Things I Liked About ‘The Force Awakens’

So, my review of the new Star Wars film comes across little more negative than I intended. I don’t think it’s a bad film by any stretch; I just didn’t find it very engaging. There were, however, several things I did like about it. Here are a selection in no particular order:

-The Humor: After the thuddingly clumsy dialogue in the prequels, this film goes back to the delightful banter we remember from the originals. There are a lot of funny moments here, especially involving one-sided conversations (a comedy trick that I always love) with unintelligible characters. BB-8 gets some especially good moments, my favorite being a side conversation with Fin that ends with them both giving the thumbs-up. How a spherical droid with no limbs gives the thumbs-up I won’t dare spoil.

-The Action: The action this time around is really good. We have a lot of scenes of people on the ground being attacked by spaceships, which gives it the frantic, helpless feel of a real air raid. Its explosive, visceral, and really cool.

-Lightsabers are Cool Again: Oh, Lord, thank you for this! Gone are the soulless, overly-choreographed fights of the prequels. Here when characters fight with lightsabers, it feels much more real. The lightsabers have more impact: they feel more ‘solid’ for lack of a better word, and the characters seem more frantic and, well, human while fighting with them.

-Kylo Ren: I mentioned this a bit in my review, but he’s really a good character. They use him well here, and I’m genuinely interested to see what they do with him in the future. I really have no idea what comes next with him. I also loved the way they subverted the ‘kill the messenger’ trope with him. Oh, and that cross-beamed lightsaber? I still think it’s badass.

-Maz: Again, I mentioned this character in my review (though I couldn’t recall the name at the time), but I really liked her. She’s sort of a cross between Yoda and Lando, making her something new in the Star Wars films. She comes across sort of like a gypsy fortune-teller who runs a bar: that’s pretty cool. Hope to see more of her later.

-The Relationship Between Fin and Rey: While I still wish they had let Fin be more effective, I liked the relationship that blossoms between him and Rey. It’s sweet, it’s believable, and it’s nicely understated through action and oblique comments (again, contrast the heavy-handed romance in the prequels). What the exact nature of that relationship is isn’t even stated, keeping us interested for later films.

-Daisy Ridley is Beautiful: Yeah, I kinda laugh at the fact that she doesn’t look at all like she’s been out in the sun her whole life, but I don’t really care that much. She’s gorgeous, and I appreciate the film doesn’t trip over itself to remind you of this. She wears the same, casual, not-very-revealing outfit throughout and is never sexualized. And she doesn’t need to be: we can see she’s beautiful, and we can appreciate that fact better without it being underlined for us.

Now, these aren’t the only things I liked about the film. There were other good things about it, like how Fin gets his name, or the interactions between Han and Leia (still don’t care for where they’ve taken those two, but when they’re on screen together, the chemistry is still there). Han and Chewie likewise are in top form with their banter.

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