WARNING: This is the spoiler review of the new Star Wars movie. This will contain key moments that occurred, so I suggest going to the non spoiler review under the recent reviews tab. Then, come back and enjoy this one!
So, after waiting the entire year, we finally know what happens! The entire story was such a great adventure, but there was also time to explore our characters and add emotion to the movie, which was all fantastic!
There's so much to discuss, however one of my favorite parts in the entire movie was the lightsaber fight between Finn and Kylo Ren. This had so much tension and power, however it was all super awesome! One of the biggest issues I have with the originals are the lightsaber fights. Although they progressively got better and better, it still felt like two men were poking sticks at each other. However, this felt so raw, powerful and beautiful it was so great to see. Although the prequels did look extremely fake due to the choreography, it still looked awesome. I felt like there was some inspiration from those scenes and put into 'The Force Awakens'. It's not a bad quality at all, it's great! Abrams didn't make it seem fake, but he definitely combined some aspects from both trilogies and made one EPIC fight. Even when Finn lost the fight, we see that shot with the lightsaber in the snow, similar to 'Empire Strikes Back', and Rey takes it! That was so awesome to see as it not only shows how cool her character is, but she's also very strong with the force! In the trailers, I actually thought it would be Finn who would be the new jedi, but based on what we received in 'The Force Awakens' it seems as though Rey will be helming the powers of the force instead, which isn't bad at all. She definitely proved to be an awesome addition to the whole franchise, and I can't wait to see where our new heroes end up in the upcoming films.
Before I mention anything else, I should probably go over the biggest twist out of the entire movie: the death of the beloved Han Solo. This was such a great death scene as it was so sad to see the way he died. As soon as he called his son "Ben" and walked towards him, I knew he was going to die. However, it was simply the way he was killed which was so powerful. It was probably even more sad to see Rey, Finn, and Chewie see him die. I was so glad Chewbacca shot Ren because I would've done the same. Although sad, it was so emotional to see a fan favorite die.
I had mentioned this before, but I loved Kylo Ren. I think he's one of the best villains of this entire decade because he just captured the ways of a villain, but he also had a unique history that had some motives behind his actions, particularly with Snoke. He was said to be seduced by the dark side, similar to how Vader was, however they aren't parallels at all. It seemed like Kylo Ren wants to be as powerful as Vader, but he hasn't realized his full potential yet. We saw this when he was looking up to Vader and when Rey used the force against him. We also hear Snoke say "It's time to complete his training" just before Starkiller Base is destroyed. This was such a fascinating idea as not only was it explored, but it still leaves us in questions. They never thoroughly explain what exactly happened to Ren when he left Luke to become the man who he's known by presently, however I thought that was an excellent decision. Not giving us everything was a theme used back in the originals, and it worked. They're using the same thing here, and it worked as well! It leaves us only questioning and speculating, which can be seen as a bad thing, but I like leaving everything up to the viewer to decide. Although we will find answers eventually, it's still very exciting to speculate.
I also loved the decision of making Kylo Ren, also known as Ben Solo, the son of Han and Leia. A friend told me that they had done this before in the extended universe books, but Abrams said he would be doing his own thing. Although he didn't exactly copy the books, he still took inspiration, which I thought was a great idea. He's not shutting the ideas out entirely, but he's taking inspiration from them. Not only that, it adds to the depth of our characters, which was the reason why Han left Leia. The relationship between the two was great, and although they aren't together for too long, it's still great to see.
Many critics have said that they don't like the two CGI characters: Maz Kanata and Supreme Leader Snoke. My thoughts aren't really the same. I like the way they're going with these characters, however it does look a bit fake. This movie had A TON of practical effects and seeing a full CGI character was a bit distracting as I could tell it was fake. However, that doesn't mean they didn't look cool. I loved the way they designed Snoke as he looked like this giant, enormous figure that will definitely have a larger role in the upcoming movies. As for Maz, I found her character pretty average as she was kind of annoying at points and I really didn't care for her that much.
Another one of my favorite scenes in the movie is the ending as we see Luke for only a minimal amount of time. As he sees his past lightsaber, we then cut to a shot of Luke and he looks as if he's shocked to see it. I thought everything about this scene was fantastic. First of all, the score matched perfectly with the entire scene, as it makes it all feel like mysterious yet hopeful as we hear that classic theme. I also loved the way Luke looked. He's grown older, but he looks like a Jedi master, similar to Obi-Wan. The beard, long hair, and even his cybernetic hand all made him seem like this wise warrior.
Many people have theorized that Rey is the daughter of Luke, and I agree with that statement. Based on what we saw in that flashback, her strong usage of the force, and her strong abilities to fly ships all lead to her being a Skywalker. However, why was she sent to Jakku? If Luke was the father, why would she leave her on that planet? I think it's because after the incident where one of his students turned against him (probably Kylo Ren), Luke probably wanted to be secluded from the entire world because he brought an imbalance to the force. That could also explain why R2 was with the resistance base as well.
Speaking of R2, the way he was brought back was a flaw I noticed in the movie. He simply turns on without any usage of power or from anyone else. Now, this could be seen in a different way. Maybe Luke gained control of him and somehow used the force to turn him on, ready for his beloved ones to come and find him after the death of Han. He probably knew about his friends death as Obi Wan felt the deaths of all the civilians on the planet that was destroyed by the death star in 'A New Hope'. But going back to my main point, in the movie it just felt very odd the way he was brought back and I wished they would've gone a different direction with bringing back R2.
After seeing it a second time, I was very surprised how much I loved Finn. His character was very interesting from the start because of his reasonings for leaving The First Order. After his first fight, he sees that this is just wrong, and decides to help Poe escape from Kylo Ren. He was also hilarious at points, which is always great to see. However, what really intrigued me about him was his will to fight back against Ren in the snowy woods after Rey is down. After he calls him a trader, Finn just grabs his lightsaber and uses the lightsaber to just fight back, similar to a fist fight. It was so awesome, yet so powerful because Finn and Rey's relationship had progressed so strongly in the entire movie. John Boyega did an excellent job with the character, and I can't wait to see him again!
Another major issue I had with the movie was the Starkiller Base. As soon as we saw this massive planet on the poster, I knew we were going to get another storyline where they'll have to destroy the death star. It was great the first time in 'A New Hope', however it's simply the same thing just retold. Taking it out wouldn't have made a difference in the movie, and whenever it cut to parts where they were destroying it, I wanted them to cut back to the scenes with Kylo Ren, Finn, and Rey.
As you could tell from all of these critiques, I could go on and on about this movie. I loved almost everything in this film. The characters, the world, and the brilliant direction is what makes this movie. It introduces so many ideas that may not have been answered, but only leaves us wondering. 'A New Hope' and 'Empire' did the same thing, so I like that they're going the same route with this. But as I said in my non spoiler review, the biggest compliment I can give this movie is that it feels so immersive and it's simply an in-theater experience. It's as if I was on a fun and adventurous ride! Very rarely does a movie ever feel that way in my opinion, and the reason why I hail 'The Force Awakens' so highly is because of that reason. It's my favorite movie of the year because it was an experience I didn't feel with any other movie. J.J. Abrams brought the Star Wars saga back from the dead, and I can't wait to see Rian Johnson's approach on Episode VIII.