One of my very first actions upon returning home on Friday was to catch the first showing of the day of Star Wars: the Force Awakens. I am absolutely happy that I did because I enjoyed this movie very much.
I felt as though this movie was a true sequel to all the movies that have come before, but I know there are a few of the more dedicated fans of the Star Wars franchise who are not as forgiving as I am because of all the Star Wars lore located in the books and games that doesn’t all exactly add up with the new movie. The new movie apparently does not follow the storylines and canons established throughout the games and the books, but as I have not played the games and I have not read the books, all I can talk about is the movie itself.
Even though the movie was maybe a little over two hours long, I kind of felt as though it moved very quickly and felt at least partially rushed in some cases. There was a lot of interstellar space travel and a lot of events that happened in what seemed like a small matter of days, if not on the same day in general. The characters never seem to rest and it feels a lot like they all go straight from one action scene to the next without getting or taking any pauses. I would think that kind of pace would be rather physically exhausting, but I think it’s more likely that a greater length of time actually passed than what is indicated in the movie.
I am going to go out on a limb at this point and guess that most people who are reading this review have already seen the movie. If not, I’m probably going to start talking about some spoilers, so you should probably stop reading here.
I am extremely impressed by the amount of social commentary that is possible because of this movie. The main characters in this movie are a gentleman of color who appears to be an empath or some other extremely caring person and a kick-butt woman who is extremely mechanically inclined and can fly just about anything. These two characters alone broke so many of the gender-based stereotypes that I was thoroughly impressed with everything about these characters.
I’ll even go a couple of steps farther. It appeared to me, very strongly I might add, that Rey had absolutely zero inclination towards romance in any part of the movie. In fact, the strongest potential romantic element in the movie was between Poe and Finn, which would be really fantastic because those two characters felt very well connected to me. I’m going to be extremely upset if Rey winds up being some sort of romantic interest and that she loses her ability to get the job done because some guy needs to feel justified by having her end up with someone in order for the series to be complete. That’s what has happened with so many heroines throughout movie history. The female character starts out as a completely competent, kick-butt super human, and then some pathetic guy comes along and suddenly, that female character is a pathetic, whiny, unnecessary character who is only used to move the male character’s plot forward.
I am particularly amused by the fact that the bad guy is an emo white boy who throws temper tantrums whenever things don’t go exactly his way. He is so desperate to gain the approval of Smoke, who he treats as a father figure, that he ignores his actual father and the teachings that he could received therein.
Which brings me to Smoke. I totally, absolutely, without a doubt, do not understand what the deal with this giant grey alien is. I’m not convinced that Smoke has any ability to use the Force whatsoever, since Kylo is so ridiculously untrained. Kylo strives to earn Smoke’s approval and he swears he will be as powerful as his grandfather, but I’m pretty sure no one told Kylo that Vader turned on the Emperor in the end, which saved the galaxy. If Kylo knew that Vader had chosen to follow the light instead of the darkness then he would likely have a very different view of his own role in the universe. But Smoke doesn’t seem to have any ability to actually provide training for Kylo. If Smoke was actually training Kylo, I think Kylo wouldn’t have so many instances throughout the movie where he participates in random destruction of the property around him.
I think one of the most discussed topics concerning the movie is the origin of Rey. I am under the impression that she is being set up to be Luke’s daughter. For me, this is because of how Rey reacts whenever anyone mentions or talks about Luke and also the way she looks at Luke when she attempts to deliver his light saber at the end of the movie. She seems more connected to him than anyone else in the movie. I swear, if she becomes a romantic interest as the movies progress, I will be incredibly unhappy with the franchise as a whole.
Overall, I enjoyed the movie greatly and I look forward to the next installments. I would probably only rate this movie as a high three on my rating scale, though, because I don’t know what they intend on doing with the characters.