I caught the Force Awakens just a couple of hours ago in 3D IMAX. On the whole, it was a treat. If you liked what JJ Abrams did with the Star Trek movies and you like the original Star Wars trilogy, you’ll probably dig this movie. If you felt Abrams was recycling too much and his Star Trek scripts were messy, then it’s going to be like trying to ignore a splinter in your finger.
The acting was mostly good, as was the casting. There were a few awkward scenes, but certainly not on the level of the prequel movies. And really, Harrison Ford reprising Han Solo seemed to be one of the weaker links. His timing just feels off and he comes across as a guy who knows he’s playing Han Solo (again) rather than Han Solo. It’s just this inescapable bit of self-awareness that he almost never quite gets away from for most of the film. John Boyega as Finn is probably the next weakest link. He can’t seem to settle exactly on who his character is or wants to be or why. It’s possible he just didn’t know when he was filming. He has decent chemistry with Daisy Ridley’s Rey, but he, too, has the same distracting self-awareness Ford showed when reprising Solo.
The film was gorgeous and easily the best looking, most appealing in its cinematography, and most interesting in its designs of all the films. BB-8, the little spherical droid, is an adorable addition to the franchise and represents what Jar Jar Binks might have been if done correctly. The fight scenes brought a sense of lethality to them that none of the other movies had. Blasters are powerful and deadly weapons, especially when fired from spacecraft, and the Force Awakens demonstrates this without becoming more violent than the Abrams Trek movies.
Another smart decision was a removal of the wire fu-type of combat we witnessed in the prequels. The fights now feel more chaotic, more dangerous, and less a dance.
At a run of a little over two hours, you won’t be bored. There’s plenty of real tension and good laughs. But while the story moves quickly, it is ushered along with some questionable character motivations and sloppy exposition. This is not a 10 out of 10 movie, but it is easily one of the better Star Wars movies.