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Star Wars 7 - the first Star Wars movie with a numbering that will make sense to everyone!

Star Wars is one of my first and core fandoms, it's got a bunch of tropes that I honestly don't know if I loved them all along and Star Wars was the first place I saw them, or I love them because I imprinted on Star Wars. (I'm talking about the original trilogy here of course, the movies I still have mostly memorized - if not to the extent I had as a kid, in which my sibs and I once recited the entirety of Empire Strikes Back during a long car ride.)

As for the latest outing - I've been wary about it, but I still had to go opening night. And...

I was not disappointed! I really was not! Which, after the letdown of the prequels, after all the ridiculous hype now, after what JJ Abrams wreaked upon my equally beloved Star Trek - my expectations were set as low as I could make them, and the movie sailed right over them joyfully!

The best thing I can say about it is that my eight-year-old self would've loved this movie. I'd love to go back in time and tell her that yes, those sequels you're dreaming about will happen in the 2010s, just like you've been imagining.

As for the present me? I definitely liked it. I'm not sure I loved it, and I'm not sure I can quite accept it as new Star Wars; it felt more like filmed fanfic. Said filming itself is beautiful, preserving the feeling of the original films while not feeling that old-fashioned. And the callbacks were hilariously constant, but apt and often pretty clever - the movie is pretty much a highlights reel of the original trilogy. Which makes the most interesting thing about it what comes next - where does the story go from here, now that it's indulged our nostalgia?

The greatest improvement over the prequel trilogy - all the characters are as likable as in the original. They're not unique characters, but they're fun and cool and I want to see more with all of them. They're great archetypes and that's great. Rey is totally a Mary Sue (and totally Luke's daughter, she has to be, putting aside the lightsaber, the only way that amount of Force powers makes sense is if she's a Skywalker who might have been trained at a very young age) which I did not mind in the slightest because she is the Jedi smuggler pilot my eight-year-old self wanted to be. Finn is sweet and heroic and funny and awesome, cute with Rey and with Poe (who totally is crushing on this adorable young renegade Stormtrooper, awww)(and there are already 22 fics for Finn/Poe on AO3. Thank you fandom, I <3 you.) And the new droid is the cutest little ball of droid.

The most daring thing about the movie is maybe the villain. As the brother said, the creators took a risk there: knowing that no matter what, their villain was going to be seen as a Vader-wannabe, they...went ahead and made him a Vader-wannabe, an emo try-hard with a cute little rip-off helmet and massively overcompensating light-claymore, who's actively fighting his Light side because he wants so bad to be so bad. I'm dying to know what the fandom reaction to Kylo Ren is going to be. He's practically a Loki parody, except not as hot as the usual fangirl bait villain? Which I can't decide if that's a weird choice or brilliant. Hands-down the most unexpected scene in the movie is when Rey dares him to take off the mask - and he actually does, and the villain is that.

(Okay, fine, I actually really liked Kylo Ren, he's my sort of completely pathetic-not-sympathetic villain. And the actor has a great physical presence with the costume and mask, totally different from Vader. So curious if woobieness will win out over the homeliness - which isn't a knock on the actor, they could've made him up to be much hotter and they didn't, I wonder why. I also so want his Tumblr where he complains about not being able to find black enough hair dye and collecting the full set of Imperial trading cards and how his parents don't understand him.)

And he killed Han Solo! Which I'd be more upset about if I actually felt it. Oh, Han's actual death is nicely dramatic (and so hilariously perfectly paralleled both to Vader vs Kenobi in A New Hope and Luke vs Vader in Empire, while doing its own thing - so Abrams can actually do homages right, if he cares about the source enough; it was as successful here as the Wrath of Khan retread in ST Into Darkness was a failure). But it's so telegraphed, and there's so little aftermath that it lacks emotional weight. There's no send-off, no sense that we've said farewell to one of our ultimate childhood heroes. Maybe that was intentional, either to soften it, or draw it out into the later movies. But it's one of the reasons the movie felt so like fanfic to me, like a fun story but not 'what really happened'.

Otherwise the past characters were handled beautifully, they felt like themselves. The one thing I was most worried about was Han/Leia, as one of my formative OTPs - I didn't want to see them broken up, but having both of them retreating like this after what happened to their son but still clearly loving each other - that works for me. And gah, Luke at the end was such a tease. Would like that next movie now, please!

ETA the next day, when I'm a bit more awake - Artoo and Threepio were also so cute. And Chewie! And I'm so hoping the guy who plays Finn is a SW fanboy - hope everyone is, really, but him especially, he got to be a Stormtrooper AND wield a lightsaber and Chewbacca carried him to safety, just, he had it all!

Also, Poe Dameron is totally Ace Rimmer.
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