STAR WARS: EPISODE VII – THE FORCE AWAKENS Review
What you need to know
Thirty years after the defeat of the Galactic Empire, the galaxy faces a new threat from the evil Kylo Ren (Adam Driver) and the First Order. When a defector named Finn crash-lands on a desert planet, he meets Rey (Daisy Ridley), a tough scavenger whose droid contains a top-secret map. Together, the young duo joins forces with Han Solo (Harrison Ford) to make sure the Resistance receives the intelligence concerning the whereabouts of Luke Skywalker (Mark Hamill), the last of the Jedi Knights.
What I liked
Nostalgia: Witnessing the rebirth of the Star Wars cinematic universe with the ships, drama and humor. The tweaks to the formula made the movie seem familiar yet fresh at the same time.
Saving the best for last: We hear people talk about Luke Skywalker but it’s not until the final scene of the movie that we get to see him. Initially, I found the search for Luke annoying, but when Mark Hamill removed his hood and I saw him for the first time it all seemed worth it. Hell we waited 32 years to see Luke on screen what’s another 2 hours?
The band got back together: The best part is taking a road trip with familiar faces (I loved seeing my heroes again) that make you laugh along the way. It’s an amazing space adventure packed with great action sequences and promising new characters.
New Blood: All the new characters are well-acted and fit in with the Star Wars mythos. Rey is excellent as a lost soul who finds her way to becoming a Jedi. Finn is funny and a great new character for the franchise who shares hilarious moments with Han Solo. And Kylo Ren is a better and more charismatic villain than anyone but Palpatine in any of the prequels.
Girl Power: “Let go of my hand” That simple line changed the direction of a franchise that centered around “saving” a princess.
What I didn’t
Episode IV: Remix: Stop me if you’ve heard this before….
- There’s a droid carrying valuable information who finds himself on a desolate desert planet.
- There’s a desert settlement that is wiped out by stormtroopers.
- There’s a surrogate father figure who is cut down by someone previously close to him, who has turned to the dark side.
- A dispirited band of characters collect on the desert planet and flee, only to be eventually pulled back to the evil base of operations, which once again is a giant floating orb that specializes in planet destruction and this orb seems to have the same pesky design flaw that plagued Death Star 1.0 and 2.0.
- The list is exhaustive hopefully you get the point.
Learning Curve: Rey(mostly) and Finn are able to become badasses almost immediately. In her first experience with the Force Rey is able to use a Jedi mind trick? How many years of training would that take? Then in the forest Finn is able to hold his own with Kylo Ren, a somewhat trained and very power weilder of the force. Worse, Rey is able to basically kick his ass with zero training? No…just no.
Overall: The Force Awakens is a mostly exciting return to the rich world of Star Wars with characters we care about, old and new, lively action that feels substantial and real, and a sense of fun that isn’t at the expense of your full brainpower.