|by Spencer LoSchiavo
Star Wars Episode VII The Force Awakens is the most anticipated movie of the year and arguably one of the most anticipated films of all time. If you're a casual viewer and you think this movie looks interesting, go and see it. It has plenty of spactacle, heart, and humor to keep you and your family entertained. At both screenings I went to, one with a packed theater filled with excited fans and one smaller viewing with a more cynical crowd, both audiences cheered, clapped, and laughed their way through.
Now if you're a hardcore fan, like myself, I would also recommend it but with a few cautions. It's best to leave your expectations at the door and view it with an open mind. There are plentiful moments of fan service, all done with a certain reverence for the source material. However, if you're expecting to see more focus on the original characters and all of your questions to be answered, you may be disappointed.
Part of what I loved about The Force Awakens was how it answers some questions, but leaves us with a lot more to be answered in further films. After all, the fun of being a fan is speculating on what certain lines mean and where we hope the story will go.
Also, the new characters Finn, Rey, Poe Dameron, and Kylo Ren are fantastic. Even if there was no connection to the Legacy characters (not saying there is, not saying there isn't), I didn't care because these characters were so well done. In particular, Daisy Ridley's Rey stole the show as a scavenger who has a compassion for all living things and dreams of a bigger life.
What makes this film stand apart from so many different genre films of recent years is how director JJ Abrams and writer Lawrence Kasdan allowed certain moments and emotions to reflect silently on the actors' faces. It took what could have been an extremely mediocre movie into being excellent.
This film does have its flaws as all films do. For example, certain elements of the story are still unclear and could have used more explanation. Also, there may have been way more references to previous films than I would have liked. However; Star Wars: The Force Awakens left this hardcore fan very satisfied and wanting to go back for more.