Star Wars Episode VII: The Force Awakens Review (Spoiler-Free)

My spoiler-free review of Star Wars: The Force Awakens

If you’ve never seen Star Wars, original trilogy or prequels, you will still enjoy this movie. If you have seen the previous movies, you will still enjoy this movie. As most reviews have pointed out, The Force Awakens definitely keeps the spirit of the original trilogy especially in some of the cinematography. Some scenes definitely invoke the nostalgia factor. Daisy Ridley as Rey and John Boyega as Finn nail their characters and they have excellent, humorous chemistry together. Ridley holds her own as the lead I’m really interested in seeing how they evolve her character. Finn is hilarious but definitely deserves credit as a co-lead. I’ve always thought it would be interesting to see Star Wars from a Stormtrooper’s perspective. It makes you wonder if any other Stormtroopers have similar feelings as Finn. Kylo Ren is a sufficiently intimidating villain and also refreshingly NOT one dimensional. I was hoping that J.J. Abrams wouldn’t make Kylo Ren like a Darth Maul, an awesome villain but ultimately expendable. Throughout the movie, you definitely can see his internal struggle (which could come off as conflicted or annoying depending on the person) and once you realize why he’s going through this struggle will make him a lot more interesting as a character. Harrison Ford and Carrie Fisher are excellent in their reprisals of Han Solo and Princess (err…General) Leia respectively. You don’t see too much of Leia but when she’s there, you can definitely sense the relationship that her and Han have. The scene in the trailer where they are hugging basically sums it up. Surprisingly, Han Solo has a major role in the film. You’d think J.J. Abrams would have basically had Han there as more of a father figure but he gets in on the action himself (as does Chewbacca himself). Lastly, the unsung hero of the movie is BB-8, the little orange and white spherical droid. BB-8 successfully fulfills the “R2-D2” role in the movie and is actually integral to the plot. The main things that were downers to me were some underutilized characters like Captain Phasma. While I understand this movie is the first of three and some characters will be more fleshed out in the future, I kind of wish we had a chance to really see how ruthless Phasma is. Also, I feel that the First Order and Resistance motivation wasn’t really explained that well. It’s almost like they’re fighting just to have an “evil” side and “good” side. It’s not really explained that well as to what happened to the Empire after the Emperor and Darth Vader died in Return of the Jedi. Obviously, the First Order rose up from the ashes of the Empire but how?

To sum up, this movie is basically the “Star Wars: A New Hope” for this generation. It has a familiar style to “A New Hope” and there are some recurring themes but for all the nostalgia, it doesn’t overdo it and there are definitely many different plot strings to pull for future movies. J.J. Abrams manages to learn from the past while forging a new path with a new cast of characters. I’m really interested on how Rey, Finn, and Kylo Ren evolve as characters and I think this has the potential to be the best trilogy out of all the Star Wars movies.

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