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This review is the opinions of Crowley and only Crowley. They do not reflect the opinions of the SWATH, RyantheGr8, or JJ Abrams. This will NOT be spoiler free. If you have not seen the movie and do not want it ruined then DO NOT READ THIS REVIEW!

It has now been 24hrs since I've seen the movie...well, 24hrs since I sat for 3hrs while waiting to see the movie. The fact that we, as a group, had over a full row of SWATHers certainly added to the experience. Not to mention it was the first time I had seen or talked with a lot of you in forever. Regardless, I have now had a lot of time to digest the first installment of the JJ Abrams era of Star Wars. 

Overall, the film was good. It was better than good but far from great. As a film, you have to take it for what it is; what it is, is a set-up film. It is a film that is supposed to bridge the 30yr gap we've had since the events in Return of the Jedi and also set up the new Star Wars Universe that we'll see JJ playing in for the next several years. This film did a nice job of doing that. We found out what Leia, Han, Chewie, 3PO, R2, and Luke have all been up to. TFA (The Force Awakens) also sets up the new class of heroes and villains very nicely too. 

I have read reviews that say TFA doesn't have much in the way of story. Really? It gives us Rey, Finn's, and Kylo Ren's backgrounds without spending too much time dwelling on them. This leaves ample time to flesh out the New Order and drive the main plot. Where is Luke Skywalker? That was the whole point of this movie and it did it brilliantly.

I've also read reviews where people have complained that it was "too much like A New Hope". These are the same people who complained that the prequels were "not enough like the originals". You can't make all the people happy all the time. This movie FELT like Star Wars; something the prequels lacked completely. JJ and team did a great job of making the technology look and feel 30yrs older. Nostalgia smacks you silly throughout the entire movie...and that's a good thing.

Internet trolls (and some SWATHers) are complaining that Kylo Ren is a wuss who got beat down by someone with no force training. And, along those same lines, that same person with no force training was able to wield the force pretty well; at one point using the Jedi Mind Trick on a guard. There may be some validity to this. Kylo Ren certainly has mommy and daddy issues...but, um....so did his grandfather (thanks, Lucas); so in that regard, JJ is sticking to family history. Makes sense. And as far as an untrained force user goes...yeah, I got nothing.  LOL This is one of the negatives of TFA. Kylo Ren was trained by both Luke Skywalker and Supreme Leader Snoke; there is no chance an untrained force user (no matter how high her midichlorian count is; thanks, Lucas) goes toe to toe with him.

Another negative of the film is the heavy-handed show of feminism. What I mean by this is, JJ went overboard on making Rey an "independent woman who doesn't need a man to help". Several times Rey discourages and/or chastises Finn's desire to help her in a very obvious way. Leia was able to show the same thing by killing Jabba; Rey beats off two attackers on her own and that's where they should have left it. Instead, they kept beating us over the head with it throughout the entire film. It got old, quick.

The last complaint I have involves a MAJOR SPOILER. The death of Han Solo (which I totally saw coming when Harrison Ford stopped being so hostile about Star Wars) was practically glanced over. There was no memorial, no tears, and no moment. It felt to me that JJ was forcing a connection between Rey and Han that was never really there. Instead, he should have focused on Chewie and Leia's grief. What we got instead was a weird moment between Rey and Leia. That moment should have been between Chewbacca and Leia and it would have felt powerful. Instead, it felt like a junior high dance where only 1 girl showed up and all the boys are too afraid to ask her to dance. 

Overall, this move was good...not great...but really good. In my opinion, it is better than all of the prequels, and even better than ROTJ. So, for a Star Wars placing, I say it's the third best out of all of them. Rank by episodes: Episode V, Episode IV, Episode, VII, Episode VI, Episode III,  Episode I, and only 20min of Episode II.

In terms of an overall movie....8 out of 10...and that's being generous. I'll see it again...and again and again and again and again.......


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