The first and most important thing about this movie is that we finally get to jump back in to the incredibly rich world of Star Wars. We have everything that amazed and awed us when we first watched the movies as children: mysterious worlds, bizarre aliens, amazing space ships (and space ship battles), cool one-liners, awesome heroes, terrifying villains, lightsabers, and the Force. For those of us who have seen entries in the series before, it’s pure nostalgia fuel. Whether you grew up with the original trilogy or the prequels, watching this movie will feel like the first time you glimpsed into that galaxy far far away. For those youngsters (or elders) who have not yet had that privilege, it will be a wonderful starting point.
So in the end, The Force Awakens is held back from true greatness by it unwillingness to break new ground, to do anything new, to metaphorically go somewhere that Star Wars has never gone before. And this is disappointing, because at times it honestly does feel like you’re just watching the original movie again. That movie is of course one of the greatest movies ever made, and by extension every other film in the franchise is vaulted to cinematic greatness.
But that is not enough. It is not enough to walk down paths that have already been blazed. What separates the merely good from the truly great is the willingness to try something new, to blaze a new path and make something new. Abrams refused to do that, and that is why Star Wars: The Force Awakens, for all its glory, is not a truly great film.
That being said, I will go see it at least two more times. Because come on guys, it’s fucking Star Wars!