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It's a 'meh' movie with some cool moments
First off this is my first time writing a review here, but long time lurker. The fact that JJ's take of Star Wars has forced me to go ahead and create a forum account should be your first indicator. Now normally I go see movies and either I liked them a lot and I'll come here and rate it a 10. If it was OK, a 5. And if it is complete crap a 1. Star Wars is a weak 5 and I'll tell you why.
Origin Story - Rey
First off Rey is cool, I like her. But we know NOTHING about her! And this makes it hard to care for her, other than obligatory Mockingjay style 'girl power main character woohoo go go go'. In Star Wars IV you at least got glimpses of Luke, loose quips from Uncle Owen being afraid he will be too much like his father and you wondering 'oh what is that about?' Stories about him and Wedge, the Clone wars, and so on. Point being you learned about Luke and his ties to things enough to plant seeds that he is someone to care about.
With Rey it is just forced with very little foreplay. Her "becoming" story is her having a mini force battle with Kylo Ren, and now apparently she can use the force when not 15 minutes before Han tells her the force is real (as seen in the trailer) with her seemingly having no knowledge of it. (...ok...she can stand up to a semi trained bad jedi who can halt blaster fire mid air??). This flies in the face of every single master and apprentice scenario we've witnessed 6 movies prior to this. I won't go into it more, but that's the main thrust of the issue with her.
Origin Story - Finn
So here we have what amounts to drafted Storm Troopers (explains why we can have black storm troopers) that go through a Kurt Russell Soldier like conditioning program from early childhood. He has a crisis of faith and randomly saves a guy, Poe, who he knows nothing about other than feeling bad for him. Then they become best friends eventually (Forcing a weird Luke/Han relationship for us?). Again here we have a freaked out ex storm trooper grabbing a light saber and standing up to Kylo (again you see blips of this in the trailer). OK??...Finn is a largely inconsequential character to the story overall. I feel like we just had to thrust a random character into the mix because for some reason we couldn't just have Ren doing this by herself. You could remove FInn utterly from the movie and we would be just fine...he contributes nothing to the main story arc.
Kylo Ren - Oh...wow. This character was my biggest issue with the movie. Now I don't know wtf JJ or Adam Driver were thinking with how to play this character, but if you wanted to make a goth emo chest pounding weirdo Jedi - you succeeded. He started out SO cool too. His light saber is awesome, his voice and helmet were awesome. He could stop blaster fire mid air...he came across as a very powerful bad Jedi in the beginning.
And then he took his helmet off and I heard several people in the theater actually laugh out loud at what we saw underneath. Now I fully get that the reason he was always near tears was because of his internal struggle forcing away the light side. I get that. But when you mix his big black poofy hair, his face, pale skin and most importantly how he acted - you literally could have gone to any high school in America, nabbed a goth emo kid from the lunch room, put a light saber in their hand and you boom you've got Kylo Ren.
The Plot - Overall the movie plot is fine, but extremely plagiarized from the previous movies. I think the script writing went basically like this:
"We need a big death machine that destroy's something, what should we destroy?" "How about planets?" "We did planets." "How about......several planets?" "Yep, Good go do that."
You've got a trench run, you've got a do or die mission to take out a shield generator style target with minimal ground forces just before the resistance fleet arrives and runs into a shield. You've got the Falcon being piloted through incredibly tight spaces. I mean it goes on and on and on with how much they took from the previous 6 movies to flesh this movie out that I honestly felt cheated. At least Gun Guns were unique! There is nothing unique here at all in the end.
It's a weak Star Wars movie that has so many missed opportunities that *I* could have come up with something better. I'm no Star Wars nerd either...I'm just a fan who has watched the first 6 movies multiple times like pretty much everyone else.
If you thought Anakin wailing "NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO" was bad and made you cringe...get ready for Kylo Ren.
Overall, yes, go see it. It's Star Wars and it sells itself. I hope to god they do better in the next two movies though.