From the ashes of the Empire, a sinister new force named the First Order plans to take control of the galaxy, but the Resistance is the only thing standing in their way. Rey, a scavenger from the desert planet Jakku and Finn, a rogue Stormtrooper, join the fight against the First Order with the help of the legendary Han Solo and his faithful co-pilot Chewbacca.
Set 30 years after the events of Return Of The Jedi, The Force Awakens is directed by J.J Abrams (Star Trek) and introduces a whole new cast of diverse characters and re-introduces Han, Leia, Chewie and Luke who are still very much a part of the story.
Has there ever been a more anticipated film? Other than Star Wars Episode I, I'm having trouble thinking of anything that has had the same amount of hype surrounding it's release. Because of this I'm not going to delve heavily into plot or character.
As a life long Star Wars fan, The Force Awakens had a great deal to prove. Could J.J get the tone right, could he follow on from those original three beloved films and could he return Star Wars to it's former glory? Well....he did it.
The Force Awakens is an absolute blast from beginning to end. From the opening crawl to the final shot, everything feels like Star Wars. The use of practical effects, the story of good vs evil, the classic characters, everything screamed original trilogy but with a modern feel.
First off, there's a lot more humor in The Force Awakens than you might expect. Lawrence Kasdan and J.J Abrams wrote a marvelous script filled with action, drama and humor and all of it works. The humor never detracts from the tension or the story, it just makes the characters feel real. The prequels didn't have a lot of humor because every character was just spitting out exposition dialogue.
I was slightly worried about the new cast. John Boyega was an interesting casting choice and Daisy Ridley has never been in a feature film before and they're our two leads. But my worries quickly went away as the performances from these two young actors are phenomenal. Boyega is charming, hilarious and engaging at all times and Rey is a character you instantly root for. Oscar Isaac as Poe Dameron, the Resistance's finest pilot, was fantastic also. But the most interesting character comes in the form of the film's villain, Kylo Ren. A mysterious hooded figure with a Darth Vader obsession. He believes it his destiny to carry on Darth Vader's legacy and his character is full of surprises and Adam Driver gives a truly layered performance.
Obviously, The Force Awakens does feature Harrison Ford, Carrie Fisher and Mark Hamill back in the roles of Han, Leia and Luke. Harrison Ford has a much bigger part than we originally expected and he's clearly having the time of his life in the film. Not once did I see Harrison Ford acting in this movie, I just saw the character.
Visually, The Force Awakens is unlike any Star Wars film there ever has been. There's a lot of intricate camera work at play here and the mixture of practical effects and CGI was astounding. Much like what George Lucas did with the original film, J.J has created a world that feels lived in. J.J had one hell of a task, especially because of how much time there has been between Episodes 6 & 7, there was a lot of history to fill in and whilst some things are left up in the air, Abrams and Kasdan did a wonderful job of making those 30 years between stories feel lived in and explored.
I won't delve into any actual plot points but I what I will say about the story is that it's surprisingly straight forward and I enjoyed that, the story was simple enough for us to really focus on the characters instead of an intricate plot. There are a lot of parallels with A New Hope, a lot of similar moments and plot points but it always feels more like an homage than derivative of that original film.
No matter how much I completely adore The Force Awakens, it's not perfect. The middle does slow down slightly for about 20 minutes but soon enough the pace picks right up again. Captain Phasma, one of the film's most visually exciting characters is severely underused, for a character with so much merchandise, I expected more out of her, she has a similar amount of screen time as Boba Fett in The Empire Strikes Back. The film does really leave you craving for more but that's a testament to how good it is, some things are introduced that don't necessarily get wrapped up, presumably Episodes 8 & 9 will carry these plot points forward.
They're my only real issues with The Force Awakens. I thought it was an excellently written, directed and acted film that has brought Star Wars back and showed us that it's in the rights hands over at Lucasfilm/Disney. If you're one of the few people in the world not planning on seeing The Force Awakens, I beg you to think otherwise because this is a blockbuster you won't want to miss.
Tell me what you thought of Star Wars: The Force Awakens in the comments or on Twitter @JamesPorter97