Oh boy, the force is most certainly awake, alive and kicking as a brand new Star Wars trilogy kicks off with The Force Awakens, set 30 years after the events of Return of The Jedi as we follow a set of new and some old characters in the galaxy as the first order battles the resistance, the film stars Harrison Ford, Carrie Fisher, John Boyega, Daisy Ridley, Adam Driver, Oscar Isaac, Domnhall Gleeson, Gwendoline Christine, Lupita N’yongo, Anthony Daniels.
Star Wars has just never looked this good, from stunning shots of hyperspace to thrilling, engaging dogfights and visceral, awesome set pieces, Abrams, a master of the visually stunning does it again and really leaves his mark in certain scenes, the action is frenetic, tense and has weight to it now with more practical effects as opposed to the CGI fest that was the prequels. Characters really look like they get hurt when they take a hit and you can see that play out more ‘realistically’ as fights go on.
And as such, fights – lightsaber fights carry more weight, are more brutal and are even more tense with some great visual effects, like with Kylo Rens’ fierce, wild lightsaber and the lightsaber effects for the film in general. And overall, a great blending of practical effects and excellent CG makes for a wonderful mix with scenes that flow seamlessly and importantly are – fun, something again lost in the often overly serious tone from the prequels, The Force Awakens is a joy to watch and at 135 minutes at runtime, it certainly flies by with some great, well placed jokes and some great humour.
This is probably the funniest Star Wars film to date in fact and the comic relief was a great aspect of the film, helped a lot by the films leads in Boyega and Ridley who have some great chemistry and have a believable relationship as well as Harrison Ford as the returning Han, who fits back into the role perfectly and seems to revel in it. And Adam Driver, ladies and gentleman, he was surprisingly good in the role and played Kylo Ren with some intriguing vulnerability and with a lot of emotion and he was a great villain, meanwhile Domnhal Gleeson made a passable albeit underused General Hux. We of course have the throwbacks to the original trilogy in imagery, some line of dialogue and characters in C3PO, R2D2 and Carrie Fisher returning as Leia and Luke…. but for the most part, said callbacks are great nostalgic touches and never felt too cheesy, though some moments felt a bit forced and were predictable, though in saying that it, it’s great to see some things we love from the original trilogy.
Are there too many throwbacks to the originals though? Not necessarily, while I do think the plot could have benefited from some alternative plot arcs and parts did really echo the original trilogy, it was still a great thrill ride and I was eager to see what happened next at each plot turn and new development. The Force Awakens is reverential and honours its foundations but it also goes in some interesting and exciting new directions, regarding 2 certain characters, the force and some expansion of the lore of Star Wars makes for room for a lot of speculation and some awesome theorising.
The Force Awakens is a fantastically thrilling and exciting return to Star Wars with a blending of great action, humour and the return of the iconic characters, themes and motifs that made so many fall in love with the franchise, it has a few predictable elements and familiar feeling beats but nowhere near enough to take away from the experience as a whole and the result is a brilliant new entry to the franchise and a great sign of things to come.
. Does a good job of honouring the original trilogy but standing on its own as an exciting story
. Has some fantastic visuals, well done weighty fight ceness and great set pieces
. It’s great to see iconic characters return, though there are a fair amount of callbacks