Saturday, December 19, 2015

Star Wars: My Inner Geek Awakens

I have a confession: as a kid watching the original trilogy, I thought that Star Wars was just for lame sci-fi geeks like my dad.  Coming out of Episode VII, I realized that I am now one of those geeks.  Thanks a lot, J.J. Abrams.  You ruined the last shred of dignity I had as a nerd who spewed random Marvel facts and liked reading books for fun.

I can't tell you how cool it is to watch Rey, a female character, rise up as this generation's newest and most badass Jedi.  It's obvious this story is mainly about her realizing her connection to the Force and Luke Skywalker, even though there are plenty of characters old and new that also stole their share of screen time.  Alongside Rey, we have Finn, a guy who tries so hard to do right and who made me laugh on more than one occasion due to his natural adorableness.  Speaking of which, BB8 is the cutest android since, well, R2D2.  Who knew you could express so much excitement and emotion in a series of beeps?  For the nostalgics, we also have Chewbacca and Harrison Solo - I mean, Han Ford - I mean... never mind, same difference.  Just remember their unfailing bromance in the original trilogy, and know that it is as beautiful now as it was then.  Then Leia.  We need more Leia, people.

Between the quest to find Luke Skywalker and the light saber duels and the laser gun battles, I had not thought I would experience as many light, humorous moments as I did.  I already mentioned the comedy from Finn being Finn, but of course Han Solo had some of the best lines ("That's not how the Force works!").  However, the movie was not all banter and laughter.  I won't go into into any more detail than that because SPOILERS, but y'all should be prepared to tear up at least once. *sniffs*

Of course, the danger that all sequels must face is falling back on old tropes and plot devices to drive their story forward rather than coming up with something different.  Despite the fun it has, Star Wars: The Force Awakens is somewhat guilty of this.  Everyone wants a hold of an android with critical information in its hard drive, but that android ends up getting captured and becomes buddies with the film's protagonist (if that also sounds like Episode IV, that's because it is).  Then that protagonist wants to find a Jedi master, who happens to be the last of his kind (if that also sounds like Episode V, that's because, again, IT IS).  Not all classic elements are bad to have in a new chapter, such as Han Solo's ship making a reappearance or the Darth Vader-esque mask that the villain Kylo Ren has in order to pursue Vader's legacy.  You just have to be careful not to use those elements at the expense of your own storytelling and originality.

All in all, between Rey's mysterious backstory, Finn's fight v. flight dilemma, and Kylo Ren's very complicated origins, I'm honestly so excited to see where the sequels takes the characters next.  Will Rey become a master Jedi?  Will she defeat Kylo Ren, or will the Dark Side finally win?  Tune in next week for Star Wars: Episode VIII.  Heck yeah.


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