Will Star Wars: The Force Awakens end up as the best in the franchise? Perhaps it’s too early too tell, but fans and critics alike are loving the J.J. Abrams blockbuster and praising the director and Disney for their work.
The Star Wars franchise is one of the most successful in cinema history and even creator George Lucas couldn’t have predicted that almost 40 years after Episode IV: A New Hope opened, the fandom would still go crazy over the events in that galaxy far, far away.
When Lucas announced he was selling his Lucasfilm company to Disney, many were worried that whatever came next would not redeem the less popular prequels, which left many fans with a bad taste in their mouths. Without disparaging or insulting Lucas here, let’s just say he failed in creating the same hype that the original trilogy did.
For die-hard fans, particularly those who’ve watched the Star Wars franchise from the start, there was a growing sense of concern as The Force Awakens got closer to being launched in movie theaters all around the world. A collective sigh of relief was heard coming from critics and fans, who have mostly positive comments about Abrams and how he revitalized the Star Wars franchise.
One of the reasons why fans are all over this movie, in a good way, is because of the return of the original cast, including the beloved smuggler Han Solo (Harrison Ford), his love interest Princess/General Leia Organa (Carrie Fisher), and of course the biggest hero in the Star Wars franchise, Luke Skywalker (Mark Hamill). Despite the fact that none of the actors are as young as they were in the 70s and 80s, it was good to see them in character again, along with R2-D2 (Kenny Baker), C3PO (Anthony Daniels), and Chewbacca (Peter Mayhew), reprising their famous roles.
A second reason this new chapter in the Star Wars franchise is so exciting to the fandom is the new cast members. Kudos to the casting director and Abrams who nailed it with their choices of all the new main characters.
Daisy Ridley, who plays the tough, determined scavenger Rey is fabulous, as is the renegade Stormtrooper Finn, portrayed by John Boyega. Also worthy of mention is Oscar Isaac in the role of the “best freaking pilot in the galaxy” Poe Dameron, and the cast of villains. Kylo Ren wields a cool, cross-shaped lightsaber and is played brilliantly by Adam Driver. General Hux is portrayed excellently by Domnhnall Gleeson, and the very cool-looking Captain Phasma is played by Gwendoline Christie.
Special mentions go to Lupita Nyong’o for her role as the wise and insightful Maz Kanata, and the First Order Supreme Leader Snoke brilliantlt portrayed by Andy Serkis. Both actors have delivered their performances via motion capture. Then, there is BB-8, the adorable droid who manages to top the lovable R2-D2.
Matching the original trilogy’s success is something the prequels were unable to do, but after watching the new chapter in the Star Wars franchise, The Force Awakens, perhaps the series is closer than ever before to matching or at least bringing back its unique box office magic. There are countless lists and polls about how each Star Wars movie ranks, one of the latest ones provided by Forbes’ Mark Hughes.
Many agree that A New Hope, as the original Star Wars movie should be placed in the top three in the franchise. Most recognize that Episode V: Empire Strikes Back is probably the best of them all and it tops several lists around different entertainment sites, because of all the revelations (the famous “Luke, I am your father” line happened in this movie). Number two is more debatable and some even say Revenge of the Sith (yes, one of the prequels) deserves the second best spot in the Star Wars franchise.
All this is debatable, of course, but how is The Force Awakens ranked at the moment? Hughes ranked it right in the middle, but it is fair to say that perception could change in time, as more people see it and even critics have the opportunity to watch it over and over through the years.
One thing is clear, Abrams succeeded at bringing fans one heck of a good time at the movies, which is not an easy task with one of the most difficult groups of fans to please with the latest in the Star Wars franchise. The best part is that there is more to come in the next few years and the fans are more than ready.
Do you think Star Wars: The Force Awakens is the best of the franchise?
[Image via Lucasfilm]