The Force Awakens...Then Hits the Snooze...

I've had several days to mull Star Wars Episode VII over in my mind.  I won't spoil anything here, I know there are few out there that still haven't seen the film and I'm not going to write a full on review.  Just some impressions.

I knew going in, I knew early on when we started getting glimpses and hopes and expectations continued to mount, that we had a good movie coming to us...but maybe not great.  See, this new chapter in the Star Wars saga had to make an apology to the fans, to remind them of what they liked about Star Wars, while still honoring what came before.  The Expanded Universe of comics and books were wiped clean.  The Prequel Trilogy is set in stone, but we and our characters are well removed from those events so we can largely ignore what we didn't like about it.  As release came closer, I had a growing suspicion that The Force Awakens was essentially going to be A New Hope 2.  And now, having seen it, I stand by that sentiment.

The Force Awakens borrows quite a bit from both A New Hope and Return of the Jedi, but lacks a definite ending.  In an age where sequels are guaranteed and tickets to those sequels are all but already sold, having a cliffhanger isn't terribly surprising.  But, when trying to establish a new arc and new characters, having a conclusion would have been nice, and narratively similar to A New Hope and The Phantom Menace.  But alas...

Before I sound like I'm putting the new movie down, it was fun!  There's witty dialogue, fun action that's easy enough to follow, genuinely funny goofs, and despite the formulaic issues, especially regarding its ending, it was a good movie!  I've seen people adjusting their lists of favorite Star Wars and placing VII above Jedi.  I don't think I'm there.  I certainly enjoyed it a lot more than any of the Prequel Trilogy, but by hamstringing itself capitalizing on nostalgia, I have a feeling in retrospect, VII will be the weakest of all the new Star Wars movies, particularly the episodic entries.

Going forward, though, Episode VIII may very well stand to be the most impressive new entry in Star Wars as a whole.  These new characters and themes can stretch on their own without having to rely on anything that came before and begin to tell their own story.  The Rogue One and Han Solo...solo...movies can continue to capitalize on that lived-in universe of the Original Trilogy and bring back old favorite characters to tell new stories while new episodes can tell brand new stories to defy expectations.  That's an exciting proposition.

It's an exciting time to be a nerd.  It's okay to geek out.  I'm very pleased with the new Star Wars; it was refreshing, if familiar.  I am eager for more and it's all coming down the pike.

I give it a solid blowtorch-thumbs-up.


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