Thoughts about The Force Awakens

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Growing up, Star Wars was my favorite thing (and Harrison Ford was my favorite person, but more on that later). So, as with many fans of the franchise, disappointment reigned supreme with the prequels. Thankfully, Lucasfilm was bought out by Disney and thus a new era of Star Wars was born, with The Force Awakens dipping everyone’s toes back into the galaxy far, far away. I love the new direction the franchise is going and have gone to see the film seven times in theaters (all valid trips in my mind!) Here are some things I liked:

Harrison Ford’s Performance

We were graced with a vintage Ford performance as everyone’s favorite nerd herder Han Solo. For my money, he steals the show. Every scene he is in is a Han Solo scene, which is not a bad thing. Ford proves why he is such a huge movie star and the epitome of cool. And he’s hilarious. He really delivers his lines with that classic Harrison Ford attitude. We should all get behind and start using the word “moof milker,” because whoever thought of that is a genius.

When watching for the first time, I was surprised by how integral he was to the story and how much screen time he received. Then, in one fell swoop, I understood why he had so much screen time . . . which is my next topic.

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Han Solo finally got the death he deserved

Harrison Ford said he pushed to have Solo die in Return of the Jedi, but that clearly did not happen. It’s not like Ford didn’t like playing Solo, but he felt that his character could be better served to die and die in a meaningful way to the story. Well, Ford got that fateful wish. His death will be a very important part of this new trilogy as Kylo Ren has to live with the fact that he killed his father. Ben seems to be struggling with the light and the dark and needs to kill Solo to bring him closer to the dark, and to prove to Supreme Leader Snoke that he is worthy of being his apprentice. However, the death of Solo will stick in his mind and will be a factor if Ben ever strays from the dark side, which, if you ask me, he will stray.

And as a final side note, Han dying is the biggest pull for me to see this film so many times. We not only got a superb performance from Ford, but we got his last as his most memorable character (However, I do think Han Solo will appear in the next film, but as a flashback, obviously, because dead). So going each and every time has been a delight. I mean, it took a few times to get past being upset at his death, but I have went through the stages of grief and have reached acceptance.

Adam Driver delivers

The movie clearly foreshadows Solo’s demise, but my total love for Harrison Ford and Han Solo blinded me. I ignored all the warnings and believed he was going to live up until the moment Ben’s saber was put through his chest, which prompted some almost tears. Heck, I even expected him to miraculously appear in the Falcon with Chewie, because Han Solo can’t be dead, he just can’t! But to no such luck.

All of my grief is due to Adam Driver’s great performance as the sinister Kylo Ren, or if you prefer his birth name of Ben, which I do. Throughout the film, you see the evil of Ben, from his slaughtering of the villagers on Jakku to his outbursts of anger on the ship. However, you also see an internal struggle. Ben needs to be shown the powers of the dark side, as speaks to the mask of Darth Vader. So, when Han confronts him on the walkway, I saw hope that there is some light left in Ben. We have seen firsthand how conflicted Kylo is and all we need now is for Han to talk his son home. Adam Driver’s performance in the scene, the tortured feelings in his head, sold me that there is hope. Without his performance, the death of Han Solo would have been less of a blow to the heart and more of a formality.

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Daisy Ridley is everyone’s new favorite

Did anyone know who Daisy Ridely was before this movie? No? Well, that makes sense, because, as her IMDb page displays, she was in shockingly little before the release of The Force Awakens. I thought everything about the character was done superbly. From her scavenger routes through her progression with the force, Rey was front and center in the telling of this story.

And I say she is “everyone’s new favorite,” but apparently there is criticism of her character with how strong she is with the force. I find that criticism unwarranted and, to be honest, just factually incorrect. Luke progressed very fast and was barely trained and by the end of A New Hope he was flying a ship he’s never flown before and destroys the Death Star by using the force. Rey’s backstory is much more complete and provides enough to establish her powers.

The biggest question mark about her character is who her parents are, which will be the dominate storyline going into the next film. The Force Awakens gives credence to both Han and Leia or Luke being Rey’s parents, with the film ending as she hands Luke his lightsaber back. Part of me wants to say it is Han and Leia, as Han and Rey get along so well and continually say the exact same thing, but then again, Luke’s saber called out to her, so there’s that. There is also always the option that it is neither, but that is not as fun. Either way, Rey is strong with the force and that’s a fact.

Finn and Rey’s Chemistry together needs to be bottled and preserved

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JJ Abrams’ reveals gave me all the feels

The biggest draw for fans of the franchise was the revival, or awakening, of the original story. This was a chance for everyone to see their favorite Star Wars characters on the big screen again and Abrams did a great job at revealing all of them to us. Honestly, the reveal of the Millennium Falcon might be my favorite. Although I was looking forward to seeing Han back the most, his reveal was shown in the trailer, so we all knew he was coming through the door with Chewie. But when Rey and Finn were running for their lives and decide to use the “garbage” ship, I was genuinely surprised they cut to the Falcon. I thought it was neat that those two, the new carriers of the franchise, flew the Falcon. A passing of the torch.

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