Star Wars: The Force Awakens (2015)

brooke Welcome to our special edition: Revenge of the 6th!
Before I go crazy fangirling over how much I love this movie, let’s do a quick plot summary. By now, nearly the whole world has Star Wars: The Force Awakens, so I trust I don’t need a spoiler alert, but I’m not going to make any promises that we’ll keep it 100% spoiler free.

casey Obi-wan is still dead, unfortunately.

brooke The Force Awakens introduces new protagonists into the Star Wars universe, including rookie Stormtrooper Finn (John Boyega) and desert scavenger Rey (Daisy Ridley). We meet Finn during his first battle for the First Order, an offshoot of the old Empire. The experience horrifies him, and he manages to escape with help from Poe Dameron (Oscar Issac), a First Order prisoner and resistance member with secret intelligence on the whereabouts of the long-disappeared Luke Skywalker. Finn and Poe get separated on the desert planet Jakku, where Finn eventually stumbles on Rey along with Poe’s droid, BB-8. They end up partnering to escape another First Order attack, and in the course of their adventure, they meet Han Solo, Chewbacca, General Leia, and new characters like Maz Kanata (Lupita Nyong’o via motion capture technology). Before long they’re involved in a plot to save the galaxy from a super weapon, and to uncover the mystery of Luke’s disappearance.

casey My bold take on The Force Awakens, after multiple viewings: It’s okay. It’s fine. B minus.

brooke *rolls eyes*

casey So many words have been written about this movie that I don’t feel the need to rehash everything yet again, but here are a few scattered observations in no particular order: the First Order is less interesting than the Empire. Who though it would be a good idea to have a mysterious evil bad guy named “Supreme Leader Snoke?” Most of the new characters are great, while the old ones are hit or miss. New baddie Kylo Ren doesn’t have Vader’s aura of menace, but his arc could have potential. The action scenes are perfectly competent, and everything moves at a nice, brisk pace. It’s fun. Would I sit down and watch it on my own? Probably not. But if a friend put it on? Sure.
Star Wars: The Force Awakens – Yeah, we can watch that if you want.

brooke but tell us how you really feel

casey Star Wars: The Force Awakens – The story is really good by video game standards.
Star Wars: The Force Awakens – Wouldn’t it be cool if the movie was just Poe and Finn?
Star Wars: The Force Awakens – Go ahead and watch if if you’ve lost your Empire Strikes Back Blu-Ray.
But I know you liked it a lot. What do you think now that the initial release hype has died down?

brooke I accept that TFA borrows from the other movies’ plots, but I’m still invested in the story. I think Rey is a better character than Luke was at this point in his journey, and that Finn and Poe bring a level of humor and levity that is missing from a lot of the other movies, especially those prequels that don’t exist. I still love it, even though I know it’s largely built as a fan service to the Star Wars-loving community.

casey It does basically achieve its primary goal, I think: resurrect the aesthetic of the original trilogy and tell a fun story while setting the stage for a new Cinematic Universe (TM).

brooke When I first heard about the movie, I had mixed feelings, but each trailer gave me more hope for the potential of the movie, and by release day I was ecstatic. I may or may not have cried a little bit when the music came through the speakers and the text crawl appeared on screen.
Although a huge part of what makes TFA so effective for me is the acting. Ridley makes me believe that Rey is real. Boyega’s Finn does the same. I believe that Issac’s Poe is the best fighter pilot the resistance has. Every actor knows what they are doing and portrays their character in ways that make me believe this far off galaxy is a real place.

casey I had a hard time getting past the many callbacks to the original trilogy. It made the galaxy feel smaller, so let’s hope the next installment is confident enough to strike off more in a new direction with these great characters.

brooke On that point I absolutely agree. I think keeping the universe small for TFA serves to invite those true to the original trilogy into this chapter, but that following the newcomers will be the best way of moving forward from here.
Now who’s excited for Rogue One?

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