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By Will Tarashuk

@WillTarashuk

12/28/15

I think it’s safe to say J.J. Abrams deserves a vacation after the release of the most anticipated movie of all time. “Star Wars: The Force Awakenswas a magnificent start to the new trilogy. Abrams brought a new touch to the franchise while respecting the simple nuances that made it great to begin with. The new characters were relatable and fun, the action scenes were plentiful and entertaining, and on top of that there was an intelligent and interesting story following the Star Wars characters, old and new.

I, like many people around the world, could not wait for this movie. The trailers were epic and it looked like the movie would be nothing like the prequels, and thankfully it’s not. From the opening crawl I knew this film was going to be something special. The basic story is that Luke Skywalker has gone into exile and it’s a race to find his whereabouts.

Let’s start with the characters. Most of the characters are brilliant. Daisy Ridley steals the show with her performance of Rey. She owns this character and brings her to life in a way the audience can relate to and cheer for her. She is witty and strong but you can see the struggle she has with who she is and where she wants to go. The filmmakers gave the audience a taste of her full potential and left us wanting more.

A movie like this needs diabolical villains. The main villain is Kylo Ren, played by Adam Driver. His performance was pretty good. He is a relatable character you almost feel sympathy for him in the end. In the first act he is evil and scary and has a presence on screen. He is supposed to be the new Darth Vader and while he has multiple characteristics he manages to stand out. You sympathize for him differently than you would sympathize for Vader. By the end he looks to human and he has too many flaws. He is supposed to be a villain that carries these films, like Vader did, and by the end he looks more like an overrated joke than a Sith Lord.

Han Solo, Chewbacca, and Leia return to the “Star Wars universe and they nail it. They all play their role perfectly and don’t over shadow the new characters. They fit in the story and bring entertaining banter and callbacks to the old films. Seeing Han Solo and Chewbacca on screen together again brought a smile to my face. The two of the still have their chemistry and it’s fun to see them interact once again.

The romance between Han and Leia is still very much believable. There is a rift in their relationship and when you find out why it makes sense and their scenes together, along with the music, is touching to say the least.

Possibly the best part of the film is the callbacks and the respect it has to its predecessors. Abrams is a fan of Star Wars and it shows in his film. His story follows a similar model to “A New Hope” but still stands alone as an individual. The music is just like the originals, the cutaways and transition are just like the originals. This movie feels like a Star Wars film. It feels like a believable continuation to “Return of the Jedi”.

This movie has its flaws, like all films do. The dark side of the force just isn’t believable. The Empire was destroyed. Their Emperor and Sith Lord is dead and have been for 30 years. Where did they get all their power from? How is it possible they have so many Stormtroopers and a planet that is also a weapon? I like the idea of a newer Death Star but it isn’t believable. The Empire was left in shambles and was defeated, now just 30 years later they are a superpower and the Rebellion is still a Rebellion. How it is that Leia and the new Republic doesn’t have the upper hand? Where did Supreme Leader Snoak come from? The First Order just doesn’t make much sense but it’s a movie and I can suspend my belief.

That being said, I hate Supreme Leader Snoak. I think he is a lame villain and looks ridiculous. I’m glad every time we see him he is a massive hologram because the last thing I want to see is a giant Gollum like creature fighting our new heroes I just fell in love with.

In the end, “The Force Awakens is a “Star Wars” movie for “Star Wars” fans. It has the old characters and themes with new characters. It has the perfect blend of old and new and it is a very well made film. The cinematography is great, the music is astounding, the action is fun, the dialogue is well written and funny, and the story and character arches make sense. This is a bridge connecting the old and new generation of “Star Warsfans. If I had to give it a grade I’d give it an 8/10 and say it is a must see movie.

Image by OnlineFilmer (http://online-filmer.net/)