Star Wars: The Force Awakens was everything a fan of the original films would hope to find. JJ Abrams captured the wonder and the magic of the original trilogy with a 2015 visual EFX that made the film just pop out of the screen. The scene transitions were seamless with great cinematography that carried the magic that made the first films ahead of their time.
And here is where I throw my warning as I highlight the new characters in the film: SPOILER SPOILER SPOILER.
In case you didn’t get the hint, spoiler warning. We are entering the spoiler region, so if you have not seen the film, stop reading now, go watch it, and then come back.
Ok, so last month I wrote on how Luke Skywalker had not turned to the Dark Side like many suspected. I also stated that he would train the new Jedi and that Kylo Ren was a Skywalker. I was correct on all three.
The mysterious “Darth Vader” fanboy isn’t really a fanboy as much as a grandson wanting to live up to what his grandfather stood for. Kylo Ren is the son of Han Solo and Leia [Organa nee Skywalker]. Sent away at a young age to train with Luke who was training the next generation of Jedi, Leia and Han hoped that the darkness and obsession that “Ben” had for Vader would be wiped away. They mention how Luke went into hiding because his apprentice turned on him. And although Kylo is hinted at it, I’m not so sure it was him (we’ll get to that later).
My disappointment in Kylo is that the mysterious bad boy was really just a child with daddy issues. But when he was confronted with his dad, this is where some of the visuals of the film really stood out. You have Han and Kylo on a bridge. Han is trying to reach to that glimmer of light still left in his son. Behind Han you see this bright background of the sun still peeking through. Behind Kylo is red that points to a great metaphor of the characters inner struggle of light or dark. Then the sun is finally drained and darkness covers them all. At that moment, the inevitable that everyone saw coming came: the end of Han Solo at the hands of his son. Whatever light was left was buried even deeper. And even though he will soon get his tail whooped, the next time we see him on screen, we will see not the boy with daddy issues, but the true bad boy we all expected.
Here is the mysterious scavenger-turned-hero and the star of the show. We say that all things happen for a reason, and the fact that she is thrown into a fight she didn’t expect to be a part really points that out. Untrained, these series of events allow us to see the power of the force really come forward. She was able to withstand Ren, tap into the Force several times, and even make the trained Kylo Ren look like a rookie who was wielding his lightsaber for the first time.
What makes Rey so compelling is that her character was so innocent but also very strong. She is an independent character that stood her own, yet we are left with one burning question, who is she? She was abandoned on a planet when she was young and expecting her parents to return but they never did. But how powerful she is with the Force will bring all kinds of speculation. Did Han and Leia have another child? Are we playing the same “twins separated” of the original trilogy? Or, is she Luke’s daughter? I think it is safe to say that she is definitely a Skywalker and much more power than Ren at this stage (and that’s just raw power). Rey is such a huge integral part to the film; that it is tragic that she just isn’t marketed as much as she should have been, but that is a different conversation on its own. We can for now enjoy one of the best lightsaber fights in Star Wars. Rey vs Kylo Ren was so well done and set in a great backdrop that we can’t help but sit her impatiently for their next encounter. She alone makes the film worth watching several times again.
He is an interesting character because what he represents is such a huge metaphor that cannot be ignored. Finn, from birth, was raised to be one thing, a Stormtrooper. But when confronted with the horrors of war and the reality of the First Order and Kylo Ren, he quickly realizes that evil is not something he wants to be a part of. It is a great example of nature versus nurture and shows us that we are determined by our surroundings or our upbringing. Rather, we have a moral center that God has given us that we have to decide for ourselves whether to follow or not. Finn first and foremost changed his life by deciding to follow that moral center and reject evil.
The other part of Finn’s story is a character that must decide whether fight or flight. For the most part, his decision is quickly flight. He wants to get as far away from the First Order as possible. But it is funny how love can change things. For the first time ever he knows what it is like to have a true friend, and when that friend needed him the most, his character changed. At that moment he was no longer choosing flight but rather fight. He did all he could to save Rey (who ironically ended up saving him instead). It is the power of love and friendship and the light that shines bright in these two characters.
Captain Phasma and Poe Dameron
In my opinion, they were just not in the film enough to make one truly care for them. Phasma leads the Stormtroopers but is barely seen and Poe is shown as a great pilot and leader, but again we aren’t given enough to really invest in them yet.
BB-8 was a very adorable droid that at times made you laugh and others made you sad. He won’t take the special place that R2-D2 has, but he is a great addition to the film.
Supreme Leader Snoke
We finally come to the real bad guy. Snoke is the one pulling the strings. He is Kylo Ren’s master as far as the dark side is concerned. The figure we are introduced to is a hologram that is like a giant, and very deformed. Is this the real look of Snoke, or just an image he projects of himself? He is the real evil of the universe and when this trilogy comes to an end, it is him who will need to be defeated. The question is; who is he? We really don’t know, but I have a theory.
Kylo Ren was sent to Luke to be trained with the Jedi. At some point, Kylo’s obsession for Vader brought him to Snoke. Luke has disappeared because his apprentice turned on him, and we see Rey have a vision of Kylo and the Knights of Ren strike down all the Jedi in the same way that Anakin did. But, I believe that Snoke, whoever he is, was the apprentice that turned on Luke. He took Kylo under his wing and trained him in the Dark Side and then sent him to kill everything that Luke worked for. That pain drove Luke to solitude. His apprentice turned his nephew and he couldn’t stop him.
In the end, Star Wars The Force Awakens carries all the greatness of the original trilogy. It reminds us that the battle of light versus dark is an ever pressing matter, and that we all need to work to make sure that the light shines brighter and not allow the dark to take over.
If you read this review, you’ve seen the film. So what do you think? Are you going to see it again? Share your thoughts in the comments.