Phil Edwards’s review published on Letterboxd :
The wait is finally over. Star Wars: The Force Awakens is here and I can now relax about having to avoid spoilers. However, have no fear. I will not have any spoilers as to the events in the film.
Let me begin by saying that Star Wars: The Force Awakens is an absolute joy. It had the old school feel of the original trilogy and made me feel like a kids again. When that John Williams music kicked in at the start I couldn’t help but smile. As Han Solo says, “Chewie, we’re home!”
The worries people had of J.J. Abrams turning it into another lens flared Star Trek are unfounded and his insistence on using practical effects over CGI makes the film even better. The opening line of the film is so true.
As you know, the film see the return of Harrison Ford, Carrie Fisher, Mark Hamill and a few other familiar faces from the old films. Every single one of them was spot on. They were Han, Leia and Luke once more. The banter that Han and Chewbacca had was back and helped bring in the return of the humour that was missing so much from the prequels. Each of the iconic characters from yesteryear gets a great introduction in the new film, that also includes the Millennium Falcon which is still a vital character to the proceedings.
As with the original films, they Falcon, the Droids, buildings and the mise en scène give this galaxy a dirty, battered, old, lived in feel. Meanwhile, the First Order has all the clean lines of the Empire. That was always one of the great things about George Lucas’ Star Wars. You felt that this was a living, breathing universe that had people and aliens going about their daily business while we followed hero’s journey.
That brings us nicely round to the new additions to the cast – Daisy Ridley, John Boyega, Adam Driver, Gwendoline Christie, Oscar Isaac, Andy Serkis, Lupita Nyong’o and Domhnall Gleeson. As you would expect they all do a brilliant job. Some of them are not in the film as much as you would like, but some are set to have more of an impact in future films.
Oscar Isaac was great as the wisecracking Poe Dameron who truly is one of the best pilots of the Resistance. Adam Driver does incredible things as Kylo Ren. I am not just talking about his use of the Force (which does create some great moments – especially when he is first introduced), but also in showing the conflict within his character.