Since a large chunk of the population has donated a portion of their disposable income to a movie theater in order to see Star Wars: The Force Awakens, we’re getting to the point where spoiler-free reviews are going to be unnecessary. If you haven’t seen the film yet and want to be surprised when you get to the theater, I’d recommend taking a look at my earlier review first, since it contains no spoilers. Otherwise, read on, as I go into some of my personal ponderings regarding the movie.
Scroll past the picture below to read on. Otherwise, it’s okay to return later and read when you’ve had a chance to see the film for yourself.
I am not a Star Wars fanboy, but I have always had an interest in the series. Perhaps it’s because George Lucas wanted to change some sequences in the preexisting films to make a plot point more noticeable (Greedo shooting first instead of Han Solo), more detailed (all the CGI with Jabba the Hutt in A New Hope) or look more unified (the horrific revised ending to Return of the Jedi that seems a bit ironic, seeing as it shows the folks on Corcuscant celebrating freedom, not knowing they’ll suffer the same fate as Alderann thirty years later). Maybe it’s because I wanted to leave a theater with a sense of awe and wonder—something I didn’t get when seeing The Phantom Menace back in 1999. It could be due to the fact that I saw Peter Jackson succeed mightily in the Lord of the Rings trilogy (The Hobbit? Not so much.). Regardless, I went in wanting something more, something dynamic, something post-worthy.
I got that—and much more.
The film’s first portion centers on the planet of Jakku, as BB-8 takes the map portion with him a few seconds before Kylo Ren’s Bat Cruiser (not trademarked, but it should be) shows up and annihilation occurs. Rey, a scavenger in those parts, wants little to do with the droid when she encounters him and eventually has to make a decision about whether to sell him. BB-8’s loyalty reminds me, in a non-speaking way, of the loyalty of Ruth to Naomi in the Old Testament (see Ruth 1:16-18). Rey decides not to, and it’s a good choice on her part, as the droid introduces her to Finn, a Stormtrooper gone AWOL. The two make quite a formidable pair, and I have a feeling we’ll be seeing more of this pair in future films.
As for Kylo Ren, it’s revealed that he’s the son of Han Solo and Leia. He’s definitely a force (pun intended) to be reckoned with (notice the Force stop of Poe Dameron’s blaster shot in the opening sequence). In fact, the only folks who can fight him off are Snoke, General Hux, and (later on) Rey. But he’s got some serious issues. He has no control over his temper, slashing massive streaks into a computer wall when he finds out Rey was not captured. In another sequence, the Stormtroopers on duty just turn around and walk away. This probably explains why his lightsaber fizzles, pops, and looks so different than the ones we’ve come to know in the past. He wants to be good, but can’t seem to fight his way out of the Dark Side. We see this in play on numerous occasions, notably when taking to Han Solo on the bridge at the end of the film. He knows what he needs to do, but can’t do it—does that sound eerily like the struggle Paul talks about in Romans 7:15-25? As a result, he is a wretched man. It looks like we’ll get to see more of this struggle in future episodes.
In the end, Starkiller Base is destroyed, Han Solo is taken out by his son, Finn is on life support after a nasty lightsaber slash up the back from Kylo Ren, and Rey travels with Chewbacca to a planet full of islands. Atop one of the islands, she meets up, for the first time, with Luke Skywalker. Luke on the island reminded me of John on the island of Patmos in the book of Revelation. He had vanished (remember the opening screen crawl?) after seeing one of his Jedi trainees go rogue (in this case, Kylo Ren). Perhaps he was waiting for a revelation of his own. In John’s case, he came across Jesus himself, who told him to write some letters to a group of churches that needed a wake-up call badly (except for Philadelphia) and provided an amazing look at what will eventually come to pass. We’re not sure about Luke yet, but Rey holds his lightsaber out to him as the camera pans around them and the film ends (one of the best shots I’ve seen in a film in quite a while, I might add). Perhaps it’s the wake-up call Luke needs to hear. Sadly, we’ll have to wait a few more years until director Rian Johnson shares Episode VIII with us.