The Force is definitely strong with this movie.
Even in the months leading up to its cinematic release, the new addition to the Star Wars franchise not only awakened the titular ‘force,’ but also fans who had been waiting literally decades to see it.
Set around 30 years after the events of Episode VI, Star Wars: The Force Awakens takes the viewer back “a long time ago, in a galaxy far, far away” and opens with said galaxy once again in turmoil. A new evil has risen from the once defeated “dark side,” and it is now up to a new generation of rebels, alongside familiar characters from the original trilogy, to once again restore balance to the force.
A new hope
Rising from the ashes of Episodes I-III, which garnered mixed reviews among critics and an almost unanimously negative reaction among fans, The Force Awakens successfully restores the franchise to all of its original trilogy glory, and then some.
Despite being the first film in the saga to not be directed by George Lucas, fans need not worry, because Lucas still had a hand in the making of this movie, though now only as a creative consultant. Under the newly appointed direction of JJ Abrams, who is no stranger to directing big budget sci-fi movies with huge fan bases, Episode VII fits in effortlessly with the other movies, and is arguably one of the franchise’s best works.
Star Wars strikes back
The series’ return to grace can be attributed to a number of things, one of which being its script. The movie’s dialogue was much more casual than its predecessors, even featuring its fair share of playful banter and funny one-liners. If the previous movies lacked in anything, it was humor, and The Force Awakens definitely delivered the appropriate amount in that department.
With audiences swooning over Han Solo’s charm and laughing at R2D2 and C3PO’s antics, Star Wars also owes a great deal of its success to its characters’ ability to connect with audiences. While sharing the screen with these classic icons, the movie’s newly introduced characters, including Rey (Daisy Ridley), Finn (John Boyega), Kylo Ren (Adam Driver), and others, surprisingly held their own and established themselves in the series’ roster of unique yet relatable characters.
In addition to that, the sets were very realistic—something notoriously hard to accomplish in sci-fi films. From the dozens of prosthetic-wearing aliens present throughout the film, to the almost entirely CGI space battles, the effects were so well done that anyone watching the movie really could immerse themselves in a galaxy far, far away.
Bringing back the magic
As the seventh movie in a series, adding in references to previous events and Easter eggs for the longtime fans is practically a prerequisite. These have to be done with caution, however, so as not to distract from the plot itself. The Force Awakens accomplished a near flawless incorporation of these, with the little nods to previous films being added tastefully and in moderation. There were just enough screen wipes and mentions of the late Darth Vader to keep audiences in a constant state of nostalgia.
I’ve got a bad feeling about this
This should be where the negative comments go, but aside from a few minor plot holes here and there, The Force Awakens was a nearly seamless movie. The biggest problem was probably that its runtime wasn’t enough to satisfy audiences who’d been waiting a whopping 32 years for its release. It was hyped up almost to a fault, but somehow did not disappoint the impossible expectations set by fans.
Chewie, we’re home
It’s no Jedi mind trick—Star Wars really has done it. It’s pulled off a feat very few franchises can claim to have done. It has not only made a follow-up movie that rivals the quality and success of its predecessors, but has also appeased longtime fans and casual audiences alike. The only question that remains is whether or not the next two films can keep this astronomical momentum going.