Growing up with the Star Wars prequels, I remember when Star Wars: Episode I – The Phantom Menace came out. The movies have a range of highly passionate fans, but also appeal to broad audiences. It’s a difficult balancing act to produce such a movie. I feel that my more passionate side wanted more out of this movie, but it’s hard to say if that desire could have been quenched by one film. I enjoyed certain scenes and they will stick with me for some time. Star Wars is often fast-paced in the beginning so I will need to spoil things from early in the movie to put events into perspective.
The opening texts explains that the former Emperor Palpatine’s (Ian McDiarmid) voice has been broadcast across the galaxy. Kylo Ren (Adam Driver) has been seeking out Palpatine in order to destroy him. Meanwhile Poe Dameron (Oscar Isaac), Finn (John Boyega), and Chewbacca (Joonas Suotamo) are on a mission to gain information from a spy within the First Order. Poe and Finn end up being discovered while getting this information and must perform multiple lightspeed jumps to try and get away which is visually appealing with all the places they fly. Kylo finds Palpatine at an ancient Sith world. Palpatine asks Kylo to kill Rey (Daisy Ridley) and in exchange he’ll hand over his enormous fleet of ships he’s been building called the Last Order.
Poe, Finn, and Chewbacca return to the base of the Rebels with the plans of the First Order and news of the return of Palpatine. Rey has been working on her training with Leia (Carrie Fisher) but senses something is wrong. Rey determines she must go alone and destroy Palpatine before his plans move forward, only to have Poe and Finn say she can go alone; but they’re going with her “alone.” Rey, Finn, Poe, Chewbacca, and C-3PO (Anthony Daniels) go after a trail Luke had pursued to find one of two Sith compasses to the Sith home world. They find the dagger Luke was looking for with Sith writings on it that C-3PO is capable of reading, but C-3PO is unable to read aloud due to laws passed against that. As they come out of the caves Chewbacca gets arrested by the First Order and Kylo Ren arrives. Rey sees a ship escaping and uses the force to try to pull it back to save Chewbacca only to have Kylo try to free it from her grasp with the force. As they struggle, Rey accidentally shoots lighting from her hand and destroys the ship.
This movie has a lot of events going on both big and small. I do think it would have benefited to be made into another movie, which is both a positive and a negative. I don’t feel like we reached the level of closure that we wanted, but leaving people wanting more also shows they care. It’s certainly a technical spectacle with the musical score by John Williams just helping to make it feel like an epic adventure. I’m personally a fan of fight choreography, which I don’t feel was as developed in this film. I don’t think this movie is fantastic, which is how I measure Star Wars films. It’s still a good movie with some great scenes. I do hope there’s enough of a push to develop these characters further in the Star Wars Legends (all canon Star Wars stories). Rated PG-13.