Anyone who knows me knows that Star Wars is my favorite movie. I absolutely love this franchise and my excitement as well as my expectations were incredibly high before this movie came out. I honestly didn’t hate the prequel films, sure they weren’t as good as the original trilogy but what could really beat those films. I knew without a doubt that I would love this new film just like all the other Star Wars films before it. Was I right? Let’s review Star Wars Episode VII: The Force Awakens.
I didn’t like it……..well that’s not entirely fair nor is it entirely true. As with a lot of movies in my library I eventually come around on the film after a few more times viewing it, but I will admit that my initial reaction to the film was disappointment. I feel like The Force Awakens is missing some special ingredient that will allow it to stand out in the Star Wars franchise. The film is almost a complete copy of Episode IV: A New Hope and I know I am certainly not the only one that feels that way. Now just being a copy of Episode IV isn’t really that bad in its own right, you could copy worse films. What makes this a bad thing is that the film honestly doesn’t have any moments that truly define it as its own. For as much as fans gripe about Episode I, it at least had the amazing Pod Race sequence and the stunning 3 way lightsaber battle at the end. Episode VII suffers from not having any really jaw dropping action sequences. The starfighter segments are just sort of there and the lightsaber battle at the end is undoubtedly lackluster.
I think this wouldn’t have been a problem if the film’s plot was more original but it just feels like sequences we have seen done better before. I think the film was so desperate to get us back to that galaxy far far away that we knew and loved from the original trilogy that it forgot to be really distinctive in any way or fashion. The film brought back practical effects but many of them didn’t look particular good or stood out too much. We brought back John Williams, but aside from a few notable pieces most of the soundtrack just felt like re-hashes of the old series. This is my overall problem with Episode VII, it’s not a bad film by far but it’s unimaginative, unoriginal, and uninspired. Now being within the Star Wars pantheon of films, being the most indistinctive is probably one of the worst things to be known for and it feels even worse knowing that the rich expanded universe was discarded for a reused plotline.
Now that I’ve gotten that rant out of the way, let’s talk about what I do walk away from this movie with. I think Episode VII did in one movie what the Prequel series couldn’t do in 3, have memorable characters. All of the new main characters have distinctive personality quirks and personal goals that make them all stand out wonderfully. This was a major problem in the prequels where the majority of the characters were incredibly bland and lifeless. I am significantly more excited to see what becomes of these characters far more than I would anyone from the prequel series.
Like many films I feel like my opinion on them waxes and wanes as time goes on and I figured that given enough time I would eventually come to enjoy The Force Awakens. Actually the thing that helped me the most was going out and buying a massive visual encyclopedia that let me divulge into every little secret the film had to offer (I really shouldn’t be asking for a massive exposition speech). I enjoy the film but I also think it might be one of the weaker outings Star Wars has to offer. When I think about the Star Wars films I think about how each of them brought something new and fantastical to this already rich world, while Episode 7 certainly adds to this already rich universe it also feels like not enough. 3.7 out of 5.