I was skeptical of a new Star Wars film. Given the buyout by Disney, the lackluster prequel trilogy, and the infinite marketing hype towards the project, it seemed like a ripe opportunity for another flop–albeit an entertaining and profitable one.

But what a pleasant surprise.

I’ll be the first to admit that while I enjoy the Star Wars films, there’s a lot of little things to gripe about despite their cult classic status, particularly the writing, dialogue, and acting. People don’t like Star Wars because they are cinematic masterpieces, they like them because they are epics ahead of their time in popular film.

J.J. Abrams’ direction of “The Force Awakens” shows the maturity of a generation of film makers that grew up with Star Wars who understand the weak points of the films, and improves on them in every way without sacrificing the core of the genre. Daisy Ridley (Rey) and John Royega (Finn) are fresh faces who provide a good backbone of what will define this new trilogy. They are well written, funny, and surprisingly complex. The gem of the film is Harrison Ford playing Han Solo. I don’t care for Ford much, but his role is arguably one of the better I’ve ever seen of his, and a huge positive weight for the episode as a whole.

And of course the film is littered with plenty of throwbacks to maximize nostalgia, including several of the original cast. It’s expected, welcome, and gladly not overdone. The carry over that is less welcome is the redundancy in Star Wars plot, that being the big planet/star destroying superstation that must be destroyed by an obvious weakpoint; or perhaps the persistent daddy issues which churns out dark side recruits like candy. It makes one wonder why, in this galaxy far far away, there is an oblivious lack of creativity in evil organizations.

Aside from that, “The Force Awakens” is great. 2015 quality special effects, action sequences, fighter battles, and setting gives the Star Wars universe the look and feel it deserves. The quality of film is a refreshing departure from the muddied prequel trilogy, and gives the renowned geek culture something to look fondly over, while also being able to be enjoyed by non diehard fans.

8.7/10