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Great fun but a few things could have been much better
Over all, I am very pleased. 8/10!
* I had a giant grin on my face for the first 30 minutes, until the pirates boarded the freighter.
* Rey, Finn, and Poe - phenomenal characters, beautifully cast, perfect! Excellent basis for the trilogy, instantly likable
* BB-8 - amazing. I wish they'd referred to it as "she" instead of "he", though.
* The Millennium Falcon!
* Jakku - the scavenger that tries to steal BB-8 is great, some other very Star Wars-y things there too.
* The humor - I was worried it'd be too "serious" but no, they did a great job with the humor. "That's not how the force works!"
* The flashback!
* Heaps of fun, will see it multiple more times.
Because I am such a fan though I must be very harsh and very direct in my criticism:
* This is episode IV retold - droid with critical info, mega weapon on the verge of destroying the good guys, a trench run, etc
* The relationship between the First Order, the Republic, and the Resistance is not at all explained and intuitively it doesn't make sense.
* It's all very rushed - there are no lingering moments.
* The tie fighter with the bike lock is silly.
* Captain Phasma - what was the point of this character? She is easily persuaded to lower the shields with no fight. That's all she does except walk around looking cool a couple of times. Why wasn't she the one to fight Finn with the light saber repeller thing?
* Finn is way too adept with the light saber. Anybody who is not force-sensitive would be very likely to injure themselves with a light saber, yet he holds his own with a trained force user and even injures him
* Rey is way too advanced with the force and the light saber. She should be no further than Luke was at the beginning of episode 4. The mind trick is way too easy for her, and she almost defeats Kylo Ren!
* Hux is way too young. The officers in the OT were
* Snoke is ridiculous. The only explanation for him I'll find acceptable is if he's actually Darth Plagueis, who was in hiding while Darth Sidious was in power. Then somehow he came out of nowhere and seized power of the empire's remnants. And then he undermined Luke's Jedi academy and found himself an apprentice. It's all very, very familiar.
* Luke should have appeared sooner and done something. For instance he could have appeared to save Rey from Kylo Ren as she is on the verge of defeat. Instead he is more like Yoda, chilling on a remote planet just waiting for a pupil.
* Han's death is weak. There is nothing memorable about it. Think of the duel and the big reveal on Bespin, the emperor with Luke and Vader in ROTJ, even Qui-Gon Jinn's death in episode 1. All of those are clear, iconic environments. Han dies on a dark bridge with no character and the lead up to it is not very dramatic.
* Chewbacca should have died too. Now he's driving Rey to the new Dagobah; doesn't she intend to stay a while for training?
* The super weapon is ridiculous. The entire planet should get fried when that thing fires, not just create a neat atmospheric effect. The range is silly too, interstellar range! And the explosions can be seen from other planets, too.
* The CGI characters on Jakku are unnecessary, that's out of the episode 1 play book. Why not actors? Same with Maz Kanata. Why not an actor? It looks silly and frankly ruins the settings they worked so hard on making.
* The monsters on the freighter - that's not Star Wars. I don't know what it is, but it's not Star Wars and it's not good.
* The entire scene on the freighter, I'm guessing that was massively cut and will be better shown in deleted scenes on the DVD.
A lot of missed opportunities. But again, a solid film, hugely entertaining and heaps of fun!