My wife and I saw The Force Awakens on December 17th at 7pm in the first available showing in Grand Rapids. After it was over it was hard to tell how I felt about it. I think I was just stunned, but my wife and I talked about it nonstop for a couple hours, which is a great sign. I’ve seen it a couple more times since then, once with a group of 12–18 year olds, and another time with my brother and I think I’ve sat with it long enough to have a good feeling for it. I loved it. Here are a few scattered thoughts (spoilers ahead):
- It felt like Star Wars again. I grew up on the original trilogy and while I actually didn’t hate the prequels my first time through (they are surprisingly hard to sit through as an adult), they did not have the same wondrous and fun feeling that the originals did. This was a return to form in a very positive way.
- The characters were fantastic. I loved all of them, they were complex but their motivations were clear. Their actions were believable, a surprisingly hard thing to pull off.
- Rey is my favorite character in the new trilogy. She is fantastic, self possessed, and hopeful. I am very excited to see where she takes us over the next few movies.
- Kylo Ren is great in his childishness. His tantrums, misplaced hero worship and emulation of his grandfather, daddy issues, and impatience are a great counterpoint to the controlled menace of Darth Vader. I think he will be great to watch as the films go forward.
- BB-8 is the best.
- You gotta love the Poe/Finn friendship.
- The original cast was good, but I was very impressed how it did not detract from the new characters. It was great seeing, Han, Chewie, Leia and Luke again, but their presence felt appropriate, when they could have been overpowering.
- How is the Resistance related to the Republic?
- Snoke’s oversized holo projection seemed to playing into Kylo Ren’s childish nature perfectly.
- The movie was funny. It’s been almost my whole lifetime since we had a funny Star Wars movie. Where’s my BB8-lighter-thumbs-up emoji?
- The soundtrack was good, but I didn’t really notice any new standout themes. The originals gave us the classic score and the Imperial March, and The Phantom Menace gave us the Duel of the Fates. The Force Awakens music was good, but didn’t have a standout in the same way.
- Kylo’s lightsaber, especially the sound, was terrifying and awesome.
- I don’t mind the bigger Death Star. Hux’s over the top fascist scream/speech really sold The First Order’s arrogance to me, so it doesn’t surprise me to think of them going back to the same tactics to prove their power.
- The lightsaber fights were amazing. The setting, colors, and sound were beautiful. I loved how the fight felt like two people trying to kill and fighting for their lives, not the over-the-top ballet that we last saw in a Star Wars movie. I loved it when Rey turns the fight. She was scary as she closed in on Kylo. One of the great moments.
- Rey partnering with Chewie on the Falcon makes me smile.
I can’t wait to see what comes next.