When they finally decided to make another Star Wars movie with The Force Awakens it broke the perception of movie goers. They would take what is considered by the fans to be sacred text and push the story and characters forward. What happened with that movie was that everyone had to think about what Star Wars was and if such a thing can be replicated.
The movie does a good job in picking up where the last movie left off, we get our traditional scrolling text that fills in the spaces and then it drops us right into the action. Where the rebel forces are fighting the controlling First Order. They are on their last leg, being relentless chased. This scene is filled with explosions, swooping shots, banter, suspense, the whole package. After it the Rebels are left in a state where they can now be tracked and now must keep at a passe of flying away from the First Orders ships with their shields up, all while their fuel is being depleted.
While this is happening Rey (Daisey Ridley) is on a baron planet where she seeks to recruit the legendary Luke Skywalker, maybe even get some training in while she’s there. Except Luke is all but interested in getting involved in another galactic battle.
Luke Skywalker is just about as iconic as a character can get. Here Mark Hamill returns to the character that launched his career. He appropriately ages him, being more disgruntled and sage-like but he is still the smart mouthed individual thinker he’s always been. I cannot tell you anything about what they do with the character, but it is very bold, very brilliant and Hamill plays all of it so well.
Meanwhile Finn (John Boyega) is being accompanied with new ally Rose (Kelly Marie Tran) to seek out a hacker in a gambling planet. Po (Oscar Isaac) is left frustrated on the ships as the First Order slowly wears them down to nothing.
Also adding to the mix is the tension building up in Kylo Ren (Adam Driver), he killed his father but it has left him shattered as a man. The dark lord Snoke (Andy Serkis) is preparing to snuff out all to oppose him.
I don’t know if it was just me or there’s genuinely something here but I noticed quite a few insertions of quips from the characters. Being that Disney owns MARVEL and their live action movies are also known for making quips I cant help but feel there’s some script doctoring or executive notes given that this must be. They’re fine and certainly aren’t hard to sit through, but it does make me wonder.
Many people noted, and were right, that the last movies plot was identical to the original. During the anticipation they were theorising that this one would be just like The Empire Strikes back. Well it is and it isn’t, let me explain. This is the squeal where the bad-guys hit back hard and the good guys are on the ropes for most of it and just get out by the end, but that’s just a form of storytelling. The heroes have won and in order to make their overall victory seem even greater and make us invested they need to loose some and the opposition needs to win so they remain a viable threat.
Like with the last movie again they incorporate a variety of practical effects and C.G.I. they go as far as they can with making real sets and having people and creatures out of real things, when that ends they make it in a computer. This is good, practical effects will always be welcomed because when there’s something really inform of the camera it will always feel more real and digital is capable of showing things impossible to be made. We need both of them.
This is a gorgeous movie that is probably the best looking Star Wars movie ever made. There are beautifully framed shots that very from classic science fiction world we all know, ancient, mythical environments that are haunting, others which are are sleek and minimal using only one color for the setting. There are moments where the lighting is has a beautiful Rembrandt quality to it in the way it’s cast over the characters faces and is so golden.
This movie, beyond being well crafted and shot reminded me (even more than the last movie) of what Star Wars is. Is is the old stories of good and evil, simple archetype characters that are well defined, it has technology that is beyond us now but is also ancient. The movie deepens the mythology as well as pushes the story and characters forward and delivers on what Star Wars is while doing so. And Star Wars is, if nothing else, entertaining.