Star Wars: The Force Awakens

The magic is back.
Star Wars: The Force Awakens
Image: Lucasfilm
Daisy Ridley in 'Star Wars: The Force Awakens'
Star Wars: The Force Awakens
Our Rating
4 Stars - Excellent
Average Rating
 
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Mpaa Rating
PG-13 (For sci-fi action violence.)
Genre
Directed By
J.J. Abrams
Run Time
2 hours 16 minutes
Cast
Harrison Ford, Mark Hamill, Carrie Fisher, Adam Driver
Theatre Release
December 18, 2015 by Disney

Yes, it's good.

I don't want you skimming paragraphs trying to find the sentence where I say it's good, so here it is. Star Wars: The Force Awakens is a spectacularly good movie.

Now, explaining why it’s good is the real uphill battle. The hype has been ridiculous. If do-overs existed for movies, then The Force Awakens is pretty much the do-over for 1999's The Phantom Menace. It's been a decade since our last Star Wars movie, and arguably three times that since one that wasn’t a heavily-qualified “good.”

So the question looms: can a modern movie capture what made the first trilogy so magical?

That word comes up a lot in any discussion of what makes Star Wars special. It's just got such tremendous multivalence: movie magic, the magical "Force," the magic of suspension of belief, CGI wizardry, et cetera, ad Entertainment Weekly-ish nauseum. Magic, it turns out—in all its meanings—is what makes Star Wars so special, so distinct, so disappointing when it fails, and so thrilling when it succeeds.

Let's back up a little bit, though. The lights dim. Little whoops sound from people unselfconscious enough to do stuff like that, which in the dark is a lot of them. The LucasFilms logo—excitement sounds all around you. The stars of the galaxy lighting up the screen—more excitement. And then all at once, the explosive trumpets and title crawl—this is where your average theater-goer is really going to start losing his mind. Expect a lot of clapping. Don't forget to read the title crawl in the midst of all this clapping (which you, against your better judgement, will whole-heartedly participate in) —you'll be lost otherwise. ...

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