So, yesterday I finally saw Star Wars: The Force Awakens. While I did try my expectations low, I couldn't get to get caught by the hype train, just like in 1999 with the advent of The Phantom Menace, and how much of a letdown it was. So naturally, there were many people, myself included, who were afraid that this movie would suck, and that while Star Wars has produced some truly amazing books, comic books, videogames and TV Series in the past decades, a lot of people thought that there would never be a good Star Wars movie ever again.
Nevertheless, this wasn't the case. This movie was amazing, and truly a joy to watch. There isn't a single moment in which you will get bored. Still, there were many things that bugged me or thought it could be better. Let's break down the movie into pros and cons:
- The acting, directing and writing is simply superb. Lawrence Kashdan, the genius behind Empire Strikes Back is behind the movie script, and boy, it shows. And while there was some doubts about newbies Boyega and Ridley, the managed to deliver a believable and and great perfomance. It seems that the days of Hayden Christensen's wooden acting and George Lucas awful writing are finally over.
- The fights were simply spectacular, and for the first time, we finally get to see a satrfighter battle over a planet's surface rather than in space, and when a ground battle is taking place at the same time.
- The humor is excellent. While some people complained that there was a bit too much, I'm not among them, and it helped to balance the darker moments of the movie. And rather than having a comic relief character to provide all the laughs like in the first two trilogies, this role is shared among many characters (though Finn seems to provide the most humor), a decision I think it's the right choice.
- The mandatory lightsaber battle was amazing. Long gone are the ridiculous jumps, flips and acrobacies from the duels of Episodes II and III. While I concede that they could be a sight to watch, sometimes they felt a bit too much to swallow. The lighsaber fight is much more low key, but at the same time much more intense and emotional.
- There's much more diversity, not just on the good guys' side, but on the baddie's as well. Both teh Resistance and First order have numerous women and people of color among their ranks, both in terms of main characters and bit characters/extras. This is something I really appreciate, since I was a bit sick of how most of the entire cast of the original triglogy, and the prequel trilogy to a lesser extend were nothing but white men (and this comes from a white guy). And not just humans: there are far more aliens as well.
- This movie follows the storytelling's #1 rule that the prequels ignored far too many times: show, don't tell. We're shown that First Order are evil and dangerous when they wipe out a desert village, including executing its civilians for no reason. We're shown how harsh they are to their own troops, which prompts Finn to defect. While we're told that Poe Dameron is the Resistance's best pilot very early, we truly see that that's true upon watching him completely wreck a swad of TUE fighters all by himself.
- It takes far too many elements from the original movie. While it was obvious that Abrams wanted it to be an homage to the first movie, he pretty much overdid it. In fact, most of the films flaws can be traced back to this one. Such as...
- Starkiller Base, another planet-destroying superweapon that the good guys have to destroy before it blows up their main base, which of course becomes a huge focus of the movie. I was really, really hoping that they wouldn't bring superweapons again. But hey, at the very least they put some imagination into how it works. Let's hope they don't do it again the next two.
- Hey, remember all the fuss because Luke didn't appear in either the trailers or the poster. Abrams said that there's a good reason for that, and that we would understand it once it watched the movie. And he was right. The reaosn for why Luke isn't on any piece of advertisment is that...HE DOESN'T APPEAR IN THE MOVIE. Well, he does. In the las two minutes. And has absolutely no lines. I'm really hoping he gets a bigger role in the next two movies.
- And what was possibly my biggest pet peeve: Kylo Ren. he was presented as some kind of mysterious badass, but watching him in the movie he's anything but. He's prone to throw temper tantrums (which come off as ridiculous), is rather whiny and immature, often doubts himself, and when it comes to fighting, he only manages to kill two old men who have no way to defend themselves against him, barely defeated a guy with a lightsaber but no training with it or Force powers, and was completely wrecked when he fought somebody who did have force powers. Granted, he was pretty wounded at that time, but still.
Is this movie bad? no, definitely not. It's freaking amazing and ejoyable. Is this a masterpiece on the same level as the originals? No, it feels too much like a rehash of the original and has too many flaws for that, but it's definitely a step in the right direction. If they keep what they've been doing right plus correct all the flaws this movie had, I'm sure that the next two movies will be even better.
Go watch this movie if you consider yourself a Star Wars fan. You won't regret it.
My veredict would be a 7.5/10