Please note: We tried to keep the spoilers to a minimum in this review. If you don’t want anything revealed in The Force Awakens, then please read no further.
In Star Wars: The Force Awakens, director J.J. Abrams means business. He not only was tasked with reviving a beloved franchise, but he also needed to erase the stain of the “Prequel Trilogy” that left a poor taste in the mouths of fans that grew up on the franchise.
He not only did it, but even showed symbolically that Star Wars is back.
In one scene when the First Order’s new Death Star-like planet was being tested, one target that was hit looked like – although later in the movie they said it was not – a key world from the prequels, with the same slick design that fans grew to hate.
No, The Force Awakens is you father’s Star Wars movie. And your mother’s too. We go back to a galaxy that was war torn with the clear sides of good and evil. We welcome back X-Wings and Tie-Fighters and of course, the fastest hunk of junk in the galaxy, the Millennium Falcon. From the opening crawl to the end credits wipe, this looks and feels like the Star Wars we know and love.
Although Abrams heavily uses nostalgia throughout the film, he does a very good job introducing the new characters to this trilogy. With strong performances from new cast members Daisy Ridley, John Boyega, Oscar Isaac, and Adam Driver, the movie doesn’t suffer from the one dimensional characters that plagued the prequels.
And to help their introduction to the Star Wars galaxy, Abrams uses Harrison Ford’s Han Solo almost like a guide throughout the movie. Unlike the most of the original cast in this movie, Solo and Chewbacca in this film are front and center, playing an important role in the story.
However, Carrie Fisher’s General Leia Organa plays the leader of the Resistance and does have a key supporting part to the story.
Written with Lawrence Kasdan, who also wrote the Empire Strikes Back and Raiders of the Lost Ark, Abrams fills the script with snappy and humorous dialogue. Boyega’s Finn, the reformed Stormtrooper, scoops up many of the lines as does Ford, who seems to have not forgotten what it’s like to play Han Solo after 32 years.
It’s safe to say with The Force Awakens, Star Wars is back in full force. Some fans may be upset that a classic character meets his end in the movie, but much like he did with Star Trek, Abrams is not afraid to smash taboos to tell a good story.
And it wouldn’t be a Star Wars movie without a John Williams score. Unlike the prequels, the Maestro uses many cues from the classic movies, while introducing new themes for other characters. At 83, Williams hasn’t lost his touch.
The only sad part is that we have to wait 17 months for Star Wars: Episode VIII to come out. Its director Rian Johnson has his work cut out for him to match this masterpiece.