Welcome to the final episode of Star Wars before the exciting events of The Last Jedi! I was considering Rogue One and decided that I wanted to focus on the Skywalker saga as it leads up where we are today. I will likely be seeing the movie on Friday which gives me a day or two to get out a review. Enough about 8 now, lets take a critical look at The Force Awakens.

The Force Awakens was insanely hyped due to the fact it was a brand new Star Wars film put out by Disney. Before this we had the prequels which left a lot to be desired. Due to this, on my first watch I went around saying it was 10/10 and the best Star Wars ever. Now while It’s definitely not the best, it does in fact rank very highly for me. My main praise comes from the characters, the emotion and just how visually pleasing this movie is as a Star Wars title.

While there is some support from the original cast, the spotlight is on Rey and Finn, two characters with different journeys. Rey is a scavenger who lives on a dessert planet, she collects scrap so that she can afford a meal. Finn is a storm-trooper who wants to get out of his job executing villagers. Being set 30 years after Return of the Jedi we are introduced to the Resistance and the First Order who are the modern day versions of the Rebellion and Empire. The first order feels like it takes a lot of influence from the Nazi’s, and at their disposal they have Darth Vader fanboy, Kylo Ren.

A lot of people like to discredit Kylo Immediately because they think he’s just a rip off with emo hair. I have a lot of love for Kylo, and not just for his coolness factor. I think he’s a real character who has a lot of personal issues which make him have these outbursts. He’s not gonna have the best upbringing from someone like Han Solo and constantly tries to live up to the legacy of his grandfather.

My favourite moments in this film come from Kylo being a vulnerable person while still trying to be powerful. When we meet him he is cold and quick about the way he presents himself and how he speaks. By the end he is a wreck who acts out on emotion and anger, attempting to fight someone minutes after being shot in the chest by a catapult of crossbows.

One of my main issues with 7 is the uninspired story. By that I mean it is essentially a retelling of a New Hope and draws too many similarities for me to not mention it. If I didn’t like the characters as much and where the story is going then I would have found the whole film disappointing. You can understand why Disney went for this approach, it’s the first of a new saga by a new team and they want something that fans can be comfortable with. However at the end of the day it just stops itself from being something greater.

From my own personal feelings I also have a few disappointments when it comes to the soundtrack. While it is still another amazing capture of the magic of Star Wars fresh from John Williams. It does like to reuse a lot of old themes which I wouldn’t mind if the story wasn’t also reusing the same old themes and ideas. My favourite scores are “Rey’s theme” and “March of the Resistance” two very new and exciting tracks which breathe their own life into the existing world.

Despite a lot of these minor negatives I still have a lot of respect for the film. It never fails to capture a smile or a childlike excitement when I watch it. I mean come on guys! It’s a new Star Wars movie, with new things going on and people we don’t already know! It scores itself higher than any of the prequels and maybe in between some of the originals. While I don’t have a definitive list I would put it only under episode 4 and 5.

I’m very excited as a Star Wars fan for where the franchise is right now. The only modern day issue I feel I have is going to be the Han Solo spin off film. Mainly as I feel only Ford should be playing that character. From a narrative and movie point of view it might actually be exciting and a fun watch but it will also feel a little bit odd.

As for now I’ll be highly anticipating the events of The Last Jedi as I believe Rian Johnson will be a little more creative than J.J and deliver a truly NEW Star Wars story.

Star Wars: The Force Awakens scores a 7.5/10 from me. Delivering memorable characters, but playing it too safe.