Star Wars: Force Awakening Review – Spoilers

starwars55I’m double-dipping with my posts about Star Wars: The Force Awakens in order to talk about spoilers and some of the themes in this movie.  I felt like doing a little more than singing the praises of JJ Abrams and The Force Awakens, but not because I want to nitpick this movie apart.  Instead, the themes and the plot and the characters are worth talking about in more depth.

You could pretty much pick apart any of the Star Wars movies, even the Original Trilogy.  How does Han find an unconscious Luke on Hoth so easily?  How does an untrained Rey suddenly become more powerful than Kylo Ren?  How did Poe get off Jakku without help from Finn?  How did R2-D2 wake up? And why?  I don’t get it.   A lot of these nitpicks I can dismiss because it’s just a movie, but most of the important ones in The Force Awakens probably will be addressed in the next installment.  Let’s hope so, anyway.  Other nitpicks will NEVER be addressed, like why C3PO’s arm is red, and that’s because it’s not important enough to address.  It’s just red to show the passage of time.  Honestly, I could care less about the backstory of why his arm is red, because I’d rather hear about Snoke’s backstory or the story of how Ben Solo became Kylo Ren.

The first act to The Force Awakens is just amazing.  It has action, humor and character moments that almost equal The New Hope.  Some people are complaining about the reveal of the Millennium Falcon, but I liked it.  It’s Rey’s second choice because she calls it a piece of garbage.  It IS a piece of garbage, but it works well enough to get them out of trouble several times. She proves it’s not just a piece of garbage and she flies it around like an expert for some reason, but I guess she’s a natural pilot like Luke.  

starwars5Speaking of Rey, her character is great.  There’s just a tiny bit of backstory given in The Force Awakens to explain who she is and it works.  It’s pretty obvious she’s connected to Luke in some way, but I find it hard to believe that Luke would abandon his own daughter on a desert plant to rot.  Maybe she was taken from Luke and stranded on Jakku.  Either way, it’s nice to have that anticipation to learn more about her and I feel the same way about most of the other characters in The Force Awakens.  The characters are a BIG strength of the movie.

There are a couple of stupid ones though.  The two CGI characters are a letdown and annoying.  Maz has interesting dialogue, but her character design is way, way over-the-top.  She has these goggles she uses to zoom in on others, in order to examine them more closely.  It looks comical, which doesn’t work with the tone of the movie.  The other CGI character is Snoke, who is shown as a projection like the Emperor, which makes him a double-CGI character I guess.  A CGI character in a CGI projection.  Pretty dumb.  For some reason he’s 20 feet tall and looks like Gollum.  It didn’t work, especially since we know nothing about him.  I thought Luke was the last Jedi, but I guess I was wrong about that.

starwars8The last act of The Force Awakens doesn’t work as well as the first, and repeats the same plot from A New Hope.  The First Order has a superweapon the Rebellion has to blow up, so it’s basically another Death Star.  In a briefing scene, one of the characters actually points that out, and I think that’s where JJ Abrams is poking fun at the plot because he knows it’s a retread.  The whole thing is just unnecessary.  

Lastly, there is no ending to this movie and that’s annoying.  There really was no ending to Empire Strikes Back either, so I guess I’m nitpicking a little but the whole last section of the movie felt rushed.  The death of Han Solo is never addressed or dealt with by any of the characters.  He just falls over the edge of a catwalk and that’s it.  I mean, Chewie gets angry and depressed, but really it should have been one of the main characters there with Han in order to transfer some of that emotion and propel them forward.  After that, it takes about thirty seconds for Rey to find Luke, then the movie just ends.  I was actually squinting at the screen as the credits rolled.  That was it?  Seriously?  

In all, this is a good movie with some common trilogy flaws.  It’s basically one big setup movie, but I think a lot of the themes more than make up for the unexplained crap and the plot holes.  I like how The Force is back to being connected to all living things and even seems to haunt those gifted enough to reach it.  Kylo Ren demonstrates this best, as he searches for a way to eliminate the light and go to the dark. Rey is also haunted by the light, as she encounters Luke’s lightsaber for the first time.  There are other themes, like finding yourself or defending the innocent, and all of them work very well.  I think we’ll see even more character development in the next movie, which is good news, but we’ll have to wait until after The Force Awakens makes a billion dollars, unfortunately.