So I am sure for those who enjoyed my previous movie review posts are wondering why I haven’t reviewed Star Wars: The Force Awakens. There are a couple of reasons. First I wanted time to digest what I had seen. I saw SW:TFA opening night in a prescreening. I am happy to say I was one of the first in the USA to see the film and it did not disappoint. I digress. Second, I did not want to spoil the movie for anyone who had not seen it, specifically, friends and family I know follow this blog.
From the opening of the Lucasfilm logo to the end rolling of the credits, I was entranced with Star Wars Episode VII The Force Awakens. I find that the nostalgic feelings of watching the original trilogy with my Father and my Brother left me aching a bit to watch it with them. From beginning to end The Force Awakens (TFA) is an emotional ride one cannot hope to grasp in one sitting. I saw TFA twice in theaters and I plan to go again, it is that good.
****** SPOILERS BELOW *******
I want to see it again because I still have unanswered questions. Who is Rey? Who is Snoke? It is not just the questions though, I really loved the fight on the Starkiller and the escape from the Star Destroyer above Jakku. Every scene has been crafted to tug on the fanboy heartstrings. The plot of the movie is a revisit to the story in A New Hope (Star Wars Episode IV of the original trilogy). However, I do not believe this is a bad thing. Would I like to have seen a new and different story? Yes, but I think I did. Let me explain.
A New Hope was about Luke Skywalker and his introduction to the Force as well as the Rebel Alliance’s fight against the empire. There are similar plot elements in TFA as we see Rey and Finn introduced to the fight against the First Order, we are also introduced to Kylo Ren (who I believe is the most dynamic villain we’ve met to date, more on that later). There is a new Death Star, a Kid who has grown up on a desert planet, a droid with information, an opening scene with Stormtroopers killing people, it really does revisit A New Hope. This is not bad though, because the story is in the characters.
As any author worth his salt will tell you, it is the characters that tell the story, not the events they are caught up in. The story of Rey as a scavenger, to starship pilot, to reluctant hero, to acceptance that she can feel the force is not the same as the path Luke Skywalker took in A New Hope, for comparison: Luke the Farmer, Luke the scared kid, Luke the Fledgling Jedi, Luke the Stormtrooper, Luke the fighter pilot, Luke the Hero. The real similarity is in the acceptance of the force near the end of the film. Rey is a new and different character and the first female lead Star Wars has had. Say what you will about Princess Leia she just wasn’t as cool as Rey.
That brings me to Finn, or FN-2187. This character is one of the most dynamic and compelling characters in TFA. The Stormtrooper turned Resistance Fighter. First off, I think the idea of training up NON-Clone soldiers is a great one. Clones are easy to control, but they get expensive. The First Order might have the resources of planets, but they just don’t have the resources to generate entire new clone armies. I like the idea. Finn’s character is revealed as a Stormtrooper that can feel. The opening scenes he refuses to fire on civilians and even laments the loss of a fellow Stormtrooper. The film see’s Finn aiding Resistance Pilot Poe Dameron, getting lost on Jakku, trying in vain to save Rey despite her protests, helping to shoot tie fighters out of the sky, trying to run away, then coming to Rey’s rescue again (even though she managed on her own). The ending fight scene with Finn and Kylo Ren is second only to Rey’s fight with Kylo (ironically brought on by Finn’s defeat). As a guy, Finn is my favorite good character. Sorry Rey.
Finally let’s talk about my favorite character in the entire film, Kylo Ren or Ben Solo. The first time we see Kylo Ren he is stopping a blaster bolt shot by Poe Dameron. The bolt freezes in place as Kylo holds it with the force. OMG! I nearly lost it when I saw that. Every other Jedi or Sith we’ve seen in SW to date, has always deflected blaster fire. Even Vader deflected on Bespin in the Empire Strikes Back. This is a testament to the raw power of Kylo Ren. Then the next time we get real screen time with him, he is throwing a temper tantrum. It serves to show this dynamic side of the character. When things are going his way he is capable of awesome feats of power, but when he is angered his rage is wild and uncontrolled. Throughout the film we see this dynamic contrast of the calm and collected Ren and the rage beast he has inside. Towards the end of the film we learn why. He is conflicted. There is a war raging for his soul, the light and the dark side of the force are pulling on him and his words to his father “I’m being torn apart” are compelling and powerful. In the moment, Kylo asks Han to help him I knew that it would not end well for Han, and yes I cried. Unlike most I did not go into the movie knowing that Harrison Ford wanted Han to die so I was wholly unprepared for it.
Okay, so I am going to wrap this post up, it is already longer than I intended. However, I do want to expand on why I think Kylo Ren is the best character and not the wuss everyone has tried to paint him as, but that will have to be in another post. Until next time folks.
Your Friendly Neighborhood Author,