The Force Awakens - First thoughts
Like many others, I saw Star Wars: The Force Awakens last night. Since many more have not yet however, this will be a spoiler free post. This isn't a real review per se, and I won't be giving one or trying to fit it into my best-to-worst list until I see it a few more times, but for now, here are my initial thoughts and feelings on the matter.
First off, the feeling was ruined right off the bat because the sound crapped out at the theater I was in, and there was no audio during the opening crawl. This was immensely disappointing to me. I missed the prequels in theaters, making TFA the my first theatrical Star Wars experience. And while this is probably stupid, the opening crawl was the part I was looking forward to the most... and I have still never heard it on a theater sound system.
But, I can't fault the movie for that, so I'll move on and say the next hour and a half was
ABSOLUTELY AMAZING. I loved the look and feel of the movie, the characters and acting were both fantastic(Two things the Star Wars saga has seldom had at the same time thus far), and even the returning characters were great, never feeling shoe-horned in, or outstaying their welcome. The comedic moments land, the action is fast and clear, all the main cast(Old and new) had great chemistry together, and I absolutely want to see more of them in future Episodes. The movie does lean pretty heavily on the nostalgia factor, which could be a positive or a negative depending on your point of view. But being the kind of person who waited four hours in line wearing a knit Star Wars hat for the premiere, and rewatched the unaltered original trilogy on degraded VHS two days prior, you can bet your starship that the nostalgia hit me in all the right ways. There was a moment in the scene pictured above that legitimately gave me tears. Not because it was sad, just because I was enjoying what I was seeing too much to do anything else.
But - there's always a but, isn't there - I did say 'the next hour and a half' back there. Which is because there's a certain point in the movie where it transitioned from "This is amazing!" to "I'm not sure how I feel about this..." It's not during a big twist or major story turn, or at all related to the above image, it's just that at some point toward the end, the movie half-lost me. I'm not totally sure why yet. Perhaps I'd finally come out of the hype-rspace I'd been flying through for the last month, or perhaps I was just hoping for a more self-contained movie, and it was seeming to do a lot of sequel setup. Which I won't immediately call a bad thing till I see it a few more times, because this could just be an instance of expectation vs. reality - and I was expecting something more along the lines of A New Hope or The Phantom Menace in terms of Episode VII being a self-contained story with just enough loose threads leftover to carry into sequels. Instead it seemed more like the Marvel movies where it literally lay the groundwork for sequels. It was effective in doing that, mind you, and has me really looking forward to Episode VIII, it just left me unsure how to feel about VII.
So yeah, The Force Awakens. I'm not entirely sure how I feel about it as a whole yet, but I know I really enjoyed it, and am eager for more. Go watch it if you haven't yet!