At the turn of the century, everyone was excited that the prequel series was coming out after a near 20 year absence of Star Wars from the big screen. The Phantom Menace came out and Star Wars fans, especially young ones like me, were thrilled at the new lightsaber fights and the return to the franchise… until we watched the movie again, and then an uncomfortable thought crept in: “You know… that movie actually isn’t any good. I mean Liam Neeson did as good a job as he could have and Darth Maul was a good villain, but the special effects sometimes got cartoony, most of the acting was bad because they looked like they received no directing, and the dialogue is often awful.” This was confirmed even more in the next two movies as George Lucas went off the rails by making terrible casting decisions, seemingly doing zero directing, writing dialogue that sounded like the efforts of an emo 12 year old girl, creating lightsaber fights with old men that looked fake and silly, and ultimately crapping all over his own franchise and ruining one of the greatest movie villains of all time. Good job, George. Because of this, The Force Awakens is a breath of fresh air: For once, watching a Star Wars movie doesn’t require ignoring so many terrible things.
Truth be told, I was skeptical of J.J. Abrams at first because I was not thrilled with how he re-invented Star Trek. The new Trek movies were entertaining, but it seemed like Abrams didn’t give a rat’s rear end about actual Star Trek, coming up with silly ideas such as transporting to warping vessels and even to other freaking planets light years away. However, since he evidently likes Star Wars a lot more, he stayed much more true to the franchise and in the end made a movie that was both new and nostalgic of the original trilogy.
The movie wasn’t perfect, but it actually feels like a Star Wars movie. Finally.
WARNING: SPOILERS AHEAD. RUN FAR AWAY IF YOU DON’T WANT TO KNOW.