Star Wars: The Force Awakens Review

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After Disney announced Episode VII back in 2012, many fans were clearly excited about the prospect of the original stars coming back for the next chapter in the Star Wars saga. In turn, everyone was also nervous about the future of the franchise after the abysmal prequels. The unenviable job of bringing Star Wars back into prominence fell upon fan favorite, J.J. Abrams. The reaction to the trailers has been very positive and fandom seems to be at all time high, but does The Force Awakens bring the franchise back or does it crumble under its own enormous hype?

Thankfully, Star Wars: The Force Awakens is the one of the best Star Wars films since Return of the Jedi. It’s funny, heartfelt, and nostalgic at its core, but it manages to establish its own lore with the fantastic addition of new characters.

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Star Wars: The Force Awakens takes place 30 years after the fall of the Galactic Empire. From the ashes of the Galactic Empire comes the organization known as the First Order. Finn, Rey, and BB-8 must join forces with Han Solo and the Resistance in order to fight the First Order and save the galaxy.

Following Marvel Studios’ formula, Lucasfilm hired a huge Star Wars fan in J.J. Abrams, and in turn, Abrams put in a lot of tender loving care toward the franchise he loves so dearly. Although it seemed like an impossible task, Abrams was able to recapture some of that original trilogy magic with that tender loving care. That’s because, in many ways, the film follows the same beats and plot points as A New Hope. This is the primary reason that The Force Awakens works so wonderfully. Abrams, Lawrence Kasdan, and Michael Ardnt take something that we know and love and twist it in a way that’s both fresh and recognizable. Another great decision that Abrams made was the decision to primarily use practical effects. Unlike the artificial look from the prequels, The Force Awakens looks lived-in and real.

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It’s incredibly tough to introduce new characters to any rabid fanbases, but The Force Awakens’ new heroes are made to make us feel at home. They’re all lovable in their own way, and chief among them is Daisy Ridley as Rey, the heart and soul of the film. Ridley portrays Rey with a sense of innocence and strength similar to Princess Leia. John Boyega is another great addition to the cast with his character Finn. Boyega brings drama and playfulness to his character and it’s fun to watch him interact with Ridley and Harrison Ford. Those three actors have great chemistry together. Not to be outdone is Oscar Isaac as ace starfighter pilot, Poe Dameron. Isaac’s Dameron is very charismatic and has a swagger to him, much like our favorite scruffy-looking Nerf herder. Let’s not forget about BB-8, that droid is as adorable and funny as they come.

Another great addition is Adam Driver as Kylo Ren. He’s imposing and intense, but he has various character flaws. His sense of insecurity and inadequacy makes him a well-rounded villain. The same can’t be said for General Hux and Captain Phasma. Sorry Phasma fans but she’s barely in the film at all. As for General Hux, Domhnall Gleeson hams it up big time with the character. Hux is supposed to be the rival of Kylo Ren but instead Hux comes off as goofy.

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Harrison Ford returns to the franchise as everyone’s favorite charismatic smuggler, Han Solo. Even though he’s playing a much older Solo, Ford brings back Solo’s iconic charisma like no time has passed at all. Solo’s classical ways is able to balance the newer elements brought on by Ridley and Boyega. Unfortunately, the return of Leia isn’t as well drawn as Solo’s. Yes, the relationship between Solo and Leia is great to watch again, but Leia’s arc leaves much to be desired.

There are more faults in the film, though. Other than the misuse of certain characters, parts of the final act seem very rushed. Also, there are a few scenes that could’ve been left on the cutting room floor.

Overall, Star Wars: The Force Awakens is a welcome addition to the franchise. It’s the most well crafted film in the entire franchise, despite the fact that the film contains some thinly drawn characters. Also, The Force Awakens won’t have the same amount of classical moments as the original trilogy, but it definitely sets up some big things for the new trilogy. It’s safe to say that under enormous pressure, J.J. Abrams pulled off the impossible. As Han Solo so eloquently said, “we’re home.” Welcome home.

Rating: 4.5/5 atoms
NR 4_5 Atoms - A-

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Mark Pacis
Mark Pacis 1562 posts

Self-proclaimed "Human IMDb" and comic book geek. Biggest Iron Man fan you'll probably ever meet.