Review: Star Wars: The Force Awakens

This film is amazing. Although I write this as a huge Star Wars fan I can still assure you that this film is great and that you should see it.If you’re not a Star Wars fan then you will enjoy the action and adventure, and if you are a Star Wars fan then you will be cheering in your seat. Let is be said again: this film is amazing.

What this film does well is almost everything. The plot provides the action and drama that you expect from the classic trilogy, which is to say that it seamlessly blends lightsaber fights, space ship dogfighting, gun battles, and the new and classic characters in good and witty dialogue.

This film does not rest on its haunches. It is eager to move the Star Wars story forward. Both new and old characters are in new settings and play new roles in the universe at large and with each other. While my policy of writing spoiler-free reviews precludes me from writing anything else, I will say that the story is refreshing and appropriately epic and personal.

I wrote earlier this week about how the onus of making this movie good would come down on the co-writer Lawrence Kasdan and the co-writer and director J.J. Abrams. They both succeeded with flying colours. Without revealing anything, I can tell you that you empathize with the characters, that you hope they succeed and that they survive the battles and trials that they face. And in terms specifically of the direction, this may be the best directed Star Wars film to date. Every shot is well thought out, gorgeous and accomplishes what it needs to to in order to tell a very exciting and relatable story. And the main antagonist is conflicted in a beautiful way.

The issue of diversity in the Star Wars universe is fixed. One of the main characters, and really the lead character, is a woman, and as strong of a character and individual as I’ve encountered. And the two other leads are not white men. Even the background cast are a complete mix of sexes, races, and, of course, species. It is refreshing to see one of my favourite franchises being diverse.

I have a few criticisms but all of them are minor. The plot essentially mirrors Episode IV; the pace is very quick, and while this keeps the audience engaged it also doesn’t really allow the gravity of the situations to sink in; and there are a few plot points that I didn’t really like. But overall this is a fantastic, fantastic film. It is not just proof that another good Star Wars film can be made, it is a triumphant return to the big screen for one of the best franchises ever.

 

Star Wars: THe Force Awakens is in theatres now

Cover image provided by Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures Studio. 

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