My 2015 Movies: Star Wars – The Force Awakens (#5)

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Star Wars Episode VII, by far the most anticipated film of 2015 and one of the most discussed films of the past few years. With Star Wars comes a lot of hype, debate, speculation and worry. The worry stems from the widely held belief that the prequel films failed to impress upon release. There was a lot riding on this movie to not only surpass the prequels in quality, but also live up to fans’ expectations. Now that the dust has settled since its initial release, hopefully we can now see the film through calmer eyes.

Decades following the fall of the Empire, the First Order has risen in its place to conquer the galaxy. The galaxy remains in disarray and Luke Skywalker has long since disappeared. However, when a map to Skywalker’s current location surfaces, a new generation of heroes join the Resistance to help find Luke before the First Order can.

I remember seeing the movie on opening weekend somewhat conflicted. My expectations were admittedly high, and while I knew in my heart that I liked the movie, part of me still felt disappointed. I did rank it positively in my full review since it was a good movie, but I still felt iffy about my personal stance on it. I knew that in order to get a concrete opinion of the film I needed to watch it again- away from the buzz and with a more neutral mindset. I can now affirm that I love this movie.

The story is perfect for a Star Wars film. Many have rather accurately compared it format-wise to A New Hope. Some may find this disappointing, but I think that was the right move. The movie is different enough from Episode IV to stand on its own, while using it as a model to recreate the Star Wars feel. The story is paced well if not a bit fast and constant. However, not a single moment in this movie felt forced or unnatural, whether it be dialogue or action.

Most of your favorite characters, like Han Solo and Princess Leia, return, and are as awesome as ever. As for our new characters, they’re just as awesome and well portrayed. Daisy Ridley and John Boyega are fantastic additions to the Star Wars cast, both being compelling, likable, and funny while also having doing great action scenes. In fact, Boyega’s character, Finn, may now be my favorite Star Wars character ever. Oscar Isaac also does a great, and terribly underused, performance as Poe. Even Andy Serkis, who has the difficult task of trying to match Darth Vader, is a fantastic villain. He may not be as threatening as Vader, but he has a ton more personality and backstory.

As is the case for all Star Wars movies, the action scenes are very entertaining. All the series staples are here: lightsaber duels, blaster shootouts, and spaceship dogfights among other things. To me, my favorite of these were the space battles with the “escape from Jakku” probably being the standout. The action scenes are are aided by the film’s excellent blend of practical and CG effects. This movie avoids one of the prequel’s drastic mistakes of relying too much on CG and green screen, only using it when necessary and in conjunction with practical sets and props. Perhaps some of the entirely CG characters look fake, but it’s not a huge bother by any means.

It’s such a relief to say that Star Wars Episode VII is a fantastically enjoyable movie. It’s easily the most charming, nostalgic and fun movies you’ll see from 2015. I highly recommend seeing the film if you somehow haven’t already. Just be sure to keep your hype to a minimum. You’ll thank me later!

For more Star Wars, check out my full review of this movie, or check out my “Battle of the Sevens” post, where I compare Episode 7 with Furious 7 and Rocky 7 (Creed).

I’m SBox180. Thanks for reading!

View #4 here!

For all entries in the 2015 Movie Countdown, click here!

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