Dash Reviews…Star Wars Episode VII: The Force Awakens(Extended Spoiler-Heavy Reviewer’s Cut)

Merry Friggin’ Christmas, everybody! Hope you all had a wonderful day, got lots of goodies, lots of food, lots of booze and spent lots of time with the folks. I certainly did, which is why this article is a little late. You guys know what time it is now, right? Anyone reading this and haven’t seen ‘Star Wars Episode VII’ yet, here is a link to my spoiler-free edit of this review:

https://dashjordan.wordpress.com/2015/12/24/dash-reviews-star-wars-episode-vii-the-force-awakensspecial-spoiler-free-edition/

   This is your last chance to stop reading this review and go check out the movie. Because tonight, there will be no holding back and go turning back. You have been warned…

Now, you will experience the full power of the spoilers!

  ‘Star Wars Episode 7: The Force Awakens’ is the newest film in the iconic ‘Star Wars’ franchise and the first entry of the ‘Star Wars’ Sequel Trilogy, taking place 30 years after the events of ‘Episode VI: Return Of The Jedi’. In this film, we see some of our most cherished characters basically passing the torch to a new cast of characters as the Rebel Alliance becomes the new Resistance, while a new evil known as the First Order rises from the ashes of the Galactic Empire. Much like the two other ‘Star Wars’ films, there’s always that one installment that is regarded as both the darkest and the best of their respective trilogy. The Original Trilogy had ‘The Empire Strikes Back’ and the Prequel Trilogy had ‘Revenge Of The Sith’. However, the filmmakers made the bold choice of having the dark story be the very first entry rather than the 2nd or the final. I just hope that ‘Episode VIII’ & ‘Episode IX’ doesn’t end up with a bunch of Ewoks.

As I’ve mentioned before, Han Solo & Chewbacca were a joy to sit through again. So, you could only imagine the heartbreak and rage I’ve felt when KYLO REN KILLED HAN SOLO!!!!!!!!

I swear to God, I was the loudest one in the theater! This is something I truly was not expecting. Not to mention that there is a story from the Expanded Universe where Chewbacca sacrifices himself. Honestly, I already had a feeling that one of the original characters would die in this one, but I thought it would’ve been Chewie. To be fair, that would actually make sense, since Peter Mayhew’s health is sadly declining anyway. BUT NOOOOOOO! You gotta have Adam from ‘Girls’ kill my favorite character?!? Rest in peace, Solo. You were the best.

In all fairness though, this is something entirely new we’re seeing from ‘Star Wars’. To my knowledge, no Sith has ever gone as far as to kill their own father. Yes…I said “Father”. Kylo Ren is actually Ben Solo; the son of Han Solo and Leia Organa. Yeah, remember how I said that Kylo Ren was an admirer of Darth Vader? Nope, he’s Anakin’s grandson! While this movie may not be entirely faithful to any of the stories that take place years after ‘Return Of The Jedi’, there are some similarities. One of which, is that Ben Solo a.k.a. Kylo Ren is partly inspired by Han’s son from the Expanded universe; Jacen Solo a.k.a. Darth Caedus.

Anyway, this is truly the darkest I’ve ever seen the Dark Side of the Force go. Not even Darth Sidious has killed his father! I think it’s safe to say Kylo Ren has earned some serious brownie points and is now one of the best villains from the ‘Star Wars’ universe. I’ve already touched upon Adam Driver’s performance already so I’ll try not to repeat myself. But the sheer intensity in his performance is one of the main highlights of this movie. This is what Hayden Christensen’s Anakin Skywalker SHOULD’VE been like! 

   I hate you too, Momma’s boy! Anyway, I can’t wait to see how much further this character goes in the sequels. I wanna know if he’ll ever redeem himself and if his acts will haunt him or not. From the inspired look from Vader, to his uncontrollable fits of rage and one hell of a shocking turn of events, Kylo Ren has already proven himself worthy as a great villain of this franchise.

By the way, ScrewAttack…I STILL wanna see that Death Battle!

 Now, as great as this movie was, it’s not without its flaws. Very minor flaws, though. Obviously, it’s great to hear that amazing John Williams music. However, this time around, it was a little different. Not much really, as it was still great music. But it wasn’t quite as memorable this time around. I’m not talking about the iconic music that was featured in the other movies. I’m talking about the original music that was made for this movie. Say what you will about the Prequel Trilogy(believe me, I Have!), but you have to admit that the music in the prequels was amazing and memorable. Think about the music that was playing when Obi-Wan Kenobi & Qui-Gon Jinn fought Darth Maul in ‘Episode I’, Anakin & Padme’s love theme from ‘Episode II’, or when Obi-Wan & Anakin fought on Mustafar in ‘Episode III’. You’re humming that music right now, aren’t you? See what I mean? The Prequel Trilogy was crap, but at least they had an identity thanks to John Williams’ score. Still fantastic work on ‘The Force Awakens’, but you’ve done better and you can do better. Sorry, Mr. Williams…you’re still the man, though.

Another nitpick I have, unfortunately, is the action. J.J. Abrams also did an amazing job revitalizing ‘Star Trek’. However, I can understand why some people may not like the new movies because it relies more on action. The ‘Star Wars’ franchise on the other hand, has a lot more action than its long-time sci-fi rival. So while it was still great to see some good action, I was already aware of what a ‘Star Wars’ movie directed by J.J. Abrams would be like because of his previous work on the ‘Star Trek’ reboot from 2009 and his 2013 sequel. Not really a bad thing, I just wasn’t as surprised as most people. Nothing new, but satisfying, nonetheless.

Okay, let’s go back to the positives. Like all of the fanboy moments, for examples. Seeing such beloved movie icons on the big screen for the first time can turn grown men into little girls. Everyone and their mothers know about ‘Star Wars’, so it was a treat to see some familiar faces. Much like ‘The Phantom Menace’, it was a chance for older and newer fans to join together and see their heroes. Unlike ‘The Phantom Menace’, however, there was no migraines to be had here. I’ve already mentioned Han Solo and Chewie, they’re still as awesome as I’ve remembered. By the way, I tip my hat off to Peter Mayhew; the actor who plays Chewbacca. Standing over 7 feet tall at 71 years old, and can still play Chewie despite his age and knee problems. Obviously, they had a stunt double and some CGI for some of Chewie’s action scenes, but the man is all kinds of awesome.

   We also have Mark Hamill returning as Luke Skywalker, Carrie Fisher returning as Leia Organa, R2-D2, & C-3PO! I think it’s safe to say that the gang is back with a vengeance, and I am happy to have a chance to see these guys together again.

You know the old saying, out with the old and in with the new. I finally get to go into greater details about my two new favorite characters, Finn & Rey…Ladies first, of course.

Rey’s origins still remain to be fully discovered in the sequel, but here’s what we do know. She’s obviously a Force-sensitive, she pretty much starts out almost the same way as Luke did in ‘A New Hope’. As a character…I love her. This is one of the best movie heroines I’ve seen in a long time. She’s strong and cunning without feeling forced, and she can also be vulnerable without becoming some useless damsel. As of right now, she’s now thrown into some romantic subplot with any of the characters, which I also love. Not to mention the fact that when she inevitably begins using her Force powers, it’s at a very gradual pace. It’s really got me curious as to know just how powerful Rey will become in the future movies. Another thing…I HOPE she ends up using a double-bladed lightsaber. PLEASE J.J. ABRAMS?!? PLEASE?!? I MEAN, LOOK AT HER!!!

  Alright, now on to the character that’s really got my interests since the first couple of minutes into the film. I’m, of course, talking about FN-2187 a.k.a. Finn.

John Boyega plays a Stormtrooper who redeems himself by betraying the First Order and freeing Poe Dameron from capture. Later, he finds Rey on the planet Jakku. Yes, Finn is obviously smitten with Rey, but as of right now, it seems that they’re just allies who become close friends. I also do commend the writers for not having the whole “misunderstanding” cliche that happens in every movie. You know what I’m talking about. The hero who makes a big lie to make himself look good or impress the girl, wins everyone’s trust, gets found out and everyone hates him for it but then redeems himself, saves the day and gets the girl. Hey, this is Disney so I wouldn’t have been surprised. Instead, Finn just flat out tells Rey that he was a Stormtrooper in the middle of the movie…and then they just move on like it’s nothing. I LOVE THAT! But back to Finn. He’s wielding a lightsaber…He’s shown holding one in the posters and in the trailers. I’m sure there’s a lot of theories behind that. I’m also sure that they’re similar to my theory. I know for a fact that Finn is a Force-sensitive. Anyone who isn’t a Jedi or a Sith should not be able to wield a lightsaber like that. Sure, Finn lost both of his fights in the movie. But…he was good. He lost, but Finn was holding his own. I really hope we go more into his backstory in the later movies, because I would really be disappointed if Finn is not discovered as a Force-sensitive. He just has to be! Plus, he’s an awesome character and I would like to see him with the lightsaber again.

Speaking of lightsaber…I would like to ask a question to all of the other Star Wars fans out there. I’ll admit, I’m not completely familiar with the Expanded Universe, I only played some of the games and know a few of the stories. So I must ask…Since when was Luke Skywalker’s lightsaber blue? I know that Anakin’s lightsaber had a blue crystal before he became Darth Vader and that Obi-Wan passed it down to Luke. But, in ‘Return Of The Jedi’, Luke crafted his own lightsaber and it had a green crystal. Last time I checked, Luke always had the green lightsaber. But in this movie, Luke’s lightsaber is blue again? I’m confused. It’s just a little nitpick I have, I’m really curious. Is there something I’m missing here?

   Speaking of Luke…my god. It’s like seeing an old friend from Kindergarten! That ending was one of the most beautiful moments to ever grace the silver screen. Mark Hamill…welcome back.

Do not try to compare it to the Original Trilogy. Nothing can touch ‘A New Hope’, ‘The Empire Strikes Back’ or ‘Return Of The Jedi’, let’s just get that squared away right now. As a standalone film and as the introduction to a new trilogy, ‘The Force Awakens’ is one hell of a film. The effects, music, acting and story is near-perfect. It’s no wonder why they called this installment, ‘The Force Awakens’. J.J. breaths new life into the ‘Star Wars’ franchise, continuing the adventures of this beautiful saga, even a few elements from the franchise’s massive Expanded Universe, an amazing passing of the torch to a new cast; who I hope will all become just as memorable and iconic. There’s no need to even recommend this movie. It’s friggin’ ‘Star Wars’! The first real ‘Star Wars’ film in over 10 long years! 32 YEARS if you don’t include the prequels! This is not a return of ‘Star Wars’, because the franchise has never left our hearts and it never will. But, ‘Star Wars Episode VII: The Force Awakens’ certainly is the shot of adrenaline that our hearts needed.

…and yes, BB-8 is still cute.

  There! I did it! I did my full review of ‘The Force Awakens’, spoilers included. If I spoiled it for any of you. I do apologize, but I did warn you. Well, that little taste of the Dark Side was fun while it lasted. But, I think it’s time I did a little redeeming myself. Christmas may be over, but it’s still December and I may have a few more surprises up my sleeves. Sorry, your Highness…you failed.

 

Yeah yeah, catch you later, Sithkeeper. Until next time, Gotta Dash!

Rating: 9/10

Written by Shane Moose

Star Wars Episode VII: The Force Awakens(owned by Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures, Lucasfilm Ltd. & Bad Robot Productions)

Star Wars Episode IV: A New Hope(owned by 20th Century Fox & Lucasfilm Ltd.)

Star Wars Episode V: The Empire Strikes Back(owned by 20th Century Fox, Lucasfilm Ltd. & Walt Disney Studios)

Star Wars Episode VI: Return Of The Jedi(owned by 20th Century Fox, Lucasfilm Ltd. & Walt Disney Studios)

Star Wars Episode I: The Phantom Menace(owned by 20th Century Fox, Lucasfilm Ltd. & Walt Disney Studios)

Star Wars Episode III: Revenge Of The Sith(owned by 20th Century Fox, Lucasfilm Ltd. & Walt Disney Studios)

Star Wars: Legacy Of The Force-Revelations(owned by Karen Traviss & Random House Publishing Group)

 

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