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Star Wars : The Force Awaken review

Star Wars is BACK !! With the newest installment of this massive franchise is returning, the expectations is all time high. The questions now are can J.J. Abrams live up to that after his frustratingly rehash of Star Trek Into Darkness and can this repair the damage done by the prequel ? My thought after the jump.

So before I start this review, I would preface that, I will try to avoid spoiler as much as I can, but forgive if there is still any leaking out. Now, we got pass that, lets get into it !!

The plot revolves (this is gonna be tough considering that the plot is surrounded in secrecy as well, anyways) Rei and Finn being thrown into the war between the First Order jointly led by Kylo Ren and General Hux and The Resistance led by General Leia Organa (or Skywalker) when they are forced to bring home an object that can turn the tide of the war. Sound familiar ? That's because it is the same plot for Star Wars episode 4 and episode 1 (sort of) by more of that later, because this is a good movie and I want to start this with the good thing first.

Now we know that J.J is trying to use puppets and real set as many as possible, and it shows in this movie. You might be aware that I have a sharp eye detecting CGI effects in a movie and it doesn't show in it. Maz Kanata was a motion capture but there is so many real life puppet that it doesn't bother you (and the CGI is good as well). At the same time, there is not much revelation on which is real and which is CGI, that in the end you don' try to differentiate which is which.

There is several shot in this movie is beautifully done. The opening shot and there is a moment between Han Solo and Kylo Ren that is beautifully done. The battle is chaotic but easy to follow, which that by itself is a good thing. Also because of the use of real set, every shot doesn't look glossy or sometimes foggy as you see in the prequel or any movie that have CGI backgroud in it.

The performance are great from everyone. BB-8 is adorable, and seem to portray a lot more emotion and reaction that R2D2. The old cast are great especially Harrison Ford and few surprise cameo from minor but fan favorite characters. Oscar Isaac manage to portray that cocky but competent character really well and his character portray an entirely different archetype that you rarely see in a movie.

 John Boyega and Daisy Ridley character is actually our window in who portray two different type of character. Imagine John Boyega is like a new audience who know about Star Wars but only started to get into it and Daisy Ridley is the long time Star Wars fan. However shout out has to go Daisy Ridley who came out stands out as the main character. She portray this competent female character, though some of her arc in this story is a little bit weird but you believe that very well.

In term of villains, Domhnall Gleeson portray such a menacing villain as General Hux and Adam Driver play this complex (sort of, more on that) villain as Kylo Ren. It was a good decision to give Kylo Ren a mask because my God, Adam Driver's face is too pretty (and voice is too soft as well) to be menacing and while it was a shocking creative decision on J.J., I wouldn't present his face as how it was in the movie. Andy Serkis's Snooke is a far better appearance than Thanos did. While he only 'Thanos'-ing throughout the movie, the way he was described by Leia and Han and Kylo and how he was shown, are enough give us how dangerous he is.

That being said, lets talk about writing. There are two writers, Lawrence Kasdan and JJ himself. It was obvious that Lawrence is brought in to write so it looks consistent with the mythology and JJ is writing as fans. In real life, Star Wars is somewhat a legend, every single person know what Star Wars is but at a varying level of knowledge and JJ uses that to its advantage. A good example is when Finn and Rei first meet Han Solo. The way Finn remember Han Solo is how new fans or normal fans remember Han Solo from the movie, but the way Rei described him is how long time fan, those familiar with expanded universe described Han Solo in real life. Even how Han Solo is portrayed in this movie is almost similar to how Harrison Ford reacts to Star Wars fandom.

Kudos that J.J. decided not to give one revelation from this movie a twist. That is mostly because people can mostly guess it and it will not as much effect as it should be even if it is done as a twist (remember the Khan thing ?). I think that is again J.J. taking advantage as a fan knowing ahead what would work and wouldn't for this movie. Also, that ending was a very good choice. If there is episode 8 playing immediately after that, I would've watch it without a doubt.

However, the character on the other hand is mostly archetype with the exception of Poe Dameron making him my favorite character in this movie. Poe is cocky and competent, he is not like tortured and competent (Himura Kenshin), or goofy and competent (every other Marvel heroes now), or reluctant and competent (Spike from Cowboy Bebop) which I got tired to watch already and I really wish he is more in the movie. Hux by the end movie he is clearly a representation of Nazi or at least this villain with strong ideology. Kylo Ren is just another Darth Vader (I bet from his pretty face, he i just as whiny as Anakin). Finn while some think he might be sexist on how he sees Rei, but he is just for now love interest and the Luke archetype. Rei while she is just strong, there is not much emotion shown by her, and shockingly in the end what she need is a hug from a man (is JJ rips off Black Widow's arc from Avengers movie ?). Captain Phasma is unfortunately my biggest disappointment. How she was portray in the promotional stuff seems like a big character even if she is written out and replace by another Stormtroopers, it wouldn't have matter anyway.

With that we came to the last part which is the weakness. While JJ presents a good Star Wars movie that stay true to its roots, there is not much new thing being presented. Each set pieces seems like a rehash from the previous movie. The plot seems like a rehash from the previous movie. Some of the artistic choice is being taken from his previous movie. That is fine to me because somehow that is what JJ is know for now, but by the time they reach to Maz Kanata's place, you started to be bothered by it a little bit. It didn't took me out from the movie, and it wasn't as blatantly done as in Star Trek Into Darkness.

In term of plot, there is some part of the story that seems like being rushed or weren't explained properly. Poe Dameron's subplot was left hanging and weirdly done, it wish there is more explanation of that in the future installment. Finn's turn that decided him to run away wasn't as believable and Rei's turn to fully master the force was obviously rushed, R2D2's returns was too convenient, and the dialogue; "I can show you the way of the force" was obviously shoehorned in. However as I mentioned earlier, it didn't take you out from the movie but as reflects, you realized, "Well, that doesn't work"

All in all, it was a good enjoyable movie and it already made 500 Million so who cares if I say there is weakness right ? In the end, I give this movie 4.5 out 5.0. Good enjoyable movie but with some forgivable flaws. I am excited for Episode 8, and honestly don't care about Rogue One. Better bring me some interesting trailer to hook me on that.

So what do you think of Star Wars: The Force Awaken ? Was I wrong ? Did I miss anything ?Sound off your thought in the comment section. Stay tuned for my annual Comic Book A-Z next week and hopefully the final two issues of Skuad Satria this week. Don't forget to follow and like Comikrew Studio right here and on Facebook. Subscribe to my comic at Tapastic and finally follow and hit me up on Twitter.


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