Finally, the day we’ve all been waiting for has arrived! Star Wars Day! Sure, “Star Wars Day” is actually officially celebrated on May the Fourth, but I’m pretty sure we could make an exception for quite possibly the most anticipated film of all time. Star Wars: The Force Awakens is finally in theaters, and the question that many of us want answered is whether or not it lives up to the substantial hype. Keep reading our Star Wars: The Force Awakens review to find out.
One note before we get started, I’m going to do my absolute best to keep all spoilers out of this review. Anything that may be bordering on spoiler territory will be very clearly marked. (Fun note, there are zero spoilers below, hooray!).
When the prequel trilogy was announced, I was excited. The idea that there would be new Star Wars movies had me completely and utterly riveted. Then when the prequel movies came out, I think we all know how that went. I honestly enjoyed the prequels and thought they were at least entertaining, but they really weren’t Star Wars… Sure, we had a young Obi-Wan Kenobi, a yet-to-become-Darth-Vader Anakin, these were Star Wars characters, but the overall feeling of the movie just felt off. I can say without a shadow of a doubt that The Force Awakens *feels* like a Star Wars movie, and that may be the best way I can put it.
The visuals are stunning. J.J. Abrams made it a point to work with practical effects whenever possible and that honestly makes for a much better experience. We’ve seen recently with one of my other top movies of the year, Mad Max: Fury Road, that practical effects make a huge difference in making a movie feel more real. We all know we aren’t going to be hopping onto the Millennium Falcon anytime soon, but the fact that there were sets and set pieces for the actors to work with rather than a green screen and CGI just made for a more immersive experience. There was absolutely still CGI in the movie, you aren’t going to escape CGI especially in a sci-fi movie, but everything in The Force Awakens just feels more real overall.
One of my biggest complaints about the prequel trilogy was that a lot of the dialog was, quite honestly, horrible. The Force Awakens goes in the exact opposite direction and I truly feel that these characters would be saying the things they’re saying in the situations they find themselves in. Where the prequels tried to be funny but mostly ended up being sad, there were some legitimately funny moments in The Force Awakens. There were a few notable headscratchers too, but the vast majority of dialog was well done. We of course have characters from the original trilogy in this film, but the newcomers are given plenty of room to shine. Rey, Finn, Kylo Ren, Poe Dameron, and even BB-8 are new to the series, but from their first moments on screen they fit into the universe perfectly. The characters interact with each other in fabulous ways as well.
The story itself, in many ways, does feel like a bit of a repeat. Evil has arisen, Good must rise up to stop it. Even some of the ways that evil manifests itself are very familiar, though the story still mostly feels fresh enough. I do feel that they maybe could have gone a bit of a different direction and still had the same end result though. How we move forward from here is anybody’s guess. We know this will be a trilogy, so you won’t leave this movie with all of your questions answered or with everything wrapped up in a tidy little bow. The story arcs that do pay off, pay off in rewarding ways though. This paragraph may make it sound as though I didn’t enjoy the story but I honestly did. It just maybe wasn’t quite as strong as it could have been.
The music was, of course, fantastic. Any time you’ve got John Williams working on your soundtrack you’re going to have a good time. Not much more needs to be said on the music front.
Look, I know full well that chances are good if you’re reading MOARGeek, you’re probably going to see Star Wars: The Force Awakens at least a few times while it’s in theaters, and I just want you to know that you’re going to enjoy the heck out it. You’re unlikely to regret your decision in the least. Star Wars: The Force Awakens is the Star Wars movie we’ve all been waiting for. The rumor going around was that if this movie was bad, J.J. Abrams would be forever known as “Jar Jar Abrams.” The opposite was never explored though… should we now be calling him “J.J. Awesome” or something similar instead?