Star Wars Review With Spoilers
Disclaimer: Yes, I pretty much spoil the movie. Read at your own risk. Also, this is a personal review and therefore leans heavily upon my insight and opinion. I’m sure you have yours and I’m sure you want to express it. Go for it. Individual opinion is a wonderful thing.
In 2012, my phone exploded with messages from friends because Disney had purchased Lucasfilm for $4 billion ($2 billion in cash, $2 billion in stock) and announced that Star Wars was coming back to the big screen.
Three exhausting years later, I stood in line, took pictures of cosplayers, drank a “Master’s Soda” at the theater, and waited for the lights to dim and that familiar “Lucasfilm” logo to appear.
When the lights came back up and the end credits appeared, I didn’t know what to think. I read that Kevin Smith cried on the set, that Steven Spielberg declared it could be the “biggest movie ever” after watching it three times, and fans across the planet screamed about how it was the greatest movie of all time.
What I saw…was not what I had read.
It had issues, glaring issues. Why was the Republic different from the Resistance? Why wasn’t Leia leading the Republic? Why wasn’t she EVER trained to be a Jedi? What system was destroyed by the First Order and why do I care since it had zero impact on the story? Why didn’t Captain Phasma do….anything….in the entire movie? Where was the legendary John Williams score? How could someone who had NEVER held a blade in her life completely whip someone who was trained in the ways of the light AND dark?
I was seething. I felt robbed of a truly mind-blowing experience. The more I thought about it, the more I wanted to go “RedLetter Media” on this movie.
Then…I saw it again on Sunday.
Oscar Isaac was funny, Daisy Ridley was funny, John Boyega was funny, even Chewie was funny. Their chemistry worked well together. The duel between Rey and Kylo Ren was a wonderful mix of the Prequel Trilogy’s fast-paced choreography and the Original Trilogy’s emotion and drama. Daisy Ridley stole the show with her brilliant acting. The story flowed well enough to keep me invested. It was refreshing to see characters displaying such intense emotion that helped pull me into their world. The landscapes were beautiful and “Rey’s Theme” is now stuck in my head. Kylo Ren, while not the hulking and ominous villain we thought he was, was portrayed as a tortured and conflicted individual.
That’s not to say there still aren’t some issues that I am not comfortable with.
- Rey’s duel with Kylo Ren, while well done, was still a bit of a stretch. Rey had not one time in her life ever held a lightsaber, but she mopped the floor with Ren. She was also able to use the old Jedi mind trick on a stormtrooper. Not bad for someone who thought the Jedi were a myth.
- The score was still underwhelming. John Williams hit us with “Battle of Heroes” and “Duel of the Fates” in the prequels, but can anyone hum any tune other than “Rey’s Theme”?
- Captain Phasma continues the JJ Abrams tradition of female characters who do literally nothing in a movie. C’mon, we all know why Alice Eve was in Star Trek: Into Darkness.
- The opening of the movie is nearly exact in it’s remake of the opening to “A New Hope”. Not sure? Tell me which movie this is. Stormtroopers enter, shooting semi-trained, but inferior opposition, killing a few, taking prisoners. Once the area is secure, a guy dressed in black enters the area, interrogates someone, then kills him and orders everyone else killed as well.
PrincessLeia would have been the perfect character to spout off some exposition about the New Republic and the Resistance, but we never got the info we needed. When “Starkiller Base” destroys the system the Republic government is in, I honestly do not care. It’s a nice effect, but I literally know nothing about the victims. At least Alderaan was Leia’s home planet when the Death Star destroyed it in 1977. Does this mean that the galaxy now has no government to run it? Is the galaxy now in complete anarchy?
- Conveniences are a little too convenient for me. I can stretch my disbelief only so far. Artoo just HAPPENS to power up at the end of the movie. Chewie just HAPPENS to find Rey and Finn after the duel. Finn and Solo just HAPPEN to stumble across Phasma.
- Seems like a monstrously large Star Destroyer that we may have seen a few times already would have come in handy against Poe’s band of X-Wing fighters. I wonder where it went…?
All in all, follow Yoda’s advice and “unlearn what you have learned” about this movie. Let go of the cynicism, the knowledge you gained from the trailers, and drop ALL expectations. You’ll enjoy the movie for what it is and have a great time.
8/10, looking forward to seeing it a third time.