The Next Generation: A (Spoiler free) review of Star Wars: The Force Awakens


They did it. Abrams and Kasdan and Disney. They brought Star Wars back. It’s shinier and darker and has more lens flare, but it’s done. Through months and years of fervent expectation, and on course to be the most anticipated film of all time, The Force Awakens is the film we wanted, and the film we all knew it could be.

Yes, it has its flaws, but none that ever derails it. None that aren’t flaws evident in the original trilogy. Even through its moments that make you say that you would’ve liked that to be different, they never take off your smile for one second.

From the moment the words ‘Star Wars’ come onto the screen, I am there. I am grinning from ear to ear. The rest of the film is a superb delight. It’s majestic, it’s exciting, it’s funny, it’s touching and it’s beautiful. It’s a slick, well made, well written, well directed joy, that quite frankly is one of the best films of the year, if not the.

Firstly, lets start with the characters. The new comers are genuinely fantastic. Boyega and Ridley are particularly brilliant, conjuring up a winning friendship that cements the emotion of the film. Their charismatic performances bounce off one another as they go from adventure to adventure, at no point do they snipe at each, it’s not one of those bickering relationships.

In many films they would hate each other at the beginning and end up liking each other, but here, they like and respect each other from the start. There’s no real hint of romance, but a friendship that grounds the film completely.

They have a genuine respect for each other, and that’s why they’re the best heroes of the year. Rey is phenomenal. Her command of every scene is powerful but winning. She’s a strong, tough and lovable character, her story, that of survival, mystery and sincerity. Her wide eyed enthusiasm undercuts the dark, imposing nature of the films biggest threat.

Oscar Issac as Poe is great, he could have easily been a smarmy womaniser, but he’s just a great guy, with enthusiasm and a winning attitude.

Adam Driver as Kylo Renn is a terrifying ba***rd. He’s not just a great villain, he’s a great character, with a purpose and a knack of losing his temper. No spoilers, but watch for the reaction of a couple of stormtroopers as he angrily wields his lightsaber. He commands every scene with a harsh discipline and a violent temper, but there’s also a meaning behind it.

Elsewhere, smaller parts, Domhnall Gleeson, Lupita Nyong’o and Gwendoline Christie all bring great acting prowess to their small roles. Fleshing out the Star Wars universe, in diverse and interesting ways.

As for the old guys. Out of all the originals, Han Solo and Chewbacca get the lion’s share.  They are the same people, just older. They still bicker, they still shoot straight, they still rock. They have some of the films most pivotal moments, Han, especially, is granted a great emotional arc, and one which won’t be forgotten.

Oh yeah, BB-8 is the best droid out there. He’s cute, he’s funny, in his reactions especially, and he’s just as important to the story as R2 was in A New Hope. C3-PO gets a great entrance.

JJ Abrams had an impossible task, but he lucked out in securing all of the best supporting players. Lawrence Kasdan has helped to write a great script, that whilst copy and pastes some mistakes from the original trilogy, also gives everything an old school sense of adventure.

Even with the flaws, each character is a wonderful fleshed out realisation, old school heroes, that have small but perfectly realised back stories, that make them people, and not just puppets. They tell each other things, instead of just bickering and not getting to the matter at hand, and that’s so refreshing, Rey and Finn become friends instead of hiding behind mysteries.

Captain Phasma may have a too small part, but that’s quickly forgotten when the film ends the way it does.

John Williams back as composer of that most famous of Film themes has composed some beautiful new music, in particular as Rey skates down a sand dune, we are given a wonderful new theme.

Daniel Mindel is on Cinematography duties and he does a fantastic job. This looks like a Star Wars film, with a mix of intricate practical effects and lovely CGI, there are some stunning shots, of sand covered planets, shivering sunsets and star studded space vistas.

The film looks beautiful, sounds beautiful and runs like a well oiled machine. The lightsaber fights are thrilling and kinda scary. The dog fights are sweeping and powerful.It all makes sense and doesn’t miss a beat in getting things going.

There’s nothing that seems out of place, even the ‘biggest’ mistakes, don’t discolour the pure joy of watching it. My favourite scene, Rey has a pivotal moment near the end that fills me with goosebump inducing joy, it’s defining and perfect.

The Force Awakens is epic and delicate. Sweeping and personal. It has wonderful characters and it looks like a Star Wars film. It did the job that it had to, and I loved it, I really loved it. Forgot the small problems, the slight plot holes, because in the end it works just as well as the originals.

Oh, and I have to say it again, but I really love Rey, Ok. She’s the best character of the year

Rating: A  10/10


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