Do not read if you have not seen the movie and want to be surprised when you do.
First of all… What a rush. I just saw Star Wars Episode VII: The Force Awakens and my mind has been blown. I know that it can never be like watching A New Hope for the first time, but I feel like this is as close as I’m ever going to get. I feel that this film captured the spirit of the original trilogy perfectly. It didn’t dwell entirely on the Force and the Jedi, as the Prequels did. The Force Awakens brought back the balance of Luke’s destiny with the Force, Han’s adventurousness and grit, and Leia’s compassion and commitment to the cause that we haven’t seen since 1983.
I don’t want to spend this article bashing the prequels, I’m just glad that this did not (as far as I noticed at least) give any nod to the existence of those movies. We saw new aliens, and aliens we had seen in IV,V and VI, but nothing from the prequels. Why am I glad about this? It’s not that I don’t appreciate the prequels, but by the time we get to episode IV, we moved on from that. Or at least we have if we go by the unedited versions.
It’s also nice to see completely new locales. Jakku was a brilliant place. We got the Tatooine feel without needing to be on Tatooine. Frankly, for an outer rim planet, Tatooine’s had far to many random happenstances. On Jakku, we get that same feel, without being in the shadow of the Hutts, the Skywalkers, or everything that has happened there.
As for the characters? Finn was a lot of fun to watch, and Poe was cool, and I definitely look forward to getting to know those characters better. BB8 was exactly what I expected him to be. Having Han and Chewie back was excellent as well. It was great to see Han fill the role that Obi Wan filled in IV – that of being the torch barred and guiding the next Gen and then dying tragically at the hands of the villain. But the best character by far is that of Rey. A combination of Luke, Leia and Han, she was by far the best portrayed character and the best written. Props to Daisy Ridley for a fantastic performance.
And where would be without the emotionally troubled member of the Skywalker family? Kylo Ren was a better villain than I expected him to be. Still no Vader, but he convinced he wasn’t just a knock off both when he killed his dad and when he showed that he still has quite a ways to go in his fall from grace.
My favourite moment, currently, is when everything came to a head and Rey and Finn finally show off against Kylo. This truly said that things were back to the way the used to be. No time was wasted on fancy choreography and flips in the air. This was a raw, fight for survival dual. And to be fair, of all the films, a fancy duel would not have had it’s place here. Neither have had the extensive training by expert fighters. Rey is new to fighting, and Kylo was trained by Luke, a Jedi who never learned the advanced stuff from Yoda, because he abandoned his training. I enjoy the prequel battles, but they are too showy and take away from the emotion of it. A better battle than Luke and Vader in Empire…? Maybe.
And how can I not talk about Han and Luke. Luke was in 2 scenes and they were brilliant. For a man who’s voice acting as the Joker I love more than his Luke, I was still blown away by his impact on the film. And Han. He died. I saw it coming. But still. It was great to see him be the one that got the ball rolling on the new generation. I will miss him.
But I will not say this movie was without flaws. First off, I saw Han’s death a mile away. Second the score was lacking. But third, this was a rip off of New Hope. I get that it’s trying to pay homage and be faithful to what George did with the originals, but in many ways they did the exact same things, the just moved the characters around. Lets take a look:
A resistance movement is underway looking to overthrow a corrupt government. In a last ditch effort to keep the rebellion underway, as the main villain approaches, a hero is forced to put vital information into a droid and send it on its way. A young desert dweller with no future stumbles across the droid and starts on an incredible adventure. First they come across an old man who was vital to events leading up to this. Then, the group is forced to work with a man who wants nothing to do with the rebellion when they are almost busted at a slummy bar by storm troopers looking for that droid. Next on the list of things to do is go rescue a damsel who really is not the damsel in distress type character. Finally, they destroy the planet size super weapon capable of destroying planets. In the process the old man dies in front of the new protege, the main character discovers that they control the force, and have an unnatural connection to it, and a character with a jaded past who just wants to get away from it all turns out to be a hero after all.
Am I right or am I just skewing things? I feel like some great things happened in this film, but it was just a little to close to A New Hope for my liking.
Also, there was too much of a jump from the end of VI to now. I feel as though Kylo’s past, Luke’s departure, Han and Leia’s falling out and where the First Order came from all still need to be explored, something that could have been a movie in and of itself.
The weakest character by far was Phasma, for such a prominent looking role on the posters and trailers, I felt like she was a pointless character.
I was expecting more of an awakening. I was surprised that only Rey has the Force. Finn using a lightsaber was cool (Han only ever used it to open up the taunton) but was super misleading. Also, Marvel’s shattered empire explores Poe’s history and hints at his potential future with the force. If Rey ends up being a Skywalker then nothing has awakened, this is just par for the
course Force. I was expecting the future of the Jedi order to be looking very bright by the end, but it was not.
Lastly I was disappointed not to see Han and Luke together again. But it was very nice to see Han and Leia reunited.
Questions I now have:
Just who is Supreme Leader Snoke, and how did he turn Kylo to the Dark Side?
Who are Rey’s parents?
Who was she waiting on Jakku for?
If BB8 was 60 rations how much would R2 go for?
Who are Finn’s parents? He said he was taken as a child, are they important at all?
How did Luke, Han, and Leia let things get this bad again. Usually resistance fighters become leaders of the next regime when they win.
Do we need to worry about General Hux?
But do not get me wrong, despite the flaws I noticed, this was a great film. Like Episode IV it was enough of a story to get us revved up and intrigued, give us new, compelling characters, give us some closure but not so much that we don’t want to know more. It also gave us a great new villain that now has unresolved issues with our new heroes. I had a great time watching it, and I’m sure I will as I rewatch it again and again. I find it very easy to pick apart movies, even when I love them.
I definitely think that J. J. Abrams was the right man for the job. He did me right with Star Trek, did my right with Alias, and I will always adore him for LOST. He definitely did right by me again. Also, loved the guest Lost and Alias stars in the X-wing squadron! Also, loved the return of the old ships.
Until next time, May the Force be with you. Thanks for reading!