STAR WARS: THE FORCE AWAKENS Review; "The Best Instalment In The Franchise To Date"

STAR WARS: THE FORCE AWAKENS Review; "The Best Instalment In The Franchise To Date"

Star Wars: The Force Awakens is now in theaters across the world, and here you will find my SPOILER-FREE review of quite possibly the most highly anticipated release of all-time. Check it out...

The second the words "Star Wars" appear on the big screen and you hear John Williams' iconic theme song kick off, it's hard not to be immediately overwhelmed with happiness with J.J. Abrams' long anticipated movie and the fact that it takes us back to a Galaxy Far, Far Away. However, what follows is even more incredible, and while repeat viewings will no doubt be needed to fully decide on this, I honestly think that Star Wars: The Force Awakens is the best instalment in the franchise to date. Better than The Empire Strikes Back? As much as I hate to see anything dethrone my all-time favourite movie, I think so! 

Returning to The Force Awakens though, and it's a hard one to fault. If I had to zero in on anything, it's that the motion capture characters (specifically Supreme Leader Snoke and Maz Kanata) look a little questionable at times, though that takes nothing away from how great they are thanks to the performances of Andy Serkis and Lupita Nyong'o. There's also an awful lot of step up for Star Wars Episode VIII and a long list of unanswered questions about what happened between the events of Return of the Jedi and this movie, some of which will quite likely be answered in future spinoffs or tie-in material. It's hard to be too critical of that though, especially when it serves to make the anticipation for the follow-ups to The Force Awakens even more exciting, and it's not like we're going into this movie unaware of the fact that it's part one of three! Even so, it works wonderfully as a standalone piece. 

The new cast members are absolutely fantastic. Daisy Ridley and John Boyega are perfect as the new leads, with both of them instantly coming across as extremely likeable and delivering stellar performance (seeing as she's a relative newcomer, Ridley is particularly impressive). I dare say that these two are even more compelling than both Anakin and Luke ever were and there are some great surprises in store in regards to how their respective stories unfold. Oscar Isaac is also excellent as Poe Dameron, and I just wish we had seen even more of him here. Gwendoline Christie also doesn't get to make much of an impact as Captain Phasma, but with Kathleen Kennedy having already confirmed that she'll be back in Star Wars Episode VIII, there's clearly plenty of time to make up for that. Domhnall Gleeson hams it up a little as General Hux, but it works really well in all fairness, especially in a scene where he addresses the First Order's troops. Speaking of which, it's to Abrams' credit that he's made the Stormtroopers scary again. These are no longer the bumbling buffoons who can't shoot straight; they're nasty, vile, and imposing figures who kids - and maybe even adults - will fear. 

By far the highlight for me though was Adam Driver. His Kylo Ren is a fascinating and layered character, and possibly the most interesting Star Wars villain to date. Sometimes conflicted and other times a petulant child, the way he develops over the course of the movie is a lot of fun to watch, and he may just be one of the best big screen villains of all-time, especially when so many blockbusters have baddies who are so easily forgotten and fail to make any sort of impact. 

When it comes to the story, it's obviously hard to say much without dropping any spoilers, but I will say that it's a movie which is going to make you laugh way more than you'll expect, be on the edge of your seat during amazing aerial and ground battles (and one of the franchise's best lightsaber duels as well), and probably shed a few tears too depending on how emotionally invested you get in the story and how big of a fan you are! Regardless of whether you're a newcomer to this world or a seasoned veteran, you WILL love Star Wars: The Force Awakens. J.J. Abrams has done what we all hoped and made a truly great Star Wars movie, and it's clear that a lot of love has gone into making this because he too is a fan. Can Rian Johnson and Colin Trevorrow top his effort? Right now, I'm not sure they'll even be able to match this movie, but as long as they come close, this new trilogy should still be amazing after a perfect opening. 

Thank you, J.J. Abrams.

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