Directed by JJ Abrams
Rey [Last name unknown] (Daisy Ridley)
Finn [No last name] (John Boyega)
Han Solo (Harrison Ford)
Poe Dameron (Oscar Isaac)
Chewbacca (Peter Mayhew)
General Leia (Carrie Fisher)
Kylo Ren (Adam Driver)
You see that? See how I didn’t list Luke Skywalker as a major character?
Star Wars: The Force Awakens is the seventh installment in the Star Wars franchise, and it combines elements of the old with the new.
When the ever-known music hit to begin the movie, and the opening scroll rolled up, I had goosebumps. It was the first time it ever said “EPISODE VII” at the top, and that felt nostalgically fresh. The very first sentence in the opening scroll, despite being only four words long, set the tone. It engaged me instantly.
The opening scene introduces Poe, BB-8, Kylo Ren, and towards the end, Finn. This opening was dark, and it introduced the villain well. My friend sitting beside me whispered into my ear “A Star Wars film opening with fire. Wow”. And he was right, there was fire, and mass murdering. This movie wasn’t messing around.
That really set the stage for this movie. All the hype, all the waiting, it all paid off. This movie clicked in pretty much every way. Bringing on JJ Abrams to direct it was a great move by Disney, and he made it feel like a Star Wars film. When Rey is introduced, it’s so simple. She’s the main character in the movie, but in her intro there’s nothing special. No flashy lights, no explosions, no dramatic music. That was done really well.
Things happen and eventually, Rey and Finn run into each other and they immediately have to work together to protect BB-8 from The First Order, who are like the Empire in this. John Boyega and Daisy Ridley’s chemistry on screen was unbelievably good. They played off each other. There’s an exchange of dialogue where both of them are rapidly throwing compliments at each other, and they really shouldn’t be understood because they’re almost talking at exactly the same time. But I was able to catch every word, and that should mean something. These two were the perfect casting choices, and I haven’t even got to the casting choice that I think is the best one. Rey and Finn both had different character arcs in this movie, and it illustrated that well. Their relationship makes you connect with them, and points out how they are as people.
It’s known that Han Solo and Chewbacca are in this movie, and they are introduced so flawlessly. Solo’s character dives to depths that it has never swam in before. He’s a pivotal character, but that doesn’t take away from the younger cast. He has one major plot element in him, and one major plot event. His character has evolved from the original trilogy, but it still has that Solo magic.
There are three major complaints that people have with this movie. The first is that its plot is almost identical to that of the first Star Wars. I would agree, but it isn’t the actual plot. There are plot devices used, but the actual plot of this movie is very different.
The second complaint is that the characters are not deep enough, and this is in comparison to the original trilogy. But let me tell you where this complaint is wrong. Take Luke Skywalker for example. He is/was an obnoxious young guy, who has the ability of the force. That is basically all that is known about him in the first film. You don’t know much about his parenthood or his connection to Leia until the next two films. It took three movies to build that character. It’s easy now to know the complete character of Luke Skywalker, but at the time, it took seven whole years to establish it. We’re going to learn more about these characters as the trilogy progresses. People need to have patience.
Now, the biggest topic of controversy: The villain. Many, many people do not like Kylo Ren, because he isn’t a generic bad guy who is just bad no matter what. Does that make sense? I hope it did.
Personally, I think the character of Kylo Ren is incredible. He’s actually a character. He has depth to him, he has a human side. He’s really a different man behind the mask. He tries to create an image of himself being a brute force, but inside he really is broken. And this is where the best performance comes in for me. Adam Driver is really not talked about for his role with this character. Every time he had his mask off and you could see his face, it always looked like it was missing something. You could read the character from his face, and that is brilliant acting right there. I can’t wait to see how this character develops over the next two movies. The best villains are the ones that you can relate to, and I could feel for Kylo Ren.
The movie’s last scene ends on a cliffhanger, sort of. It left me wanting more, and I’m going to have to wait two years for it. In any case, the last scene was beautifully shot.
Also, and this is just personal, I don’t want Finn and Rey to hook up in future movies. Just because they’re male and female, they don’t need to. I want them to be the closest of friends, because their friendship works. They don’t have to go the cliched route and just have them fall in love with each other.
Star Wars: The Force Awakens was everything it needed to be, and more. Episode VIII can’t come any sooner, sadly. On a rating scale where M is the lowest and R is the highest, with the highlighted letter being the rating for the movie:
Star Wars: The Force Awakens – MIHIR