Movie Review: The Force Awakens

My favorite thing about Star Wars: The Force Awakens is that now, when someone tells me diversity doesn’t win big at the box office, I can direct them to the highest grossing film in North America, starring one of the most diverse leading casts of 2015.


The Force Awakens centers around the stories of Rey, Poe, and Finn, played respectively by Daisy Ridley, Oscar Isaac, and John Boyega. Each lead has his or her own gripping yet classic story. Rey, a deserted pilot, waits for her family to come home and silently hopes for a more adventurous existence. Finn, an ex-storm trooper, betrays the only life he’s every known for peace, only to get roped into an inter-galactic war just ten minutes later. Poe, the star pilot of “the resistance,” a rebel movement against the ominous First Order, goes from war prisoner, to suspected corpse, to star pilot again. Their dynamic performances and enchanting chemistry spark a true passion for the Star Wars franchise in the new generation.

A theme present in The Force Awakens and absent from other Star Wars films or even other films of the action genre was this embedded sense of humble humanity. I was so moved to see Rey’s wall covered in deep grooves marking the days since she’d seen her family. And I could hear audible gasps in the theater when Finn took off his helmet, and fans everywhere were finally allowed a look at one of the humans underneath the Stormtrooper’s notorious mask. Even the way the movie progressed from scene to scene, using those cheesy transitions from the old movie, had an air of nostalgia that inspired smiles on even the most cynical of faces.

The Force Awakens was not an action movie cluttered with exploding buildings, complicated villainous intention, or other mechanisms used to distract you from the fact the utter lack of character development. Instead, this film found the perfect balance between epic lightsaber battles and the touching realization that nothing, not even an intergalactic war, can strip away our humanity.

This was a message present both on the screen and in the faces of the audience. I will never forget the image of three little girls in front of me literally jumping up and down in their seats whenever female lead Rey appeared on the screen, filled with the excitement that only comes from discovering a personal hero. The fact that such a cast was featured in Star Wars, a film series so prevalent in Western media and the base of nearly half of all pop culture references, makes the sentiment all the more groundbreaking.

If I had to give a rating on a five star scale, I would get a six from me. Anything less would be disrespectful to its masterfully spun story, its A-plus cast, and, most importantly, its effort to change the face of action movies everywhere for the better.