[This Review Contains Spoilers]
Originally Posted March 6th, 2016
Man, I love this movie. Seeing it for the first time was one of the most fulfilling experiences I’ve ever had involving a movie.
The characters in this movie are one of the biggest improvements from the prequels. \ One of my main complaints about those movies was the fact that the characters weren’t likable. Some of them were just bland and boring (Mace Windu, Padme, Yoda) and some were legitimately annoying and poorly written (Jar Jar, Anakin). The characters in The Force Awakens are great. They are extremely likable and they make the movie much more emotional. Rey was a character that you just had to root for due how terrible her life was on Jakku and how it affected her emotionally. Finn was a very funny character who clearly cared about the characters around him. What I liked about him was the fact that he constantly loses; he gets pummeled by a stormtrooper only to be saved by Han Solo and the same thing happens when he goes up against Kylo Ren. The fact that he continues to try to help his friends even after losing constantly is what makes him such a great character. My favorite character in this movie, however, was Han Solo. Harrison Ford may have given the best-ever Han Solo performance in this movie. Before seeing the film, I did not expect him to act like the character of old. However, Han Solo was by far the best part of this movie and his death was extremely emotional. He has the same mannerisms as the Han Solo of old whilst being a character whose life has changed since Return of the Jedi. I also absolutely love Kylo Ren; he’s second-favorite Star Wars villain to date (behind Vader, of course). Throughout the movie, he struggles between his own light side and dark side and isn’t really sure which one is his true self. He also looked and felt like Darth Vader whilst being a very different character and I thought that having him as the villain was the best possible way to move on from that character.
The writing was also exponentially better in this movie than in the prequels. The dialogue is great and the story moves along quickly.
My favorite change over the prequels, however, was the addition of real props and real locations. There is quite a bit of CGI used in the movie but it looks great and blends with the real effects without being noticeable. To me, Maz Kanata did not look as real as she should have. She does, however, look much better than anything in the prequels. Snoke’s CGI face did not look great but it looked better than Maz Kanata in my opinion. My favorite practical effects include the happabore and the forest setting of the final confrontation between Rey, Finn, and Kylo Ren.
There are, however, some complaints that I have about the film. I thought that blowing up a third Death Star felt a little ridiculous, that Rey should have struggled more whilst learning to use the force, and that there should have been more exposition about what happened after the events of Return of the Jedi.
Besides that, I loved this film and, although it was very similar to A New Hope, that doesn’t bother me and I think that using the same ideas from that movie was a good way of starting off this new trilogy. It is one of my favorite all-time films and my favorite film of the year.