FILM

Star Wars: The Force Awakens is better after a second viewing

I’ve already reviewed Star Wars: The Force Awakens, but that was after a midnight screening, where I was practically incandescent with expectation and, more importantly, fucking tired. Subsequently, my initial reaction wasn’t one of total satisfaction. One or two scenes bugged me, and I couldn’t ignore the fact that what I’d just seen was essentially a less coherent version of A New Hope. But then I watched it again. And to the devastation of my bank account, I had the following realisation: films need to be watched more than once. Now while that simply isn’t feasible for the likes of 50 Shades of Grey or anything else that requires heroin injected into the eyeballs to make even the first viewing bearable, The Force Awakens certainly is worth a second sitting.

Minor spoilers ahead.

From the moment the opening crawl bursts onto the screen to the dramatic, cliffhanger ending, there’s barely time to wipe your liquid excitement off the seat in front of you. Taking it all in is a daunting task. In the first few minutes, for example, we’re introduced to Poe Dameron (Oscar Isaac), the globular merchandise whore that is BB-8, a conflicted Stormtrooper called Finn (John Boyega) and the emotionally buggered bad guy, Kylo Ren (Adam Driver). That’s all before we even get to meet Daisy Ridley’s Rey (the best thing about the film). It’s a lot to digest in an introduction sequence, particularly if you’re a casual member of the audience, but it’s this kind of character-fuelled heft that immediately affirms that Star Wars is back – in a big way.

Do I still have some issues with the storytelling? Yes. While the plot and characters are all set up tremendously well, I still think we’re owed an explanation for why the First Order even exists and is seemingly in its prime, despite the fall of the Empire in Return of the Jedi. The script doesn’t do a great job of familiarising us with new planets either, which makes it kind of hard to give a shit when Starkiller base wipes out five of them in one go. That’s a lot of death for me not to care about. And Captain Phasma is a bit of a wet fart. I’m pretty sure I got more screen-time than she did, and she rolls over far too easily when a gun is pointed at her head. But after that I began to feel silly looking for flaws in a film that, for the duration, had me whooping, laughing, tensing, gasping and welling up, like a hormonal pregnant woman. The second time around I was an emotional wreck.

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