I must begin by saying this is a SPOILER REVIEW. That means I will be revealing all details of the movie. If you have not see the film yet, firstly I question why you are still reading, secondly, come back when you have watched it. Don’t let me ruin it for you.
I attended the midnight session of Star Wars The Force Awakens a few nights ago. Being in Australia we got to see the film a whole day ahead of America and before most of the world had. This in itself was exciting for me, being one of the first “non critic/so famous I can get to any event I wish” viewers in the whole world. As someone who grew up on the prequels and never really completely understood the quality of the original trilogy until much later, I was a bit undecided on my expectations for this new instalment.
This movie starts fantastic. Apart from the trademark Star Wars logo, music and crawl text which is always a treat, the film dives straight into the action. Within a couple of minutes of the scroll text finishing with have the evil First Order destroying a whole town. In the scene we are introduced to 4 main characters for the film. Like A New Hope, Kylo Ren mirrors the actions of his grandfather Vader (By now the people looking for spoiler free reviews should be gone, if not, spoiler number uno for you) by entering the movie almost immediately. I loved how Ren was one of the first character we were properly introduced to. This opening set a tone of seriousness yet injected a punch of comedy, a tone that was held throughout the film.
BB-8 was one of the 4 character introduced in the first scene. A large part of this film is based around BB-8. Oscar Isaac’s character of Poe gave his BB-8 droid the task of delivering the maps containing the location of the long lost Luke Skywalker to the Resistance. Through this task we follow BB-8, introducing us to fellow main character Rey and reconnecting us the Han, Leia and Chewy.
However it isn’t BB-8’s role in the film that I loved so much, it was his attitude. BB-8 is the R2-D2 of this trilogy and he nailed it as much as a droid could. On so many occasion you find yourself laughing at BB-8’s action and attitude towards the other character. Many worried BB-8 would be the Jar Jar of the trilogy but he buried that rumour deep.
My favourite BB-8 moment was when Finn reveals to him that he is not with the resistance and asks him the play alone. Finn give BB-8 a thumbs up to try and get his approval, to which BB-8 popped out an arm holding a lighter and lit it, making it resemble a thumbs up. This was one of many moments which this film made us forget BB-8 was just a simple droid and was actually a character that overtime will be remembered as the R2-D2 of this time period.
The Han Solo we get in The Force Awakens is the Han Solo we would expect to get 30 years after Return Of The Jedi. Harrison Ford by far nailed the part of old Solo, bringing the smart ass, selfish Han from the original trilogy whilst adding a sense of maturity to the character. A concern I had entering the film was how they were going to fit in the well know characters amongst the new generation characters. Han lead this integration and acted as a fantastic foil for Finn and Rey before he eventually passed the mantel onto this new generation.
Han of course dies at the hand of Kylo Ren, who he knows as his son, Ben. This moment was one of my favourite of the whole film. This scene really showed the mature side of Solo as he approaches his son in an attempt to turn him back from the dark side. It was a really amazing scene as for a moment you believed that Kylo Ren was ready to give it all up to return home to Solo and his mother Leia. This however was sharply ended as Kylo furthers himself deeper into the dark side by killing his father Han.
As I said before, Kylo Ren was introduced in the opening scene of the film. During this scene he makes such an immediate impact, stamping his power by freezing Poe and the laser he shot at him. This is not however why Kylo Ren was one of my favourite characters of this film and one of my favourite villians the Star Wars franchise has had.
The reason Kylo Ren is such a great character is because he is such a complex and complicated character. Trained by his uncle Luke Skywalker before being turned to the dark side, Kylo Ren has this enormous amount of anger and power that is often seen unleashed. Farthing his complexity is the fact that he is emotionally torn between following his leader Snoke or returning the to family he loves. This was seen when he kills his father Han. Moments before you could physically see the emotion he holds as he tells Han that his heart is split between which path he want to choose. I am very much looking forward the continuation of Ren’s reign. I however predict a flip back to the light side is on the cards of Kylo Ren’s future.
Rey appears to be the Luke of this trilogy, which is ironic as many, including myself, speculate that Rey is indeed Luke’s daughter. This scavenger ,who has barely knows her parents, shows in this film that she has the characteristics the continue the legacy of the top jedi that Luke laid before her. Much of this can be credited to Daisy Ridley’s performance as Rey. She creates so much chemistry between her character and Finn which gave their relationship a lot of meaning. At one point it appears as Finn may have died, which you feel upset not only because it would mean the end of Finn but also the relationship Rey and him had formed throughout the film. Luckily this isn’t the case and we will be able to see the relationship and chemistry continue into the next film.
By far, the best thing of this film is the feeling you have when you leave. Not only do you feel that Star Wars is back and was back with a punch, but it makes you excited for Episodes 8 and 9. Most of this is due to so many questions being unanswered at the end of 7, most of all is what Luke did for all that time on that island. This feeling of not knowing the whole story gave me the feeling that if they had Episode 8 playing in the theatre next door I would of walked straight in without hesitation, purely to continue the adventure and answer so much speculation I already have about the next film.
Don’t get me wrong, Adam Driver nailed Kylo Ren as a character both in and out of mask and the concern I had for him was not his fault at all. The problem I had with Adam Driver as Kylo Ren was the clean cut look he presented when he was not behind the mask. Up until revealing himself, Kylo Ren appeared as the feared, deadly villian. When he removed his mask however, I lost part of that fear he had with the mask. Adam Driver maskless present a very pretty boy vibe. In that moment I went from feeling like Ren was an evil villian to this high school pretty boy jock that was just an all-round jerk. My hope is for Episode 8 is that he collect some form of scares from the lightsaber duel he has with Rey at the end. I feel as though that would add to his deadly nature in which he presents as masked Kylo Ren.
Although I loved the twist of Han dying and I completely understood why it was necessary for the trilogy, I was however a little disappointed that there was not one moment that we saw Han, Leia and Luke occupying the screen at one time. This point itself is really scraping the bottom of the barrel however as Han’s death and Luke’s final scene reveal were some of the best moments throughout this film. My hope is that Luke returns to Leia and they have some form of funeral for Han. That for me would be enough of a connection between the original trilogy.
The Force Awakens is now my favourite film of the franchise. It combined the two factors I loved about the previous two trilogies. It had the Star Wars feel and story quality of the original trilogy but was boosted with the visual qualities of the prequels. I’m sure overtime I will change my opinion of the film but for now, it rates at the top. For those wondering, my current personal order is:
The Force Awakens
Return Of The Jedi
The Empire Strikes Back
Revenge Of The Sith
Attack Of The Clones
The Phantom Menace
A New Hope
Like I said, I have nostalgia for the prequels.
The Force Awakens: 9/10