Extreme spoilers ahead. You have been warned.
In case you hadn’t heard, or more accurately didn’t care, Star Wars: The Force Awakens came out this weekend and it was a big fucking deal. Like, made more money than both Jurassic World and whatever the last Hobbit movie was kind of deal. Star Wars fans young and old sprinted out of the closet and to their nearest theatre to wait in line for the newest installment of this already incredibly successful franchise, and from what I understand most of them were not disappointed.
However, it’s hard to take any of these reviews too seriously because openly disliking Star Wars during this new, fevered era is kind of like denouncing Beyoncé: you only whisper it when you’re drunk and hope that no one else hears you. Luckily for all of you, I am wholly indifferent to Star Wars and immune to people yelling at me on Twitter, which makes me the perfect candidate to write an unbiased review. So yesterday, as a beacon of impartial viewership, I dragged my hungover ass out of bed and went to see what all the fuss was about. You’re welcome.
What did I know about Star Wars before The Force Awakens? Not much. Here’s what I managed to compile while I sat by myself in an extremely crowded theatre because I couldn’t compel a single one of my friends to come with me:
· Luke and Leia are siblings but might have made out once.
· Darth Vader was a dick and the archetype upon which the daddy issue trope has been built.
· “Luke, I am your father.”
· Harrison Ford can get it.
I could throw in a couple more terms that I recognize and don’t understand, but this was my working knowledge of the plot of these movies before yesterday. I vaguely remember seeing one of the newer ones as a child but it wasn’t even the one with Hayden Christensen so idk why I bothered. Needless to say, I had zero idea what I was getting myself into.
I had only been sitting down for about two minutes when the most attractive man I’ve ever seen in the daylight on a Sunday walked in and sat directly in front of me, a fantastic start to my viewing experience. I was only moderately deterred when he turned to his friend and fervently whispered “Star Wars. It’s happening dude. Star. Wars.” We all have our faults. Before his friend could reply in similar awe, the opening credits rolled and the entire theatre immediately burst into cheers and applause: a terrible omen to an already foreboding day.
As a whole, the movie was far funnier than I expected. The characters were lively and likeable, rather than just action movie drones who run directly into explosions every ten minutes. The female lead was cripplingly beautiful, and that was with minimal makeup and a weird triple-bun ponytail that stayed in place throughout multiple chase scenes and violent fights, which was really nice to encounter in my current state of hungover dishevelment.
The basic plot is this: Luke Skywalker, the last of the Jedi, has gone into a self-imposed exile after one of his students went rogue. In his absence, The First Order has taken over, which pretty much just seems like Darth Vader and Company part two. They want to find Luke and presumably kill him so they can rule the whole galaxy or something. Meanwhile, The Resistance, led by Luke’s sister Leia, is also searching for him because life sucks now that he’s gone. That is what I grasped from the two hour and sixteen minute experience, and it made enough sense that I could follow the rest of the movie.
The main characters are a girl named Ray, a scavenger from some awful fucking planet full of sand and fat creatures (so like space New Mexico I would imagine), and Fin, a Stormtrooper turned good who helped a resistance pilot named Po escape from The First Order. Po was taken hostage while retrieving the map to Luke, which literally everyone was trying to get their hands on and served as the driving plot point for the first half or so of the movie. Po was a sassy shithead who was my favorite character until the glorious return of Harrison Ford as Han Solo and his furry friend Chewy. Chewy speaks no English but his general dislike of everyone was pretty easy to read, making him the character that I could most relate to.
The big twist came when we found out that the new Darth Vader is the son of Han Solo and Princess Leia, and it was even more exciting when we found out it was actually Adam Driver from Girls. It also made it really hard to take him seriously because I was just imagining him yelling at Lena Dunham the entire time. Adam was the student of Luke’s who went rogue, which is extra awkward because he was also his nephew. However, the dark in him from his asshole of a grandfather beat out the light supplied by his parents, and Adam was easily manipulated into abandoning his entire family.
There was a solid two minutes where I thought Adam and Harrison Ford were going to make out, but that particular interaction ended with Han getting stabbed through the chest with a lightsaber and falling to his (presumable) death, at which point the 40 year-old-man behind me broke into loud sobs.
From there the plot proceeded as you would imagine: Ray realizes her true Jedi powers and fights Adam to the almost death. Fin overcame his guilt about the whole Stormtrooper thing and sacrificed himself for Ray, nearly dying in the process. Leia remained powerfully stoic over the death of her baby daddy and former husband? Idk that was never super clear. The First Order’s plan to blow up The Resistance was foiled by those meddling kids and their giant furry wookie, and then their planet collapsed for good measure.
In the end, Ray sets off to find Luke, whose dramatic reveal scored him 15 seconds of airtime and probably 30 million dollars. Must be nice. The movie ends with them staring at each other from across the windy rock he’s been living on, and then the credits rolled and the theatre broke into raucous applause again. Note to everyone ever: please stop clapping at the end of movies.
Despite my general misgivings, I enjoyed The Force Awakens. It was entertaining and the references to previous Star Wars movies weren’t important enough to impede my understanding of the plot as a whole. Did I leave the theatre in tears with a new perspective on life? Not at all, but I also don’t have the emotional attachment to this franchise that clearly millions of other people do.
If anything, it’s worth seeing so that you understand the no doubt hundreds of pop culture references that will be made to it over the next few months. For your viewing pleasure I would recommend waiting until the theatre isn’t jam packed with fan boys and maybe smuggling in a bottle of wine.
Most importantly of all: Harrison Ford can still get it.