Finally, perhaps the most anticipated film of this century is upon us, and my oh my was it worth the wait.
When the announcement that Disney were reviving the much-loved series first came, it was of course met with a rush of excitement, but also a severe twang of angst. Why? Because – as we saw with ill-recieved prequels – Star Wars is a franchise that’s easy to get wrong.
Fortunately, this time, newly appointed director J.J. Abrams (Armageddon, Cloverfield) got it very, very right. With twists galore, laughs aplenty and a lovely big dose of nostalgia, The Force Awakens is the film so many of us were praying it would be.
Perfect? No, of course not. There are several scenes – particularly the final sequence – which a lot of fans would’ve done a lot differently. However, it’s hard to knock the plot which, while typically over the top, keeps you guessing right up until the last blaster is fired.
The sense of destiny, that was so lovingly brought to life by the original films, returns with great effect. Abrams’ decision to almost instantly introduce our new set of heroes – Rey (Daisy Ridley), Finn (John Boyega), Poe Dameron (Oscar Isaac) and his droid BB-8 – both to each other and to us was a great move; it makes you feel as if The Force is in charge, as if all of these characters have a place they are going to and that the only way to find out where is simply to watch.
And watch you will, because the environments are stunning, the characters are intriguing and the acting is first class. As Rey, Ridley brings the kind of wonder and belonging that Hayden Christensen never really managed to capture in his role as Anakin Skywalker. Similarly, in his part as Stormtrooper-gone-rogue Finn, Boyega gives an assured and well-measured performance. Other special mentions go to Harrison Ford who, despite his wrinkles, will always be Han Solo, and Isaac; the man knows his way around an X-Wing.
The highest praise, however, must go to Adam Driver as the evil Kylo Ren. Having to portray a villain in the Star Wars universe that isn’t Darth Vader, but who must have a similar impact to Darth Vader, is an absolutely thankless task; yet Driver pulls it off almost effortlessly. Conflicted, angry, tainted by The Dark Side, there is a sense of fear ever-present in Driver’s eyes that reveals more about Ren than any plot-device ever could.
The Force Awakens is a miraculous return to form for the series and it truly deserves every accolade that is thrown its way. If the next two films are anything like this one, we all have a lot to look forward to. Go out and see it.
Final Verdict: 9.5/10
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Original Author: Jay Michaels