The newest film is good, but not great. Episode VIII is set up nicely.
All fears should be calmed about the newest “Star Wars” being a disappointment. It’s good, like original “Star Wars” good, unlike the glossy prequels that so many considered disappointments.
“Star Wars: The Force Awakens” is a throwback to what made Episodes IV, V and VI great: underdogs getting caught up in difficult situations then rising to the occasion to fight back. Rey (Daisy Ridley) and Finn (John Boyega) are the protagonists in Episode VII, youngsters with no heroic experience.
“Star Wars: The Force Awakens”
Director: J.J. Abrams
Starring: Harrison Ford, Mark Hamill, Carrie Fisher, Adam Driver, Daisy Ridley, John Boyega, Oscar Isaac, Lupita Nyong’o, Andy Serkis
Running time: 135 minutes
Budget: $200 million
They find themselves up against the First Order, the newest threat since the demise of the Empire. What would a “Star Wars” film be without a menacing threat? No Darth Vader, no Emperor, no problem. Kylo Ren, a conflicted villain trained in the Dark Side of the Force, fills the bad guy role nicely. With no Jedi to oppose him, Kylo Ren is seemingly the most dangerous person in the universe.
But where is Luke Skywalker (Mark Hamill)? The search for him is prevalent throughout the entire film. Action ramps up greatly with the appearance of Han Solo (Harrison Ford). He’s funny and reactive, swashbuckling his way through obstacles the same way he did in the originals. Without Han Solo, this movie simply wouldn’t go.
Leia (Carrie Fisher), no longer just a princess, is a general of the Resistance. Oscar Isaac plays Poe Dameron, an ace pilot with some serious moves and a fine addition to the rag tag group trying to overthrow the First Order.
Director J.J. Abrams shows that the franchise is in capable hands. Make no mistake, “The Force Awakens” is a very good movie, not necessarily great, but it doesn’t have to be. It has to not embarrass itself and it has to set up future “Star Wars” sequels, something that is accomplished quite well.
There are no over-the-top memorable scenes. You won’t have any lightsaber fights as vicious as Darth Vader swinging fiercely nor will there be any as tense as Darth Maul’s pacing back and forth behind shields. No trash compactors, no Jabba the Hut figures holding court, no Battles of Hoth; what we do get are solid shootouts, planes exploding and a lot of comedic relief. Thanks, Han Solo, you’re a funny guy.
The threat of the Dark Side of the Force looms large and is apparent even in the coming sequels. There is always a master and an apprentice. Kylo Ren isn’t as threatening as Vader (although he desperately aspires to be), but by the end of the movie, he proves that his heart is pure evil, black as night.
But like Darth Vader, he’s not pulling the strings. That would be Supreme Leader Snoke (Andy Serkis). Who knows what the future holds for this master and apprentice. Just know that the Dark Side of the Force is very strong, which should make for even more powerful sequels.