Episode VII: The Force Awakens

A long time ago in a galaxy far far away, I wrote my thoughts on all movies in the Star Wars saga, and now I get to write to you about the 7th.

Warning: what you are about to read contains spoilers, so if you haven't seen the movie yet.....do not proceed any further!

Alright, I warned you, so without any further ado...


So where do I begin? Oh yes, the story this time is almost nostalgic and something new at the same time. I went into the theater with excitement in my heart knowing this was going to be really epic. Then I sat down to learn that this is all about finding Luke Skywalker. We have two protagonists here. Finn, a First Order Stormtrooper; it appears that the First Order is the new Galactic Empire. Then there's Rey, who is a scavenger living almost like a nomad on the desert planet Jakku hoping for a better life. She largely reminds me of Katniss Everdeen, only she salvages things from the wreckage of Star Destroyers in exchange for food. Finn wants to get away from the first order and Rey hopes someone will come back for her. Well that's subject to change when the droid BB-8 shows up with a map that must be kept from the First Order. Sound familiar? Wait a minute, didn't something like this already happen? Then the Resistance a.k.a New Rebel Alliance must stop the First Order from using their ultimate weapon capable of destroying entire star systems before Luke's coordinates can be revealed.


So, I think I'm going to start with Rey for character analysis because she is more badass than I thought. She's an independent woman without a doubt, and I was instantly turned on by her desire to get off-world. Sounds just like Luke to me. When Kylo Ren captured her, I was hoping she would try to do something about it instead of waiting for someone to come and save her. Turns out she did, and there was a big plot twist at the end that had me on the edge of my seat. Even though she seemed to not want to have anything to do with the Jedi, when she found Luke's lightsaber, and suffered a series of hallucinations....it is revealed by some of the things she does, is that she is in fact, force sensitive. I was shocked but at the same time happy because we need more female Jedi with actual roles, so I hope that that intensifies in the next movie. She's a strong character and succeeds my expectations in the lead female role.

As for Finn, I had the impression that he was going to be the Jedi because what I had seen on the posters, trailers and other promotional pictures revealed prior to release, but he wasn't much of that as I thought he was. He seemed like a coward at first wanting to run away to the Outer Rim to be almost free from the First Order forever. But turns out he didn't seem like he was force sensitive after all. Sure he fights Kylo Ren and kills a few Stormtroopers with a lightsaber, but even though that was what was being shown as promotional, it's not him we were expecting as force sensitive. We were looking at the wrong character all along.

Han and Leia have not changed and I thought that when Han confronts Kylo Ren on that bridge, that was a very powerful scene. It was almost as if Ren was going to come with them but instead he stabs Han and allows him to fall into the darkness. Ugh...that's right in the heart there. If they were going to kill off Han, that seemed like the right time to do that. If you're going to kill off an iconic character, make sure you do it at a time that is prepared for and at the right moment. I had a bad feeling about it as soon as that scene started.

I knew the Millennium Falcon was going to make a comeback, and having it here is just what we need. Watching Rey fly it through Star Destroyer wreckage on Jakku to lose a bunch of TIE Fighters is reminds me right away of escaping them in an asteroid field. It has a nostalgic feel to it. At first I was expecting something a little more original, but I guess this is just as good as the classic Falcon flight through the asteroid field.

Okay so Starkiller Base, it makes the Death Star look like a pea shooter. Take a million Death Stars and you have Starkiller Base. Cut right out of an ice planet, that isn't Hoth, and is capable of destroying entire star systems instead of just planets. Clever idea, but still similar to the original two Death Stars, just with a weapon that draws power drained from a star in order to start the process of destroying a whole star system instead. This idea is certainly galaxy-wide threatening, and must have taken decades to build. So who is this Snoke? He's certainly not human that's for sure, his hologram makes him look large. I can only guess he will eventually appear in person....unless I am mistaken and he is actually that large and lives in the base. 

So, about Kylo Ren, well ever since I saw the movie, I've been trying to find a picture of him where he fights Rey after Finn is injured fighting him so I'll have to skip adding that. Ren is truly troubled and it is revealed that Luke was trying to build a new Jedi Order, with not as many regulations this time (such as perhaps Jedi are allowed to form attachments this time), and Ren rebelled against it and turned to the dark side. I will not say too much because many of you still have to see the movie. He's certainly not Darth Vader, but as he says "I will finish what you started" so we know what's going on here. I'll never forget him revealing his face, confronting his father Han, then Finn and Rey in the dark winter forest as Starkiller Base begins to blow up. 

In the forest twice, Rey defends herself against Ren and it pleases me that she actually fights off the threat rather than flee or surrender. But when she suddenly uses the force to grab the lightsaber and duels Ren, I was like "YES!! FINALLY! THIS IS WHAT I'VE WANTED!" It's unclear as to whether Ren is dead or not when Starkiller Base is destroyed. 

So I'd say that Kylo Ren is pretty badass, he's no Vader but he still makes a good villain tormented by the dark side and formerly a Jedi who started down the dark path and didn't turn back. 

I'm quite disappointed that Captain Phasma's role wasn't as big as it seemed because I was looking forward to seeing her. We haven't had any female Stormtroopers before but nevertheless, she was awesome.

So it seems that women are starting to have bigger roles in parts that weren't as big back to them in previous stories in this universe. I mean we had lots of female Jedi in the prequel trilogy, but they were more background. The Clone Wars fixes that really well giving them larger roles, but they were never the center of the spotlight....except for Ahsoka Tano that is. 

Now that we have Rey as a potential Jedi and Phasma as a Stormtrooper. This is a step in the right direction for the franchise I hope.

So what do I think over all, well it's a new start, and it looks like it's a new trilogy to add to the saga. At the same time it doesn't feel completely new because there are quite a few things in there that make it feel like A New Hope all over again.

But still, I like the idea of what has been done with Rey, Kylo Ren's a cool villain, and let us not forget about BB-8. A great film, maybe not my favourite just yet, but definitely not one I dislike so 8/10. 

May the force be with you, and I hope you didn't read this before you saw the movie!

-Emily

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