The Force Awakens

MV5BOTAzODEzNDAzMl5BMl5BanBnXkFtZTgwMDU1MTgzNzE@._V1_UX182_CR0,0,182,268_AL_I took my family to see Star Wars: The Force Awakens last night, and absolutely loved it.

You see, I’ve grown up with these characters. Han, Luke, Leia, Chewie and the droids. We used to pretend to be them in the playground; I followed their adventures in comics and novels; I recreated their escapades with action figures and thinly disguised fan fiction; and I desperately wanted to be Han Solo.

To see them back on the screen after all these years was an emotional experience, and I’m not ashamed to say I had tears running down my face at certain points during the film.

Just seeing the Millennium Falcon in flight brought a lump to my throat.

But this wasn’t just an exercise in nostalgia. The new generation of characters more than held their own. And, speaking as the father of two pre-teenage girls, it was refreshing to have a resourceful, self-reliant female lead who wasn’t defined by her romantic entanglements. Rey is the sort of role model I’m more than happy for my girls to look up to. In fact, she’s now one of my favourite Star Wars characters. In addition, Finn was a relatable hero with an interestingly complex back story, and Kylo Renn the conflicted, tragic anti-hero Anakin Skywalker should have been. I’m excited to see where their journeys are going to take them next.

I would say I loved this film the way I haven’t loved a film since The Empire Strikes Back. The prequels didn’t do it for me, and while Return Of The Jedi is a great movie, it also feels very final. It feels like the end of the road. Whereas the thing I dig most about Empire and Awakens is that they both raise a million questions, and thereby fire the imagination. The possibilities feel wide open and the universe feels alive once again.

I’ve already written about What Star Wars Meant To A Small Town Kid From England. Having seen The Force Awakens, I feel like that kid again, with a whole sprawling cosmos of wonder ahead of him.

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Author: Gareth L Powell