new star wars film worth the wait!
By Shakilur Rahman, Senior Writers
Right off the bat, this review contains spoilers from "Star Wars: The Force Awakens", if you have not seen the movie, I’d strongly advise you to see it before reading this review.
With early reports of the new "Star Wars" movie breaking various websites due to people attempting to buy advanced tickets (Screencrush), it became evident that this movie was going to be a colossal of a box office hit. Being a “Star Wars” movie, this was no surprise, but was the movie actually any good? I can confidently say, yes!
Very early on, we are introduced to Poe Dameron (Oscar Issac), a spectacularly skilled pilot traveling with his droid BB8 from the resistance against the First Order. The moment Poe handed a chip to his robot-friend containing crucial information, I knew this movie was going to be one huge homage to “Star Wars: A New Hope”...not that it’s a bad thing at all. Kylo Ren (Adam Driver) was every bit as awesome as I thought he was going to be. Kylo stopping that blaster-fire midair with the force was one of the most memorable visuals I’ll probably ever see in a movie for a long time. That aside, Poe Dameron’s charisma is also evidence that this movie will be very unlike the prequels, and characters will actually have emotions and characteristics this time.
Poe and Finn (John Boyega) escaping The First Order was a fun scene with the two immediately showing chemistry together. The introduction to Rey (Daisy Ridley) on the other hand, was very Luke Skywalker-like, with her looking up at the ships taking off, and obviously wanting to become a pilot. I must say that Daisy Ridley was spectacular in this movie, and I know she has a bright future in the industry. Finn and Rey meeting together and fending off against The First Order was also a nice showcase that Rey is most definitely no ‘damsel in distress.’
The Millennium Falcon being back with Han Solo (Harrison Ford) and Chewbacca (Peter Mayhew) returning was all bits of awesome. I loved how they were each introduced. Harrison Ford luckily didn’t phone in any of his performance, and I truly believed that Han Solo was really back. Han and Chewy bringing the new crew to The Cantina to talk to Maz Kanata was a nice set up to Rey discovering Luke’s lightsaber in some weird dungeon or something beneath The Cantina. The visuals during Rey’s ‘vision’ were cool and ominous, and probably shows clues to how the story will move forward in the sequels.
The most memorable sections of the movie is the discovery that Luke Skywalker had tried to train young Jedis with the Force, but failed miserably, as Ben Solo, the son of Leia (Carrie Fisher) and Han had turned rogue and joined the Dark Side. Ben Solo changed his name to Kylo Ren, and Luke became ashamed of his failure, and exiled himself. Leia practically sent Han to his death, begging him to bring back their boy from the dark side. Although I saw this moment coming a mile away, it was still every bit as heartbreaking when Ben Solo stabbed his own father to death with his lightsaber in his final act to join the dark side. Chewbacca’s reaction in particular is haunting and sent goosebumps up my arm. This is what truly differentiates Kylo from Vader - Vader in his final act redeemed himself by saving his son, while Kylo chose in opposition to that, to kill his own father. I knew Han was going to die, as Harrison Ford constantly stated that he wanted Han Solo to die in the original trilogy to have a noble death, and the only way he would ever want to come back to this franchise is if he could fulfill that wish.
Rey discovering her Force abilities was very fast-paced and didn’t waste the audience’s time. In this we discover that Kylo Ren isn’t as powerful against Rey, as she has great potential and is highly force-sensitive. We also learn that Rey did a little Jedi mind-reading of her own, as Kylo Ren fears he’ll never be as powerful as Vader, which kind of shows that the entire time he wasn’t just this unstoppable force; instead he is rather just bluffing and hoping that his Force powers and intimidations will be enough to keep people to fearing him. A little known fact is that when Rey first uses the force on that Storm Trooper, that Storm Trooper was played by Daniel Craig, who also plays James Bond. In fact this whole movie is riddled with cameos and easter eggs.
Kylo Ren’s character I thought was very well-done. Him raging out on his computers everytime he hears bad news gives him more relatability than his Darth Vader counterpart. It seems that when he is unmasked, he is still just training, and you could tell he feels uncomfortable without his mask on. The final battle(s) between him, Finn, and Rey was spectacular. Although Finn is awesome in his own ways, he is nowhere powerful enough to defeat Kylo Ren, even if Kylo had just gotten shot by Chewy. However once Kylo was done toying with Finn, we get one of the most badass scenes ever. We see Kylo trying to levitate the saber up using the Force, but as it starts going towards him, it instead flies past him to Rey. This was the moment the audience realized how powerful Rey can really be, as we get an awesomely raw and gritty lightsaber battle between the two, until Kylo basically overpowers Rey. However, Rey wasn’t going to give up, and she ends up using Kylo’s own advice to use the powers of the Force to defeat him.
For the most part, this movie was absolutely exceptional. I had originally thought BB8 to be a cliche robot, but I was thoroughly surprised to how enjoyable and human-like he felt. I especially loved it when he gave that cheeky thumbs up to Finn. I only wish that Poe Dameron was in the movie more as he was an awesome character and hopefully he has more screentime in the future films because personally he was my second favorite character behind Rey.
Other than that, the only negatives I had was the minor CGI and the new Deathstar. Supreme leader Snoke was being played by legendary Andy Serkis who also played Caesar from “Planet of The Apes” series and Gollum from Middle Earth. It’s a shame we don’t get to for once actually see Andy Serkis in prosthetics instead of terrible CGI, but to the movie’s defence, he was technically just a hologram, which leaves plenty of room for improvement. The new star destroying Death Star was basically just another rehash of “Star Wars: A New Hope” but just bigger. Once again instead of one planet being destroyed, this time five planets were completely obliterated from existence, which is a little over the top in my opinion. However, the beautiful visuals of the absorption of the sun being used to destroy the planets were enough for me to just let it slide.
The film also leaves a lot of questions. What role will Luke Skywalker play? Is it possible that Rey is Luke’s daughter and Han and Leia knew the whole time? Is Supreme Leader Snoke actually Darth Plagueis, who is known to cheat death and was the original trainor of Emperor Palpatine? It is evident though that the first of the new trilogy, "Star Wars: The Force Awakens" is a stunning and visual masterpiece, and I give it a 9.5/10. Luckily the next "Star Wars” movie entitled “Rogue One”, is coming very soon at December 16th.