Star Wars fans are finally getting the sequel that they deserve. The Force Awakens is an exhilarating joyride that’ll make old fans feel nostalgic while showing new fans that they’re in for something special.
To get it out of the way: Star Wars: The Force Awakens is a good movie. After all the hype of the prequels only for fans to be let down, there’s no doubt that people would be insanely worried that The Force Awakens may end up looking good only to fail in a similar way. But that’s not the case here at all. J.J. Abrams brings back the familiar faces fans grew up with, shows us the new trio that are easy to love, and the villains that we’ll come to fear for years. Just a heads up, there are some light spoilers in this review. The big twists and reveals haven’t been mentioned since they’re obviously better to be seen than read, but in case people want to go in completely blind, this first paragraph will say what has to be said about the film.
Opening up on the desert planet Jakku, Poe Dameron (Oscar Isaac), the best pilot in the Resistance, has been sent on a secret mission from his general to retrieve an important piece of a puzzle that’ll help defeat the First Order. After the fall of the Galactic Empire, the First Order has been building up their strength to overtake the Resistance and rule the galaxy. Lor San Tekka (Max von Sydow), the village elder gives him what he’s looking for. But the First Order isn’t far behind, coming down to Jakku and destroying the small village. Led by Captain Phasma (Gwendoline Christie) and the menacing Kylo Ren (Adam Driver), the villagers don’t stand a chance. Poe, unable to flee, gives the package to his BB-8 droid, which he tells to run away as far as possible. In the ensuing battle between the Order and the villagers, one Stormtrooper appears to be going through a bit of a moral crisis over what to do. Poe is taken as a hostage by Kylo Ren, who stops Poe’s shot with a power known as the Force.
In a more distant area of Jakku, a scavenger, Rey (Daisy Ridley) appears to be taking spare parts off of destroyed Imperial starships and AT-ATs in hopes of getting some food to survive. While eating, she overhears what sounds like a scuffle of sorts. What she finds is a droid, BB-8, caught by another scavenger, Teedo. She rescues BB-8, reluctantly allowing BB to tag along for the time being. Back on Starkiller Base — the home base of the First Order, Kylo Ren attempts to torture Poe, trying to figure out what it is Poe retrieved for the resistance. Kylo Ren gets his information and orders his men to go back and search Jakku for BB-8. Once Ren leaves the interrogation room, a rogue stormtrooper comes in and releases Poe. The stormtrooper, Finn (John Boyega), and Poe steal a TIE fighter and evade capture, but not before being hit and crash landing on Jakku.
This is all just the beginning of the movie. Of course, we encounter Han Solo (Harrison Ford), and Chewbacca (Peter Mayhew). We meet General Leia Organa (Carrie Fisher), who has taken a step up from being Princess. The old crew’s all here, and they’re all as we remember them. And it’s not like these are just cameo roles, each player has an important part in the film. But for all the old friends we get to revisit, The Force Awakens is about the new generation. The reformed stormtrooper, the Resistance pilot, the scavenger…these are the three characters we’re supposed to follow against the First Order. Boyega, Isaac, and Ridley make rooting for the Resistance fun again. Unlike Episodes I-III, The Force Awakens has given us fresh faces that are really providing their heart into the franchise and they’re just bringing some much needed fun into the franchise again.
And then there’s the side of the First Order, which is really providing one helluva punch this time around. The big two, Kylo Ren and General Hux (Domhnall Gleeson), are ruthless. The two are different in their methods but both have the same end goal: the destroy the Resistance. Adam Driver really brings his all as Kylo Ren, providing us with a menacing villain who will go as far as he needs to to achieve his goal, whether it be destroying an innocent village or torturing prisoners to get information. As for Gleeson’s General Hux, he’s more tactical to his approach to taking on the Resistance, using his army of highly trained and skilled stormtroopers to do his work. There is also Supreme Leader Snoke, played by the fantastic Andy Serkis, but we’re only getting a short glimpse of him right now. Needless to say, we’re in good hands when it comes to the villains.
To wrap this up, we’re about to witness some history this weekend and it’s rightfully deserved. Star Wars: The Force Awakens is going to shatter box office records, fans will love it and will talk about it for years to come, and J.J. Abrams will be remembered as the man who saved this storied franchise. The only slight criticisms I can say about The Force Awakens are that Abrams does kind of play it safe with the main story and that The Force Awakens does feel a bit like a springboard to future films and not just a full on stand alone film. But in the grand scheme of things, those are just light criticisms and don’t take away from the viewing experience at all. Go and see Star Wars: The Force Awakens, enjoy the adventure, and get lost in a galaxy far, far away.
Star Wars: The Force Awakens is directed by J.J. Abrams, written by Lawrence Kasdan, Michael Arndt, and Abrams, and stars Harrison Ford, Mark Hamill, Carrie Fisher, Adam Driver, Daisy Ridley, John Boyega, Oscar Isaac, Lupita Nyong’o, Andy Serkis, Domhnall Gleeson, Anthony Daniels, Peter Mayhew, and Max von Sydow. Star Wars: The Force Awakens will be in theaters December 18, 2015.