Hailing from a galaxy far, far away, the new Star Wars film, The Force Awakens, has landed and continues to tell the stories of George Lucas’ original world. Directed by J. J. Abrams, the film acts as a sequel series to the original three episodes made in the ’70s. Far from the atrocities of the prequel series made in the late ’90s and early 2000s, The Force Awakens should satisfy any Star Wars fan, and — dare I even go as far as to say — it will not only satisfy but delight.
*Massive Spoilers Ahead*
The Force Awakens takes place 30 years after the destruction of the second death star, and a new foe, called the First Order, has replaced the Empire in their struggles against the Republic. They want to destroy Jedi Master Luke Skywalker (Mark Hamill) and the Republic, yet Luke has mysteriously disappeared, leaving his twin sister, General Leia Organa (Carrie Fisher), to lead a rebellion against the First Order.
Leia sends Poe Dameron (Oscar Isaac), ace pilot for the Republic, to the planet Jakku in search of a map that will lead them to Luke. On Jakuu, Poe is captured by masked First Order general Kylo Ren (Adam Driver) — the main antagonist of the film — but luckily Poe’s handy droid BB-8 escapes into the desert with the map. There, BB-8 encounters a scavenger named Rey (Daisy Ridley).
Poe eventually escapes with the help of a stormtrooper he befriends named Finn (John Boygea). Finn and Poe crash their ship, and Finn, seemingly the only survivor, finds Rey and BB-8. Yet, thanks to an attack from the First Order, the three flee Jakku on none other than the Millennium Falcon. The Millennium Falcon breaks down and is captured by a larger ship controlled by Han Solo (Harrison Ford) and Chewbacca (Peter Mayhew), who are reunited by their beloved ship. The group of five now work together to try to stop Kylo Ren and the First Order’s Starkiller Base, which is essentially an even larger and deadlier version of the Death Star.
The film meshes the best parts of the old films while bringing in fresh and exciting new aspects. Abrams’ small homages to the originals (such as Poe’s flight sequence around the Starkiller Base) nicely pays tribute to the earlier films, tying the new movie to Lucas’ universe. Confined to the tropes and mythology of the Star Wars universe, Abrams does a good job of finding a balance between maintaining the integrity of the film’s predecessors and adding onto the film in a fresh and exciting way.
In regards to the amount of representation, Star Wars: The Force Awakens far surpasses any of the previous films. The story centers around a man of color and a woman, which was nonexistent in any of Lucas’ previous films. Not only do the characters bring in a healthy dose of representation so severely lacking in all the other Star Wars movies, but they are also incredibly likable. They live and breathe charisma just like the previous generation of heroes did.
Abrams’ new characters carry forward the story of Lucas’ world in a way that the film series deserves. Star Wars: The Force Awakens is playful, adventurous, and sure to make any fan nostalgic. But whether or not you have an encyclopedic knowledge of Star Wars, this is a thrilling film that should delight fanatic and casual viewers alike.