First off, be warned that spoilers for The Force Awakens follow. If you do not want spoilers, please go over to the spoiler-free companion post to this one, over here.
Come back and read this one after you’ve seen it, though, because, like me, you will want to nerd out with someone about it.
Ok, last warning for spoilers.
We’re good? Ok. Let’s do this.
I’m not feeling coherent enough to really structure a huge essay, so I’ll just throw my thoughts out in bullet form.
- Plot-wise, it was very much A Newer Hope. A droid carrying a message, a huge superweapon, a bad guy in a black helmet, a capture and a rescue, an older character from the previous trilogy facing down the villain and losing his life, a dogfight around the superweapon resulting in its destruction. I was a bit worried at first, but I like the symmetry it creates with the previous story.
- The shaky cam in the beginning is a bit much.
- BB-8 is so flippin’ cute, I can’t even. I want one.
- I love Kylo Ren’s temper tantrums.
- Little Orange Lady Yoda! Except–plot twist–she’s not Force sensitive…and she has Luke’s lightsaber (does she also have his hand, I wonder?)
- Those rolling CGI monster things were a bit goofy…like baby ambulatory sarlaacs. Also, why would they grab Finn and carry him safely for a conveniently long amount of time while they straight up ate everyone else?
- Kylo Ren should have been named Jacen…but I guess I understand why they didn’t go that route since a Jacen Solo would need a Jaina Solo, and that character has tons of baggage from the EU. I can then extrapolate that once Kylo is given full Sith status, he won’t go with Darth Caedus, which is a shame because I really would love to see Caedus on the big screen. Also, I get why they chose Ben for his name…but to me, Ben is always going to be Ben Skywalker, son of Luke and Mara Jade (and temporary apprentice to Darth Caedus). Sigh. Letting go of the EU is hard, you guys. But because of the EU, I totally called the “Kylo Ren” is Solo’s son a while back, which is disappointing.
- It was super great seeing Han again, but I got the feeling that Harrison Ford’s heart just wasn’t in it. I know that’s sacrilegious to say, but a few of his lines felt really clunky. I dunno. maybe I need to watch it again.
- I wish Han’s death was handled better, but then I remembered that it’s a thematic nod to Obi-Wan’s death in A New Hope. I don’t remember ever being completely shocked and crushed when Obi-Wan died because there was a serenity in his decision. I saw that same thing in Han’s face when he faced Ben on the bridge. I was tense the whole time because it was like watching someone approaching a loose tiger and there were only two ways that could have ended. Still, I feel like a heartless cretin for not screaming out when Ben stabbed Han. maybe I’m just in denial or shock, I mean, Darth Maul DID survive a similar encounter…
- Chewie! It was so great to see him again! I heart Chewie.
- Alright, so Snoke (a goofy name, if you ask me) is pretty mysterious. I suspect he is either a legit Sith (like the species) from time immemorial (maybe a clone?) or he’s a former Jedi gone bad. He may also be the Emperor Reborn…but I really hope they don’t do that…
- I legit teared up when Han and Leia were reunited. Seeing those two together again was just mind-blowingly cool. Chills. Literally.
- Captain Phasma was hella played up in the trailers and marketing, and then she’s thrown away… Is she going to be the Boba Fett of the series, showing up in the background and not doing much and then becoming a huge fan favorite?
- Rey grabbing the lightsaber away from Ren was completely predictable, but no less an awesome moment. Also, some folks have talked about her uncanny ability to learn how to use the Force, but I think it makes sense. She seems to rely on it in a subconscious way in her daily life, and her belief in her own ability to use it combined with her own fantastic innate power is really wonderful. Unlike Luke and Obi-Wan, Rey seems so much more confident in herself that her issue, like Kylo Ren, is going to be controlling her power rather than finding it, much like Anakin. It doesn’t make sense for Rey to be Ben’s sister, but I really hope she’s Luke’s secret daughter. Somehow…
- How is Finn so good with a lightsaber? I realize he would have training in combat as a stormtrooper, but still…
- That lightsaber battle was amazing. It wasn’t flashy choreography or sword dancing against dramatic backdrops, it was a legitimate brawl as one would have with claymores. It was a bit unrealistic that Rey could best Ren, especially since he was trained both by Luke and Snoke and she had no lightsaber training. The only explanation is that she is some sort of wunderkind like Anakin was. Still…
- Seeing Luke again gave me chills, then I raged because I would have to wait for two years before I got to see him again. Still, I love how he’s the wise Jedi sequestered away, sort of a combination of Yoda and Obi-Wan. Chills. Seriously. I want to be Luke Skywalker when I grow up. He doesn’t say anything, but seriously, he’s so cool! AAAH!
My overall opinion is positive, but there are some things I sort of didn’t quite buy. We’ll see how things progress though. I’m super excited for Episode VIII. We’ll hopefully see Luke training Rey (after refusing to train her, of course), we’ll see Kylo Ren get his Sith name, no doubt since he’s already committed the sacrifice necessary for such a thing, and hopefully we’ll learn more about who Snoke is and what his deal is. But before that, we get Rouge One next year. I hope it’s good…
What are your thoughts? Agree? Disagree? Any new ideas? Feel free to be as spoilery as you want. This is a safe zone.
Otherwise, see you next week!