Star Wars STAR WARS: THE FORCE AWAKENS Review written by Sean Gerber December 17, 2015 There’s no sense pretending. Reviewing a Star Wars movie, like watching a Star Wars movie, is unavoidably done through a different lens compared to any other kind of movie. Beyond history, there’s a reverence for the original trilogy of which we can never really let go no matter how hard we try and it will forever impact the way we see any new entry in the mythology. Unless of course you’re super awesome at forcing yourself into objectivity, which I am not in this case. The prequels, as flawed as they are, fell to the dark side of the audience’s skewed viewing. The reaction to every piece of marketing suggests the newest Star Wars film will not suffer the same fate and will instead be welcomed into the light. That’s great because STAR WARS: THE FORCE AWAKENS is a fantastic film that deserves every ounce of praise and every moviegoer dollar about to be showered upon it. I don’t want to tell you anything about the movie. I really don’t because you deserve to see it completely free of knowing anything more than what the trailers and TV spots have shown you because what they’ve shown you isn’t much at all. All you really need to know is that STAR WARS: THE FORCE AWAKENS recaptures the magic of that galaxy far, far away unlike any film since 1983. It is Star Wars through and through. Nostalgia is a powerful thing. It helped make JURASSIC WORLD the third biggest movie of all time (for now) and it will certainly generate a lot of business for THE FORCE AWAKENS and rightfully so. The returning icons of the original trilogy, Han Solo (Harrison Ford), General Leia (Carrie Fisher), and Chewbacca (Peter Mayhew), all get exactly the moments you would hope for them and then some. Yes, I left out Luke Skywalker (Mark Hamill) because the trailers haven’t said anything about him and neither will I. Of the original cast, Han Solo sees the most action in STAR WARS: THE FORCE AWAKENS and Harrison Ford makes that wonderful “We’re home” feeling mutual. He’s as charismatic and fun as ever even as more of a supporting player to the new blood that drives plot. The intersecting stories of the series’ new stars is actually the film’s greatest and most entertaining success, pushing STAR WARS: THE FORCE AWAKENS well beyond the warm and fuzzies that come with being reminded of the movies we’ve loved the last few decades. John Boyega is magnetic as the reluctant Stormtrooper, Finn. His infectious energy goes farther than fun, however, and truly informs his character. This is someone who never could have fit in with the numbered rank and file of the First Order, the evil army that’s picking up where the shattered Empire left off. As Resistance fighter Poe Dameron, Oscar Isaac gets to show just how cool X-Wing pilots can be even when they don’t wield lightsabers on the side. Fearless and defiant, Dameron feels like the new Han Solo, but he’s really something the Star Wars franchise has never really emphasized. This isn’t someone thrown into the fight by destiny. He chose this life and reaffirms that decision with each new mission. Kylo Ren (Adam Driver) serves as Star Wars’ greatest antagonist since Darth Vader instantly became one of the greatest movie villains of all time. He’s a tortured soul suffering from the usual problem of a villain seeing himself as the hero of his own story. Driver isn’t paving new road by portraying villainy from that angle, but his journey down that beaten path is more interesting than most. You’re going to love hating him, hate loving him, or both. And then there’s Rey. In a star-making performance, Daisy Ridley, delivers the best new movie character since, well, all of those fresh faces the world met in 1977. Rey is STAR WARS: THE FORCE AWAKENS’ greatest triumph. More than “strong female character” pandering, Rey is a strong character. Period. She’s the most immediately heroic and capable protagonist the franchise has ever offered. Yes, young girls and grown women will love her just as they should, but so will young boys and grown men (also just as they should). It wouldn’t be Star Wars without tons of new faces in smaller roles that still make an impact. BB-8 is the the most precious droid ever and can out-cute any puppy. Maz Kanata (Lupita Nyong’o) is not the Yoda stand-in many have assumed she is and is instead something much better. Domhnall Gleeson’s General Hux could have done with one less twirl of the metaphorical mustache, or grown an actual one, but he’s still fun as the uniformed bad guy. Supreme Leader Snoke (Andy Serkis) and Captain Phasma (Gwendoline Christie) are both intriguing antagonists that will leave audiences wanting more. STAR WARS: THE FORCE AWAKENS lingers a bit too much on familiar feelings and story beats, but it’s hard to imagine anyone holding that against the film very much. Director J.J. Abrams, a fan in his own right, clearly came into this with a firm understanding of what fans wanted from Star Wars’ return to theaters and he’s delivered tenfold. THE FORCE AWAKENS comes complete with classic space opera action, adventure, and melodrama. I have plenty more to say about STAR WARS: THE FORCE AWAKENS and I will very soon, but this is as much as I want to share for now. You and I both know your ticket buying decision has nothing to do with what I think. Get to the theater tonight, sit down, and let the glorious music of John Williams take you back home. STAR WARS: THE FORCE AWAKENS Review was last modified: February 20th, 2016 by Sean Gerber Related DisneyLucasfilmStar Wars: The Force Awakens 6 comments 0 Facebook Twitter Google + Pinterest Sean Gerber Sean Gerber is the founder and editor-in-chief of Modern Myth Media. When he's not writing here, you can catch him as the host of Popular Opinion Podcast, Batman News, and Marvel News! previous post Open Forum: STAR WARS: EPISODE VII – THE FORCE AWAKENS next post Weekly Ratings Roundup: December 13 to 19, 2015 You may also like MMM Podcast #175: STAR WARS: EPISODE VII... May 5, 2014 Christopher Miller & Phil Lord Tapped To... July 7, 2015 2016 in Review: The Year the Good... January 2, 2017 J.J. Abrams Sets The STAR WARS Photo... June 4, 2014 STAR WARS: EPISODE VII Coming December 2015 November 7, 2013 Report: Felicity Jones In Talks For STAR... February 3, 2015 Marvel Makes STAR WARS Comics Theirs January 3, 2014 New STAR WARS: THE FORCE AWAKENS Poster... October 18, 2015 MMM #190: J.J. Has Fun & Josh... June 4, 2014 Watch The STAR WARS: THE FORCE AWAKENS... October 19, 2015 Adrian Edmondson Sean , nice spoiler free review . Look forward to the podcast this weekend . CaptainJack Great review Sean; I got to see the film a couple days ago in Sydney, Australia – I really hope the MMM community can weave and duck through the spoilers floating around because my experience of wonder, shock and genuine humour were so incredible and fresh and unspoiled, I wish it for all movie fans. Rey and Finn and Poe were everything I wanted them to be with incredible, just wonderful performances. And Kylo Ren, my goodness Adam Driver was sensational, much more than I expected and instantly a classic character in the Star Wars universe. But Daisy Ridley was absolutely the stand-out, I am 100% invested in Rey’s Star Wars story now and just cannot wait to see what the future holds. The music, cinematography and pace were fantastic, the story was enjoyable though derivative and predictable in perhaps a few too many places – but it is following mythological beats that have been identified in classic texts for centuries, so it is totally in keeping with what Star Wars has always done (at least in the original trilogy). Side notes: There are zero mentions of taxation and trade routes, lightsabers are mythical and cool again, and unlike the old KOTCS Indiana Jones, Han Solo isn’t afraid to fire off his blaster at every available opportunity. Not a perfect movie by any means, which I think is important to say because expectations are impossibly high right now. Though trying not to sound too cliche, I have to say it, Star Wars is back, it is in great hands of people who “get” it – it’s fast, it’s fun, and it deserves multiple viewings to let this new cavalcade of lore, history, and continuance really settle in 🙂 Nayan Desai I too thought the film was superb, gave me at various points that warm , this is the real Star Wars feeling, I had when i was a kid in London surrounded by grey skies at Christmas!! They did a great job on the film and funny how us Brits once again appear to be crashing American mythology, and doing our best to reinterpret and respect! behind the scenes and on the screen, Chris Corbold anyone? Finn and Rey? I’m conveniently leaving out JJ Abrams, haha! i’ll give you guys that! Just kidding, great movie and glad the franchise is back on track. Bob Marshall I disagree that Kylo Ren is the greatest antagnoist since Vader, he isn’t there yet IMO. I think he will but right now he’s below Darth Maul for me. stock I waited til now, and the theater was still packed! It’s a good Star Wars flick, but I think the high praise comes as much from nostalgia as it does the movie. It IS great to see Han Solo in the MF again. With Chewie again, and he clearly is the driving force behind all the good will. He earns it. But earning it is different than handing it to you, like a light saber is handed to Finn, and super duper Force powers are handed to Rey. I’m sure these things will be built upon in the next flick, and certainly, Luke Skywalker will play a bigger part, but this is Solo’s movie to me, and even that, though handled respectfully, wasn’t all I could have hoped for. I still won’t spoil it for the one guy out there who hasn’t seen it. I think it’s so good, because the prequels were so bad. So, you can thank Lucas for that, at least. David Rosen Sean, when’s the Star Wars round table episode coming? I’ve seen and read so many reviews already, but I’m still eagerly awaiting the MMM/PO episode. Can’t wait!