Friday, January 8, 2016

Popcorn Jane: Star Wars: The Force Awakens

Starring: Mark Hamill, Harrison Ford, Carrie Fisher, John Boyega, Daisy Ridley, Adam Driver… and too many more to name.

Pairs Well With: Any alcoholic beverage of your choice.

To accompany my list of badass women from The Force Awakens, I thought it would be a good time for Popcorn Jane's review of the newest installment of Star Wars. Please note that, in an effort to make this review spoiler-free, it is shorter than I would like it to be. There are just too many good things to talk about - but most of them require you to have seen the movie. So here you have it - my attempt to convince you to go see this awesome sci-fi epic.

The Force Awakens picks up 30 years after Return of the Jedi, released way back (ha!) in 1983. We meet some familiar faces (hello, Chewie, Han, and Leia!), and some new ones.

We are given several new heroes to root for, all of whom have wonderful character quirks. Their interactions with each other, and the familiar faces of the beloved original trilogy, is wonderfully entertaining, and a fantastic merging of old and new. Finn, Rey, and Poe are all fun characters with fascinating roles to play. Finn and Rey both allude to interesting back stories that I am itching to find out about, and Poe - who may or may not have anything to be revealed in coming movies - is witty enough that I want to see more of him.

Let’s not ignore having our wonderful original characters returning as well. Han, as revealed in the trailers, is just as smirky, snarky, and ridiculously ballsy as ever. Chewie is as badass a Wookiee as he was in the original series, and his camaraderie with Han is like a drink of cool water - just what you wanted and needed in the newest Star Wars installment. And, my personal favorite, Leia is just perfect. She looks great, she sounds great, and she just is great. Her scenes in the movie are some of my favorites.

We also have the antagonist of the movie - Kylo Ren, he of the wannabe-Vader mask and stereotypical black cloak and garb to signify “I’m a baddy.” We quickly find out that Kylo is ruthless - as one would expect of a Star Wars bad guy - and very powerful. As a successor of Vader, he fulfills an interesting role of showing signs of being a ridiculously powerful Sith, and of being a teenager or young man not fully adjusted into adulthood, and not yet fully trained in the ways of the Force. He's scary, pitiful, and fascinating. I am excited to find out more about him in coming movies.

As with all the Star Wars films, The Force Awakens has a huge cast of characters, some of whom you will like, some of whom you won’t, and some of whom you will be left wondering just what part they are supposed to play and if you will learn more about them.

I’ll keep this Popcorn Jane rather simple: this movie is about action, and about continuing an epic that began over 30 years ago. If you are a longtime fan of Star Wars, you will not be disappointed. I’ve read various reviews, and had more friends than I expected to, say that they felt the timing of The Force Awakens was rushed. I will leave this to your own opinion, but I felt the timing was just right. It evokes the original, A New Hope, but combines just the right amount of nostalgia and new material that I was on the edge of my seat the entire time. Also, it is clearly setting up that there are bigger and better things to come in the future - and that this is just a taste. If you are a newer fan of Star Wars, or if you are contemplating jumping in for the first time, this movie is worth seeing. If you need more convincing, check out my JanesList and my editorial that cover the badass women who do badass things that are reasons unto themselves for going to see this movie.

Star Wars is currently in theaters! Check your local theater listings for times and prices.

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