This review may contain spoilers. I can handle the truth.
Wesley R. Ball’s review published on Letterboxd:
This review may contain spoilers.
Silly me. Thinking I could get a ticket to an 8:00 showing of Rogue One on opening night. It's only Star Wars, how packed could it possibly be?
A dark shadow slowly covers the great white moon across the night sky, Its triangular figure starts to make itself more apparent, as the menacing super star destroyer makes its full appearance. This is the return of a world long thought lost to millions across the galaxy, a reinvention of a timeless classic. Its familiar plot rings the echoes of its predecessor, but there's enough charming originality in its slew of new characters to keep in from being too much of a retread.
Gone are the days of CGI. Disney has reinstated the functionalism of the Star Wars films, with practical effects and plenty of lively costumes to go around. No more senseless blobs of aliens that reek of the software they were hastily molded from. There's passion behind each effect and shot and in JJ Abrams' commanding directorial presence. Each frame, every angular shot, each pump of adrenaline you feel coursing through your body as the X-Wings prepare for their thunderous assault or with each crack of dueling lightsabers- this is all the product of a furious love from a lifelong lover of everything Star Wars. It's abundantly apparent that Abrams was born to reinvigorate Star Wars onto the silver screen for the next generation, and to see his raging fandom finally be unleashed for all the world to see in its full unbridled glory is a sight to behold.
I, too, have an intensely passionate personal connection to this franchise. Like so many others, it's a series that has stuck with me for as long as I can remember, so it should come as no surprise that this continuation was so satisfying. I only wish that my friend would have been able to see it before I did, I can only help but feel undeserving of having witnessed the rebirth of a franchise he so dearly loved. I can't ever watch this film without thinking of him in some way or another. I wonder what he would have thought of Han's death scene, a moment so emotional in its execution that I even now wind up a little teary eyed at the shocking passing of such an icon for the franchise. It's the most shining moment for both Solo and the film itself, as the emotional buildup from him that has been carried for so many years by devoted fans is brought crashing down in an intense moment of agony.
Perhaps it's my own blind fandom that causes me to continue to love The Force Awakens as much as I do, but I'll never deny that part of my existence. I've never been one to turn away from a Star Wars film, and Abrams has managed to recapture the essence of what made the original trilogy so unique and charming in their own right. For the diehard fan of the series that I am, The Force Awakens is still a rapturous thrill ride, filled with intensity and emotion and packed with tender loving care by one of the best mainstream directors working today.