Star Wars: Episode VII The Force Awakens

Release date: December 18th, 2015
Dir. J.J. Abrams
Starring: Daisy Ridley (Rey), John Boyega (Finn), Oscar Isaacs (Poe Dameron), Adam Driver (Kylo Ren), Lupita Nyong’o (Maz Kanata), Andy Serkis (Supreme Leader Snoke), Domhnall Gleeson (General Hux), Harrison Ford (Han Solo), Carrie Fisher (General Leia Organa), Gwendoline Christie (Chrometrooper), Peter Mayhew (Chewbacca), Mark Hamill (Luke Skywalker)

Initial Thoughts

Star Wars: The Force AwakensStar Wars had big shoes to fit in. While the fit wasn’t quite perfect, it was nice and cozy, leaving me with the strong desire to see the film again and the next installment. What The Force Awakens had to do was capture new audience as well satisfy the people who are coming to return and it managed to do that successfully. It did this by keeping a sharp focus on the plot and the goals that the characters had to face, while also developing the characters into unique portraits that felt genuine. So if you want a quick low down on this movie, it was quite enjoyable een if it had a few faults that can seem exacerbated if you didn’t love the other characters it’s undeniably the kind of movie that is filled with action with a proper dosage of humor. It is a movie with heart and I can’t wait to see it again.

Beware of Spoilers after the break.

Let’s just start that I walked out of The Force Awakens with a lot of feels. More feels than I actually knew I was capable of when it comes to Star Wars. You have to understand. As a child I loved the original trilogy. Then I just stopped. I never really went back to the movies. I just enjoyed myself and didn’t think too much of it. In preparation for The Force Awakens, I felt the desire to rewatch the old movies (1,2,3,4,5,6). I don’t regret that decision, but I didn’t need it to enjoy The Force Awakens which was a great way to pull in new viewers into this franchise. If you’ve never seen Star Wars a day in your life, you could walk into The Force Awakens and completely understand the story and enjoy everything that was presented to you.

The big thing about this movie was that it really focused on the characters. One of the things that the prequel struggled with was that it’s focus was on the entire balance of the crumbling Republic at the sacrifice of giving the characters enough. Instead, The Force Awakens takes a note from the original trilogy and made it more about their characters and their interactions. In fact, I personally felt more intrigued and compelled by the characters presented in The Force Awakens. They felt rich and complex in a way that was tantalizing. Over all, I enjoyed the vast majority of the characters.

Star Wars: The Force AwakensWith Rey we have a young scavenger living on Jaku. Her life is hard, but she gets by. The result is that we are given a character who is driven with a strong moral compass. When she comes across character after character, she makes her decision on them and tends to accept them. Rey is a force to be reckoned with. And while I got a good sense of who she was, she fell into this trap where she was a standard ordinary person thrown into an extraordinary role.

Star Wars: The Force AwakensFinn is a captivating character. A child forced to be stormtrooper until he broke away from freedom. He was inexplicably tied to all the characters because he wanted to be free of the First Order. Finn made me feel a lot through the film because not only is he genuinely charming, but he’s outright funny. The more that we saw of him and how he was afraid, but fought against his urges to run and instead did what was right made him time and time again the kind of character that you wanted to root for. Plus he seemed to wield a lightsaber decently well. The quick bromance he develops with Poe Dameron is something I can’t wait until it is explored more.

Star Wars: The Force AwakensNow, I need to take a breather before I talk about Kylo Ren. He is possibly my favorite character going into the movie. I don’t know why, but something about his character called to me from the trailers and the finished movie didn’t change that fact. Kylo Ren is the kind of character that rips at my heart. He’s so broken and conflicted that sitting there and watching him felt so genuinely heartbreaking that I wanted to hurt him. I have a lot of hopes for his character and I can’t wait to discover more about him because he’s complex and tormented. His journey has the potential to be one that speaks to me for a long time.

As for the villains in general they were so brilliantly handled that I was thrilled. One of the things that I struggled with in the previous movies was that the villains either felt shallow or were being motivated by flimsy motivations. Now, I’m not going to say that the motivations in this movie make all that much sense. They don’t. These are people who want evil for no reason that is overtly apparent. Still in this film, the reason why these characters are evil or go along with these evil things, don’t add up. That said, the villains in the form of Kylo Ren, General Hux, and the Chrometrooper were well handled and actually felt like people not just objects serving this evil.

Star Wars: The Force AwakensAnother great thing about this movie was the stormtroopers. Yes, I went there. The butt of all jokes, the stormtroopers feel like legitimate characters. Sure, they are still canon fodder, but they feel more like people than simply things to killed. We get the sense early on that these are people under the masks with personalities and desires of their own. This was displayed in numerous ways. In multiple instances (one in particular) we see that these stormtroopers are not incompetent, but in fact sometimes skilled fighters. In other instances, they are show as not being completely idiotic by humorously skipping away from an event that could have ended with one of them hurt. In the old movies, those stormtroopers probably would have walked right into trouble and ended up dead. This time I got a laugh.

The biggest problem I had with this movie, wasn’t a major problem for me, much like the many little things that bugged me. The problem was that it felt so paralleled to the original trilogy. People say the trilogies were designed to rhyme. You definitely get that from this first installment, but at times it feels so similar. Thankfully, it does also feel different. However, there are some moments that feel so close to the previous movies that it feels directly lifted.

Finally, I wanted to mention that this movie was funny. Not in the sense that I was laughing at ridiculous things happening that I probably shouldn’t have laughed at like I did in the previous movies. This time, there were a lot of moments that were played specifically for laughs and they really worked for me. I found this movie straight up funny. No, it wasn’t as funny as Guardians of the Galaxy, but it was rather funny.

Final Thoughts

Star Wars: The Force AwakensI really enjoyed this movie as a whole. I had some problems, but I didn’t talk about them much here. That is because my problems with the movie were not on the surface. They are the kinds of problems that you find when you dig into the logic of various things going on in the movie. At the end of the day it’s the kind of movie with characters and plot and cohesive. I never felt like I was being pulled on unnecessary or overdrawn tangents. I came to love the characters, while nostalgia stirred in me. I ended up happy with the movie. This could have been a major disappointment and I’m glad to say that The Force Awakens is a worthy continuation of the Star Wars series.

Oh and I love BB-8.

Grade: 8.9

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What did you think of the movie?

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2 thoughts on “Star Wars: Episode VII The Force Awakens

  1. This movie lived up to the hype and expectations. It’s not perfect but its charm and classic Star Wars feel, along with its unanswered questions, have me eager for more! Great review!

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