Please forgive the belated review, but I didn't get to see the decade's biggest movie until today. It's Star Wars: Episode VII: The Force Awakens. Directed by the great J.J. Abrams, is it as good as his past work.
The story takes place three decades after Return of the Jedi, and things aren't looking so good for the Republic. Luke Skywalker (Mark Hamill) has disappeared, and the Galactic Empire has been reborn as the First Order, governed by Supreme Leader Snoke (Andy Serkis). Serving under Snoke is his apprentice, the mysterious Kylo Ren (Adam Driver). Ren is after a map to Luke's location, and the First Order tracks it to the planet Jakku. It's currently in the possession of resistance member and X-Wing pilot Poe Dameron (Oscar Isaac). They attack the village Dameron is hiding in, and he gives the map to his droid BB-8 for safekeeping. Dameron is captured by Kylo Ren, but BB-8 manages to escape.
BB-8 is eventually found by scavenger Rey (Daisy Ridley). She takes the droid home and they soon encounter former Stormtrooper Finn (John Boyega) who's had a change of heart following the attack on the village. They don't have time for proper introductions, however, as the First Order launches an attack on the settlement they're in. They manage to hijack a very familiar ship and eventually meet up with its former owners who are happy to be home.
From there, they embark on a journey to aid the resistance and find Luke Skywalker. But Kylo Ren is never far behind, and he's determined to get that map at any cost to complete his vague mission. Can our heroes take down a new breed of Sith and the most powerful weapon the galaxy's ever seen?
The Force Awakens stays very true to its predecessors. From the opening dialogue, to the classic sound effects, to the rousing John Williams score, this is every bit a Star Wars movie. You can expect dogfights, lightsabers and a villain in a mask wearing all black. You'll also be very entertained by it. This film maintains the benchmark set in the 70's and 80's and I can honestly say I want to see it again and again. There's even a shocking event that I like, but is sure to divide fans for years to come.
However, it isn't without its shortcomings. I, for one, am unsatisfied with the character of Captain Phasma (Gwendoline Christie). People made a big deal about her being the first female Stormtrooper, but she hardly does anything. Maybe they have a bigger role for her in mind for future installments, but I wanted more. And while we're on the subject of unimpressive characters, in the picture below you can see Finn holding a lightsaber. When he actually uses it, though...
...he gets his ass kicked. Pretty badly. I don't think he's cut out to be a Jedi.
Oh, and while we're at it...where's Lando?? They'd better include him in the next movie. And there will be a next movie; this one leaves a lot of threads to be resolved.
All nitpicking aside, if you've somehow avoided seeing The Force Awakens thus far, stop torturing yourself and go see it. It's very worth it.