Star Wars. Just seeing the words elicits a response from the masses. For most it’s delight; the nostalgia of the franchise is enough to keep things interesting even when there’s a major upheaval in a universe we all grew up with (see Episodes I-III). Fortunately for these star gazers and mega nerds, the whimsy and waiting has paid off. What we as a republic know and love as ‘Star Wars’ has arisen from the ashes of the Lucas trauma, bursting forth into the universe as the resurrected phoenix we all knew it had the capability of becoming, nostalgia firmly intact.
There’s a certain Disney quality that has been added to what will hence forth be known as the “post Lucas years” that was quite certainly unavoidable. Existing alongside the MCU has drawbacks, character and story flaws embedded into films in order to please the normals who have discovered themselves in storylines long ago dictated by the forefathers of these films. However, do not let that new Disney sheen deter your loyalty. What was once a story with strict character guidelines now has wiggle room for things like (dare I say it) stark humor, inside jokes, and darker scenes usually avoided to keep things family oriented; Disney (or rather J.J. Abrams’ interpretation of Disney) has listened to its audience abiding by human emotion rather than a cut and paste formula.
A refreshing sentence to actually write: The Force Awakens utilizes women doing regular jobs, like regular people, in a world where there is no gender gap because why should there be? Even the non-humanoids (yes- droids too) are treated with a respect and equality that is never talked about because it’s a non-issue. It’s comical to consider how groundbreaking of a move that is, and yet respectable considering the mass audiences the film is going to reach. This new era is brought in within moments, establishing a tone that will set the standard for years to come.
What’s important about this film is its ability to stand alone. Alone as a story, and alone as a storyline within the Star Wars universe. Certainly part of the charm comes from that earlier noted nostalgia, truthfully we will watch whatever they throw at us because we are conditioned. However, take away the big names, the ticket sales, the mania- what’s left is an interesting film about a group of people you connect with simply because they have come into being. They exist, and therefore they matter.
Judge the film to the standards you have set forth long ago, but keep in mind the magic behind continuing an institution so carefully that 32 years feels like a moment once those yellow letters appear on screen. In a galaxy far far away, a new era was born, and goddamn was it worth waiting for.
Star Wars: The Force Awakens is now playing in theaters everywhere.