So, I totally enjoyed this movie. Had a good, great time with it. But I'm me, and will still be a snark, because, well, it's just me.
I did have to say this after it was over "Does JJ only just remake the really good stuff? This was the Superman Returns of Star Wars movies!" (since Star Trek Into Darkness is a combo of TOS with Khan and Star Trek II. Homages are one thing; direct lifts are another.)
Then again, a direct lift maybe would help people with the transition to a SW movie that didn't have a Skywalker or Vader in it. All uncharted, new, scary territory...so, lets have the evil Empire hunting for sensitive data that is hidden in a cute little, unobtrusive droid that is found by a lonely waif of a teenager on a desert planet that must get the data back to a rebellion via a flight on a Millennium Falcon,. At some point, a star of death will be used to destroy a planet, but this killing planet will be easily taken down by a few people down a trench run.
I joke. I really do. I still enjoyed the hell outta it!
Played the right beats, made me smile, and made me want to see more of the new characters. Finn and Poe's early exuberance in camraderie and friendship was done so well. I immediately wanted to root for both their successes. I thought they went and killed Poe right away! I got pissed!
Through Poe and Finn, you can see that this is a 'modern' made movie. The off the cuff humor (which I'll call Whedonesque; we should all know that) almost didn't seem to fit the framework of a SW movie, but then it did. Because it's a movie.
As much as I loved Poe and Finn, I loved Rey even more. Reading about how hard her first days filming were to seeing the finished project, man, am I impressed. Following her journey, her turmoil, her loss and her hopes; just done so amazingly well. I gush. She deserves it.
Then...we have Han and Chewie. Harrison Ford was SUPERB. He got a genie's wish to channel a younger man and show why so many loved Han the most. He had energy, presence, charisma, and he just owned any scene he was in. Hell, even Chewie was such a great old friend to see again; I felt like I spoke Shyriiwook! They welcomed in, made us feel like at home, and let us know that it's okay to love this movie.
Adam Glass...Kylo Ren. I can't tell if he's a handsome man, or a bit fugly, or just goofy...but man, I couldn't take my eyes off him. I was entranced with his performance. LOL Can't even explain it. Not sexually! But I just wanted to soak up all that he did. I loved the weird thing he did with pounding his wounds at the end of the movie to hurt more to channel the dark side! I assumed that's what he was doing! And I loved his conflict!!
Didn't care for such a CG looking created character in the Supreme Leader Snoak. Way too Gollumy...since he was played by Andy Serkis too!
Maz Kanata was a wonderful little lady creature! So sweet and loveable!
The effects of the Falcon flying; awesome; loved it!
The CGI monster on Han's merchant ship; eh, not as much, but the sequence was hella fun.
I was mad at the theater when they groaned seeing Leia for the first time. When 65 years old you get, look as good you will not!!
So, Ben Kylo Ren was Han and Leia's kid. I kept wanting to see if Rey was a twin/sibling...but it just didn't seem what was meant to be. She's either Luke's kid, or a really special Force adept that Luke kept from Ben's attack on his other students (that they hinted at in the movie). But still...did a Jedi Mind-wipe occur to Rey to keep her on Jakku so she wouldn't leave? Did Kylo get wiped as well? Then again, if she was there for, what, a decade, I can see an adult really not recognizing someone thought lost for 10 years or more....maybe...that's in the telling.
I'm not even upset by Han's death. He had a great movie, and well...even old heroes fall. It helps to transfer the movie along to a new generation.
I think they played all the right notes, kept things a little safe, but gave us so much more that we can readily fall into this new SW universe. I'm so very happy for it.