No, the new Star Wars will not reignite your childhood fantasies.
You will not suddenly feel the need to collect a chestful of new toys. And catchphrases from The Force Awakens will not be dominating conversations 30, 35 years from now.
Adam Driver does not make you forget Vader.
But that’s OK.
The Force Awakens is a modern blockbuster, on par with director J.J. Abrams’s first Star Trek reboot and maybe Guardians of the Galaxy. It’s a spectacle with definite heart if a little too much nostalgia. A B+ movie with enough tugs at the past to merit, at least from our Thursday night screening, multiple ovations.
So, with no (well, few) spoilers, our review:
Should I see it? Yes. In 3-D.
When should I go? Based off of our experience, two hours before screentime if you want a good seat. You’ll want something in the middle to get the full tie-fighter-coming-at-you effect.
Who’s the new league MVP? BB-8. The most adorable and emotive robot ever? Quite possibly. So much so that we just used the word adorable for perhaps the first time ever on this site? No comment. Sorry, Short Circuit.
How ‘bout the old school MVP? Han Solo. Harrison Ford’s got a bit of vigor in him yet. As for the rest of the original crew ... J.J. Abrams probably couldn’t have waited much longer.
What do people cheer? The opening scroll. The “Music by John Williams” credit. The first appearance of pretty much anyone from the original trilogy. The guy who played Miles on Lost. All lightsaber battles.
What improved: The air battles. Great in the original, actually vertigo-inducing here.
What reminded us of the prequels (sadly): The CGI. Most dramatically with Andy Serkis (Lord of the Rings) as Supreme Leader Snoke.
The plot: Isn’t important. Big bad MacGuffin plot device kills planets. Attack plan is eerily familiar: Mad magazine pretty much nailed it back in 1983.
The new leads... Are fantastic. Daisy Ridley and John Boyega could have hosted a space opera together on their own (with BB-8 assistance, of course).
They listen to social media. Boyega, as Finn, has two lines that seemingly reference his non-white-stormtrooper casting and the convenience factor of The Force.
Worst throwback: Nobody’s gonna mistake that limp alien reggae tune in Maz Katana’s castle for a new Cantina classic.
Wait, why is that annoying dude from Girls the Big Bad? Because he does a pretty good job of being young, petty and evil. He’s more Commodus from Gladiator than Vader, and that works.
Should I still avoid spoilers? Yes. Some the original beats are predictable and familiar. One is a genuine surprise.