LC and I went to see the new Star Wars film last Thursday at midnight. I've held off on doing a review since then, as it's one that I do think should be watched un-spoiled if at all possible. That said, a week on we're now past the statute of limitations for spoilers, so here we go.
Seriously, if you want to see it unspoiled, you should probably stop reading now.
I thoroughly enjoyed the new Star Wars film, which felt much closer to the original trilogy than any of the prequels. Indeed, I watched all seven Star Wars films over the course of eight days (in a really odd order: I, VI, V, VI, VII, II, III), and AotC and RotS are actually quite painful in places - they're just so bad. TFA isn't - it's at least as good as RotJ. (Not as good as either SW or ESB, but then nothing could be.)
Having said that...
TFA very much feels like a "Star Wars Greatest Hits" compilation - we have another desert-dwelling kid who turns out to be powerful in the Force, we have another plucky droid with a secret message to deliver, we have a desperate escape from a planet in the Millennium Falcon, we have another attack on a Death Star-like superweapon, we have X-Wings and TIE Fighters, we have the shocking death of a mentor-figure, we have parental angst, we have a Jedi master - hidden on some remote world he is, hmm? - we have a new rebellion (sorry, Resistance) against a new empire (sorry, First Order)...
And so it goes. This actually works out quite well for anyone seeking to run an RPG in this new era - there's almost no need for any official support, since virtually everything already exists, even for the ancient d6 system. So that's cool.
The other thing that I didn't like about the film was that Captain Phasma has joined Boba Fett, Darth Maul, and General Grievous on the list of characters who look cool, are heavily-hyped, and then turn out to be a waste of screen-time. I felt this character was not only a wasted opportunity, but was actively mis-handled - apply just a hint of pressure and she folds like an umbrella? Lame.
But I liked the three new leads (Rey, Finn, and Poe - I'm assuming the last will be a bigger character in VIII). I liked the new droid BB8. And I thought the direction they took the new Darth (okay, "Knight of Ren") was particularly interesting. Plus, it was good to see Luke, Leia, and Chewie again - I thought they were in the film just enough to anchor it to the originals, without over-shadowing the new heroes. So that's cool.
I have much more mixed feelings about Han, though. On the one hand, I was very happy to see him "going back to what he does best" - the EU applied way too much hyperbole to Han Solo (and the Falcon), making him the best of the best of the best, and I much preferred him as the cynical smuggler made good, and by extension as the solely-wounded failed 'husband' and father ('husband' because it's not clear is he and Leia married or were simply lovers). And while I thought he was a little too prominent in the film, that made a lot of sense in light of his death. Which was cool.
And so, that's that. I'm hoping to see it again once more in the cinema, probably in glorious 2D this time, and then will certainly get it on blu-ray some time around May. And now I'm looking forward to "Rogue One" and also to Episode VIII, rather more than I have looked forward to a new Star Wars film for some time. Well done, Disney - as with Marvel, you've treated it right.
Though the 20th Century Fox fanfare was a miss.