'Star Wars: The Force Awakens' Review Roundup

Star Wars: The Force Awakens Ph: Film Frame ©Lucasfilm 2015

After a nearly year-long flirtation with fans–releasing at a glacial pace–came teasers, brief trailers, official trailers, official international trailers; all while J.J. Abrams and the cast of “Star Wars: The Force Awakens” remained tight-lipped. Alas, the hotly anticipated and egregiously marketed sequel has finally been reviewed–and it received a mostly critical praise for reinvigorating the franchise that started in 1977 under George Lucas‘ reign.

Editor’s note: If you wish to remain in the dark about details on the film ahead of its release Friday, read no further and banish yourself to a galaxy far, far away where Internet and smartphones do not exist.

“J.J. Abrams and veteran co-writer Lawrence Kasdan have created a film which is both a narrative progression from the earlier three films and a shrewdly affectionate next-gen reboot of the original 1977 ‘Star Wars.'” –The Guardian, Peter Bradshaw

“After years of anticipation, The Force Awakens does bring balance to the ‘Star Wars’ franchise; with the largely ill-received prequels still leaving a bitter blotch on some fans’ memories, this is a movie meant to recapture the magic of what made George Lucas’s original trilogy so special. Much of the film echoes ‘Star Wars’ adventures of the past, most notably ‘A New Hope,’ but it’s the new elements of ‘The Force Awakens’ that are its strength. Terri Schwartz, IGN

And while many critics praise “The Force Awakens” as a love letter to fans, some argue that it’s a copycat patchwork of originator George Lucas’ best moments from the franchise.

“At a certain point, however, ‘The Force Awakens’ feels so determined to fashion a contemporary echo of the original trilogy that it becomes almost too reverential — or riff-erential, given Abrams’ fondness for playing on recognizable tropes, themes and plot points in his film and TV work. –Variety, Justin Chang

“’The Force Awakens’ eventually reassures us that this new trilogy will take us somewhere unique. But as a standalone film (one presented without the safe remove of centuries), it can, in fits and starts, seem like the original ‘Star Wars’ is simply being reenacted after a game of Telephone.” Richard Lawson, Vanity Fair

You can choose to understand ‘The Force Awakens’ as an embrace of the mythological tradition, in which the same stories recur over and over with minor variations. Or you can see it as the ultimate retreat into formula: ‘Let’s just make the same damn movie they loved so much the first time!’ There are moments when it feels like both of those things, profound and cynical, deeply satisfying and oddly empty. This is the work of a talented mimic or ventriloquist who can just about cover for the fact that he has nothing much to say. He has made an adoring copy of ‘Star Wars,’ seeking to correct its perceived flaws. -Andrew O’Heir, The Salon

Fans of “Star Wars” past will cheer the return of original cast members Harrison Ford, Carrie Fisher and Mark Hamill, but will find a welcome addition in Daisy Ridley, John Boyega and Oscar Isaac.

“It’s easy to argue that Rey is the main hero of the bunch, and newcomer Daisy Ridley shines in the role… John Boyega’s Finn and Oscar Isaac’s Poe Dameron both play key roles in the movie and bring humor and swagger to The Force Awakens. Those characters help bring back the witty banter that was weaved throughout the original trilogy.” –Terri Schwartz, IGN

“Star Wars: The Force Awakens” opens Dec. 18.