Here it is folks, the beginning of the end of Star Wars. I mean that in good spirits, but I hope you know what I mean. We have a new Star Wars film upon us, titled The Force Awakens, which is the first in the $4 billion deal in which George Lucas sold his empire to the Walt Disney Company. For the past three years, I’ve read or come across at least one article talking about the new Star Wars film, whose gonna be in it, what will it be about, etc. Three years later, I just got back from a Thursday night screening in which the new Star Wars film has been unleashed onto the public, and it’s a triumphant but flawed return to one of the great film franchises of all time. Here’s my review of Star Wars: The Force Awakens.
I don’t know how much of the plot I can really talk about, since Disney and director J.J. Abrams have done their best to keep it under wraps. Since I’m a nice guy, I’ll respect their wishes and give you the most basic plot description of The Force Awakens. There are bad guys (now called the First Order) and some good guys (now called the Resistance). The bad guys wanna take over the galaxy, and the good guys are there to stop them from doing so. End of plot synopsis.
J.J. Abrams, the man behind the Star Trek reboot and many other projects, co-writes and directs the first installment in this new trilogy for Disney. From the very beginning, I thought Abrams was the perfect filmmaker to kick off the new trilogy, since the first Star Trek film he did was practically to show off what he could do with a Star Wars film. It also didn’t hurt that he’s good friends with Steven Spielberg, who recommended Abrams for the job to Kathleen Kennedy, the producer on the new Star Wars films and the current president of LucasFilm. To sum it up for the quotes, The Force Awakens is a really exciting and refreshing new Star Wars film, and one of the best action films of the year for that matter. The film is littered with action set pieces and sequences, and each one feels like its getting more and more exciting. Some of the best dogfights in the entire series are in this film, with the final dogfight being the highlight of the film.
I hope you don’t mind if I go into detail (nothing spoilery, if it makes you feel better) about the characters in the film. The new faces to the series are all fantastic. Oscar Isaac is great as Poe Dameron, a fighter pilot for the Rebellion whose full of charisma. The two main characters who we follow for the majority of the film are Rey and Finn. Rey, played by newcomer Daisy Ridley, is a lonely scavenger on the junk planet of Jakku, and Finn, played by Jon Boyega, is a Stormtrooper for the First Order whose decided to go rogue. I’ve been really impressed with Boyega’s work in the past, and it’s great to see the young actor finally be on top of the world as the wise-cracking, sympathetic and charismatic Finn. I’ve never seen anything by Ridley before, as this is her first feature film role (she had previously done student short films in England before catching the eye of Abrams). In all honesty, Ridley is one of the finest young female actors to emerge in quite some time. Her and Boyega are able to keep their own against fan favorites like Han Solo and Chewbacca, which is a foreboding task to say the least.
Speaking of which, Han and Chewie are back! Not only is it great to see Harrison Ford give an actual performance instead of sleep-walk through a performance, but he’s one of the best parts of the film. Unlike how Spielberg and Lucas recently handled another famous Ford character in the last Indiana Jones film, Abrams knows exactly what to do with the character, and without spoiling anything in the film, is brilliantly done in the film. We also get to see Carrie Fisher once again as Leia, whose now a General for the Resistance. Her screentime is limited, but its nice to see her back in the role. I’ll talk a little bit about the antagonist characters in the film, but can’t get into too much detail without revealing anything. Adam Driver plays Kylo Ren, the big baddie of the film with that cool looking lightsaber. He’s one of the more interesting characters that the Star Wars universe has conceived, and that’s all I’m gonna say about that. I look forward to seeing his character in future installments.
I’ll start getting into what I didn’t like about the new Star Wars, but I can’t get into too much detail out of fear that I might spoil something. If you check in on Monday, I’ll put up my detailed thoughts on The Force Awakens, spoilers and all. But onward we go. I felt that the middle lagged a little bit. The film had a very exciting opening and finale, but the middle wasn’t as intense. It just felt slow and the exposition (for some of it), wasn’t that riveting. I also didn’t like all the fan service that the film felt somewhat obliged to include in the film. R2D2 and C-3P0 are essentially glorified cameos, just moments for the audience to process the fact that these were characters that we knew and automatically clap for them.
I’d get into more criticisms, but alas, those pesky spoilers. Check back on Monday. But, aside from that, Star Wars: The Force Awakens is definitely worth the long wait for a new Star Wars film, and long overdue for a good Star Wars film. I love how Abrams has established the universe in this film, and I can’t wait to see what Rian Johnson does for the next film in this trilogy. I’d recommend you to go see it, but chances are that you’re about to go see it this weekend or you saw it on Thursday night like me. Either way, Disney has a bit hit on their hands, and they’re gonna be alright. I’m especially to see how Ridley and Boyega were handled in this film, and I can’t wait to see where their characters (and their careers) go from here. Enjoy your trip back to a galaxy far, far away, because you’re going to go back A LOT from here on out.