first, I wasn’t sure I liked this, but then I remembered that there are two more saga movies coming out, and that instantly got me excited again.
What I didn’t like
There was a key scene, WHICH I WILL NOT SPOIL, but I feel that it was completely and totally botched. This was a scene that could have become a new classic, but it didn’t have the effect it should have for reasons I cannot mention. As a whole, this scene didn’t take away from my experience of the movie as a whole, but it just kinda gnawed at me that this scene wasn’t done that well.
Also, this is a fast-paced movie, so there are a few times when scenes feel a bit rushed or unnecessary. A couple of scenes in the first act, I feel, could have been left out completely because they just didn’t fit into the story as a whole. They felt a bit like side-quests. And of course, due to this fast-paced nature, there are some plot holes big enough to drive a truck through.
For me, this movie did everything it needed to do. It needed to reestablish the charm and appeal of classic Star Wars, and it set up for installments to come. While Star Wars: The Force Awakens had some flaws, none of them took away from my enjoyment of the movie as a whole. Hats off to director J.J. Abrams for filling a near-impossible order with this movie. It was one of the most exciting experiences I’ve had at the movies in a long time, and it left me wanting more. Luckily, we’ll be getting just that in years to come.
What did you think of Star Wars: The Force Awakens? Please note that comments containing spoilers will be deleted.
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