This review contains spoilers!
There was a year of publicity with trailers, leaked plot lines and hype and was it worth it? The box office did well, because fans had to see it to decide for themselves, yet there are different generations of Star Wars fans; those who grew up with the original trilogy, and the more recent generation where the prequels ruined for many the entire saga.
As someone who grew up with the original trilogy, it’s hard not to be disappointed having memorized so many of the scenes of the first screened films over the decades, only to find many of them rehashed in the latest film. Those were the days when Star Wars was called simply Star Wars without having to be retitled Star Wars Episode IV: A New Hope. The similarities weren’t even subtle, and a sigh an a groan accompanied each predictable scene:
- The lost droid carrying important information (it wasn’t that important in this film).
- An orphan that suddenly gains the power of the Force (unrealistically).
- The cantina scene.
- Han Solo escaping those he owed money to, again.
- The father and son battle, but with no build up or struggle.
The plot was simple, weak, empty and thin, with too many loopholes for real fans that know the storyline inside out. It appears Disney is trying to be politically correct, with a black actor and a female heroine (they had Leia before already) and it didn’t work. The brief appearance of C3PO and R2D2 were blink and you forget them. Where were the Jedi spirits to help them out with words of wisdom—a perfect cameo for Samuel L. Jackson or at least Yoda?
The basic premise of the film was to find Luke Skywalker who had gone missing (or rather he had gone into hiding), while his sister, Leia who is effectively a Jedi, can’t use the Force to sense him. As R2D2 had the main map in his system all the time (with Luke’s location), why didn’t they investigate further, knowing that Luke would have hidden something in R2D2? Instead, part of a map is hidden in a droid that escapes capture from the First Order.
The new characters are weak; Rey, the new heroine has two expressions, one of anger and another of frustration, and Kylo Ren as an unworthy Jedi like his grandfather, is a poor version of Darth Vader. The best performances were from Chewbacca (well timed nods and shrugs), Han Solo for staying true to his character, and Luke Skywalker (the irony will be apparent when you see the film).
Unlike the original trilogy, which people enjoy watching as a marathon, the latest installment is a sad let down. The prequels were bad as they tried to explain relationships and plots, but in doing so made errors, which were best left to the imagination of the fans. The Phantom Menace wasn’t great, but in comparison is better than the latest offering. The next episodes will see Rey taking control of the Millennium Falcon, Luke deciding whether to return or not, and Leia hatching a plan to get her son back. The saga to me was always about Luke Skywalker, and how his presence affected all those around him. He is the real hero and without him, there is no real tale to be told.