Ten years after the release of Star Wars: Revenge of The Sith, Lucasfilm introduced the seventh installment of the Star Wars universe. Star Wars: The Force Awakens made theaters in the U.S. December 18, 2015- a great Christmas gift to all ages. The decision to continue the series shocked, excited, and made skeptics of the Star Wars fan base.
The nostalgia hit like the Millennium Falcon going into hyper-drive as the theme song and infamous scrolling prologue began. The introduction gave background to what occurred in the thirty years we missed post-defeat over the hated Galactic Empire. Apparently, our favorite young (not so young anymore) Skywalker has disappeared without a trace and the Jedi have ceased to reign or even exist in the Galaxy. The First Order- the new bad guys needing a good kick in the throat- have taken control over the galaxy and are destroying anything and everything in their path to get a so-called map that supposedly leads to Luke Skywalker(nobody actually knows if it’s legit). Our favorite damsel in distress, now big bad general, has sent the best known pilot in the Resistance, Poe Dameron (Oscar Isaac), on a mission to visit “an old friend” to retrieve a crucial portion of the map leading to Skywalker. Shortly after the exchange is made, The First Order arrives along with the new stand in Darth Vader, Kylo Ren (Adam Driver). Poe is captured, but not before he entrusts the portion of the map to his BB-8 unit.
BB-8 travels across the planet Jakku to stumble upon our new hero, Rey (Daisy Ridley), an orphan living on the traded junk she can scavenge. Meanwhile on the First Order’s mothership, Poe is being tortured by our new best friend Kylo, who has yet to show his face, for the location of the map. Poe breaks and before we know it, the bad guys are once again chasing a little droid. A change of events occurs when a storm trooper rips free from his brainwashing and realizes his whole life is a lie. He races to help Poe escape and they return to Jakku to retrieve BB-8. This plan quickly turns sour when they are shot down and crash land on the planet, but not before the storm trooper introduces himself as FN-2187 which prompts Poe to give him a nickname, Finn (John Boyega). Finn awakes to find the crashed ship but no Poe. ,assumed to be dead, he treks to the nearest outpost, which happens to be where Rey does her bidding. BB-8 recognizes his master’s jacket on Finn which turns the droid and Rey onto Finn. However, with the appearance of enemy Tie Fighters, they race to escape. The producers do well to recreate the sound effects of both the machines and the “bullets” they shoot. Suddenly, Rey and Finn are working together to survive. coincidentally, they end up escaping the planet on an old but once loved ship, the Millennium Falcon. Boarding this ship means its owner cannot be far behind. Han Solo (Harrison Ford), looking as dashing and sarcastic as ever, and Chewbacca (Peter Mayhew), with little to no grey hair, arrive on scene (of course trailing trouble behind them). Rey and Han quickly become acquainted by bonding over their knowledge of ship engines and electrical workings, whereas Finn is skeptical (and also lying about being with the resistance).
While visiting a friend of Han’s to contact Leia (trouble in paradise), Rey is lead by what we know is the force to long lost Luke’s Light Saber (the one he lost when his father chopped his hand off and dropped into a planet made of gas, oh no). Obviously, we now know The Force is strong with her. After more violence and a head-to-head match with Kylo Ren and Rey, she is captured by the First Order to retrieve what she knows about the map. Han and Leia are reunited at the Resistance base and it is revealed that Kylo Ren is their son. This created quite the controversy in the fans but also gave “feels” knowing they have at least one child together. The Resistance shares their knowledge of a new and improved Death Star being used by the First Order that is ten times bigger and uses the nuclear power of stars to blow planets into oblivion.
Back on Bad Guy Mothership, Rey is resisting Kylo Ren’s efforts to torture her. This has him perplexed him but he soon realizes the force that surrounds her. Using her new found powers, she escapes her cell and tries to come up with a plan to escape. Meanwhile, Finn, Han, and Chewy are on their way to rescue her and stop the daunting sun-powered gun from blowing planets to bits.
Finally, the moment comes to a stand-off between father and son (sound familiar?). Han pleads with his son to let him help him. Kylo Ren, or Ben as his parents named him, starts to break down and admits he needs his father’s help. At this point the crowd is either on the edge of their seats or biting their nails to a stub. Han comes forward to comfort his son and suddenly, the Ben that he loved and raised is gone and in his place is a power driven monster, Kylo Ren. Kylo splinters his father’s chest with his dark and unforgiving blood-red lightsaber and Han falls into the oblivion that is the machine-planet. A tidal wave of silence crashed over every fan watching as the comic relief, the prince to our princess, the sarcastic glue that held everything together…fell.
We had no time to recover, however, due to the planet about to be desolated. Finn and Rey race to the surface to be faced by none other than Kylo Ren. Rey is thrown into a nearby tree and is rendered useless. Defending her honor, Finn fights the traitor of his own family but is soon knocked unconscious. Rey comes to her senses and summons Luke’s saber. Now the battle we’ve all been anticipating: the new hero versus the new villain. The violence that follows is quenching our thirst for head-to-head combat. With the earth beneath them deteriorating, a chasm forms between the two and Rey and Finn are rescued by Chewbacca in the Falcon. After the rendezvous at the Resistance base, R2-D2 reveals he has the rest of the map (great timing, R2) leading to Luke. Rey travels to where “X marks the spot” to personally return his Light Saber to Luke.
So, the question remains: has this movie met the standards of the overflowing fan base, or has this been a colossal mistake no one can take back or mend? The Force Awakens has had an amazing response with $120.5 million in three days in the United States alone. Director JJ Brams deserves more than a meager pat on the back with his work. The battle sequences included in this sequel were breathtakingly spectacular and there were moments where fans experienced unexpected surges of emotion whether for casting, immersive terrain, shocking battle scenes, or even nostalgic phrases or tunes. There are many (and by many I mean thousands) of controversial theories about who is related to who and what the next installments hold for the millions waiting to be graced with the glorious music tracks, immersive scenes, and even emotional settings. The Star Wars universe has never failed to keep the world entertained and fans have faith they will continue to not disappoint.