Star Wars: The Force Awakens ‘SPOILER FREE’ Review – Disney Does Right by the Force

It almost feels surreal now. Since I was a young kid, I would watch Star Wars over and over again as I desperately wanted to be a Jedi or at least a beyond cool smuggler. Viewing after viewing left me craving more and my thirst for all thing from a galaxy far, far away had me consuming everything the Extended Universe has to offer. Since I was born after the release of Return of the Jedi, I have been waiting literally my whole life for a sequel to this beloved franchise. But the day has come! It’s finally here and it is magnificent!

Giving a spoiler-free review on this film is extremely difficult but I don’t want to give anything away. I’m the guy who watched the initial theatrical trailer and put myself on a media blackout so I could go into the film as fresh as possible. Here’s the broad strokes though. The fall of the Empire has allowed the Republic to take back control of the galaxy. However, in the Empire’s place, The First Order has arisen to fill the vacuum of power with the vicious Sith, Kylo Ren leading the charge. Combating them is the Resistance, a group of soldiers led by General Organa who fights alongside the re-established Republic. Both sides of the fight are on the hunt for BB-8, the newest iteration of astromech droid, who is hiding a map that each side is willing to go to any lengths to get.


“Disney and J.J. Abrams did a great job in making this film accessible to new fans of the franchise, if there happens to be anyone left out there who hasn’t seen these films.”

The roughly two hours it takes to tell this story, from the opening text roll to the end credits, is a bonanza for everyone in the audience. Disney and J.J. Abrams did a great job in making this film accessible to new fans of the franchise, if there happens to be anyone left out there who hasn’t seen these films. At the same time, the entire film is peppered with references, homages and winks to the audience from the original trilogy, the prequels and even a couple of references to the now abandoned EU, that every diehard Star Wars fan in the audience could appreciate. They strike a balance though and it never felt like it was excluding anyone from enjoying the film. It also gave us hardcore fans that sense of elitism for knowing all the inside jokes and references that we thrive on which Disney has doled out extensively in its Marvel movies.

The movie also successfully balanced out having the original cast with its slew of newcomers who are destined to carry on the Star Wars torch. Harrison Ford is flawless, to the point where I question if I can even refer to him as anything but Han Solo now. Chewie also carries a big role, but the rest of the original cast were mostly kept to the sidelines for this film, though each of them were given a good chunk of screen time to keep them relevant in the series. The shoulders that held the film aloft were John Boyega and Daisy Ridley and each of them were simply wonderful. They had great chemistry, they were funny and they handled the drama and the action both with a zest that even seasoned actors have failed to garner. Not that I’m mentioning a certain actor who played Anakin Skywalker in the prequels or anything, but seeing two leads who absolutely knocked it out of the park taking the reins of Star Wars was refreshing. Oscar Isaac, the films ace pilot, also turned in a great performance that was so full of charisma and charm that he could have made any flyboy jealous.


The villains were also a mix of exceptional new evils as well as throwbacks to the series other villains. Supreme Leader Snoke, with yet another exceptional motion capture performance by Andy Serkis, is larger than life in his evil plots as the new leader of The First Order while Domhnall Gleeson’s General Hux is a delightfully vile leader that recalls the beloved villain, Grand Moff Tarkin. However, it’s Adam Driver’s tortured Kylo Ren that really takes the cake, though that is really not an unexpected revelation. The burgeoning Sith is as repulsive in his evil as he is sympathetic when we get to see how tortured the young man is. But not that sympathetic.


“The gorgeous worlds of the Star Wars Universe are brought to life with excellent set design, terrific creature effects and a keen eye from Abrams.”

Aesthetically, the film is more than pleasing. The gorgeous worlds of the Star Wars Universe are brought to life with excellent set design, terrific creature effects and a keen eye from Abrams. The action sequences are equally beautiful, jaw dropping and ranking high in intensity. But Abrams is also very considerate of his audience, allowing us to bask in the glow of returning to one of our favourite franchises, never breaking away too quickly but never staying long enough to numb our senses. The action never takes the place of story, a balance that seems to be lost in today’s Hollywood blockbusters. Our characters are the main focus of this film, pushing the story and action forward as they grow and we learn more about them. This is not the prequels that were fed at the beginning of the century.

My glowing praise will continue but I must acknowledge the coming onslaught of denouncers whose voices will become deafening about this time next week. Abrams is reverent in his treatment of the beloved franchise, almost to a fault. There’s even a plot point that is slightly overlooked so another reference can be made. This is where the hate will come from. In about a week’s time, Abrams attentiveness will be deemed to be too reverent and not enough of its own film. I’m acknowledging this now so that I can decisively tell you that this is not true. Abrams pays homage to the source material and allows it guide the future of the franchise. He reinvigorates a beloved series that had been tarnished in the past few years and brings it thundering back to the glory that made us fall in love with the films in the first place. He doesn’t dwell too much on the past but uses it to propel us into the future.

It’s become pretty public knowledge that J.J. Abrams has said that he was terrified of making The Force Awakens as he is a huge Star Wars fan. It borders on heresy to even make this film in his position! Right now, The Force Awakens is absolutely annihilating any and all box office records can get its hands on. Right now, it’s winning critics over worldwide. Right now, no one can even hope to predict how high this movie will soar. Abrams took hold of the series he held in such high esteem, partnered with one of the most influential players in crafting the beloved Star Wars and brought us an amazing new chapter in the saga. With attention to detail, with respect to the fans, with a compelling story and a phenomenal cast, Star Wars has stormed back on to our screens in style.

I’ve waited my whole life for this movie. Well worth it.

The Good

  • Great cast
  • Recaptured the glory of the franchise
  • Excellent balance of action and story

The Bad

  • Some plot points felt a little rushed