December 14th, 2015, saw the long anticipated world premiere of Star Wars: Episode VII - The Force Awakens. You'd have to have been living under a rock not to have noticed the attention the film has been getting, and the world press gathered in force (sorry, couldn't resist) last night to watch.
The Force Awakens is, of course, the seventh episode within the Star Wars universe, and it has a lot riding on it. Following the phenomenal success of the first three films in the 80's (Episodes IV, V and VI), which made Star Wars a household name, the following three installments (Episodes I, II and III), while still successful, did not quite manage to deliver the same awe and majesty as the original Star Wars movie trilogy.
The Force Awakens picks up 30 years after the defeat of the Galactic Empire, when Han Solo (Harrison Ford) and his allies face a new dark force in the form of Kylo Ren (Adam Driver) and The First Order. Directed by J.J Abrams, The Force Awakens also seems to read like a childhood dream for a lot of Star Wars fans; Han Solo, Luke Skywalker (Mark Hamill) and Princess Leia (Carrie Fisher) are all back, along with other original trilogy characters and several new ones for us to love/ loathe/admire/cosplay (delete as applicable). But is the film any good?
For now, any early reactions are just that; critics reactions to their first viewing of a film that could well become the most successful movie of all time. There are no spoilers in our round-up below, so take a look at some of the top tweets from critics who attended the Star Wars: The Force Awakens premiere:
STAR WARS: THE FORCE AWAKENS is a strong, promising kickoff. As a standalone, I'd rank it #3 in the series.
— Josh Lincoln Dickey (@JLDlite) December 15, 2015
Star Wars: The Force Awakens spoke to my every emotion. Most of them good, a few not, but overall it was an amazing, overwhelming experience
— Germain Lussier (@GermainLussier) December 15, 2015
SW:TFA is fast, fast, fast...nicely performed...rich cinematography...MUCH better than the prequels & better than Jedi. Great movie-movie.
— Hollywood Elsewhere (@wellshwood) December 15, 2015
THE FORCE AWAKENS proves JJ Abrams is an auteur: once again we have great characters, propulsive fun, sort of shitty, dumb story.
— devin faraci (@devincf) December 15, 2015
"Star Wars" is back. And it's never going away again.
— DrewAtHitFix (@DrewAtHitFix) December 15, 2015
The Force Awakens is soooo Star Wars, and Daisy Ridley is the business, and #StarWars
— jen yamato (@jenyamato) December 15, 2015
I have some more complicated thoughts on TFA, but will save them for the review. Some faults, but no doubt best Star Wars film since '83.
— Eric Vespe (@EricVespe) December 15, 2015
In summation, it would seem that for the most part, J.J Abrams has done a good job at capturing the original Star Wars magic; in particular, the characterization. It's good to see newcomer Daisy Ridley getting some praise too, since her character, Rey, may continue to play a substantial role in Episodes VIII and IX. Other reactions too, seem to agree that The Force Awakens is equally as good as Return of the Jedi from 1983 (if not better) - and that it triumphs over Episodes I, II, and III.
It's all down to individual tastes, of course, but it's hard to see how anyone could not feel more than a little excited when that familiar John Williams music starts up in theaters.
Star Wars: Episode VII – The Force Awakens hits theaters on December 18th, 2015 (December 17th in the U.K.), followed by Rogue One: A Star Wars Story on December 16th, 2016, Star Wars: Episode VIII on May 26th, 2017, and the Han Solo Star Wars Anthology film on May 25th, 2018. Star Wars: Episode IX is expected to reach theaters in 2019, followed by the third Star Wars Anthology film in 2020.
Source: Various (see the above embeds)