[I believe I’ve avoided serious spoilers, but if you want to be extra-careful, perhaps it’s best to avoid this piece]
The reviews are in for J J Abrams’s seventh installment of the galactic-scale sci fi saga and, in the words of the New York Times, “spoiler alert… it’s good!” As one of the most anticipated blockbusters of all time, there was a big danger of disappointment, but that now seems unlikely, with plenty of five-star writeups across the papers. Here are five takeaways from the critics.
Resisting the dark side
Since Christopher Nolan unleashed his brooding Batman on the world, there’s been a playbook for big sci fi blockbusters which says that everything has to be dark. Glowing, tortured heroes. Sadistic, humourless villains. The inception noise. It sounds like Abrams has resisted the temptation to take Star Wars in the same direction. “The Force Awakens makes you forget about the redundancy and pedantry of the prequel-trilogy that came 15 years later,” writes Peter Bradshaw in the Guardian, “it restores the comedy that Phantom Menace abandoned. The Force Awakens is in touch with the force of action-adventure and fun.”
One for the fans
It sounds like Force Awakens is strong in its own right, but Abrams clearly hasn’t forgotten his obligation to the fans. The original trilogy’s Harrison Ford and Carrie Fisher are back as Han Solo and Princess Leia, and get rave writeups. Fisher is “the warrior queen of the resistance—a tougher and more grandmotherly figure,” says the Guardian, “and when Han Solo and Chewie come on, I had a feeling in the cinema I haven’t had since I was 16: not knowing whether to burst into tears or into applause.”
A British invasion
The film breaks two new British stars; Daisy Ridley, who plays orphan scavenger Rey, and John Boyega, playing regretful, reformed stormtrooper Finn. It sounds like neither disappoints—a relief given the exceptional rate of pre-movie publicity pumped out about Ridley in particular. The Guardian compares her to a young Keira Knightley, while the Times…