This review will not reveal any key events or character relations. It will however refer to previous movies and the first two trailers. Scroll to the bottom if you want to skip the review and only see my photos from the red carpet premiere in Stockholm.
Ready? Let’s go….
First, the opening crawl. We get a very short summary of a few important things that’s happened since the Battle of Endor thirty years ago. When it fades into the star field we know where the main characters are (or aren’t) and the balance of power between the Republic and First Order. Then, we pan to a planet. Glad to see JJ Abrahms hasn’t messed with that.
From the first line spoken to the final wipe to credits, The Force Awakens doesn’t bother with backstories for characters. Some we know because we’ve seen them before, other are new but who they’ve been doesn’t matter. It’s all about the here and now. As a fan on the old Expanded Universe (now Legends) I appreciate that. They may get a whole book telling what led them to that one moment they crossed paths with the storyline in TFA, or we can make up our own stories when we get the action figures.
The overall structure of TFA is very similar to A New Hope, so much that I can hear echoes of lines spoken on Tatooine, the Death Star or Yavin IV. Not so much that it feels like a remake, but just enough to bring back fond memories of how it started.
Even without spoilers, there are a few clumsy reveals. Characters that out of nowhere get pure exposition lines that may save a few seconds elsewhere. When someone looks at someone else and name their relation completely out of narrative I might as well have got it from a trailer. That reveal is one of the two things I didn’t like about TFA. The other is when a returning character from the original trilogy gets put in a scene just to deliver one line of exposition that should have been with a supporting character.
The list of things I liked is a lot longer. A few things that shouldn’t spoil anything for you: We get a silver armor hero Stormtrooper, bad guys that are really bad, good guys have doubts, galaxy-changing events happen outside the main narrative, there Falcon is still a piece of junk and the X-wings have headlights.
Big thanks to the wonderful people at Disney who let me see the movie early, at the Stockholm premiere. Here are some photos—