The wait is over, episode seven is here. Has director JJ Abrams managed to restore the franchise to its former glory and erase the bitter taste of George Lucas’ prequels?
Unsurprisingly, The Force Awakens broke many records on its opening weekend, what is surprising, however, is the recycled plot points from the original Star Wars trilogy and how forgiving audiences and critics have been. Admittedly, I’ve never quite understood the fandom surrounding Star Wars, there isn’t another franchise that is viewed in such a skewed manner.
The tone is set as the film opens, with humour that is both hit and miss. The film differs from the original trilogy with its fast pace, the runtime rattles along which is thrilling but becomes a problem during the more sombre moments, when a shift in tone and pace is needed. Unfortunately, the audience isn’t given the adequate time to feel emotionally involved.
There is fun to be had in The Force Awakens, mainly due to the brilliant performances by two newcomers. Rey (Daisy Ridley), an orphaned scavenger and Finn (John Boyega), a reformed stormtrooper. Both are extremely talented, have great chemistry together and are a breath of fresh air in an otherwise familiar and predictable film.
The Force Awakens feels like the film JJ Abrams and Disney felt they had to make in order to rebalance the franchise, due to the poorly received prequels. Hopefully, it is a launching pad for a reinvigorated franchise with more original stories to come in the future. However, I’m certain if any other franchise had taken this approach, it would have been mocked, not universally praised.