As a good Star Wars fan, I was directly in line at The Force Awakens movie premiere with popcorn in my hands. But at the end of the film I could not help feeling disappointed with some important aspects of this episode VII directed by JJ Abrams, like the great void of a truly evil figure who commands respect. Spoiler warning: from here on I’ll talk about the movie plot.
Kylo Ren in my opinion was not interpreted convincingly by Adam Driver, his character did not inspire fear, perhaps his pubescent appearance with his big ears and emo haircut did not help much… in any case we did not need to see so soon the face of Kylo Ren in this episode.
Abrams could have kept his face in secret, generating more intrigue, suspense and respect for the new evil masked character. Perhaps, Abrams should’ve given Kylo Ren an additional reason to wear a mask (besides being a Darth Vader fan), so far it seems he is wearing the mask because it makes him looks cool… not like Vader that actually wears it as his respirator, he was seriously burned and disfigured, and even his body temperature was regulated by his suit.
Moreover, it is regrettable the death of Han Solo, but as a dramatic element it was a good move to rejuvenate the saga. What was really disappointing was to see him die in a scene that has nothing great and in the hands of the emo-noob Kylo Ren, although he is Solo’s son in the story, the actor does not have the depth of Harrison Ford nor the seniority of the legendary Han Solo.
Anyway, I think that Han Solo’s death could have been better exploited in the movie, making it more heroic, more intense, more dramatic. It was necessary in my opinion to give a memorable death to the great Solo, so I found this aspect of the film as a failure.
Excluding the reaction of Chewbacca, which should have been much stronger, his faithful lifelong companion just died in front of his eyes and we do not see more than a shout and some shots coming from Chewie… Maybe Abrams could’ve shown us a Chewbacca getting into a Berserker mode, acting like a furious uncontrolled animal because of the anger product of Han Solo’s death. That would have given it at least a more action-drama touch to the whole scene.
Returning to Kylo Ren character, his personality did not seem consistent. The plot shows him as a villain able to kill his own father, but when he got the best Rebel’s pilot as prisoner he did not kill him… he just tortured him a little bit and tried to get some information from his head.
He even tolerated the pilot’s jokes about his voice when he told him that he was not able to hear his voice well through the mask. So, do they want us to believe that Kylo Ren is very evil or not? For less than a silly joke Darth Vader would’ve strangled that pilot to death with the force.
Also, there is no consistency with the power of Kylo Ren. At the beginning of the film, Kylo Ren stops a laser beam in time and space with only the power of the force, and he keeps it in the same place without even looking it, until he leaves and finally the beam continues its path.
Stoping a laser beam in time-space with the force is something that we had never seen before, even Darth Vader never did it before. So, this skill creates a great visual impact and makes us understand that Kylo Ren probably is as powerful or even more than Vader himself. However, later the same movie tells us otherwise, when Kylo Ren confronts the ex-stormtrooper Finn and he causes him some trouble fighting with a lightsaber… this is not at all consistent with the power they want us to believe Kylo Ren dominates.
After Finn gives a good fight, we see Kylo Ren being almost overcomed by Rey, a girl that somehow controls the force by a natural gift but does not have any training to master the art of the lightsaber nor a melee jedi combat. Lets wait to see what they want to show us in an episode VIII, but basically we already saw a Kylo being defeated at episode VII. Very fast, considering that it took Luke Skywalker a whole trilogy training to beat Darth Vader.
Pushing the above, I could not help feeling some discomfort about the repeated scenes of the episode IV. In the case of Rey I felt like I was seeing the beginnings of Luke Skywalker. Logically, it was inevitable to make a stop at the usual Bar. And apparently the first order had a new and bigger “Death Star” that is also destroyed in the same way that Luke ends up hitting the final shot in the core of the artificial planet in the original story of episode IV. The First Order engineers must be stupid, several Death Stars destroyed with some shots at one single spot…
From that perspective, The Force Awakens looks more like a reboot than a sequel. I can understand that Abrams wanted to pay tribute to the previous films, but we must not fall into repetition of the same elements and arguments… that’s like tickling someone to make them laugh without the effort of making a very good joke that leaves you some comedian merit.
Even with all these observations the movie gets a high rating from Rotten Tomatoes about 8.3/ 10 and 4.5/5 from the audience. What makes me wonder if they are really being objective in these assessments or are giving the benefit of a high score just because it is the Star Wars saga?
Star Wars Episode IV: A New Hope, an impeccable film that showed us for the first time all the characters and the new world and plot created by George Lucas, achieved a score on Rotten Tomatoes of 8.5/10 and 4.1/5 from the audience.
What does this mean to me? That Episode VII movie is as flawless in every way as the masterpiece Episode IV of the Star Wars saga? I do not buy this conclusion. In my opinion, making a master piece better than the first of the trilogy would be probably impossible considering that any new movie no longer has the novelty of the Star Wars opera universe that did not exist back in the 70s before episode IV (released in 1977).
About the casting, my only 2 complains were John Boyega (Finn) and Adam Driver (Kylo Ren). I think that both could give more depth to their characters, in both cases I felt an emptiness in them, most noticeable in the case of Kylo Ren, because he is supposed to be a striking figure as the main villain.
I was pleased with the sets production, special effects and photography of the film. They did a very good job giving the same rustic feel of the first trilogy to the movie. Undoubtedly, the results in this matter were as expected.
In conclusion, Episode VII as a “reboot” is a good movie and has a some hook for new fans (repeating the same elements and arguments that we have seen before in Episode IV), but in my opinion the most demanding old Star Wars fans who expected a major sequel may feel lost or disappointed because of the aspects explained above.
I would give this movie a score of 6.9/10. We know that JJ Abrams could do better job, Star Trek is a proof of that. I hope the next episode can meet my expectations.
What was your opinion on Star Wars:
The Force Awakens after seeing the movie?
What did you like?
What did you hate?
Please leave your comments below.