There is no question that the biggest franchise in history is Star Wars. Since it’s debut in 1977 the franchise has garnered a legion of fans all over the world, spawned 6 films, TV series and a merchandise phenomenon like never before. Fans thought it was said and done with the ending of the prequel trilogy that sparked a lot of debate with most of it being negative on the finished products, but after Disney purchased Lucasfilm and announced the story would continue fans were excited and worried. Now the seventh chapter of the saga The Force Awakens is here, but can it live up to the hype and deliver the film fans have waited for or will it continue to disturb the force?
With a film like this the only thing you really need to know going in is that if picks up thirty years after Return of the Jedi. Director JJ Abrams has done something that fans thought would likely never happen and that is deliver the Star Wars sequel that every has wanted since the beginning. The film features a great cast of new actors to the saga as well as some old favorites fans were excited to see return including Daisy Ridley, John Boyega, Harrison Ford, Peter Mayhew, Oscar Isaac, Carrie Fisher, Adam Driver, Domhnall Gleeson, Gwenoline Christie, Anthony Daniels, Andy Serkis, Lupita Nyong’o, Mark Hamill, Max von Sydow, and be on the lookout for The Raid stars Iko Uwais, and Yayan Ruhian in small but fun roles. Have no fear that the return of Han Solo and Chewbacca in the trailers are more than just misleading cameos and they have stepped right back into the roles like the never left, but with Solo offering up a more mature and battle hardened persona. The interactions between Solo and Leia are some of the most emotional scenes of the film and seeing them back on screen together will make fans hearts both expand and sink all at once. While the old favorites are here this film focuses on the new cast and they all do a great job. It’s really cool seeing a diverse cast leading the charge into the next chapter of this iconic story. There are a lot of fun new story elements with the stories of the new characters with the most notable being that of Kylo Ren. Without giving anything away about him he is played to perfection with the evil you expect with a hint of an unruly child inside his persona that will make a lot more sense when you see it. His outbursts are some of the best scenes in the film.
As with all of these films there is obviously a ton of special effects and creatures that are necessary to bring this galaxy to life. On the character side there are yet a ton of new and interesting ones added to expand the Star Wars Universe and thankfully most of them are people in suits of some kind. Sure there are the CG characters here and they are handled perfectly. The Nazi like approach to the First Order takes the villain aspect to the next level beyond what the Empire ever really had. It’s essentially the same thing, but the scope feels so much bigger and more menacing. The special effects regarding the world, ships and space battles are amazing. These films have always had massive space battles and this one is no different. They bring the battles to the table in a variety of locals making it another direction that gives the film a bigger scope over all. Seeing the classic ships back in action again with upgraded designs reminds you that you are full on back into the Star Wars Universe and continuing the story we all love, but that things are different on some level as well.
If there were any issues with the film they are few and far between and ones that would likely end up being more based on the individual than the masses. This chapter borrows a lot of story elements from the previous films that might make some feel let down hoping for something outright new and original. There are a lot of great surprises that will split fans down the middle on how they feel about them, but all meant to further the bigger picture of the franchise. For a film about space ships and laser swords, there is so much emotion, heart, laughs and action packed into one film. The previous films all had the sort of a finale to them despite knowing there was more to come, but with this one it does leave it on a real cliffhanger of sorts that will possibly irritate some fans. We often forget that this is a part of a bigger story that after seeing this first chapter will leave you begging for the next episode to get here now. The 3D doesn’t do much to enhance it, but if you get the chance see it in IMAX at least once, but the film itself as often as you can as it needs to be witnessed on the big screen.