‘Luke Skywalker has vanished’. When this line of the opening crawl showed up in the beginning, it got me hooked. Finding Luke, one of the pivotal characters of the previous saga (considering the Star Wars timeline, not the real one) is the key element. It is ‘orbiting’ around the whole movie and is, in my opinion, quite a good one, culminating in the solemn and sublime ending scene, which leaves us just baffled and now torments us since the wait for Episode 8 is going to be 666 days long (from the day this article is published).
In this review, I would like to concentrate on two points on which there have been ongoing discussions since the release of the movie, one in favor of ‘The Force Awakens’ and one against it. First, there is Adam Driver as Kylo Ren. People complained about Kylo being too much of a milksop to be fit for the role of a mighty adherent of the dark side. I claim that the guy is perfectly apt. In my eyes, Kylo is not as mighty as he appears and being a ‘Sith-upstart’, he still has weaknesses such as his furious outbursts where he demolishes the interior of the Star Destroyer. He also seems to be in the same position in the First Order command structure as General Hux, who is quite a young officer, too, which makes any comparison with the Vader-Tarkin relation inappropriate. One could speculate that Snoke just chose him because of his pedigree and out of sheer necessity, the pool of possible candidates not being so abundant in those times after the successful rebellion and the demise of Palpatine. Another evidence for the upstart-theory is his obvious strife with the light side.
The second point is the Starkiller base that is, for me, the main point of criticism in the whole movie and also, along with the ineffable midi-chlorians, in the entire saga. That the remnants of the Empire in a remote system have enough engineering power to construct the mightiest weapon every created is already quite unlikely, but ok, one could devise some far-fetched scenario that explains how this came to pass. Sapping a planets’ lifeblood to convert it into firepower? Ok, it is science-fiction, so let us not be nitpicky. But firing through hyperspace is just ludicrous. Even if one can find physical solutions to explain the ‘how’, then still the question remains, why has it never been done before? And why is the flare of the exploding planets visible in a system that is countless lightyears away? Here, the storytellers have committed quite a blunder, creating a blemish on an otherwise great piece of art.