Now the internet is rife with reviews and confessions of love for J.J. Abrams newest addition to the Star Wars Saga. Mine will be similar yet I will, after reading many reviews, some up he public opinion as well as my own. The film was exciting and felt like a classic Star Wars movie. Many parts of the film had my heart beating and the fat man nerd sitting behind me asthmatically breathing heavily. I'd say that is a job well done on Abrams part. Now on to the spoilers.
Now to start it off, I completely called the fact that Luke was a Jedi monk that wouldn't say a word and only be seen for the last few seconds of the movie. Now I, as a fan, would like to have seen him more yet, when I think a bit more, I appreciate the decision. It was good in the sense that he may have crowded the film with to much nostalgia. It also left the question of Rey's family more open. My speculation is she is Luke's daughter. This means Luke would need a wife (or he could use the force to impregnate himself like was done in Episode I) which would've needed to at least be mentioned in this film if he played a larger role. This would've too easily confirmed or denied speculation. I also like the idea of a discouraged Luke that might have some salt in his system due to his failed apprentice Kylo Ren. This gives him incentive to deny Rey training and therefore Rey would need to prove herself in a way we (hopefully) haven't seen before.
Kylo Ren is such a great baddie. He is whiny but not annoyingly so like Hayden Christensen's Anakin. His tantrums were amusing and frightening at the same time (with perfect comedic timing on the stormtroopers part). I love the way he is fighting to resist the light side. I find it odd how young Adam Driver looked. He looked like some teen who refuses to because he doesn't "believe in a system that makes you do homework". Yet I got used to his maskless face and grew to enjoy it. I love his character and can't wait for his redemption.
Finn is also a fantastic character. He's modern and relatable. He easily pulls of the stressed runaway vibe and is also able to effectively make us laugh when he's supposed to. His pining for Rey is also great. I originally thought that the filmmakers would play some modern super feminist card (no offense at all intended) and have Rey renounce all men or something of the sort, yet she seems to have feelings for Finn without seeming to depend on him. Rey is also one of my favorite characters. She kindly gets the audiences sympathy by occasionally and pitifully referencing her families "imminent" return. She is very likable and strong, rarely needing the help of anyone but herself. I am excited for the developing romantic relationship between her and Finn, and also can't wait for her Jedi training.
Poe was great but wasn't used nearly enough. One theory I've heard and agree with is him being a new Han Solo to replace the old and now dead one. I did think his interaction with Kylo at the beginning of the movie, while funny, belongs in a parody rather than a legit Star Wars film. I do want to see him explored in the future.
The returning cast was great. Han and Chewie hop right back into their former roles without skipping a beat. They provide plenty of laughs and definitely added to the film. The suspense leading up to their reveal when we are supposed to think they are stormtroopers is cliche and unnecessary (due to its length) since almost everybody in the theater likely knew that Solo and Chewbacca were about to enter the ship. Leia still has authority though her acting ability has somewhat deteriorated and seems a bit contrived now. Anthony Daniels was perfectly annoying when he needed to be and felt like his usual self, though his voice seemed slightly different in certain spots (due to age I'm sure). And R2-D2, though in it very little, seemed just as believable as he did when he had a Kenny Baker inside. Overall I was happy with the returning cast.
Concerning Han's death, I understand and respect it completely. Though my fanboy wanted him to live it makes sense he dies. He, first off, needed to get out of the way to let Poe and Luke breathe like a said earlier. His death was also enough to establish doubt the future success of our heroes. I will admit that his death was spoiled for me so I saw it coming the moment Han shouted "Ben!". Yet I would argue that anticipating Han's death isn't bad writing but rather just a purposeful feeling of dread that was induced by Abrams, Kasdan and Arndt, much like Shakespeare telling us the fate of Romeo and Juliet right of the bat. I have heard that Ren killing Han simply makes them want Ren to die rather than be redeemed. To that I ask how are we supposed to feel? Likely every good guy character wants Kylo to die now and I hope they don't kill him. Well he may deserve it, its not the morally right thing to do. The Jedi know this. Even Vader got redeemed even though he was a jerk. Han's death made us feel the same way as Rey, Finn, and Chewie.
The music of the film was fairly underwhelming. As much as I adore every note John Williams writes, this films score wasn't as impressive as the one from "Empire" or even the prequel films. The music from the opening crawl wasn't as loud and lacked emotion. I do love elements of the score but overall I was expecting the best Star Wars score and got a pretty decent one.
THE LIGHTSABER FIGHTS WERE EASILY ONE OF MY FAVORITE PARTS. These lightsaber fights were more emotion driven then spectacle driven, yet they were still fun to watch. They were intense and sparadic, exactly how I think a reckless teenage Knight of Ren and an inexperienced scavenger would fight. Some may say that Kylo should've been way better than Rey however I'd argue that until she called upon the force Kylo had the upper hand. Also, with Luke's force based training (most likely), and the lack of lightsaber fighting Kylo would be doing with the Jedi essentially myth, Kylo wouldn't be a great sword fighter.
About Rey's quick handle on force powers, although the Jedi are a legend she'd still know what powers they might have. After all if you were told that you had the force then wouldn't you try to Jedi mind trick someone, despite the Jedi being essentially myths in our society?
This concludes my review. I can not wait until Episode VIII. What did you think about the film? Comment your thoughts.