Star Wars: The Force Awakens

Released 12/18/2015                           Rated: PG-13

This movie wasn’t even halfway through the first time we saw it in theaters, and I leaned over to my husband and went “This is amazing. We are totally reserving this at MovieStop.” (We don’t usually buy movies right when they come out.) Honestly, not to say that I had no interest going into the seventh installment of Star Wars, but I wasn’t dying of anticipation like many people were; although I will admit, seeing Chewie and Han Solo at the end of the trailer was pretty freakin’ cool. The Force Awakens still holds up after it multiple times, and THAT is what makes an awesome film. [SLIGHT SPOILERS]

There are some people out there saying that this seventh installment is basically a rehashing of the fourth: A New Hope. Yes, there are similarities, but no, it’s not the same movie. It’s its own piece of work, it pays homage to the classic movies, but it fits the series without repeating what’s been done. And let’s face it, the classic trilogy did better than the prequel trilogy, so why wouldn’t they throw back to the classics? I do wish they didn’t destroy the Starkiller Base just yet, but what are you going to do?

While I have deemed this film to be great on the surface, it’s just as good when you read into it. Up until this point, the Star Wars universe (films only) has been very black and white, but here we start to see some gray area. Finn, a Stormtrooper, is visibly bothered by killing innocent villagers, and wants nothing to do with the First Order. We’ve never seen the Stormtroopers exhibit any sort of emotion, or individuality, or even loyalty among each other; they don’t mourn over their fallen brethren, they’ve always just seemed like robots. Finn makes his escape the first chance he gets, but instead of switching sides, he just wants to get as far away from them as he can. He has no interest in fighting the First Order, or helping the Resistance. He’s very neutral. The only reason he continues to get roped into siding with the Resistance is because of quite possibly the only friend he’s ever had: Rey.

And then there’s Kylo Ren, who, honestly, everyone needs to calm his/her butt down about. I’m sick of everyone complaining “He took his mask off,” “He’s a big baby,” “He’s not a good villain.” That’s like people complaining about Harry in The Order of the Phoenix; he’s 15 years old, he’s been forced through a tournament he was completely unprepared for, he witnessed a classmate’s murder, he feels abandoned by those supposed to be protecting him, no one tells him anything, or believes his story: of course he’s going to be angry throughout the entire book. Read between the lines, people. Kylo Ren is not a cookie-cutter character! True, we don’t have all the information yet, but we have some. He chose the Dark Side, but he comes from a family on the Light Side. Yes, both Anakin and Luke struggled with the Dark Side, but I’m mainly talking about the ideals on which they were raised. Kylo Ren feels this struggle him, but his anger and arrogance are what keeps him from turning back. He’s reaching for his grandfather’s legacy, and doing what he thinks he has to in order to obtain it. He considers himself second only to Snoke, looking down upon everyone else around him. Only he, Snoke, and Luke Skywalker know how to use the Force, which Kylo Ren considers his birthright, but when Rey, a female scavenger, the lowest life form there is, bests him with the Force, he doesn’t know how to handle it, and it only fuels his anger further, which he clearly can’t control. I don’t believe he expressly wanted to kill his father, but Snoke led him to believe that by doing that, he’d finally silence the inner struggle between the Light and the Dark. Clearly it didn’t.

Similarly, this film alludes to filling someone’s shoes and rising to meet the standards set by those which came before. This movie in general had to live up to the fan’s expectations of the classics which are beloved by so many; I’d say it more than accomplished that. Kylo Ren wants to follow in Darth Vader’s shoes, but he lacks the calm and collective control Vader had. Vader wore the mask because he needed it to breathe; Kylo Ren wears it, I believe, both in homage and to inspire fear. While powerful and intimidating, he’s not quite there yet. Our new heroes Rey and Finn have to fill the shoes of Luke and Han, brilliantly portrayed in the scene where they are taking off in the Millennium Falcon. They are both in the seats of our previous heroes, struggling to get a handle on their new roles. Rey needs a copilot with her in the cockpit, and desperately reaches across the console to pull the lever to get the shields raised in time. Finn has barely been in battle, and isn’t used to sensitive equipment on the Millennium Falcon, i.e. the swiveling chair, he needs to use to get rid of the Tie Fighters coming after them on Jaku. After the two get away and off the planet, they have a freak out moment of “Did you see that?!”and “That was amazing!” where I think, both the characters, and the movie itself, takes a second to geek out over what is happening right now.

So, let’s be real for a second: Domhnall Gleeson was AMAZING as General Hux. His performance during his speech when they were first firing the Starkiller Base was unbelievable! There’s definitely more to his character than there was to any of the other Generals or Admirals from the classic trilogy; they were all flat, and were killed off one by one. This guy is on top of things, he doesn’t take crap from Kylo Ren, he’s passionate about what he’s doing, and he gets the job done. He’s going to come back for Episode Eight, and I hope he continues to stick around through Episode Nine. I want him to stay.

I love BB-8. When he gives Finn the thumbs up, it just sealed the for me. This little robot has emotions and attitude. Yes, R2-D2 did too, (more attitude than anything else,) but I think it comes across better in BB-8. I’ve never really had a favorite Star Wars character, but I have fallen in love with this little droid. I also really like Rey. This girl can kick some ass, and I cannot wait to see her as a Jedi. She’s kind of perfect: she can fight, she can fly, she’s good with mechanics, the force is strong with her, she can understand…anything, and the only thing she really wants is a family. I love that she’s trained with a staff, and I hope she keeps it in the upcoming films. I would love to see her proficient with a lightsaber, but if they incorporate it into her staff somehow, even better! It’s about time we had a truly kickass female in this series. I am a fan.

Don’t wait for this to come out on DVD. Go see it in theaters now!

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