I’m fairly sure this is the best Star Wars film ever made.
And I’m still alive, hmm… Shall have to keep writing. Alas, this is not the spoiler packed review, as Bane said “that part comes later”. For now, with all deference to allowing a true movie magic movement, I will review in generalities. However, there will be podcasts and videos and longer pieces later on when the dust has settled to break down the finer elements of this film.
Let’s get the big point out of the way, however…
Star Wars: The Force Awakens is the Johnny Cash Hurt Cover of films. If you haven’t seen it, I shall explain:
Just before the time of his passing Johnny Cash covered Nine Inch Nails’ ‘Hurt’ and did so soooo well, that he basically took the song from Trent Reznor. It’s his now. It’s akin to conquistadors setting foot in Ecuador for the first time. Having said that, yes, this film is a cover song of ‘A New Hope’. However, it’s such a superior experience that ‘A New Hope’ is now the blueprint and prototype Lucas forged for Abrams to eventually take.
Well, first and foremost, all power to the lovely Daisy Riddley. She makes this film. As far as a new age protagonist, she is a far superior force to that of Luke Skywalker. She is first and foremost, adorable. And not in the sexist way, Men can be adorable, Luke was a little bit Adorable. The double edge of that sword is at times obnoxious. Luke is the double edge sword, Daisy’s Rey is not.
If this is your first foray into my site, please note, I do not write linear “this happened, then this happened, then this” reviews. In fact, I consider what I do analysis rather than review, as it is. This being a personal Mantra, the best way to experience the movie, is to see it. This site is to address the social impact and relevance within the Zeitgeist, not tell you what to expect.
Having said that, the story itself is kicked off by new characters Poe Dameron (Oscar Isaac) and Kylo Ren (Adam Driver):
This has to be the biggest budget indie film these two indie darlings have ever done, for-the-record. Sorry, turns out that Hipster director Noah Baumbach has not directed this film. Nerd Hipster JJ Abrams did, however.
Poe is not so easy to pin down, but he has comedic timing up the (whatever Star Warsness a Wazoo is). Kylo however, will be standing in this evening for Darth Vader. How does Kylo measure up? As a force and presence? Not kindly. As a Character? You know, like a person, with a personality, who does things a person does? Far Superior!
Now to detail the final two new action figure marketing ploy…. I mean… Plot driving characters, yeah, that’s it. John Boyega’s Finn, something to discuss. First off… African American. So I’ll let terrible people be outraged for awhile and I’ll tell you a joke:
Okay, so like, what do you call someone who sees a cast list for a new Star Wars film and sees that the two leads are a Black Man and A Woman?
Give up? – A Terrible Person.
Is there a romance betwixt the two? A one-sided one, yes. And I’m appalled. I just don’t approve of inter-accent relationships. Finn is a very complex supporting character, and much like the Kylo Ren character, only aided by his human-like characteristics.
There you have it. (Oh, new Robot toy, too.) Why is this the better film? Why is this the superior cover? Well, because of nuance. Nuance in films is like ‘The Force’ those who can wield it will always be the superior creatures walking the universe of Art. The New guys (and gal), they’re just more complex. Klyo Ren is prone to tantrum. Fin is prone to panic. Poe is prone to making immediate friends with enemy Storm Troopers. It’s all just so fantastically not so black and white.
But more than the new, let’s talk about this master-weaving in the old. Namely in that of Han Solo. First off, Harrison Ford apparently took a job and showed up giving a shit. I mean, I just think we all need to take a step back and appreciate effort on this man’s part again. Bravo, Sir! This Han is older, because of… like Time. And yet, he’s better than he ever has been. There’s something to say for decidedly not asshole Han Solo. His cynicism is at bay due to the previous arcs the man has been charged with.
Seeing a skeptical Han Solo 20 years after the witnessing of a great many fantastical things would have been a brick road in the story structure. This Han is still chiseled and a little self-absorbed, but well aware of others. He also gives the much needed stamp of approval to Rey. The new heroes are better, the new villains are better, the old characters are better. This is an upgrade, Nerds. Ya’ll love upgrades. Embrace the upgrade!
So, what didn’t work? Well, direct lines in the film that cry out “aren’t we ripping off the plot of the previous films?” That was problematic. Also not working, the supreme force of evil in the film, Snoke. Remember when I wrote all those words about the touches of grey and the fantastic accenting that it allows within the context of this new journey? Yeah, Snoke’s all “I’m evil! Blah”. And it is, it’s “Blah”.
He’s Emperor 2.0. Why he exists is anyone’s guess. Why there is still Civil War is never made all that clear in general. You can go both ways on that one. It’s believable that the Universe, vast as it is can always have sizable fascist regimes that can metastasize from anywhere. This enemy’s motives are just skin-deep however. It’s nice every time Andy Serkis work however.
In closing, is this the best film of the year? No. It’s far far better than we could have hoped for, however. It’s really good, it really deserves your money. I saw it twice in under 24 hours, cause my stupid nephews don’t have jobs so I had to get them tickets, which means, I might as well go again. And it thoroughly entertained me a second time through. See the film this holiday season. It’s what Space Jesus would have wanted.