Since the whole world already weighed in on this, I thought I’ll write down some thoughts too, maybe then I can stop having them.
Spoilers obviously. It’s not like anyone would be reading this, but you’ll never know. :P
So I really liked the movie overall. I found myself whistling sounds from the movie even on the next day after seeing it and I totally would watch the film again and you just don’t do any of this if you didn’t like it.
There were really only 2 “major” things that bugged me and the first one was, that there was a Republic and a resistance, which both opposed the First Order. Why would there be a “resistance”, if there also was an official government, which already opposed the First Order? Shouldn’t it be the task of a government, to fight an opposing force, which tries to wipe it out? And thus making an extra, separate resistance unnecessary? All of this, this whole concept was very weird to me and they didn’t make one single attempt to explain any of it. It felt like they rolled the dice on some elements of the backstory and didn’t make any effort to think it through. If you think about it, A New Hope didn’t explain anything like this either, but the difference was, that in the very first SW movie, everyone knew exactly who the bad guys and the good guys were and why everyone was doing what they were doing, thus making any elaborate explanations unnecessary. If you can’t and/or won’t explain anything, at least keep it simple!
The other odd thing was, that the First Order was able to build a new Death Star, which was many times bigger than the original ones even and no one knew about it. It must have taken many years, to build such a massive weapon, what should have given their enemies ample opportunity to learn about it and destroy it before its construction was ever finished. There’s also this part that even the Empire, as the then official government, had problems to construct a Death Star, concerning secrecy and the necessary resources. Why then, was this so easy for a much smaller Imperial remnant? It doesn’t make sense. Although it then would have mirrored A New Hope even more, it was silly, that The Force Awakens was about finding a map that might lead to Luke Skywalker, when the First Order had a weapon ready, that can destroy several planets at once, including the entire government of this galaxy (which apparently also had all their military forces stationed on those same few planets instead of multiple locations in space, because those never showed up and a small resistance force had to do everything on their own instead). You’d think this should have been a much more pressing issue. Seriously, what was the Republic up to during the events of TFA? They were clearly taken completely by surprise. No one even tried to jump into a spaceship and go to lightspeed – which is what I would have expected at least someone to try.
The rest of the movie was pretty good. I liked how TFA acted, as if the prequel trilogy never happened, I don’t think there was a single reference to it in this film. TFA managed to make SW great again. :P It mostly captured what caused so many people to love the 1977 film until today. Now it’s possible to be cynical about this, because it’s true that this film basically does everything A New Hope did, but I don’t think people should be. There are a gazillion movies out there which tell very similar stories and many of them are still damn entertaining. The best part of the movie are probably the characters, which are all, above anything, acted next to perfection. I never would have thought that I would end up liking the new characters as much as I did. They made the movie. Finn is truly funny (in general the humor in the movie almost always works, most of the audience was laughing at the right moments) and fun to watch as well, Rey has this Marty McFly vibe going on, by which I mean she stands still for like 2 scenes in the whole movie and otherwise is always running, jumping and climbing somewhere. And she looks like a human being while doing it. That’s really nice for a change. This is true for action scenes as well, during the lightsaber fights in the woods it just looks like 2 people are trying to hit each other with these weapons, there is none of this dumb, over-choreographed shit the prequel trilogy used to make people sick of lightsabers. This is what made the fight between Kylo Ren and Rey engaging. It was awesome. They even had Finn, someone who’s not a Jedi, try to fight Kylo Ren with a lightsaber, that’s a good idea for once. It was a healing moment, after seeing embarrassing scenes, which couldn’t come up with anything fresh other than giving the characters more and more lightsabers…
I also really liked Harrison Ford in the movie, for the first time in like 25 years I thought he was really awesome again. They also didn’t make/repeat the mistake from the Star Trek reboots, in which old cast members pretty much were only shoved in just so they were there. Han Solo had actual things to do in this film, it made sense for him to be part of it all. Unless it’s done like this, filmmakers shouldn’t even bother to have an original cast return, because they aren’t doing anyone any favors.
So, for anyone who’s into seeing big space adventure movies, this is definitely the film to see. I just hope they can keep this level for the sequels, if they pull this off, I might end up liking this new trilogy even more than the original one – seriously.
PS: Almost forgot to mention Poe Dameron. :P Definitely another good example why the characters in this movie were great. I was really glad that this guy survived – another notion I shared with most people in the theater. He’s basically the new Wedge Antilles, but other than him, Poe Dameron gets more of a spot in the limelight, like he deserves. ;) I liked how they used him too, he was there in a couple of important scenes, but they didn’t overdo it either. :)