This review will contain spoilers. So be warned if you haven’t seen the film yet.
I’ll be the first to say that I honestly wasn’t that excited to see this movie initially. I understand that the series is coming back in a big with JJ Abrams leading the charge, but the prequel trilogy kept me in check. They ruined the original trilogy for me (making Darth Vader less menacing in every way). I was very interested to see how the new characters of Fin, Rey, and Poe would fit in with Han and Leia.
But, I’ll be the first to say that I was very happy with the latest installment. Fin (John Boyega), Rey (Daisy Ridley), and Poe (Oscar Isaac) were such interesting characters that I felt like they out-performed the original actors. Han (Harrison Ford) stole the show when he was on screen but his interactions with Leia (Carrie Fisher) were so rough that I was just wishing that one of them would leave the screen. The new characters showed the heart and perseverance that none of the characters could achieve in any of the three prequels. Isaac was the funny light-hearted character and Boyega played the person who just had his entire world turned upside down. Their chemistry was palpable as they instantly became friends (yes, it was extreme circumstances). Ridley surprised everyone. I mean everyone. There was so much misdirection in the advertising that made her so interesting. We still have no real idea who she is. I love that about the film. It is heavily implied that she is Luke’s daughter but that doesn’t fully explain her situation. The mystery of the film keeps the universe alive as fan theories start. They weren’t the prequels that were so heavy handed that the biggest theory that could come out was Darth Jar Jar. No one cared about the main characters so secondary characters got all the attention. Not in this movie. You feel and care for who’s on screen and understand that what they are doing is actually important.
For all the people who were really mad about the Kylo Ren spoilers. I’m not really that sorry. It was a minor twist that I predicted the second I saw Han and Leia. I really didn’t believe that Ford would do another movie. It was not even hidden in any of the scenes with Han. The foreshadowing of the film doesn’t hide the fact what will happen. I think the main spoilers would be around Daisy which you probably wouldn’t believe if someone randomly told you. The execution of the film was so incredible that it made what happened be an afterthought. Yes, there were twists. But it wasn’t like ruining Fight Club or the Sixth Sense for someone. These twists kept the story going and made it interesting. That’s really all I say about it. I think the fandom is ridiculously crazy and as YMS (Your Movie Sucks) said that if people just calmed down maybe it wouldn’t be such a big problem.
The nostalgia was very high in this one. It was so heavy handed that I was concerned where the film would go in some parts. There were so many parts that reminded me of the past films that I almost forgot that this one was trying to be original. I liked the ending nostalgia because it gave the characters something to do while the main action was going on. The film would’ve ended in an awkward spot without it. I wasn’t too upset with that or the destroying of the republic because it proved the first order wasn’t all for show. I feel like I’m the only one who doesn’t like to read in the beginning. I understand that it’s the theme of the movies but when the exposition has to be written instead of shown, it loses its flair and mystery. Luke being “missing” in the opening immediately killed the wonder of where is Luke? That could’ve been an interesting subplot by itself or just never shown. I don’t feel any connection with Leia. She was just being a leader again. That is just something that is known and never actually shown. She could be the worst leader for all I known and a few lines of text completely change her character. I just felt distanced from everyone. The person I didn’t feel distanced from and wasn’t in the opening lines, Han. I was curious to see what he was doing and we got a fully fleshed out character. I also felt nostalgia when we are shown a really cool looking character who says almost nothing and gets beaten easily. Jango Fett and Captain Phasma were both huge disappointments in very similar ways.
The parts that I passionately enjoyed for the nostalgia were the transitions and the music. I felt back in the universe and could pick up immediately where they left off. The screen wipes and power point transitions defined the Star Wars for many years. I still love seeing them because it give the film character. The music also adds to the effect of wishing that the films were never gone. John Williams is back and created so many epics to go along with the action that it was incredible. The scenes where Kylo Ren is fighting are top notch. You can feel his emotion through the music and it was very incredible.
Kylo Ren (Adam Driver) is the most interesting character to me slightly above Rey. He has a face and we really don’t know about his past. Obviously something happened between him, Leia, and Han but it’s not explicitly told. I thought that the idea of not seeing a fully formed force user controlling an army was very cool. You can see his ego taking over in many scenes and when he finally meets his equal he freaks out. The knights of Ren are shown in Rey’s future thought. Even through his mask, we can feel his presence. It is really exceptional, due to the fact that we just met him. We are also introduced to his master, Supreme Leader Smoke, who is as mysterious as Darth Sidious was in Episode 4. I am very excited to see where this character goes.
There were also some really interesting cameos led by Daniel Craig and Simon Pegg. I think that these little Easter eggs make the film even more exciting. The characters were a nice change of pace in the film.
Overall, I’m very excited to see where this franchise goes. The nostalgia factor was a little too high for me in some parts but I’ll let it slide for the rest of the execution being so stellar. The new SFX looked amazing and I’m very excited to see what will come in the future iterations. The new cast members are very exciting to see and all are interesting characters with legitimate plot points that can be well executed. The next film will definitely have to face the hype that comes with this one. I can’t wait for two years to see the next one.
Score: 7 out of 10