It's no question that Star Wars: The Force Awakens is a blockbuster hit, topping the $1 Billion dollar mark in just 12 days, and garnering good reviews from most film critics and fans alike— But was it really that good?
Don't get me wrong, I liked the movie a lot. It was fun and the effects were amazing, but after letting everything sink in for a few days, I find I have a few problems with the movie... albeit minor problems.
SPOILER ALERT— IF YOU HAVEN'T SEEN THE MOVIE YET and DON"T WANT ANY OF THE PLOT GIVEN AWAY, DO NOT READ FURTHER!!!!!!
Okay, now that that's out of the way... As I said, once I had a few days to think things through, and get over the nostalgia of seeing the original cast, I began to focus on the film itself, and the new characters that were introduced.
So let's start off with the story. Once you really think about the story of The Force Awakens, you immediately see parallels with it and Star Wars episode IV, A New Hope.
First we have Rey the orphan who lives on a desert planet, who is much like Luke Skywalker in a New Hope. You have BB-8, a droid that's carrying vital info, just like R2D2. You have the First Order, a growing organization that wants to crush the New Republic and the resistance, run by General Leia Organa (formerly Princess). Rey finds a mentor of sorts in Han Solo, (the way Luke did with Obi-Wan) who helps her and BB-8 get to the resistance— something Han and Chewie did in A New Hope.
They are being hunted down by Kylo Rey, an evil figure who wears a face mask and is clad all in black, who follows the Dark Side of the Force— a acolyte of Darth Vader, and a member of the Skywalker clan.
Then there's the First Order's ultimate weapon, a planet retrofitted with a giant weapon that can suck all of the energy out of a star and redirect the energy into a gigantic blast that can take out several planets at once— essentially a giant version of the Death Star. And lastly, like the Death Star, the new weapon is destroyed by a small group of rebel fighters, when the shield generator is destroyed (much like in Return of the Jedi).
As for the new characters, Rey is the most likable and the most developed— although the script doesn't really fill us in as to why Rey can do what she does, like fly the Millennium Falcon better than Han Solo, fix equipment so easily, and use the force as though she were trained by Yoda.
Stormtrooper Finn is also an enigma. He seems to be the only Stormtrooper with a conscious, and who can shoot straight and actually hit a target. He also seems to be able to hold his own in a light saber fight against the movie's main bad guy, Kylo Ren, a trained master of the dark side of the force.
Although the film introduces some likable characters in Rey and Finn, very little is explained about them or the world they come from. At least in the first trilogy we got scenes and dialogue about how the Empire came to power, about the Clone Wars and the rise of the Empire, and how the Emperor dissolved the senate.
In the Force Awakens, we have no idea who the First Order are, or how they came to be. What happened to the leaders of the rebellion? Who is Snoke and how did he become the Supreme Leader of the First Order? Is he a Sith? How did the First Order build this giant planet-sized weapon undetected?
None of these questions are answered, or even addressed. The other problem I have with the script is why on earth would Luke Skywalker leave his family and friends and allow the First Order and this new "Emperor" to even come to power. The Luke of the original trilogy would have never done that— He was too devoted to his friends.
I know what you're all saying— we're going to find out in the next movie. That may very well be, but it still doesn't excuse the weak story and character development in The Force Awakens... in my opinion.
Although I'm not a fan of the prequels—The acting was horrible, and the political backstory was too conveluded, but at least they felt like they were part of the Star Wars universe.
With the Force Awakens it feels like all the ingredients are there, and director JJ Abrams followed the family recipe, but for some reason the meal just didn't come out the same as grandma used to make.
I know you die-hard Star Wars fans are gonna rip into me— but before you do, watch episodes IV-VI again, and if you feel the same about The Force Awakens, and that I'm waaaaayyyyy off base, then have at it... just try to be civil.