Sunday, January 3, 2016

Movie Review: Star Wars: The Force Awakens

After sixteen days, seeing the movie twice, and thinking about it a lot, I'm finally writing my review of The Force Awakens. This feels so daunting. There's so much I could say, and I know I'm not going to fit it all into one post. Stuff will surely be left out. But here goes nothing.

Starting off with my general feelings about the whole movie: I loved it. Loved it. It was such a good movie. It was also an interesting experience. When I'm extremely excited about a movie, I'm far more used to it being a book adaptation. While there is a certain level of uncertainty there because you don't know how loyal they will be to the books, you still have a good sense of what will happen. Star Wars was so secretive about this movie that I couldn't know what to expect.

That feeling really hit me right as the movie started the first time I saw it. Everyone in the theater was cheering, and it all hit me at once what we were about to watch and how I didn't know how this was going to end. It was strange for me, and also really awesome. I loved having to guess what would happen next throughout the entire movie like I do when I read a really good book. Of course, that happens in good movies too, but I'm not usually at that level of excitement for those (again, unless they're a book adaptation).

Force Awakens definitely lived up to my excitement, and I can't wait to see what happens in Episode VIII (or Rogue One for that matter).

As for everything else, I'm going to try and talk about a few things but to not go overboard. I'm not ruling out the possibility of writing more posts in the future specifically focused on different aspects of the movies (or theories for the next movies) because there's so much I could say.

When it comes to characters, I would have to name BB-8 as my favorite. I want BB-8 in my life. I know I'm not alone in that. As far as my favorite of the other new characters though, I really can't decide. Rey, Finn, and Poe are all great characters. We didn't get to see much of Poe within Force Awakens, but I assume he'll have a bigger role later. I'm looking forward to that because I really enjoyed him when he was on screen. For now, I'm just going to say I really love all the new characters and not declare a favorite. Maybe I will come Episode VIII or I'll have a change of heart before the next movie. I don't know. But right now I just think they were all excellent characters.

I love both Rey and Finn's backstory and the way they developed over the course of just this one movie. It has me very excited to see where they go in the next one.

I know I can't talk about new characters without bringing up Kylo Ren. As far as villains go, I think he's an excellent one. Since I saw the movie the first time, I've been trying to figure out whether I think they'll kill him off or attempt to redeem him. (I'm just going to go ahead and assume that he's not just going to live and continue to be evil.) I'm not sure yet, but right now, I'm probably leaning toward redemption. We already learn in the movie that he still senses light within him, and I wouldn't be surprised if they had his story arc closely mirror Darth Vader's in that way. Like I said, I don't know for sure what I think will happen, but if he redeems himself somehow only to immediately die afterward, I wouldn't be surprised. (This might be one of the things I write a post on later.)

Of course, it was also amazing to see the old characters again. I think they played just the right role in the story. They didn't overtake it, but we got to see them and learn about what has happened to them since the last trilogy. It was fun to be in the screening opening day and hear the audience get excited when we first see the Millennium Falcon again and everything else. The decision to place Luke only at the end of the film (and R2-D2 for that matter) was a good one as it kept the focus on the new characters (not that BB-8 could be overshadowed by R2-D2. Come to think of it, I have my fingers crossed for more interaction between those two in the future.), but I'm also excited to see the role he plays in Episode VIII.

Han's death is another part of the story that I can't not mention. As much as I hate character deaths, I don't know if a character dying has ever felt so right for the story to me. (For the good guys that is. Villain deaths are another story. I can't imagine Harry Potter is Voldemort had survived the last book.) I know there was speculation about him dying beforehand, and either that or just the tone of the scene, let me know it was going to happen before it did. It was a sad moment, but I think because I had it on my mind as a possibility and because I thought it was a good decision, I'm not upset about it like I might have been otherwise.

The last thing I think I'll bring up in this review is the speculation about who Rey's parents are. Going into the movie, my best guess was that her parents would be Han and Leia. For a while in the movie, I was trying to work out if that was right. From the first hint about Kylo Ren's parentage though, I was certain his parents were Han and Leia, and to me, that made it less likely that they were Rey's parents. When Rey first discovers Luke's lightsaber, I became pretty confident that Luke was her father, and the end of the movie only made me more sure.

To me, that's the theory that makes the most sense, although I do see the reasoning behind some of the other theories. While I think Luke is the best guess, I can't decide who I would want to be Rey's parents the most if I had the opportunity to make the decision. Obviously, I'm just going to have to wait and see what happens to find out what I think about it in the end.

That's all I'm going to say in this review. It's long enough now, but like I said, don't be surprised if I write more posts in the future. I'm already thinking about writing something up on what I think will happen to Kylo Ren, what I think about Rey's parentage, and several other things, although I'm not sure I could say anything that hasn't already been said by countless people. We'll see. This is definitely a movie that I don't want to stop talking about.

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