Let me start off by saying that I really try my best to be spoiler free when it comes to every film. When it comes to The Force Awakens, it’s even more of tough task but I assure you, this is a spoiler free zone. This will be the longest review I haven’t written so far because I want to breakdown the film and be as thorough as I can, while being spoiler free.
The most anticipated film of our generation is finally here, Star Wars: Episode VII: The Force Awakens. Was it worth the wait? One word: Yes!
The story is everything when it comes to film and even more so when you deal with the most popular franchise in pop culture history. Here’s a brief rundown of the storyline…
Both the Resistance (new version of the Rebels) and the First Order (new version of the Empire) are looking for Luke Skywalker. Some treat him as a myth, much like Obi-Wan was in the original trilogy, and some just haven’t seen or heard from him in years. So both sides try to get to him first and obviously, both sides have their own agenda. The subplot is centered around Rey, Finn and Kylo Ren as not much is known about their history.
The storyline was very easy to follow and not filled with political issues like the prequels. Some of the subplots didn’t make sense at first but I assure you that they will make sense by the end of the film. The Force Awakens is one of darker films of the franchise, along the likes of Revenge of the Sith and Empire Strikes Back, but it also had quite a bit of comedy. It’s not overloaded with comedy but it’s funnier than the other movies in the franchise. A lot of the comedy came from Han Solo (of course) and other characters made a few remarks here and there throughout the film, which had the audience laughing out loud.
Most of the new characters brought to the Star Wars galaxy were highlighted very much and made made great introductions into the franchise. Rey, Finn, Poe, Kylo Ren, Snoke, Maz Kanata, General Hux and BB-8 all made great impacts, while some of the other new characters didn’t have enough screen time to make a huge impact. Only a few of the characters that returned from the original trilogy were co-pilots to the newer additions to the cast. Some of you may be disappointed by the fact that some of the characters had very little screen time.
I really liked the fact that J.J. Abrams and Lawrence Kasdan gave some depth and emotion to the stormtroopers. You see this early on in the film and see it a number of times throughout the film.
(This one below may be considered a spoiler to some but not really since it’s based more on opinion)
For those of you who speculated that Kylo Ren would be like the new Darth Vader, I felt that the character reminded me a lot more of Anakin in the prequels, rather than like Darth Vader in the original trilogy. He threw a few tantrums/outbursts and seemed kind of like he was whinny at times. The full look of him with his helmet and lightsaber were really cool though, so I’ll give him that.
To make fans feel at ease, there weren’t any annoying characters like Jar Jar, so you can rest easy on that.
The acting was by far the best acting that I have seen overall in any of the previous Star Wars films. All of the actors did really well. There was no robot-like acting like Hayden Christensen in the prequels. I was really impressed with Daisy Ridley, John Boyega, and Oscar Issac’s performances. Their onscreen chemistry showed and they had lots of chemistry with just about every actor they shared the screen with.
The returning cast of the original trilogy did well as expected and the film added to most of their legacies.
The Force Awakens was action, action, action. The action was at a very consistent pace. It seemed like just about every ten minutes there was action. There were a few dogfights in the skies and in space, chases, blaster battles and a few lightsaber battles. Though there was tons of action, it did not take away from the story and developing the characters. When it comes to the iconic lightsaber battles, there wasn’t quite as much style and finesse to these lightsaber battles as they had in the prequels. J.J. Abrams was right when he said that the lightsaber battles in this film were more “aggressive” than the rest of the lightsaber battles in the franchise. The lightsaber duels were aggressive because there was a lot of aggression behind the characters involved in fights. I would say it had more lightsaber fights than each film in the original trilogy and half as much as episode III. It was a pretty good amount for a continuation film, which acted like a introduction film.
The special effects in this film was by far the best in the franchise. There wasn’t an overload of CG and in cases that CG was needed, it looked pretty realistic. I really loved that this film brought back a lot of practical effects. Very few of the characters are made by CG. Most of the characters you see in the film are made out of makeup, latex, bodysuits etc.
The visuals were very appealing to the eyes. From the locations to the battles, it was hard to take my eyes off of the screen. There is some light flare used here and there but not an overload of it like we have all seen in previous Abrams directed films.
The sounds in the film were just as good. All of the ships, blasters and sabers, sounded similar from what we have heard in the past but with some enhancements made to fit the modern era of sound.
John Williams returned to the franchise to provide the score for The Force Awakens. Williams once again made the score act as another character in the film. Something that he also did in the original trilogy and the prequels. Half of the score used in the film was reiterated scores from previous films in the franchise but with added strings, horns and notes, which gave it the same feel as the other films and made it seem even more connected to the Star Wars galaxy.
Some may say that the movie was overhyped, especially because the marketing for the film was just insane but lets face it, it’s Star Wars, the most popular franchise in pop culture history and it comes with the territory. I went into this film with only hopes that it would be better than the prequels and that it would redeem the Star Wars name. Don’t get me wrong, the prequels weren’t horrible but they weren’t exactly great. The prequels had a few good things but they didn’t live up to the hype like many of us had hoped they would. What I’m about to write may be a very bold statement but I think that not only is The Force Awakens better than the prequels but I think it’s just as good as A New Hope and possibly even better than A New Hope. I won’t get too bold and say that it was better than Empire Strikes Back or Return of the Jedi but it definitely was a very good introduction for a new trilogy and beyond. It held some of the same mystery as the original trilogy did and felt really connected to the original trilogy like it needed to be. It had intense battles and in particular, there’s an intense scene that will have you screaming out “Noooo!” much like Darth Vader did. I was disappointed in some of the characters’ lack of screen time and one of the main characters just didn’t cut it for me but the characters that held most of the screen time really held my attention. I also felt like the final scene was a bit long but it left off at a good cliffhanger. I really did leave mostly satisfied with the film.
I give Star Wars: Episode VII: The Force Awakens 8 fridges out of 10.
PLEASE remember to be courteous to others and don’t spoil the film for anybody. The Star Wars legacy is highly based on the mystery that the films held, so let others enjoy it.