After ten years, the Star Wars franchise finally returns.
The hype surrounding the latest entry in the series has been the biggest any film has seen since the conclusion of the prequel trilogy. It will likely become the highest grossing film of all time, and will continue to establish Star Wars as the groundbreaking franchise it has always been.
The film stars Daisy Ridley, John Boyega, and Oscar Isaac as the central new characters. Harrison Ford, Carrie Fisher, and Mark Hamill reprise their roles as the original heroic team, but they take the back seat for the duration of the film.
The Force Awakens jumps out of the gate with back to back heart-pounding scenes. Its first act is riveting, leaving audiences pleased to see the world returned to its former glory. As the film settles in, however, it loses some of its spark. The pace drags a bit, but once the climax is in sight, it picks up again.
The plot of the film shares very similar narrative structure and style to A New Hope. It does, however, distinguish itself enough to stand on its own. It has humor, heart, and tons of the action audiences have come to expect from Star Wars films.
J.J. Abrams does phenomenal work with the film. His direction is grounded and organic. He returns the franchise to the tone of the original trilogy, with his crew masterfully updating the effects and modernizing the technology.
The new cast is exceptional. Ridley’s character Rey is pivotal to the story, and she steals every scene she is in with her awe of the new world she has been pulled into. She is the best character to appear in Star Wars since the originals. A series first, female lead Rey is a refreshing flip on the usual hero of the saga.
Ridley’s astounding performance was backed by a wonderful turn by John Boyega as Finn, an ex-Storm Trooper. His social awkwardness and outlook on each new situation feels fresh, and he is a character like no other seen previously in the franchise. Likewise, Oscar Isaac’s Poe Dameron was a nice addition, and he will hopefully see more screen time in future entries.
The Force Awakens is not a jaw-dropping or earth-shattering film.
In fact, it feels like its makers played it safe for the most part in the making of the film. That said, it has enough referencing to the old mixed with the new. Likewise, the film’s beautifully filmed landscapes and action scenes allow it to stand on par with the better films of the franchise.