With many movie franchises, by the time you get seven movies in, you pretty much know how the movies are gonna be. For example, Fast and the Furious, Rocky, and even Harry Potter.
With Star Wars, it's a bit of the same, but with such a beloved series, it's hard not to get excited. So, fresh from seeing The Force Awakens in all it's beautiful 3D glory, I'm here to tell you that as a major Star Wars nerd, I'm as much in conflict over it as Kylo Ren.
It's the truth. The setup for Finn lacked any sort of real background, and little plausibility. As a Stormtrooper who decides to say f-ck it and join the Resistance, he represents a classic character in many fictional stories: that wonderful character that redeems himself by going from bad to good.
The sad part is that the most integral part of his story is missing. Where's the why of it all? The vague lines about how he was kidnapped and indoctrinated don't really explain why he really wanted to leave the First Order. Character development is important in a story, especially for a character who is obviously going to play an integral role in the movies to come.
Adam Driver As Kylo Ren: Worst. Idea. Ever.
To be fair, he cuts an impressive figure, in costume. He has the height, the imposing bearing, and the voice, when he has his rather ridiculous helmet on.
When the helmet comes off, however, we get to see the "man" behind the mask, and the effect was a bit... Underwhelming. A kid behind me in the theater summed him up the best:
"The Force is weak with this one. He sucks as a bad guy."
He sucks as a bad guy. The more I watched, the more I felt the kid had a point. Adam Driver's Kylo Ren doesn't speak to me at all. The only emotion I felt in the film regarding him was when his character killed Han Solo, and I was more pissed at J.J. Abrams.
I never really felt the supposed turmoil of Ren's struggle between the Light and Dark sides was real, though, and Driver just never seemed to really sell it to me. Maybe, just maybe, he'll take some acting lessons before Episode 8 filming wraps.
Rey Is About As Mysterious As Elf On A Shelf
Don't get the wrong idea, here. Daisy Ridley gave a great performance as Rey, but the parallels between her and Luke Skywalker are so obvious that I'm surprised they didn't just have her call Luke her father at the end of the movie and be done with it.
Also, one thing that bothered me is that she could make use of her Force powers right away. No training, no idea what she could do, but she starts in with a Mind Trick and a good deal of Force induced focus during her fight with Ren.
I get that she's being built to be the strong female lead in the movies to come. That's awesome, and kudos to the franchise for putting her there, but giving her Force powers right from the start isn't a great story telling device, but it does help solidify (for us Star Wars fans, especially anyone who's read any of the Expanded Universe titles) that she is, in fact, a Skywalker herself, and the antithesis of Kylo Ren's Dark Side character.
Overall, Was It Worth It?
Not only was it worth having to wait as long as we all have had to, it was still a damn good movie.
The look and feel of the movie absolutely kept in line with the original trilogy, never feeling too CGI like the prequels. Overall, it made me feel the magic I remembered seeing Star Wars as a kid for the first time.
The acting was, for the most part, pretty well done. The on-screen chemistry between Finn and Rey seems a little forced at times, but they do seem to bring out the best in each other, and I have a feeling that will improve in the next episodes.
Is it worth it? To put it simply, even if you've never seen a single Star Wars film, this one ia worth watching. Abrams and the crew did a great job of reminding us all what we liked about Star Wars, while [mostly] avoiding the mistakes of the prequel.