After 32 years “Star Wars: The Force Awakens” picks up where we left off

SOME SPOILERS FOR THE NEW “STAR WARS” MOVIE AHEAD!!!!!

 

 

In 2012, when Disney bought “Star Wars,” fans had mixed reactions. The prequel films left a bad taste in the mouths of some moviegoers, and many were unsure whether or not the series could be brought back to life.

My friends, I am here to tell you that the new “Star Wars” has proved its potential.

“The Force Awakens” is as emotional, thrilling and spectacular as the original films that made us fall in love with the “Star Wars” universe.

The latest entry in the “Star Wars” saga begins to tell the story of what happened after the Rebellion’s victory in “Return of The Jedi.” We get to see what some of the series’ beloved characters have been up to in addition to meeting all new characters that will embark on their own adventures.

“The Force Awakens” shines brightest when the spotlight is set on the new characters, and no one shines more than Daisy Ridley.

Ridley, who plays the female protagonist Rey, offers the best acting performance within a “Star Wars” film. With an incredibly expressive face Ridley is able to show, but not tell. This leaves room for meaningful dialogue with Han and Finn, among other characters.

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Film Frame/Lucasfilm.

This is a departure far from the often lifeless performance by Natalie Portman in the prequel films. Rey is a strong hero who is complex, relatable and fearless; a great character to build the new trilogy around.

Opposite Rey is the newest villain in the series, Kylo Ren. Played by Adam Driver, Kylo Ren is a petulant, dangerous and volatile villain. He is powerful, yet very unstable, which makes for a fascinating struggle within his character. Ren, despite his power, is conflicted and sometimes seems scared of being on the dark side. Throw in an unhealthy obsession with Darth Vader and you have yourself a fascinating new antagonist.

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Kylo Ren prepares to do battle. Image courtesy of Lucasfilm

While the new characters were the strongest part of “The Force Awakens,” it may have been the film’s legacy that held it back.

The film is self-referential almost to a fault. Within the first half of the movie it seemed as if there were references to the original films every few minutes. While this was pleasantly nostalgic at first, it began to feel like more of a crutch. At times it seemed as if the film wasn’t sure if its new characters and story line were strong enough to stand on their own.

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Film Frame from Lucasfilm.

As a fan, I am aware of what the older movies mean. I love the original trilogy; however, I am much more interested in seeing a brand new story than a “Star Wars’ Greatest Hits.”

Additionally, the whole Death Star plot structure is growing a bit old, and I would much rather see the menacing dictatorial side of The First Order rather than being offered a very similar plot to that of “A New Hope.” We see some riveting conflict within the regime in the power struggle between Kylo Ren and General Hux, but I was left wanting more information on the mysterious First Order and why they so desperately want to emulate the Galactic Empire.

With my complaints out of the way I can say with absolute certainty that this movie is better than any of the prequel movies and is close to being on par with the originals. Whether or not it is on the same plateau as “A New Hope” and “Empire Strikes Back” can be contested, however I feel that it falls a bit short of that level of praise.

Perhaps the highest praise that I can give “The Force Awakens” is that it feels like a “Star Wars” movie. It’s not a fan film or simply an attempt to recreate the magic that was started in 1977, but instead it is its own story within the “Star Wars” universe.

“Star Wars: The Force Awakens” takes us all back to the days in which we believed in the power of the Force. Back to the days in which “Star Wars” offered captivating heroes and villains who were locked in a dramatic and exhilarating struggle.

It took 32 years for our galaxy far, far away to come home, and what a homecoming it was.

 

 

 

 

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