“Star Wars: The Force Awakens” returns the storied space opera franchise to its roots.
The newest entry sees the return of characters and cast members from the original film trilogy while introducing some new protagonists for the obviously planned continuation of the new storyline. While the film tweaks the nostalgic impulses of long time fans of the series, it fails in some respects to recapture the charm that has driven the franchise’s popularity.
This review attempts to avoid any major spoilers, so it won’t include a detailed synopsis of the movie’s plot.
The film blatantly recycles virtually all of its major plot components from earlier episodes. If you’ve seen it in a “Star Wars” movie in the past, you will likely see it in this one. Some continuity is necessary and desirable, but “The Force Awakens” gives the impression of a setting that has aged a few decades but not moved at all. Many old characters and cast members return only to reprise roles that seem to have diminished importance.
The script is rife with glaring plot holes, broken continuity, inconsistent characterizations and “deus ex machina” plot devices. The First Order, the film’s reconstituted and generically named version of the Empire, is probably among the most ineptly managed evil galactic empires in space opera history. The story often feels formulaic and predictable.
In spite of the film’s flaws, it is still worth seeing for fans of the franchise. While the writing is not the strongest, “The Force Awakens” is still entertaining.
The action itself might be cliché and predictable, but the ties to the past also restore a sense of continuity to the series, albeit imperfectly. “Star Wars: The Force Awakens” will not completely satisfy many of its fans, but it won’t completely disappoint either. In the absence of a better alternative, this film gets a recommendation.