Star Wars: The Force Awakens ★★★★

Was very excited to see this in the theater and not disappointed. This is the first time I've rewatched it all the way through since.

Han Solo and Chewbacca back "home" inside the Millennium Falcon. This scene, where a gray-haired, weathered Solo surveys the cockpit and smiles fondly, is worth three stars alone. Fortunately, it happens early in the movie, so not considering this a spoiler.

Director J.J Abrams throws everything he can think of at the screen in this fast-moving seventh Star Wars film. This is the first of the Disney Star Wars trilogy which will end with Rise of Skywalker this week in December 2019.

A new droid: BB8. A new female Luke Skywalker named Rey. A new desolate planet that looks a lot like Luke's home planet. On the dark side ... Kylo Ren is the new Darth Vader. Instead of the empire, we get First Order.

Giving writers Lawrence Kasden (Empire Strikes Back), J.J Abrams and Bryan Burk credit for telling the first story with a stormtrooper Finn (John Boyega) who turns away from and rejects being a stormtrooper. Haven't seen them with their helmets off, which is a curious and interesting storyline to pursue. It's one of the most compelling substories.

The pros for this film are the return of the original trilogy friends (Han Solo, Princess Leia who is now General Leia, Chewbacca, C-3P0, and a very little Luke Skywalker) pacing is great.

Cons? Luke Skywalker is merely a tease, at best. The most interesting characters are the ones we already know, save for Finn the turned stormtrooper. Feels a bit too much at times like a retelling of the original Star Wars and intentionally checking all the nostalgic boxes, but it is entertaining in similar fashion to how Abrams rebooted Star Trek. The man knows how to capture the essence of iconic franchises in modern times.

Whether we want to accept/like/enjoy Disney Star Wars, it's the only Star Wars we're going to get for years to come. Not as good as Return of The Jedi, but better than the best prequel Revenge of the Sith and starts the final trilogy off on decent footing. If I could give quarter stars, this would be 3.75 out of 5 stars, rounding it up to 4. Recommended