It’s probably past due for me to write this, given that I watched the movie weeks ago, and its been out for nearly a month already! Still, better late than never. Oh, and it should be obvious, but if you haven’t seen it yet, there are spoilers below. First off, I have to say that I liked The Force Awakens (TFA) quite a bit! That seems to be the majority opinion, though there are some voices of dissent out there. For me personally, I would now rank TFA as my 3rd favorite Star Wars movie, behind A New Hope and The Empire Strikes Back, and just ahead of Return of the Jedi. I think JJ Abrams did a great job with the movie, and I feel that my initial assessment after watching the 2009 Star Trek movie that his fast-paced and flashy style would be more suited to Star Wars than Star Trek has been validated. That being said, here is the list of stuff that I liked and didn’t like about it:
- Harrison Ford was a highlight of the movie. Han’s lines were some of the most memorable, and his death scene at the end of the movie is one of the best emotional notes in the film, and a worth send-off for the character.
- Rey, Poe, and Fynn were all excellent characters and their respective actors were genuinely fun to watch; I have no concerns about the new trilogy being based around these three.
- All the new technical designs were great; the ships, droids, settings, Storm Trooper armor, and the like all felt “right” for a Star Wars universe that had advanced 30 years.
- BB-8 worked great in the “new droid sidekick” role; I was afraid the character would wind up too “cutesy” but it manages to be endearing with out being overly sappy.
- Not enough space battles! I wanted to see more capital ships.
- The Star Killer has taken criticism for being derivative, but the very poor physics shown in the movie (absorbing entire stars, zapping a planet across interstellar distances while many people on different plants watched simultaneously, etc) made my head hurt!
- As with other JJ Abrams films I’ve seen, TFA errs on the side of doing too little exposition than too much. And I’m not just talking about leaving open questions at the end of the movie; I’m not too worried about that, as it makes for fun speculation between the movies. Rather, I’m talking about the fact that the film is so fast-paced, some things happen with little or no explanation with the expectation that the audience will fill in the details. As a result, I came away confused by a few parts. For example, I didn’t realize it was the Republic’s capital that was blown up by the Star Killer; I figured it was a random planet that was being made example of, the way Alderan was blown up by the first Death Star in A New Hope.
So, overall, I would say TFA was not just a good Star Wars movie, but a good movie in general. I can honestly say that I am excited for the next one in a couple of years!