Weekly Review: Star Wars – The Force Awakens (2015)

30 years after the events of Star Wars – Return of the Jedi, a new evil has risen. Old favorites return and new characters are introduced in the continued battle between the dark side and the light.

This is a spoiler free review.

It’s been nearly impossible to miss all of the hype surrounding the new Star Wars film. Ever since the rights were purchased by Disney, fans have been anticipating the arrival of a new Star Wars trilogy. The moment has finally arrived.

I won’t lie. With all the hype, I was worried that it wouldn’t live up to expectations. In many ways, it doesn’t. The Force Awakens doesn’t really touch on any new ground. It follows the same formula that was present in episodes 1-3 and episodes 4-6. In that way, it can be predictable.

This isn’t necessarily a bad thing. The Force Awakens is full of nostalgia. I don’t think fans will be disappointed. I’ve seen many people react along the lines of “It’s not the Star Wars film we wanted, but it is the Star Wars film we needed”

The film blends the old characters with the new characters pretty well. Fans will be happy to see their old favorites. For the new characters, these characters are legends. Their excitement to see them mirrors the excitement that fans feel when seeing them on screen as well.

Screen Shot 2015-12-21 at 3.45.50 PM

As for the new characters, there are three worth noting. They’ve been talked about extensively in trailers and panels at conferences, so there will be no spoilers here. The most talked about addition is John Boyega as Finn, a character that really stuck out to me for his humanity, naivety, and  desire for self preservation. We also see a lot of Daisy Ridley as Rey, a head strong and clever scavenger from Jakku. The Force Awakens shows a lot of both Rey and Finn, and it’s a thrilling ride for the both of them.

The third character introduced is Oscar Isaac as Poe Dameron, the most talented pilot in the resistance and Leia’s personal favorite. He is incredibly underused in The Force Awakens, but I expect to see a lot of him in the upcoming Episode VIII.

While not a part of the new trio, The Force Awakens introduces a new evil as well. Kylo Ren, a terrifying wielder of the dark side of the force, wreaks havoc on the universe through his role in the First Order. This villain idolizes Darth Vader, yet his demeanor isn’t as calm and collected in its menace as Vader’s was. Kylo Ren is far more unpredictable. He has fits of anger (tantrums), and he is lead by personal vendettas. He’s unstable, and that’s pretty scary when wielding the type of power he has.

It will be nice to see this new trilogy move on into new territory. I realize that it’s popular to dislike the prequel trilogy, but I always felt that its biggest flaw was that the story had already been written. We already knew who Vader was, and spending three movies to see Anakin fall to the dark side felt more like it diminished the effect of the original trilogy more than helping it. This new trilogy will be completely new to fans, and I think that’s going to be a very positive thing.

The Force Awakens is definitely a thrill ride. It moves quickly, and it has a nice blend of action and comedy that isn’t too much in your face. I did notice that this new trilogy follows the trends more often seen in modern blockbusters than the original trilogy. By saying that, I mean that there are questions left unanswered for the effect of drawing you to the next film, rather than for the story’s sake. At the end of the films in the original trilogy, there was more of a fulfilled feeling, like a story had been finished. The new film feels more like something that would end with “to be continued..”

There will be fans that dislike The Force Awakens, and there will be those that love it. There will be fans that will always love the original trilogy, and nothing else will compare to it. That is unfortunate, but I have seen that reaction a lot as well. I think The Force Awakens has the potential to bring Star Wars to a new generation of fans who may not have been interested before. Take that as you will.

I’m not too sure when the next film will be coming to theaters, but I know a lot of people are already anticipating it. This film has broken box office records, and it will probably continue to take over the internet for quite some time. Be on the lookout because there are definitely spoilers abound! You wouldn’t want to risk having a Vader-esque spoiler dropped on you when you least expect it.

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