Star Wars: The Force Awakens – Film Review

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The hype surrounding Star Wars: Episode VII – The Force Awakens has been insane and the original franchise is so well loved that making a worthy new edition was always going to be a challenge, but you can all breathe a sigh of relief because J.J. Abrams has done the franchise justice and has made a loyal film that should please avid fans.

Disney have urged reviewers against spoiling plot points so I’m going to have to tread carefully so I don’t ruin any (of the many, and well-kept) secrets up ahead. Man, I’m bursting to tell someone about these spoilers!! Anyway, the film is set around 30 years after the events of Return of the Jedi, and the Galactic Empire has crumbled, and is now replaced with the First Order, run by General Hux (Domhnall Gleeson) and Kylo Ren (Adam Driver) on the instruction of Supreme Leader Snoke (Andy Serkis, via motion capture). They are trying to destroy the last remaining Jedi, Luke Skywalker (Mark Hamill) but he is missing, and even the Resistance, run by his sister Leia (Carrie Fisher) can’t find him.

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She sends her best pilot Poe Dameron (Oscar Isaac) to Jakku to find part of a map with Luke’s location but the First Order is hot on his tail. His droid BB-8 is abandoned on the system and befriends local scavenger Rey (Daisy Ridley), who bumps into stormtrooper defector Finn (John Boyega). That is all I can say.

Abrams and original franchise screenwriter Lawrence Kasdan have absolutely captured the spirit of the old films. What you would expect from a Star Wars you get here, no more and no less. A lot of the fight sequences felt similar to previous films – but else can you do with a lightsaber, really?! But this is super loyal and there are many nods to the old films, but it is all seamlessly interwoven with the new, much like the newcomer actors with the veterans. It just works.

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Driver and Ridley are the standout stars. Kylo Ren is probably the most conflicted and emotional villain the series has ever had and his performance was outstanding. After many wooden villain performances in the franchise, this was powerful and moving. It also helped that his mask is off a lot – which is a welcome change and helps us see his vulnerability. Ridley is a complete newcomer but you could not tell. She shines off the screen and can convey so much with her eyes. It is interesting that Rey’s backstory is not really revealed here, with just enough hints to sustain us until the next movie.

Naturally, with a cast this size some people don’t get a lot of screen time. Fisher isn’t seen much but her scenes with Han Solo (Harrison Ford) are filled with sadness, longing and regret. Hux and Captain Phasma (Gwendoline Christie) don’t have much to do at all. I would have liked to have seen more Maz Kanata (Lupita Nyong’o via motion capture) Poe, and RD-D2 and C3PO, but BB-8 is a worthy substitute. It made me laugh so much, it’s so damn cute. Luckily, Han and Chewbacca are fully fledged leads, and Ford’s age does not slow him down.

This ticks all the Star Wars boxes – lightsaber fights, air battles, the Millennium Falcon, good vs. evil, random aliens, droids, token catchphrases, cheesy dialogue and so much more. It is way better than the prequels. This should please everyone, both fans and newcomers, and I personally don’t think you need to be a massive fan of the franchise to be entertained.

In cinemas Thursday 17th December 

You can also check out my coverage of the press conference, and pictures of the premiere preparations.

Trackbacks

  1. […] can also check out my film review, and coverage from the press […]

  2. […] can also check out my review of the movie, and pictures of the premiere […]

  3. […] A late addition but this deserves a place. This film is by no means perfect but that the fact it managed to please so many fans after months of increasing hype is impressive in itself. It is a Star Wars movie through and through, although it took perhaps a bit too much inspiration from its predecessors. Daisy Ridley and John Boyega are brilliant new additions, Adam Driver blew me away as villain Kylo Ren and it was great to see the veterans Harrison Ford, Carrie Fisher and Mark Hamill reunited onscreen. Review. […]

  4. […] was unbelievably psyched for Star Wars: The Force Awakens but I never once felt that level of excitement for Rogue One and I couldn’t really put my […]

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