ByKit Simpson Browne, writer at
Writer-at-large. Bad jokes aplenty. Can be gently prodded on Twitter at @kitsb1
Kit Simpson Browne


I am, in a relatively loose sense, a film critic. Part of my job is, because I'm a lucky bastard, to watch movies, and to respond to them in writing. Occasionally, that response comes in the form of a review.

And yet, as discussed in greater detail right here, I'm not going to write a review of Star Wars Episode VII: The Force Awakens. I'm not, despite a lifetime of (often overly) passionate Star Wars-related geekery, going to write a detailed breakdown of what I thought of the movie, and I'm not going to take to social media to proclaim to the world that "I have seen it, and it is good".

The reason?

You Don't Need to Read a Review of 'Star Wars Episode VII: The Force Awakens'

Y'see, it doesn't ultimately matter whether I like the movie, or whether someone else - a widely respected film critic or, say, a cultural commentator of some note - says that it's good or bad. It doesn't make a blind bit of difference whether or not your friends love it, or hate it, or have a weirdly specific criticism of one particular aspect of it. It doesn't matter if you're parents 'get it', or go with you to see it and love it even more than you do.

After all...

Critics Have a Very Specific Role... and it Doesn't Apply to 'Star Wars'

With almost any other movie that's released, film critics - whether formal or informal - can play an integral part in two things: 1) helping you to decide what movie to see on a given weekend by filtering out movies that they don't like, and 2) raising awareness of movies that you might not otherwise hear about.

It's not quite the work of the Boston Globe's pioneering Spotlight team - showcased in what is, incidentally, a great movie, Spotlight - but it's a valuable and often important branch of journalism that is often unfairly maligned.

And when it comes to Star Wars, it's completely irrelevant.

Nobody Needs To Tell You How To Feel About 'Star Wars'

After all, it's not just a beloved part of the childhoods of millions (billions?) of people around the world - it's a bona fide cultural phenomenon.

Which is - far more than any media hype - why it's already made over $100 million dollars in advance sales, more than four times the previous record (held by The Dark Knight). We aren't going to see it because we think it's going to be critically acclaimed, or because it features a particular actor. We're all going to watch it - repeatedly - because it's a new Star Wars movie, and that's all we really need to know.

We don't need someone to tell us whether Episode VII is a 4 star movie, or a 5 star one, and we don't need a stranger to tell us whether its better than the prequels, or Return of the Jedi. More than perhaps any other movie since... well, the very first Star Wars, Episode VII exists in an incredibly rare cultural space - one in which only what we each think of it really matters. Why?

Because it's Star Wars, and it's yours.

So, if you really want to know what I thought of the movie, you can read it below - but I'm spoiler-protecting the hell out of it, despite it only being one sentence long and not containing any spoilers.

Of course it's awesome, it's Star Wars.

The reason? What I think of the movie truly and honestly doesn't matter. Like I said:

It's Star Wars, and it's yours.

And that's the way it should be.


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