7 Reasons a Non-Star Wars Fan Loved The Force Awakens
Spoilers for Star Wars: The Force Awakens follow!
Confession time: I'm not a Star Wars fan. Not a real one, anyway. I understand the appeal, but the original movies aren't really for me, and almost everyone can agree that the prequels are terrible. That being said, I loved The Force Awakens. Here are a few reasons why:
The new cast outshines the old guard
It's not Harrison Ford, Carrie Fisher, or Mark Hamill's fault (especially the latter, since we barely saw him), but the movie wasn't nearly as good when the older characters had scenes without the younger characters. These were the scenes that relied most heavily on nostalgia, and the writing was sometimes painfully awkward, especially when Han and Leia tried to exposit thirty intervening years in a couple of two-minute exchanges. But that's okay, because it's better for the future of the franchise that the new characters didn't disappoint. The actors are all top-notch, they had great chemistry together, and I can easily imagine watching them for a few more movies. Especially Daisy Ridley.
Rey steals the show
Rey is more than a worthy protagonist, and is probably the most layered character Star Wars has ever produced, with the possible exceptions of Han Solo and Anakin Skywalker. She's compassionate and idealistic, but also has an edge to her, and Daisy Ridley is so ridiculously charming, the movie just lit up whenever she was onscreen.
Not to mention that Rey single-handedly made this franchise a million times more feminist. Although Leia is a great female character, she was horribly underserved in the original trilogy, culminating in that awful "slave Leia" fiasco. By contrast, Rey is the main protagonist, she propels the plot more than any of the male characters, she's stronger with the Force than any of the male characters, and her dynamic with Finn subverts sexist action movie tropes time and time again. Speaking of which...
It's surprisingly funny
The funniest moments of the movie were probably the subtle exchanges between Rey and Finn, in which he kept trying to treat her like a damsel in distress and she kept putting him in his place. He needlessly takes her hand, and she tells him to get off. He runs towards her when she's attacked, only to find that she can more than handle herself. He tries to rescue her when she's kidnapped, much like Luke rescued Leia in the original trilogy, but she has already freed herself with her superior power. These moments were not only feminist, they got a laugh out of me every time.
And for all of you die-hard Star Wars fans out there, the Stormtroopers still can't aim, which also cracked me up.
We are family
While the original trilogy focused on father-son relationships, the most fascinating part of The Force Awakens to me was the relationship between Kylo Ren and Rey, who are likely cousins. There's a kinship between them that's immediately apparent, as they're both lonely, rejected, and angry at the world to some extent. I'll be interested to see how this dynamic plays out over the next few movies.
The action is almost never mindless
I like action to a certain extent, but I get frustrated when there are extended action sequences that happen for apparently no narrative reason, in which things keep blowing up but you're given no reason to care about them. J.J. Abrams did a masterful job of making you care about everything that was going on, so even when there were explosions, they didn't feel too superfluous. And for those of you who, like me, prefer hand-to-hand combat to large-scale action, the lightsaber fights are to die for (no pun intended).
It took risks
Possible spoilers ahead! (Click to reveal)
I mean, you'd have to be soulless not to like BB-8, right?
Star Wars: The Force Awakens is now out in theaters.