AKA. Seven reasons for why I loved the seventh Star Wars movie.
I realised quickly on when planning this review that it would turn into a list of why I liked it so much so I thought, for what will probably be my last review of the year, to write that list. I acknowledge that it is not the perfect film, and I’m sure there are enough valid (the narrative near enough a replication of ‘A New Hope’) or invalid (*ahem that Rey is Mary Sue bollocks*) reasons to dislike it or be disappointed by it. But I liked it and this is my blog so…deal with it! WARNING: There will be spoilers. Ready? Now let’s head off to a long time ago in a galaxy far far away…
The character of Rey (Daisy Ridley) is a natural progression from Princess Leia. Though Carrie Fisher’s character was way ahead of the times upon her first introduction in 1977’s ‘A New Hope’, with her fierce wit and her fearlessness, she is frequently away from the main action. Rey is for the most part where the action actually is within ‘The Force Awakens’. Established as having been abandoned by her family and left to fend for herself on the harsh landscape of Jakku, Rey is clearly independent and able to handle herself. When attacked by scavengers who are after BB-8 she fights two off successfully on her own. Finn comes to her rescue but is not needed or wanted – his then insistence on grabbing her hand when running away is instantly rebuffed. She sees no reason for it. With that small gesture JJ. Abrams sets Rey up as a female character we rarely see in Science Fiction – one who can handle herself and fight her own battles. From thereon Rey’s characterisation further develops her awesomeness and potential power which is a total joy to watch.
2) Kylo Ren
Since first appearing in the trailer with *that* lightsaber the possible/probable villain of the new trilogy has been the focus of much speculation. Adam Driver gives the man behind the mask the right balance of vulnerability and power. The revelations of his origins add not reduce this capacity, leading to pondering about how much he will take after his grandfather. His fiery temper along with his unconventional charisma make him everything that Anakin Skywalker should have been. He has also led to one of the 2015 funniest twitter accounts, with a teenage Emo Kylo Ren sharing his frustrations with the world…
Of all of the seven (and counting) Star Wars films, this might be Chewbacca’s best outing yet. The source of many of the (unexpectedly) funny film’s gags he is given more to do than just be Han Solo’s sidekick. And if your heart did not break at his reaction to a certain someone’s demise then you have a heart of stone!
4) Finn and Poe
Along with Rey, Finn and Poe are excellent additions to the franchise. Individually they are great characters – a pilot so legendary he makes it into *those* opening credits and a stormtrooper whose PTSD leads him away from the darkside – but it their bromance which is currently breaking the internet. Their bromance will be undoubtedly be shipped by many worldwide and provide a focus for much fan-fiction. There is an instant rapport between the pair, their introduction, separation and eventual reunion are glorious to watch. Though they shared relatively little screen-time we are provided with more than enough to hint their pairing will provide much joy in forthcoming movies.
5) Leia and Han Solo
J.J Abrams is hugely successful in achieving a balance between old Star Wars and new Star Wars. The roles Leia and Han Solo play in the events of ‘The Force Awakens’ is no exception. Han’s ‘Chewie, we’re home now’ is air-punch worthy, as is his roguish arrogant charm when handling the mercenaries. But it’s his brief reunion then parting with Leia that really tugs at the heart strings. Who knows what fate awaits this coupling considering the jaw-dropping fate of one of the pair..?
Going into ‘The Force Awakens’ it is unlikely you were looking for a new droid to love but if you were, this would be the droid you were looking for. Just like R2-D2 BB-8 communicates with a series of beeps which are then translated by on-screen characters, but those beeps along with his manerisums communicate so much with so little. Favourite moment has to be when John Boyega’s Finn gives BB-8 a thumbs up, to which our spherical droid responds with a flame that resembles a less than polite gesture.
7) Maz Kanta
Maz is a worthy wise and wizened successor to Yoda. The hints to her wide and varied knowledge will undoubtedly be furthered in future films, but for now there is more than enough to mark her out as a character to watch out for. Her bespeckled gaze in terms of ability to induce inner truth is only equalled by ‘Harry Potter’s Professor Trelawney.
What truly worked about this film, along with the seven points above, are the amount of questions carefully raised and left unanswered. J.J Abrams used the familiar narrative of ‘A New Hope’ to both introduce the new and pay tribute to the old. But to truly succeed with this franchise it will have to step out of the mould and not rehash ‘Empire Strikes Back’.
Though next year brings another Star Wars movie, ‘Rogue One’ starring Felicity Jones, it’ll be two years till we return these characters. I for one cannot wait!