Directed by JJ Abrams ("Star Trek" 2009), this seventh entry of the Star Wars saga is set thirty years after the Battle of Endor and the defeat of the evil Galactic Empire in Return of Jedi, the galaxy has undergone significant changes. While several of our favorite characters from the original trilogy we grew up knowing and loving such as Luke Skywalker (Mark Hamill), Han Solo (Harrison Ford), Chewbacca (Peter Mayhew), Princess Leia (Carrie Fisher), R2-D2 (Kenny Baker), and C-3P0 (Anthony Daniels) all return, a new generation of heroes and villains are introduced in this episode such as Rey (Daisy Ridley) a scavenger from the planet Jakku (which is very similar to Tatooine with it's desert-like climate), Finn (John Boyega) a former First Order Storm Trooper turned ally of the Resistance, Poe Dameron (Oscar Isaac) commander of the Resistance starfighters, BB-8, an astromech droid similar to R2, Kylo Ren (Adam Driver) Sith Lord in training under Supreme Leader Snoke (Andy Serkis), and Captain Phasma (Gwendoline Christie) commander of the First Order of Storm Troopers. In this film, the conflict is centered around the Resistance of the New Republic, (led by General Leia Organa) waging war with the First Order, a legion of Storm Troopers risen from the remaining ashes of the fallen Galactic Empire. In the midst of all of the widespread galactic conflict and turmoil, Leia is also seeking to find her long lost brother, Jedi Master Luke Skywalker, (our hero and main protagonist from the original trilogy that redeemed his father, Anakin Skywalker/Darth Vader by bringing him back to the light side and reestablishing balance to the force, fulfilling the prophecy of Anakin/Vader being "The Chosen One") who mysteriously went into hiding not long after the events of ROTJ.
While not as good as the original trilogy in terms of story, acting, and character development, it still had several strong elements present in the film. Now, I'm going to give what I liked about the movie and where I think (and hope) they can improve in the next two ST entries starting with The Last Jedi in December. Here's what I thought JJ Abrams did a good job of: Unlike Star Trek where he made a lot of changes to the main characters (which is one of the things I feared the most when I found out that he would be directing TFA), I thought that he did a great job of re-introducing our favorite characters and keeping them the same as they were in the OT, just older. I also liked his use of flashbacks, specifically the scene where Kylo Ren is talking to the decaying mask of his grandfather, Darth Vader, by making the claim that as a (future) Sith Lord and leader of the First Order, he will finish what he started with the Galactic Empire. Along with keeping the action consistent throughout the course of the film, I also thought he did a good job of building up the tension towards the climactic showdown at the end. Now, here's what I think they can (and hope) improve on in the next two films: Whiled we all know the backstories of our returning heroes from the OT, the character development was a bit lacking in the new characters introduced in TFA. Rey is basically a "Mary Sue" like character (think Wesley Crusher from Star Trek: TNG) in that she's basically presented as being perfect, all strengths and no weaknesses. This frustrated me to no end in one scene where Kylo Ren basically did as he wanted with her blaster when he used the Force on her but, in her duel against him during the film's climax, claiming to have had no Jedi training, they portray her as a "great" wielder of the Force that is (somehow) able to defeat him! How does this make sense??? I also hope they flesh out more of Finn and Poe's backstories and I really hope they show more of Captain Phasma in the next movies. I firmly believe she has the potential to be an iconic character in the vein of Darth Maul and Boba Fett. I also hope they cash in on the opportunity they have with Kylo Ren by making him the next great and powerful Sith Lord as he continues to complete his training with Snoke. All of that aside, It was an enjoyable film for me and I can't wait to see how great The Last Jedi will be!!! Rating: 9/10!!!