Star Wars The Force Awakens: Spoiler-Jihad Review (It’s been long enough anyway!)

So, during the beginning of winter break, I got to see Star Wars The Force Awakens for the first time after much dread and at the same time, anticipation for what I was gonna see. Would it be as good as the original trilogy? I didn’t think so in the back of my mind. Was it better or worse than the prequels? Well, George Lucas wasn’t writing the dialogue so that’s a plus one in my book personally. For those who haven’t seen Lucas’ writing in action, here’s a prime example:

This constitutes as romance dialogue in his book, people. Just saying. Now do I think he’s a terrible world builder being the father of Star Wars? Well…no. However I do not consider him in my honest opinion a good writer and when I heard he wasn’t writing this new movie, that actually gave me a bit of hope to say the least. But let me get to why you’re actually here for this post. If you don’t want spoilers, please do not read any further in this review and check out @ryanshollenberger  for a spoiler-free review. And likely a shorter one than my own for those who don’t want to shift through too much text. It’s definitely worth a read too!

As I stated above, I myself loved the original trilogy and love Star Wars in general. When I was younger, I remember the prequels coming out as that was around the time they were being produced. From 1999 – 2005, that was the time of when the prequels were the newest Star Wars films in movies. Some loved it, others completely hated it. As a kid, I did not really mind the prequels and loved all the movies. But as I got older and more experienced and looking back, the prequels were such as a disaster. Exposition and no end to it, a heavy use of CGI to make the movies look “cool”, politics that really if you hadn’t read the actual books that were made to complement the movie at the time, would not actually make much sense to the average viewer, and so forth. To say the least, these movies stopped production of any further Star Wars films for ages, and fans wondered if they’d ever even go forth and make a new one.

So having said that, you could imagine that myself, a fan who had come to that realization about the prequels before The Force Awakens actually came out or even was announced, and then also being a fan of Star Trek whom J.J. Abrams, the one directing this movie, kinda made more like Star Wars than Star Trek, getting rid of the heavy philosophy in favor of more…well..

A cool fight scene and cool visuals for sure, but these films seemed more like Fast and Furious 8, this time in space. But to the point, a lot of things had me question the production of this movie. But boy, was I wrong to dread. Star Wars The Force Awakens was a fun experience that should be shared with your friends if they’re Star Wars fans themselves or interested in the franchise at all. I guaranteed you they will not regret it. The movie had good pacing, good dialogue, good acting, good visuals, good camera angles, being caught up in the nostalgia is a fun and entertaining time. Now bare in mind, this movie is not without it’s flaws. Take into account, this is all my personal opinion too:

  1. The story in itself was very..much the same as the original movie for Star Wars. A band of resistance fighters on the run from a dark mysterious figure in-charge of a Neo-Nazi regime looking to extract information who turns out to be the pawn of a even more insidious figure behind the scenes. They also are chasing a little robot whom gets mixed up with a washed-up war veteran, a nobody from a desert world, a Wookie (same one btw), and others whom would later on join this resistance to take down a super-weapon that destroys planets. NOW, I’m not saying that it’s a bad thing that they reused this story because they to be fair, had to work from a very precarious standpoint since the prequels, so it would be best to play it safe and do something they know fans will want to see and reintroduce them to such an iconic franchise the only way they could: Show they could actually tell this story but just as good. But if you’re the kind of person who doesn’t give much of a crud about such things, then you seeing the same story again I’m sure..doesn’t entirely make it -more- exciting.

2.  For a group of people who say they weren’t using any material from the EU (Expanded Universe) of Star Wars such as the books, comics, etc., it’s ironic that the movie’s main villain is actually basically a carbon copy of Jacen Solo from the books, whom is the son of Han Solo, a force user gone to the dark side to serve a master whom seduced him to the Dark Side by tempting him with power. He also is known for anger issues and extreme tantrums when he is extremely agitated.  All these traits and quite a lot more similarities are the same as that of the character within the movie, Kylo Ren. So Kylo Ren is not much that original of a character except a few tweaks to one whom was already a part of the Star Wars universe, just rebooted you could say for cinema.  This was one problem I had simply because, I feel that what made Vader and Palpatine such interesting villains is that while not entirely original, for the Star Wars universe, it was pretty original as characters like that had not been introduced. I think new villains, and new characters are what’s going to help this movie franchise move forward as well. Why I hope that the theory of Snoke being a character from the EU is not true at all, as I feel Snoke, as well as other new characters moving forward should just simply be new additions and I feel the writers now after a successful first movie of this new trilogy should stretch their creative thinking now.

3. Han Solo’s death was a scene that I’m sure many fans cried out or were torn apart over, seeing such a beloved character finally meet his end. While Harrison Ford has been wanting to get out of the role of this character ever since the Empire Strikes Back, I still feel the way they handled his death was also quite rushed. I feel Han Solo deserved more than to be stabbed in the chest and then thrown aside into what looked like a never-ending pit and then not much mention of him afterwards was rather just..stunning given the impact Han Solo had on this franchise. Not only to the story of the original trilogy but he was a trademark poster boy for independents in space everywhere after Star Wars came out, rather like an icon. So I feel a character who was so greatly and obviously an influence deserved a much more heroic death than what he got in return. Regardless, I’m sure everyone’s reaction at the end was that of the following:

Han Solo was definitely not the most developed and the most well constructed character ever and that much is for certain, but I personally adored him as did numerous different people. I just personally believe he deserved much more to be killed off and never spoken about again throughout the rest of the movie. It was essentially a Ben Kenobi moment (the death wasn’t so original either.)

I have basically a list of nitpicks of my own that I did not like and feel could’ve been handled better. But don’t get me wrong, this movie was great and among the best of the series thus far. I wouldn’t rate it as the best and still find that the original trilogy handled what they had better, but even then, these guys wanted to reintroduce the classic tale of Star Wars, the feel, the plot, the philosophy, the overall experience of Star Wars and J.J. Abrams, I tip my hat to you because you’ve proven a lot of people wrong in my personal opinion, including myself. Not only does this feel like a Star Wars movie, and surpasses that of the prequels by a long shot, but it -IS- a Star Wars movie and I just actually had to re-watch it twice to catch everything. If you do not see this movie, then you aren’t really a Star Wars fan, because movie fans, EU fans, or even that of anyone who enjoys a fantasy/sci-fi tale of classic and iconic scenarios will enjoy Star Wars The Force Awakens. I’m willing to give the movie a 8/10 for what it is. Do I think it could’ve been better? Absolutely. But what I consider better is also up for debate anyway, so if you liked it for what it was, more power to you. Overall, great movie and I hope to actually see more come 2017 when Star Wars Episode VIII is released. If you haven’t already, go see Star Wars The Force Awakens before it’s eventual departure from theaters.

5 thoughts on “Star Wars The Force Awakens: Spoiler-Jihad Review (It’s been long enough anyway!)”

  1. Great analysis, Jacob. Don’t discount Han Solo’s death yet- I think it could end up being a lot more heroic than we’ve been shown yet…

    @abram proposed an interesting theory related to this, which I’m excited to discuss in Star Wars philosophy when we get back to school.

    Thanks for the shout-out to my review, by the way =)

  2. Nice review Jacob. Yeah I’m pretty excited to talk about my theory, thanks @ryanshollenberger for mentioning it.

    Questions we should explore: who is Ray in relation to Kylo? Seems like they are playing out the Vader/Luke struggle of evil/good. I’m expecting a much more intelligent plot twist than ‘cousins’ fighting over dark/light FYI.

    Wtf is Luke doing anyway? Just sitting on an island while the “force is awakening”? Is he just crying over his failed training of Kylo? (Ryan: or are Kylo and Luke plotting this out?) Sends out pieces of a puzzle so he can be found. Why?

    On the death of Han: replay the dialogue before he dies in your mind. What are the potential implications? Why would Kylo thank Han for making it easy for him to kill him? Why would he kill his dad?

    The thing that I liked about this film much more than the prequels was the number of questions it leaves unanswered. It makes for a much richer text. Lucas’ real failing as a script writer is that he is so dogmatic about what he intends. The real flaw in the whole dearth earth bunks theory was always that we have to remember: Lucas loves to spell things out for us to the point of idiocy.

    I think your 8/10 is a rating I can get behind.

  3. Also, looking forward to the spin offs that should be released this year. The one about the team that stole the original Death Star plans. Classic retro Star Wars will be awesome. (Never understood why prequel tech seemed more advanced than the originals, thanks GL).

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