*Spoiler warning: waves hand-: “You will see the movie before reading this review…You will enjoy this movie, come back to this blog; like this blog, and subscribe to it.”*
Blasted Jedi Mind Tricks, they never seem to work on other bloggers (to my knowledge). Hello WordPress, this review’s a little late to the game, but in my head it made sense to review this two weeks later so that any hot water over movie spoilers could cool down. I intend to write this review from the perspective of a Millennial Star Wars fan who grew up on the special editions, survived the prequel trilogy, and who fell in love with the old Expanded Universe that Disney did away with last year.
Plot Summary: If you were determined to ignore my spoiler warning, then the First Order has risen out of the ashes of the Galactic Empire while being lead by Supreme Leader Snoke, while General Leia Organa is leading the Galactic Resistance while being backed by The New Republic. Amidst this galactic warfare, Luke Skywalker has gone into hiding because his Padawan (and nephew) Ben “Kylo Ren” Solo has destroyed Luke’s new Jedi Order by slaying all of Luke’s Jedi apprentices.
The plot of this movie involves us following the adventures of Finn, an AWOL Storm Trooper (“FN-2187”) who helped Resistance Pilot Poe Dameron escape captivity, later meeting up with mystery girl Rey. Finn and Rey later run into Han Solo and Chewbacca, and we discover more about Kylo Ren’s back story and his internal struggle with the light and dark sides of the force. I can see Han Solo’s son falling to the dark side as a slight reference to Jacen Solo falling to the dark side to become Darth Cadeus in the Expanded Universe, though that may be purely coincidental. All things considered, I truly loved this film and I list why below.
What I enjoyed: First off, while many people are still complaining about Kylo’s light saber, I freaking love the damn thing. Ren wields it like a Claymore, and the light emitter being unstable only adds to the power that it may posses. Those hand guards are also super practical in the sense of defending one’s hands from getting cut off. Special effects aside, I enjoyed the acting chemistry between Finn (John Boyega) and Poe Dameron (Oscar Isaac) as they have a strong bro-mance, that many fans are hoping turns into an authentic romance (which would be a first for Star Wars, Expanded Universe aside).
Personally, I think there’s a stronger romance hinted between Finn and Rey (Daisy Ridley). I think Rey stands as a great female protagonist for how smart, strong, and quick she is with all of the situations that she ends up in. And while it was highly tragic, Kylo killing Han Solo with his light saber was an incredibly powerful scene (especially with how Chewy reacted by shooting Kylo afterwards, a boy he once thought as his nephew). Han’s death was more powerful than when Obi Wan become one with the force in Episode IV.
I believe that Kylo killed his father to further his hero worship of Darth Vader and to fall closer to the dark side, but it may only serve to bring Kylo further regrets in the future films for Kylo to seek redemption. That battle at the end of the film between Rey and Kylo was awesome, it showed how strong in the force Rey really is with how she was able to defeat Kylo with Anakin Skywalker’s light saber. Lastly, I think the writing in this movie blended the formula of episode IV with a modern rehash for a new generation of Star Wars fans, which in my eyes redeemed us from the travesty of the prequels (Refer to: The Plinkett Reviews). That being said, there were still somethings I didn’t enjoy about this film.
What I Didn’t Like: I’m just going to say it didn’t feel like exactly like the old Star Wars movies because it wasn’t written by a young George Lucas, it felt like Star Wars re-imagined by a fan of the old Star Wars films who wanted to re-imagine Lucas’s vision. I’m not calling the movie a giant fan fiction by any stretch, it just focused so heavily on the new characters we barely had enough time to feel for the old Star Wars characters again. I’m disappointed that Mark Hamill had no lines in the movie and had less than five minutes of screen time.
I’m also upset that Captain Phasma turned out to be a let down of a character (thus far). We’ll see if Phasma turns up again in the next film so that she’ll actually do some more productive stuff other than bossing her platoon around, and ending up in a trash compactor. Lastly, it would have been nice for an explanation on which planets were destroyed by the Star Killer Base since I’m not sure if Courscant was destroyed or not.
Final thoughts: There was a lot of debate from fans on whether or not JJ Abrams could pull off directing the next big Star Wars film set, and I was one of the people who felt he could. Now with record breaking sales and legions of new fans talking about Star Wars, JJ did it. He’s not going to be known as “Jar Jar Abrams” anytime soon. I feel like this movie was successful due to the nods and fan service to the first trilogy, but at the same time it didn’t make me feel warm inside the same way the old trilogy does. I feel that the new characters are great, but we could have used a little more time with the old characters since nostalgia was a grand overarching theme in the film. I will continue to pine over the loss of the old Expanded Universe, but I think JJ made the right decision from a marketing standpoint. What this film has done has paved the way for a new generation of Star Wars fans to learn about the epic space opera that took place a long time ago, in a galaxy, far, far away.