It’s finally here! After 12 months and a bizarre Star Wars marathon (In order- III, II, V, IV VI + Clone Wars Season 1) I have finally seen The Force Awakens! As a Star Wars megafan who has at least liked every Star Wars movie I’ve seen (I still wonder if Phantom Menace is worth my time) my expectations were high, and I was not disappointed.
The plot picks up 30 years after Return of the Jedi and sees the First Order (mega space Nazis) trying to take back the galaxy by hunting down Luke Skywalker, who has vanished. All of this is explained in the opening title crawl. Incidentally, it was so awesome finally being in a cinema and seeing an opening title crawl with the music on full blast.
This movie basically combines the best aspects of both trilogies. It has the character and plot of the original, and the great lightsaber fights and world building of the prequels. It has a very simple plot, like A New Hope, with the emphasis on building the new characters and establishing the story of the new trilogy. I am definitely intrigued about what will happen in Episode VIII.
A great aspect about the franchise as a whole are the villains. Darth Vader, the Emperor, Darth Maul, Count Dooku and General Grievous are all cool in their own way. Kylo Ren continues the bad guy tradition of having a strange gimmicky lightsaber, and in the film his awesome three bladed lightsaber is used in a clever way. He is also a very complex villain, as the film shows that he is morally confused about which side he’s on. I won’t reveal exactly what role he has in relation to the other characters, but there are twists which enhance his character. I also like how he uses his mask to hide the fact that he is not really threatening to look at. Unlike Vader, he hasn’t completed his training yet and he is more emotional, making him a unique villain.
I also really like the action. The space fights are all really well done and like the other films there is a giant monster scene which is appreciated. The lightsaber fight is great, though I won’t reveal exactly who is in the fight or what the context of the fight is. It’s like a combination of the duels from the previous six films. There’s the emotional weight of the duel in Empire Strikes Back and there’s the awesome choreography of Revenge of the Sith. The main action scene is basically the same scenario as the one at the end of A New Hope, which does seem strange. However, because the film needs to reintroduce the universe, I can slightly forgive the repeated story. There are enough differences within the characters and scenarios to make it different and hopefully Episode VIII will have a unique story.The Force Awakens also understands the core of Star Wars- great characters, a simple story and deep meaning within the plot.
Overall this was a hugely entertaining film which could be my favourite this year. In terms of Star Wars movies, I would rank them like this, keeping in my mind I haven’t seen Phantom Menace-
- Empire Strikes Back
- The Force Awakens
- A New Hope
- Return of the Jedi
- Revenge of the Sith
- Attack of the Clones (though I still enjoy it).
I eagerly anticipate the next chapter of the Star Wars saga. If The Force Awakens is any indication, the franchise still has life in it.