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A completely spoiler-free review of 'Star Wars: The Force Awakens'
Star Wars: The Force Awakens (2015) - photo by Travis Poppleton
FAR, FAR AWAY Star Wars is back!

And Im not saying that in a, Hey, another Star Wars movie is out, kind of way either. Im shouting from the rooftops, Star Wars is back! The characters, the themes, the childlike magic its finally returned in a gift-wrapped, glee-inducing box of wonderment.

As always, well avoid spoilers as we chat about the highlights, but note this time were being extra cautious. Star Wars: The Force Awakens is definitely a less-you-know-the-better movie, and were going to honor that as much as possible.

Still, if you want to know absolutely nothing about the film a position we respect and support you may want to come back to this article after youve enjoyed your own Star Wars: The Force Awakens experience. If youre still reading however, well, here we go:

The Premise

Why would you be reading a section with a heading titled The Premise? You dont want to know the premise. All you need to know is The Force Awakens takes place approximately 30 years after Return of the Jedi. Full stop.

J.J. Abrams

Some of the skepticism surrounding J.J. Abrams involvement in the Star Wars universe revolved around his recent relationship with the Star Trek franchise. Star Trek had practically been declared dead by Paramount before Abrams JJd up the place.

But whereas Abrams boldly took the Star Trek universe where it had never gone before, with Star Wars, he meticulously pieces together a story within the existing universe created for episodes four, five, and six. Sure, he and Empire Strikes Back writer Lawrence Kasdan have built new and exciting elements into The Force Awakens, but theyve done so using elements from the original package.

The Force Awakens feels like a Western again. No more senate meetings or Jedi council chambers. No more hyper-polished space ships or big-city planets. This next chapter takes place outdoors where it belongs, with rubbish-ships and impossible odds.

If youve listed J.J. Abrams as an item anywhere on your list of concerns, feel free to cross that line out right now.

The original characters

Theres a certain amount of credibility The Force Awakens is granted because, well, thats Han Solo standing next to the Millennium Falcon again, for crying out loud.

Thanks to Kasdan, classic characters act, react and interact like they would with an additional 30 years of experience, which means letting them into your heart again will be a quick and welcome transition. You may even find simply hanging out with these old friends is your favorite thing about this latest episode.

While the new characters go a long way in selling the future of the series, its the classic characters that give this chapter its heart.

The rest

Usually we pick three or four distinct highlights to chat about, but since were staying clear of any details lets just wrap this up with a very broad swipe of the brush.

John Williams is back which means the music is exactly perfect. Poe Dameron (Oscar Issac), Rey (Daisy Ridley), Finn (John Boyega), Maz Kanata (Lupita Nyongo) and Kylo Ren (Adam Driver) are all worthy and actually interesting additions to the continuing cast of characters. BB-8 is both adorable and strangely practical, and I have a bad feeling about this is folded in appropriately and given to the perfect character.

Non-Star Wars fans will be correct when they point out the films flaws during your morning joust around the office water cooler, but youll also be correct to smile, place your hand on said critics shoulder and start humming Williams main Star Wars theme. Bum, bum, da da da da da


The biggest compliment I can give Star Wars: The Force Awakens is it feels like it belongs.

People who have insisted on only watching the original trilogy during their annual Star Wars marathons will have no trouble sliding episode seven into the mix. Disney may not be getting everything right these days, but it has pulled off its first entry into a galaxy far, far away with respect. I suspect now, fans will proclaim to the mouse house, I love you. And Disney will reply, well, you know the rest.