I saw Star Wars: The Force Awakens on Friday night but purposely waited till today to write my review. First of all, I wanted to give all of the super die-hard fans a chance to see it before I added yet another spoiler-tastic review to the internet. Secondly, I wanted to mull it over.
***** SPOILERS AHEAD *****
I just need to get this out of the way – HOLY CRAP!!!! That movie was amazing. Like so much more amazing than I ever hoped or dreamed it could be. I felt like the happiest fangirl throughout the entire thing.
I will admit that I was nervous before the premiere. I didn’t know if JJ Abrams could deliver and, really, I almost wish he could travel back in time and do ALL of the movies. It was seamless and, for the most part, extremely satisfying. I also wasn’t sure I how felt about Daisy Ridley as the main character of the movie but I was super wrong… Actually, let’s just talk about the characters for a moment, shall we?
Rey – We find this tough, young woman possibly orphaned on the planet Jakku. It’s very reminiscent of Luke Skywalker’s humble beginnings on Tatooine. Honestly, at first she looks like a less arrogant version of Keira Knightley which immediately made me wonder about her identity since Knightley played the decoy for Queen Amidala in The Phantom Menace. She seems small and slender but there’s an immediate grace and grit to her movements and her presence is commanding. With her strong mechanical skills she could be the granddaughter of Anakin Skywalker since he was great at building things but then her incredible piloting abilities seemed to mirror those of Han Solo who is so taken by her that he offers her a job.
We never get an answer about who she really is but, at the end of the movie, when she finally comes face-to-face with Leia, the two seem to know each other and have great affection for each other. There’s a theory that she’s Luke’s child since his lightsaber called to her but then when she sees him at the very end, it doesn’t seem like he recognizes her or vice versa. Others think she could be the twin sister of Kylo Ren/Ben Solo, the son of Leia and Han. We’ll have to wait to find out!
Finn - There was much hoopla when the first trailer emerged and there was an African-American man wearing a stormtrooper suit. People need to get a grip! John Boyega was absolutely amazing as one of the First Order’s super soldiers who, in his first mission, realizes he’s not cut out for murdering innocent people. The character is so believable since he lacks real interpersonal skills and is sometimes afraid to think for himself but his chemistry with Rey is incredible from their very first moment sharing the screen. This is casting at its finest! Ultimately, it feels almost like a privilege to watch him transition from a fearful peon to a member of The Resistance with the highlight being the moment he gives orders to his former boss.
Poe Dameron – We don’t see a lot of this phenomenal pilot since he’s presumed dead for most of the film but, when he is on the screen, he’s magnetic. There’s a touch of cockiness (well earned with those flying skills!) but it’s likable but he’s clearly just a good guy doing the right things with his life.
Maz Kanata – I’ll just say that while it was disappointing that Lupita Nyong’o wasn’t actually seen in the movie, the character that she voiced was pretty great. She was kind of a Yoda type, full of wisdom and colorful wrinkly skin. The scene at her home was a pivotal one with Rey discovering Luke’s lightsaber and the First Order showing up and ruining her 1,000 year-old cantina.
Captain Phasma – Again, it sucks that we didn’t get to see that it was Game of Thrones star, Gwendoline Christie, in the costume but it was great knowing she had landed a part that she wanted so much. I can’t really say that it was that much of a stand out role, however, and her actions when Finn returned made no sense. He demanded that she lower the First Order’s shields and, without a fight, she did. What?!
General Hux – This was a pretty straightforward role but Domhnall Gleeson played it like the perfect little Nazi general. The parallels to Hitler’s time in power were chilling and, had it not been well acted, it wouldn’t have been half as effective.
Supreme Leader Snoke – Okay, this was a little weird. I was super disappointed when I saw that the “bad guy” was some giant CGI-looking creature in a cave. Of course, it was Andy Serkis who seems to do all of these roles starting with Smeagle in Lord of the Rings. I was relieved, therefore, when it was revealed that this was just a hologram of an actual being located somewhere else.
Kylo Ren – I had to save him for the last of the new characters because, really, he could have his own post all to himself. Let’s talk about that suit first. Wow. It’s not overly complicated and it looks kind of homemade (like his lightsaber) but it’s so effective. THAT VOICE?! Wow. It’s seductive and creepy, all at the same time. The scene where he’s carrying on a conversation with Darth Vader’s melted mask, which he refers to as Grandfather, is pretty messed up in all the right ways and, while we can see that he has some of the dark side within him, he’s also a bit of a mess. Twice, he has a hissy fit and destroys stuff with his lightsaber, much to the shock of the people around him. Two stormtroopers just turned around and walked away to avoid even dealing with his antics.
His interactions with Rey were incredible. Dealing with him lets Rey see her powers for the first time and Kylo Ren is shocked when she’s not only able to resist his attempts to pry into her mind but, instead, pries into his. Maybe realizing that he’s not as dark and powerful as his grandfather is what leads him to kill his father, Han Solo, as Rey, Finn and Chewbacca watch horrified. In the end, she makes him pay for his actions after an epic lightsaber duel out in the snow. With an extinguished weapon, slashed up face and seriously bruised ego, who knows what Kylo Ren is going to be like in the next film…
Han Solo, Princess Leia, Chewbacca and Luke Skywalker – Aside from Carrie Fisher’s ghastly plastic surgery and slight awkwardness, the gang was still pretty much as they always had been. Han can still talk his way out of bad situations, tell corny jokes and bicker with Chewy in a way that is so delightfully familiar. We only see Luke at the very end and his acting is just as choppy and overly dramatic as ever! All is right with the world! I will say, though, that Leia is an idiot for making Han go after “their son” because that was clearly a suicide mission. Their son is gone and a (very entertaining) monster has taken his place…
The Droids - BB-8 is adorable! I’m a huge R2-D2 fan and I couldn’t imagine how they were going to make anything as cute and smart an expressive without being a knock off but Abrams pulled it off. Due to the round shape, he was able to move in ways that brought a fresh take to the whole droid as a companion thing and it was wonderful. It was also fantastic to see them, along with C3PO joined up together in the end like one big expanding family.
Did you love Star Wars: The Force Awakens? What do you think we can expect for the next installment?