It’s hard to think of a film that comes with more cultural baggage than a new Star Wars instalment. Since original creator George Lucas sold the franchise to Disney in 2012, expectations of a new trilogy of movies has reached fever pitch, so it’s tremendously impressive to see JJ Abrams (who most likely got the job due to his successful reboot of Star Trek) display such a good understanding of what made it so successful in the first place – a melodramatic science fiction monomyth about fractured families with an unashamed sense of fun. The warm nostalgia of seeing the key players from the original cast again, coupled with some bold and progressive choices of new blood, essentially make this a Star Wars film for everybody, something for the purists and the new generation.

Much like its protagonists, the film attempts to reconnect with its past, aping (perhaps too similarly) plot points from the more warmly-remembered earlier films, and it seems to not just share the original trilogy’s flaws but almost celebrate them, with the same kind of infectious, joyous enthusiasm that launched the franchise so successfully back in 1977. There is real affection on display here, and such is the strength of Star Wars that no amount of cynicism can really defeat it. Helped along by some notably inclusive casting choices and a heavy undercurrent of feminism, this is precisely the step forward the series, and perhaps all Hollywood franchises, so desperately needed.

Star Wars, when it works, has a gloriously timeless and universal appeal10
And this film gets so much about that right it's enough to overlook its flaws9
The casting diversity of the three lead characters (one woman, one black person, one Latino)10
The explicitly feminist thrust of the main character's arc10
The feeling that now things are back on track, the series can finally go to some interesting and original places8
Bechdel Test Passes
  • Features more than one named female character
  • The named female characters talk to each other
  • They talk about something other than men
Bechdel Test Failures
  • n/a
9Overall Score

2 Responses

    • celluloidoptimist

      That review is far too long to respond to in detail, suffice to say I disagree with most of what it says.


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