Star Wars: The Force Awakens Review
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This year has seen the release of a number of eagerly-anticipated films: reboots and remakes, follow-ups and finales, and some popular adaptations. But none have been quite as buzz-worthy—or as cloaked in secrecy—as the seventh installment in the Star Wars saga, Disney’s J. J. Abrams-helmed Star Wars: The Force Awakens.

The Force Awakens follows the search for the last Jedi, Luke Skywalker, who’s vanished. The Resistance leaders send their best pilot, Poe Dameron (Oscar Isaac), to protect the map that will lead them to Skywalker. But when Poe is captured by the dark forces of the First Order, he sends his BB-8 droid away with the map to get help.

The droid finds its way to a young scavenger named Rey (Daisy Ridley)—who, with help from former Storm Trooper Finn (John Boyega), manages to escape the First Order. And they soon find themselves working with the Resistance to keep the droid safe.

Ever since Disney acquired Lucasfilm three years ago, fans have been anxiously awaiting the start of a new era of Star Wars films. Every announcement, every trailer, every image that’s been released has been discussed and debated at length. And as the release date approached, the anticipation only grew. Fortunately, though, even under such enormous pressure, Abrams and his team managed to put together a new installment that’s thrilling and emotional and just a whole lot of fun to watch.

The Force Awakens is everything that a Star Wars movie should be. It’s action-packed yet playful. While it’s loaded with massive space chases and breakneck action sequences, it never loses its sense of fun. It’s also wildly creative—with lovable droids, cool space ships, and plenty of weird-looking creatures. Yet, as crazy as some of the creatures may be, there isn’t a single cringe-worthy touch—not a Jar Jar Binks to be found.

Meanwhile, the characters—both old and new—are entirely likable. Ridley’s Rey is smart and tough with just the right amount of sweetness and vulnerability. Boyega gives Finn a kind of boyish charm and endless sense of awe and wonder that make him a lovable new hero. And Harrison Ford easily steps right back into character as an older, crankier, but still oh-so-cool Han Solo. Even the bad guys are the kind that you’ll love to hate. And, together, they create the perfect bridge from the original trilogy to the new adventures, passing the torch from one generation to the next.

Admittedly, the story doesn’t have the most solid foundation. It’s all centered on a map that will lead to Luke Skywalker—but if he chose to disappear, why would he leave a map behind? Fortunately, though, there are so many twists and turns to the story—more politics and conflicts and twisted family drama—that those nagging little issues eventually feel unimportant. And, really, once the characters team up to battle the First Order, you’ll be too caught up in the action and adventure to care about the details.

With The Force Awakens, J. J. Abrams has created the best Star Wars movie in 30 years—an episode that, while not necessarily perfect, certainly goes a long way toward atoning for the sins of the prequels. It’s a satisfying experience—one that places the groundwork for more thrilling sci-fi adventures to come.

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