Star Wars VII The Force Awakens Review (major spoilers)

J.J. Abrams delivered. As one reviewer said, this is the film you are looking for. It is the best of the series and I predict will break pretty much every box office record on the planet.

The detailed review with spoilers is over the break, along with thoughts on all those unanswered questions.

I have seen it twice so far and loved it both times. The first was Thursday night at Reading and the second was Friday night at The Embassy.

The crowd at the Embassy were much more lively. A large portion were dressed up in costume and there was applause from the opening credits to the finishing credits. The biggest applause though was when old stars turned up again, including the Millenium Falcon. The biggest applause was for the sudden appearance of Han and Chewie, as you really though it was the First Order whi had captured them.

The film got basically everything right. The actors, the plot, the humour, the suspense,  the CGI (not too much) and the 3D was great. Some movies overdo the 3D so you are ducking arrows in the theatre. TFA just made you forget it was 3D as it seemed so natural.

Supreme Leader Snoke was a great baddie and maybe no surprise with Andy Serkis playing him, there were traces of Gollum. He seems huge, but it is a hologram. Maybe when we meet him in person, he’ll be Yoda sized?

The three new characters were great, and more well rounded than the originals. Luke was always a bit too mature for his age, while here you see Rey and Finn getting excited by stuff, high fives, and the romance between them varies from funny to touching.

I love Rey. She is such a strong female character. When Finn grabs her hand to try and protect her, she is like all WTF.  She has no teacher for The Force. She realises her powers as she resist’s Ren’s mind. She tries out mind commands to hilarious impact, and the scene where she has Luke’s old lightsaber fly to her hand got huge cheering. But there was still further to go as she then still had to realise she needs to let The Force take over, and the duel goes her way.

BB8 is great. So funny. Almost acting like a kitten so Rey will take her. The thumb up with Finn. The hiding behind Han.

General Hux is pretty good also. Something scary about an evil ginga!

Episode VII was a great transition from the old to the new characters. This one was around 50/50 between them. You can see that Episodes VIII and IX will be far more on the new.

They did the Han and Leia relationship well. Still in love, but also separated – partly due to the pain of losing their son to the dark side, and partly as they both turned to what they did best – smuggling and command.

The scene where Leia says to Rey “May the Force be With You” reminds you Leia is force sensitive.

The death scene for Han Solo is dramatic, sad and necessary. It shows Ren has made a final choice. I worked out he was going to kill him a couple of seconds before he did, but it didn’t make it less shocking. You see the struggle. And the death is final.

Han dies a hero, having just saved the galaxy. And so beautiful when Leia feels that Han has died. I almost feel as sorry for Chewbacca, but at the end it looks like Rey has sort of replaced Han as Chewie’s friend and pilot, which works.

Kylo Ren is not just a copycat Darth Vader. He has temper tantrums and feels the need to prove himself. He is less menacing than Vader, but wants to be his grandfather.

Episode VII has a lot of plot elements of the original trilogy, as a sort of homage to them. Starts on a desert planet, a big death type star to blow up, a hot shot pilot, a novice on the Force, a family member who has turned to the dark side, a rescue. But it is no copycat. Rey rescues herself. Where Vader could not see his son killed, Ren kills his father. The attack on Star Killer Base sees Han joke that there is always a weakness.

The ending was excellent. You see Luke but he doesn’t speak. You want to know what he will say, will he come back, and is he related to Rey.

So many questions. Unlike the original film which didn’t think much about sequels, this film leaves you desperate for the next one, as it is obvious there is a large plot arc at work. The questions I have are:

  1. Who was Lor San Tekka, the old man at the beginning killed by Kylo Ren. Is he one of the old characters such as Wedge? Is he related to Rey as they are on the same planet? Presumably Luke chose to trust him with the data to locate him, so how are they connected?
  2. Do we find out why Finn is the only stormtrooper to get a conscience and rebel? Could this lead to more?
  3. Will we see the back story of the rise and fall of Ben Solo to become Kylo Ren?
  4. Is Rey a Skywalker or a Solo or both? She is strong in the force (could be Luke or Leia) but is totally in tune with Han and the Falcon. She becomes both a Jedi Knight and the pilot of the Falcon. You think Han or Leia would have mentioned if they had a daughter who disappeared, but we don’t even know if Luke has had children. Or maybe she is not related at all. But was the ship that left her behind as a kid the Falcon?
  5. Will Kylo Ren be ultimately redeemed? I’m not so sure after killing his father. Would it be too copycat to have him follow the same way as Darth Vader? My wild pick is Episode VIII sees Luke and Ren face off and Luke tells him of how Vader repented at the end, killed the Emperor and refound the light side. But Ren kills Luke declaring he will be greater than Vader. So Episode IX could be a final Rey vs Ren confrontation. Who knows. And will Leia face Ren?
  6. Does Luke train Rey and Snoke train Ren so they both become full Jedi and Sith? Does Luke stay in hiding or join the Resistance?

It’s going to be a long 18 months until Episode VIII!

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