WARNING: SPOILERS AHEAD
Star Wars: The Force Awakens has completely taken over the world. We all saw this coming and to be honest if it had done any less, we would all be extremely disappointed. The hesitation that many fans carried into theaters stemming from the previous trilogy has been dashed.
Now we have a film that is a logical chapter seven, one that can proudly sit on the same shelf as the original trilogy. This is the Star Wars film we wanted.
Everything about it screams A New Hope. Some people have a problem with this but the fact is the similarities are needed; they ground the movie and put the audience in the exact frame of mind it takes to appreciate the story.
Like Epsiode Four, The Force Awakens focuses on an unlikely hero living hand-to-mouth on a desert planet. The main character wants more but doesn't know that more actually exists until fate comes knocking.
Fate is in the form of one little droid and that droid brings with it a galactic civil war that changes everything from that point on. Nothing is the same for our hero and the journey that lies ahead ends in a major defeat for the evil Empire.
It's as if A New Hope were just retold for the modern moviegoer.
But there is nothing inherently wrong with this approach. Unlike Bryan Singer's ill-advised beat-for-beat remake of Superman, The Force Awakens does not attempt to openly mimic its previous incarnation. The story is quite similar yes but there are new characters with new motivations and new threats that have ties to the older characters but feel fresh themselves.
Kylo Ren is the big bad in this movie and the reveal that he is Han Solo's son may shock but it seems completely plausible at the same time. Of course the grandson of Darth Vader would be tempted by the dark side of the Force and of course there's every likelihood that he would eventually succumb to that dark side.
By the time we get to him, Ben Solo is no longer Ben Solo and his affiliation with the unseen Knights of Ren is strong indeed. But he is conflicted; he speaks to Vader's melted mask in one scene and admits he feels the light side calling to him.
Never before have we seen a dark side apostle admit weakness to this extent, we're more accustomed to seeing a Jedi admit the dark side is pulling him in. Kylo Ren is not fully comfortable in the life he's chosen but it's one he desires more than anything else.
The notion that he must continue Vader's legacy seems paramount to Ren's survival; it's all he wants in life.
The relationship between he and Rey is unknown in the film but when he attempts to enter her mind and she pushes back, it's obvious something is definitely there. There is a link that most fans by now agree is blood; the chances of them being cousins or maybe even siblings seem very high right now.
It's really the only thing that makes sense. How would an untrained girl with no knowledge of the Force be able to actually use it to influence a stormtrooper and later battle The First Order's leader? Not only did she stand her ground against him, she used the Force to defeat him.
How likely is it that she could do all of that and not be from the Skywalker line?
Being Luke's daughter would carry with it a tremendous burden, one that he knew would have to be addressed. Anyone seeking to use the dark side to resurrect the Empire would surely want to kill anyone bearing the Skywalker name. In this case, it was Luke's own nephew that wanted to do exactly that. Luke had no choice but to hide her away and now she's finally come into the story in a very big way.
That story is a familiar one, one that has brought an incredible wave of nostalgia back to fans all over the world. But it's the characters and the storytelling itself that makes this new wave of Star Wars movies special. For older fans, the original characters are there. For younger fans, the special effects are there. For everyone watching, the themes that made the first three films successful are are alive and well.
This is the Star Wars film we wanted and it's only the beginning.