(Warning: Spoilers Ahead)
Star Wars!!!! After a 10 year gap we finally receive a new entry into the now Disney owned Star Wars franchise! So it is apt that the new entry is called the Force Awakens.
The movie starts off 30 years from where the Return of the Jedi last left us. The Empire has fallen and the Rebels have seemingly disbanded. But from the ashes of the past, a new threat has risen. Out of the fallen Empire, a new army called the First Order has spawned, threatening to finish off what the Empire set out to do – eliminate the force by terminating the last known Jedi, Luke Skywalker. But as the Empire has evolved so have the Rebels. Led by General Leia Organa, the Resistance (or the new Rebels) aims to find Luke first, to stop the First Order.
We are told this story through two new main characters. Rey, who is a scavenger on the planet Jakku, who harvests scrap metals to earn a meal. Finn, a turncoat stormtrooper who realizes his purpose could be something more than just plight and destruction. Along their side is a new droid, BB-8, who holds a clue to Luke Skywalker’s location. Together, the three must deliver this clue to the Resistance base such that they can find Luke and stop the First Order. However, Kylo Ren, one of the leaders of the First Order, along with a stormtrooper army are hot on their trail and keeping their mission from becoming all too easy.
The new trio.
The Force Awakens is a very exciting and entertaining entry to the Star Wars franchise. It is by no means perfect, but it is perfectly enjoyable.
I’ve been trying to watch all the old Star Wars movies to prepare for this gander. I watched the original trilogy and the Phantom Menace (I’m still meaning to watch Attack of the Clones and the Revenge of the Sith). I’ve watched AotC and RotS a number of times, but the Phantom Menace only once, in its original theatrical run. Admittedly, at least at the time, I didn’t hold as much disdain as the general populace did for the prequel trilogy. However, having watched Phantom Menace again, I think I see more of why people felt the way they did, especially in light of the original trilogy. However, as I recall AotC and RotS were much more entertaining than the Phantom Menace. Now, this all being said, one of the reasons why I enjoyed the original trilogy overall compared to the prequels was that the story was easier to understand. When it’s boiled down, the stories were very simple. In the prequels, the stories were a bit muddy and difficult to understand, especially with all the politics and Republic shit. I didn’t understand what everyone’s angles were.
And this is a reason why I enjoyed the Force Awakens. The story harkens back to the story structures of the original trilogy; it’s a very simple story. It really boils down to a search mission. There are twists and turns and surprises along the way, but the main mission is always in focus.
The Force Awakens also introduces us to new characters that are likeable and that we can get behind. While they’re not carbon copies of old characters, the new characters are filled with traits from the pool of past characters.
One of the biggest themes of the movie deals with lineage. The galaxy and their stories have evolved into a new age. The Empire and the First Order. The Rebels and the Resistance. The Deathstar and the Starkiller. Leia and Solo’s child. The droids, R2-D2 and BB-8.
Which brings us to Rey. There is mystery and intrigue into who she is. She’s one who we can see is strong with the Force, or at least will be, with more training. She was left by her parents on the planet Jakku and we are told not much more of her origin. Of the discussions I’ve read so far, the prevalent theories seem to be that she is spawn of Luke Skywalker or Obi-Wan Kenobi. While we won’t know until at least the next movie, my guess would be that she is Leia and Solo’s child. Keep in mind, I know nothing about the expanded universe, just the clues from this movie. The way Han Solo looks at her, how he simply offers her a job on the ship (to keep her close), how Chewie likes her! It would all make sense. Thematically, if we’re talking about lineage and homage, whereas the original trilogy brought us a story about brother/sister allies, the potential evolution of that could be brother/sister adversaries. If this would indeed be the case, looking back, the fight between Rey and Kylo Ren would be even more significant.
The new face of evil.
Without over-nerding here, the mystery and the intrigue are delicious!
However, as I said before, the movie isn’t perfect. There are some things that I wish they didn’t do. I feel like there was a lot of winking and fanservice when paying homage to the old movies. The ambiguity of Finn’s death wasn’t needed. This one seems like a lose-lose situation. If he lives, then the tease of his death was pointless (as I guess a tease is in essence), and if he dies, then the last moment we shared with him seemed anticlimactic. There was no need for us to see Kylo Ren’s face. It takes the bloom off that rose. The threat that Darth Vader originally exuded was in part because we never saw his face, until the last movie. With Kylo, they could have held it off until at least the next movie. We just met the guy! Give him some fucking space! These are all however, minor gripes.
There is much to enjoy, and Star Wars is back! This is really timed well for a Christmas release, as its viewing and its success are celebratory. If you can find a ticket, go watch it! It’s worth it! Until next time, may the Force with you geeks.