This will be filled with spoilers, if you haven't watched it yet, stop reading right the hell now, go watch it, because what else is more important ?! Everyone else, please stay.
Well, Star Wars : The Force Awakens came out Wednesday 16 of december and I had the pleasure to see it the day it came out, along with every other geek in my area. In my most honest opinion, I thought the movie was a really great re-opener to the Star Wars saga. It did what it needed to do, which is to bring some of the old back and give us something new while still being in the comfort zone of familiarity. However that is not everyone's opinion. Some people hate this movie, even though they are Star Wars fans.
So, why is this movie so goddamn divisive ? Is it as bad as the prequels, is it as disappointing as The Phantom Menace ? It would be madness to say so, yet there are a lot people who think like that.
Let's take a look at some of The Force Awakens plot points. So, some guy goes to a desert planet to get the location of something. The map is then put inside of a droid. Does this feel familiar yet ? How about this. The main character of the movie lives in a desert planet and then gets out on a piece of junk. With just this information you should think of A New Hope.
Leia gets the Death Star schematics = Poe finds the map leading to Luke. R2-D2 keeps the schematics = BB-8 keeps the map. Rey living in a desert planet and escaping on a piece of junk = Luke gets out of Tatooine on the Millenium Flacon (called by him as a "piece of junk"). It's pretty clear that The Force Awakens relies a lot on the past. You could see it in different ways : either JJ Abrams was really lazy so he just made A New Hope but with different characters and slightly different changes or it's simply an homage. You choose, but to me, I think it's more of an homage.
Sure, a lot of the story's progression is really similar to A New Hope, but I think that's just Abrams and Kasdan's way of saying "This is the Star Wars you've always loved and it's back" and I think it worked in a way. I also understand why they made it so similar to ANH, not only did they want to pay an homage but they wanted to play it safe and not risk themselves to make something really different like the prequels did.
Other than the storyline resembling too much ANH, there's a lot of wasted potential in some characters, like Captain Phasma. In the trailers, they present her like this freaking huge badass.
I mean, it's Gwendoline Christie, Brienne of Tarth ! But in the end, she's just a cardboard villain, like Bobba Fett was.
The highlight of the film for me personnaly, was definitely Kylo Ren.
No Darth anything, no nothing, just pure power. He force blocked a laser blast for fuck's sake ! He is super powerful with the force and he isn't even fully trained yet ! The thing I love more about his character is just that, he's a real character with inner demons and conflicts. Honestly, if we gloss over Empire Strikes Back and Jedi and focus only on how Vader appears in A New Hope and then compare it to Kylo Ren, who's the best character ? Vader looks like a henchman, an important one yes, but nothing more. It's only in Empire that Vader becomes a true charachter with depth. Kylo on the other hand, has had a lot more development in just one movie ! The thing I also love about him is that he's a fraud. He always walks superstraight and tough in front of the troops, but when he's alone, you can clearly see he's unsure of himself. There's a scene that specially caught my eye during my second viewing. Kylo is arguing with Snoke after trying to interrogate Rey, and then Hux arrives. Kylo turns for a split-second to make sure someone was there and then he heightens himself and gets super-serious, because he doesn't want to appear weak in front of others.
One little gripe I have with him is that, he always trashes the ship if he isn't happy with the results, but well, that shows he isn't fully trained so it only adds to his character. Vader force choked everyone, I don't know what's worse.
A lot of people (including myself, during the first viewing) were outraged that Rey could beat Kylo that easily without any training, but the more I thought about that last fight during my second viewing, the more sense it made.
Let's not forget Rey has a staff with which she fights, rather well I must say. She's also really strong with the Force apparently (flying the Falcon like it's her own, doing mind tricks without training). But the reason of why Rey wins is not because of her, it's also because of Kylo physical and mental state in that moment. A few minutes before the last fight, Kylo just killed his father Han so his mind is not in the game. He then gets shot by Chewie's bowcaster, which seems to have the power of a Death Star. Han tries it once, and kills two Stormtroopers with one hit. That thing has power ! So, Kylo is both mentally unbalanced at that moment and he has a wound which he keeps beating to deaden the pain. He also needs to use an incredible amount of Force energy to keep his insides in. Not only that, but then Finn also gets him (minor cuts, but still). Try to visualize, when Kylo and Rey are fighting, Rey is always running away, until she gets cornered on that cliff, and Kylo doesn't want to kill her ! He's trying to bring to the dark side of the Force. That's why when Rey concentrates and fights back, it takes Kylo by surprise and it's such a backlash ! Also Kylo exterminated all the remaining Jedi, he believes he's the only space wizard out there, he never really trained or fought against anyone.
So yeah, Rey wins because he took him by surprise and because Kylo was full of mortal wounds.
Then, some people also complain that this movie didn't have a lot a variety in regards to the ships. That is unfortunately true, we only had X-Wings, TIE Fighters and Star Destroyers. Where's the Y-Wings, the B-Wings, the A-Wings ? Then again, if there's too much variety, like the prequels people will complain. Essentially, we the fans need to make up our damn minds, do we want a lot of confusing ships, or just the basics ? I vote for basics.
Oh and let's talk about Luke because he is indeed the movie ! 40 seconds, no dialogue but it was perfect. I did hate the last camera mouvement though, that weird zoom+rotation. It would've been better if they just filmed it at sunset with Rey handing the lightsaber, then Luke's face and then from one of the sides (the one with the sunset, ideally), we see Luke taking a step towards Rey and then cut to credits. I think that would've been better.
Guys, in the end The Force Awakens was a really great movie. I had a blast and it did what it had to do, which is to reconnect with those great characters, finding new great characters and make us impacient for the next one, with hopes a great new interesting adventure. I always had two favourite Star Wars movies : A new Hope (because it started the whole thing) and Empire Strikes Back (for obvious reasons). Well now it's three, The Force Awakens is one of my new favourites.
Please tell me below what you thought of the movie. If you loved it, why. If you hated it, why.