I finally got to see Star Wars: The Force Awakens, the other day with some friends and it was amazing! Last weekend, I prepared for this movie by watching all of the original and prequel Star Wars films. It has been a while since I have seen them all and I certainly needed a refresher course. My favorite movie was definitely Star Wars: Revenge of The Sith. The darkness of it and the transition of Anakin turning to the dark side always amazes me. Also Natalie Portman is gorgeous in this movie. Anyway, the originals are great too except maybe Star Wars: Return of The Jedi. That is mostly because of the ewoks.
FROM THIS POINT ON THERE WILL BE SOME SPOILERS. STOP SCROLLING IF YOU HAVEN’T SEEN THE MOVIE. I really enjoyed the beginning of the movie. It began on Jakku, where a small rebel base was located. One of the rebels, Poe Dameron, had information about the whereabouts of Luke Skywalker who basically disappeared. All of a sudden they were under attack, so he gave a map to his BB-8 Droid to ride away and get this information away from the First Order, remnants of the Empire. Poe eventually is found and captured and we are introduced to the villain, Kylo Ren, a Darth Vader look alike. I was excited because he looked and sounded scary. Kylo Ren takes him back to the First Order’s base and uses the dark side of the force to find out from Poe where the Rebel base is located. Kylo Ren takes a break to talk to his master Snoke, a giant human like alien.
As that was happening, Poe gets freed by an unnamed Stormtrooper. We were introduced to this Stormtrooper back on Jakku, who refused to murder unarmed villagers that were captured. This showed that he actually had a conscience, something that is unfitting for a Stormtrooper. Poe could have killed him easily but noticed that he was not a committed soldier because he was avoiding the battle. So the Stormtrooper takes him to the hangar to steal a Tie Fighter. As they shoot their way out, Poe names him, Finn, because his trooper code began with FN. Poe then tells him that they need to go back to retrieve his droid with the information on Skywalker. They crash land on Jakku after taking a nasty hit. Finn parachuted but fails to find Poe after landing. Then their fighter blows up after falling though quick sand. Finn is on his own and meets up with Rey, who just found the droid. Soon the First Order was on their tail and started bombing the town that they were in. They think fast and are forced to steal a piece of junk, which turns out to be the Millennium Falcon.
Funny thing, they escape then get sucked in by a starship and low and behold, its Han Solo and Chewbacca. Rey and Finn think it’s the First Order and were hiding but were found quickly. Soon bounty hunters come aboard and want Solo’s head. They argue and there’s some witty banter. However, Rey sneaks around and sets a diversion by accidentally releasing a dangerous alien monster aboard the ship. They scatter and run for the Millennium Falcon, and escape even though the monster was trying to eat this ship. After the escape, they need to repair the ship and the ship almost exploded but Rey’s quick mechanical fix saves everybody. (Mechanical skills are familiar to the Skywalker bloodline)
They go to some planet, its name was not revealed, which bothered me. This is where things were getting weird for me. They are at a random location and Han Solo meets with somebody to repair his hyperdrive. Rey walks around and comes across Anakin’s lightsaber, which made her hallucinate possibly because she is strong with the force. As that happens, the First Order blew up a few planets that were possible rebel bases, also unnamed and did not even look familiar, by a “planet sized death star.” Then Rey gets captured by Kylo Ren who reaches their location. He tries interrogating her but he doesn’t realize that she is strong with the force. Again he leaves her alone to speak to his master. This is where Kylo seems weak and I believe Snoke realizes it. He then freaks out when he learned of her escape.
At this point, Finn, Solo and Chewbacca plan a daring raid to save her and also plan to blow up the “death planet.” Finn is important to this plan because he knows the ins and outs of the compound. They figure out a detailed way to blow this compound up. Solo was talking to Leia before the attack, and they drop the bombshell that Kylo Ren is their son. Solo plans to turn him back to the good side. So the plan goes ahead and they reunite with Rey and begin to set well placed charges. The predictable encounter between Solo and Kylo occurs, which was very tense. I honestly began to think Kylo would turn and it even looked like that he was about to cry. Then he obviously stabs Solo through the chest with his lightsaber. I saw that coming a mile away the first time it was mentioned that Kylo was Solo’s son.
Chewbacca goes crazy and gets a good shot on Kylo. As they escape under the guise of a Rebel air raid, Kylo chases them and cuts down Finn who was using Anakin’s lightsaber. Then both Kylo and Rey try to use the force to grab the lightsaber but Rey was more powerful. The battle that ensues is tense but Kylo was just not strong enough. Rey defeats him, which is strange because she’s not even trained in the ways of the force. Rey grabs Finn, who is unconscious, and Chewbacca wicks them away as the planet is melting down. Basically the movie is over and R2D2 becomes powered up again at the base. (R2 was virtually defunct after Skywalker disappeared) He reveals another portion of a map that was missing from the BB-8 that pinpoints Skywalker’s secluded location. The movie ends with Rey finding an elder Luke atop an island hilltop and offering to give Anakin’s lightsaber to him.
Overall, this was one of the most suspenseful and thrilling movies that I have ever seen. However, as part of the Star Wars franchise, some things just felt off about it. Unknown and unnamed planets were being blown up and the characters’ backstories were not documented well enough. It was difficult to feel a connection with the new characters and new worlds, but the movie still worked despite that. I just wish that I had a little more information. Also Kylo seemed like a weak villain. For me, whenever he unmasked himself, his darkness dissipated and not knowing his full backstory made me feel less afraid of him as a villain. At some points in this movie, I also felt like this was just a regular Sci-Fi movie with a Star wars theme. That probably has to do with getting used to the new characters and worlds but I understand that new things need to be introduced for the Star Wars franchise to perpetuate. Despite the problems that I had with this movie, I really enjoyed this continuation to the franchise and I cannot wait for the release of Rogue One next year!
Star Wars: The Force Awakens rating: 8/10