Prime Reactions Review – Star Wars: Episode VII The Force Awakens

Some people have first impressions. I have prime reactions. This time I prime react to Star Wars: Episode VII The Force Awakens with and without spoilers.

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I initially wasn’t too hyped to see this. It was something I’d definitely see, but I was out of Star Wars for so long. I had no real reaction to the initial teaser where the only nice thing was the Millenium Falcon flying around. This was the teaser that got me excited.

Hearing Luke narrate those lines with what I consider the true theme of Star Wars playing in the background made me want to tell Chewie I was home too.

As it got closer and closer to the release date, I became more excited to see this. I was severely wondering about the lack of Luke in the teasers, posters, toys, and late show appearances. I liked Luke a lot in the original movies so keeping him out of the spotlight must mean that whatever his role in the film was, it was going to be amazing, right?

Spoiler-Free Review

Seeing this movie really brought me back to how I felt seeing the original trilogy. Unlike the prequels, this felt like the Star Wars I remember. The dialogue felt so much more real and there was actual chemistry between the characters. The new characters were for the most part pretty likeable to where I want to see their adventures. And let me say how refreshing it is to see a female Jedi as a main character.

Harrison Ford was in top form as Han Solo. I was watching the same Han Solo from decades ago. Chewbacca had several comedic moments, all of which worked well. Leia wasn’t in it much, but hopefully she’ll play a bigger part next time. The rest were nice to see, but scaled back so as to not overshadow the new characters.

I don’t know what’s up with Captain Phasma. Beyond the unique Stormtrooper outfit and some dialogue, she didn’t do anything. I don’t want this to be another Boba Fett. If that’s the case, I expect better, not a retreat of his trope. They should’ve expanded on the nice design, do nothing character. If she returns, there’s still a chance. As is, this character was a joke.

That action was pretty exciting. The lightsaber duel wasn’t riddled with the jumping around that was all over the prequels. It was a return to two people swordfighting and the simplicity of that was a return to form and felt right. We lost the highly choreographed spectacle, but there were more important things for the audience to experience.

I enjoyed the callbacks and references, most of which were comedic. For fans of the original, you can tell that sometimes they were winking at the screen, but I didn’t find it obnoxious. I see this as a Star Wars movie for fans from a fan. If you gathered the original cast together, you wouldn’t sneak in some references?

If I could knock the movie for one thing, it’s that it hit too many points of the original trilogy. And these weren’t simple callbacks and references. There were some predictable parts to it especially if you’ve seen the originals. While there’s enough to distinguish this from the original movies, you most likely can’t help but feel it’s a remake in some ways. What matters is where they take the future movies now that things are set up. I just think that if you’re looking for “new” and “wow” in the story, this might be lacking in that department.

Ultimate Reflections:
I could see why people wouldn’t like it for the same reasons I did. I do think they’re being a bit hard on it though. No Star Wars films is perfect, but the bar was set loooooooooow with the prequels. This wasn’t a groundbreaking film, but it’s not a bad movie for new generations to get into Star Wars. I can nitpick this one just as I’m sure many have, but this was still enjoyable and worth my time. If you like the original Star Wars movies, you’ll probably enjoy this one thoroughly despite the flaws. If this is your first outing, you should be okay, but it helps severely to be familiar with the old cast and lore. Looking forward to Episode VIII. 2015 wasn’t a great year of movies for me, but this was a good one to end it on.

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(If you can’t tell, this is the beginning of spoilers)

So… Luke’s not really in this movie. When he shows up at the end, that certainly had me anticipating his participation in Episode VIII. I was looking for him all movie since the trailers.

I really didn’t like how “good” Finn was with the lightsaber, especially against Kylo Ren. I’ll concede that Ren wasn’t at 100%, but if that was the case, why is he wasting his time swordfighting against Finn? Just force push him away and knock him out. While not competent with it, Finn lasted way too long here even if he lost. He should’ve been dead instantly.

R2-D2 conveniently turning on at the end was so contrived. What changed? The final minutes of the film were great, but I think it would’ve been better if the heroes got the majority of the map from the bad guys some how. We know they had the rest of it. There wasn’t any real reason for R2 to have it. Not even sure how he got there since he was with Luke before. If he was off, was he delivered like that?

So… Han dies. Which if he was going to, I’m glad he got so much screentime. He was just as memorable here as he was in the originals. The sad thing is that I’m not sure if I was spoiled on this or not. I read the headline some months ago and I dismissed it. I probably could’ve seen it coming just as many did, but that headline wouldn’t leave my head. I obviously didn’t want Han to die, but I wish I went in blind for that like I did for the rest of the film. I think with this development, Leia will be getting her real screentime in the next film. I can easily see her being a mother figure to Rey since she lost Ren and Rey doesn’t have parents.

Where the hell did the respective characters get Luke’s blue lightsaber and Vader’s helmet? Didn’t the lightsaber fall to its doom at the bottom of Cloud City? Where did that character get it? How did the bad guys even know Luke burned Vader’s body and where the helmet would be? I think in terms of fanservice, these two were the big headscratchers for me. I’ll take the clever lines and throwbacks over these two that don’t make sense and aren’t explained.

Ending abruptly again as I do in reviews with free spoilers.

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