I’m gonna start this off by saying that this post DEFINITELY CONTAINS SPOILERS!!! My TL:DR review for you is that the movie is worth seeing, no doubt about it! Seriously, if you haven’t seen the movie, and don’t want it ruined, please stop reading now!
The Lish and I ventured out last night to see the Force Awakens at a local theater. I must admit, I was extremely apprehensive and nervous throughout the film. I was waiting for something shitty to happen that would make the movie worthless or ruined. While I do have things I didn’t care for about the movie, I must say that my fears did not come true. The movie was actually awesome, and I can’t wait to see it again in the theater when I bring the boy with me. My full review is below.
OK, first of all, they stuck to the formula of the original. Droid with plans/map lands on desert planet, meets teen who was left there by someone else, leaves on the Millenium Falcon, teams with Solo and Chewie, and get to the rebel base, all while being pursued by evil force wielding dude in all black with a black mask and a deep voice. Then, a final assault on a planet killing super weapon to prevent said base from being blown up. Sound familiar? Oh, and the whole father-figure mentor being killed in front of the main protagonist is there too. While this was all very predictable, it didn’t make it a bad movie. The acting was pretty good, special effects were good, and the story was decent. I LOVE that they went back to the lightsaber battles being more like medieval sword fighting. The whole Woo Ping shtick they did in the prequels was entertaining, but didn’t have that true Star Wars feel. These were WAY better. That said, there were things that put me off a bit.
First, Kylo Ren was kind of a bitch once he took the mask off. Before that, he was an ominous, terrifying badass who seemed to have his shit together for the most part. When he took of his mask, however, he looked to always be on the verge of tears, and lost all intimidation factor. I get that he was supposed to be torn still, but I think it was a bit much. Also, he got his ass beat by a completely untrained person at both his use of the force and a lightsaber battle. This is someone who Luke supposedly trained, and he got pieced up by a neophyte who didn’t know the force existed until the day or so before.
That leads me to Rey. She’s able to use the force to pull objects to her without knowing how to do it, she knows how to use force persuasion without ever being taught, and is able to fight with a lightsaber and win a duel against a far better trained opponent. Just seemed a little out there. Otherwise, her character was fucking awesome, and the actress did an amazing job with her!
Finn is a great character, and he showed great depth, emotion, and humor. He also had some good growth during the film, which was great. I can’t wait to see where they go with him.
The death scene was expected, but still fucking brutal. My heart still hurts…
For as much as they showed Captain Phasma beforehand, she had barely a bit part in the film. It seems like the character was only there to serve as a plot device to facilitate the dropping of the shield, something I can’t imagine any commander in her position giving in to so easily. Just seemed out of character for someone in her position. Seriously, why was she on the poster in the very center. She had about 3 minutes of actual screen time…
Finally, the general tone and immersion seemed off to me. I’m not 100% sure why, but I have suspicions. Part of it, I’m sure, is my apprehension. Part is the special effects, which were more realistic than fantastical, as opposed to the original. That also might be a product of the times and how filming techniques have changed. Another part is the sound editing and score. The sound and music had much more prominence in the original trilogy, and served to set the tone and add to the story a great deal. It was very memorable. This film didn’t really have that. The sound and music took a back seat, and I think that detracted from the impact and immersion the film had.
Despite my pedanticism, the movie was awesome, and is a worthy sequel to the originals! As someone who was a die-hard Star Wars fan his whole life (original trilogy), I’m very happy with what we got. I have issues with JJ’s new Star Trek films, but I think he did this one right. I can’t wait to see the rest of the story unfold. If you’re on the fence, you shouldn’t be. Go see it, even if you just spoiled the fuck out of it by reading this review. It’s worth your time if you’re a Star Wars fan.