Movie News Guide was lucky enough to score advanced screening for THE event movie of the month, “Star Wars: The Force Awakens.” We have been trying to come up with a review that’s spoiler-free but it’s a very difficult feat. The beauty of this film lies in its twists and turns that nobody probably saw coming. But we shall try. Yet we move forward with this review with a fair warning: spoilers ahead!!!
In a nutshell, “Star Wars: The Force Awakens” has managed to live up to its hype. It is not perfect, mind you, but it honestly does the franchise justice — which the prequel trilogy is said to have missed (which is quite ironic, really, given the prequels were made by the same man who crafted the galaxy far, far away; the new film, on the other hand, was crafted by an altogether different pool of creative minds).
George Lucas had been vocal that Star Wars is supposed to focus more on the family drama, not the flying action and the lightsaber battles. Not that the latter hurt the franchise in any way. In fact, “The Force Awakens”successfully used these two to its advantage. The introduction an upgraded TIE Fighter was a cool thing to see on-screen, especially when Finn (John Boyega) and Poe Dameron (Oscar Isaac) navigated one out of the Starkiller Base — those two had amazing chemistry!
Which leads us to saying that “The Force Awakens” is not JUST an action film. We’re not sure just how much family drama Lucas still wanted to see but we can safely say, there was a lot of family drama. And we do mean A LOT! Because we’re trying to make this as spoiler-free as we can, we will speak in codes as to what family dramas those who haven’t seen the film yet can look forward to:
- Rey’s (Daisy Ridley) denial at being abandoned
- Kylo Ren’s (Adam Driver) daddy issues
- Han Solo (Harrison Ford) and General Leia’s (Carrie Fisher) estranged relationship
Somewhere towards the end of the film, Kylo Ren found a way to “resolve” his daddy issues. And we all felt the release. It is a pivotal scene, where one (especially die-hard fans) just do not how exactly what to feel. Is it relief? Anger? Hatred? We felt everything.
While we are on the subject of Kylo Ren, can we just say that Adam Driver was amazing? Director J.J. Abrams was right. One does not know exactly how to feel about this villain. He is hateful in his anger issues and all that mind-controlling abilities; but he is so human and so vulnerable, sometimes one cannot help but feel the need to jump into the screen and ease his pain (or maybe that’s just this reviewer’s sentiment; she has, after all, been in love with the actor since “Girls”).
But it’s not just Driver. All the new characters stole the show. It was amazing to see the chemistry between Finn and Poe plus Finn and Rey. And it was not obvious in the trailers, but these three are refreshingly funny.
At the end of the movie, the whole theatre clapped. And amazingly, stayed until the end of the credits, even when it was already revealed that there are no post-credits scene. It’s as if everyone wanted to extend as much as possible the feeling of being back in the Star Wars universe.
Like what we said, though, it’s not perfect. One point of contention for us is the fact that the movie established a whole slew of characters and possibilities then ended with still too many mysteries to solve. Yeah, yeah, it’s a ploy to keep everyone anticipating “Episode VIII” but there were just too many! Exactly what are Rey’s and Finn’s lineage? Exactly what caused Kylo Ren’s daddy issues? And why is he always at war with General Hux (Domhnall Gleeson)? Is Captain Phasma (Gwendoline Christie) still alive?
General Hux and Captain Phasma sure were two characters that we felt are very underserved. In their small scenes onscreen, they showed a whole lot of potential to merit a huge impact on the sequel trilogy. But that didn’t exactly pan out — probably because the movie still had a huge 30-year gap to explain and it mainly focused on that for the meantime.
So yeah, “Star Wars: The Force Awakens” is not a perfect 10. But it sure is a very welcome comeback movie for the franchise. The Force is strong indeed.
Go catch “Star Wars: The Force Awakens” as it releases in US theatres tomorrow. Then hit us up in the comments section with what you guys thought of the latest installment in the Star Wars franchise.