Highly Suspect Reviews: Star Wars: The Force Awakens

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Is there any sort of lead-in here that I can give that anyone requires to understand what movie I’m talking about? I didn’t think so. What I can tell you is that this is the first of two reviews our site is going to do for this anticipated film.

This, the first, is spoiler free. Which was no easy task. Chris, Richard and Ed all dove in with the dedicated intent of spoiling as little as possible. While saying that, understand that we had to give at least a bit of first act plot and character set-up description that some will certainly feel is more than they want to know until they see it. So enter with caution those of you who want to know absolutely nothing.

The second will go live at some point mid-to-late next week as we gather as many of our contributors who’ve seen it and gather them together for a big, long, spoilleriffic discussion of every damn detail of the thing. You know you want to hear both. And it certainly wouldn’t hurt for you guys to post this around your social media. The US thanks you.


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48 thoughts on “Highly Suspect Reviews: Star Wars: The Force Awakens”

  1. After listening to Richard vent about J.J. Abrams and The Force Awakens on the Breakfast Pub, I’m not too surprised he came off as the naysayer on this review. Fair enough, as everyone is entitled to their own opinion and I’ll come at it with my own opinion once I see the movie, though it makes me feel the movie could never do anything to win him over even if it was as masterfully executed as The Godfather. A real shame…

    Nonetheless, great job with not spoiling anything in the plot guys and I can’t wait to see the movie!

    1. Six months ago, I thought Adam McKay was a mid-card hack – then he directed The Big Short, which is one of my favorite movies of the year. Or take Michael Bay: f you listen to the review of Transformers 4, you can hear me nearly having a stroke, but Pain and Gain is a borderline gonzo masterpiece. Every director has stylistic tics that can either work really well or really badly, within the context of the individual film. For me, this was up there with ST:ID for bringing out the worse angels of Abrams’ nature.

      1. That’s fair enough. This post was a bit reactionary when I wrote it, but I totally respect your opinion either way. Everyone has the right to like or dislike anything if they can give a good reason for it and you thoroughly explained your opinion here, so I have no qualms. I agree too that anyone has the potential to make a good or bad movie no matter their track record.

  2. I
    don´t have a problem with different opinions. If someone doesn´t like
    Ep7 and has good arguments for it, I can´t say anything against that.
    BUT! Richard said something in this review that pissed me of. He said
    that audiences will love this movie and that it is not “a healthy state
    of cinema”. Seriously?!? 2 minutes before he was praising the prequels
    and George Lucas. Movies that were so boring, hollow, riddled with
    unbelievable bad dialoge, overuse of cgi and helmed by a director who
    uses actors as tools.
    That, in my opinion, is not a healthy state of cinema.

    By the way, I saw Ep7 this morning. 9/10

  3. CYRUS, quick thing, you said you can’t stand JJ Abrams 99% of the time?
    Ok, you gave Trek 09 a full price, you agreed with everyone else that MI3 was easily the best of the MI films before Ghost Protocol which suggest it would be a matinee tier film at worst, Super 8 was a High Rental, Into Darkness was matinee. So… I’m not seeing how your experience with him is 99% fail…

    1. You're Not My Supervisor

      Not to mention Alias and Lost, or at least the pilot. Honestly, I think Chris only got on this JJ Abram’s kick after Richard started bashing him.

        1. JJ abrams only produced Lost and Alias. And sure, 99 percent is harsh. Officially now for directorial output he’s about at 40% like for me.

          1. Question for you, Chris. Of all the actors rumored for Lord and Miller’s young Han Solo film, who would your top choice be?

            1. I’m scared to even speculate. Now that Timothy Olyphant is too old for it, I say go with a talented unknown.

              1. That probably would be the best possibility, but if I had to pick somebody mentioned on that list, I’d probably go with Max Thieriot. He’s great on Bates Motel, he was the best thing about Jumper, and while he’s not identical, I could picture him as a young Harrison Ford.

          2. He’s a director who’s managed to create a massive cult of personality based on empty calories. He’s a WONDERFUL director and a very mediocre writer, and he glosses over his weaknesses by jacking up the pacing and the wow pow to 1000 percent. People hail him like he’s the next Spielberg and he absolutely isn’t.

            But hey, I liked Star Trek 09 and I liked the Force Awakens a lot. Maybe if JJ would stop insisting on writing his projects and directed a beautiful script by a talented writer he’ll finally ascend to the Spielberg level people think he’s on.

  4. Excellent review, great to see both sides to the discussion here. I’m so excited to see the movie tomorrow, even if I like or dislike it.

  5. You're Not My Supervisor

    Richard, I think you misunderstand a little bit what it is that people hate about the prequels. The premise and arc of the story is interesting, but like any story it’s about the details and the details are where the prequels fail. How you can watch them without facepalming at Jar Jar, the dialogue, and acting is baffling.

      1. You're Not My Supervisor

        I purposely left out the visuals because I know some people like that aspect as an aesthetic choice. I disagree of course, but at least it’s subjective. The dialogue and acting I don’t think you can like without being contrarian.

  6. 2 star film, sadly 🙂

    So this movie was a huge let down. It started well but once the original cast arrived the film fell apart. The casting for the new Rebals is on point, the same can’t be said for the villains. Kilo Ren is a winny little shit which lacks all of the menace of Vadar, even Maul is far scarier. The empire was always space nazis, clearly. In this film the nazi dial is cranked to not 11 instead 111. The cinematography swinged back and forth between modem and “Star Wars” style. It was jarring how uncinematic some screens where. The music is completely forgettable, at least Episode 1 had the Dual of Fates.

    Not everything was bad. The cast of the new resistance is excellent. I love how strong the female lead is. The black storm trooper motivations of PTSD is great. The ace pilot has tons of charm. The yoga like character is very well rendered, surely puppet mixed with expensive cgi.

    Best moment the kill Han Solo, was hoping the new Death Star would of blown up Leia as well. End a truly down note.

        1. It absolutely is possible to talk around the problems and even if it’s clearly marked, your comment was initially halfway through the list of comments with the spoiler at the very bottom so it was impossible to miss when I was reading comments. I was really bummed to see all of that, so try to be a bit more considerate. Post it on the forum instead!

          1. Let me level that complaint against every movie, game and particularly tv episode release which opens in the States first.

    1. Kind of agree with you on the music. There are some nice pieces, however nothing stuck out for me. I did like this movie much better then you, it seems. I thought it was fun, but with too much Avengers like chatter (which I can’t stand).

      1. The music is also the biggest thing that stuck out to me. They didn’t seem to ever use any of the old themes, and none of the characters seemed to have a theme…it was just forgettable all around. I can remember the music from all 6 Star Wars movies prior to this one, and this one is already out of my head.

  7. It was… pretty good, I would say.
    The biggest problem I had with the movie was how much it felt like a retread of the original film, at some points it’s almost a straight up remake. It’s has better acting, faster pacing and better special effects, but the original is such a classic it’s not easy to topple.
    I hope they do something vastly different for the second one but I also hope people don’t hate on this movie for no living up to their unrealistic expectations.

    I don’t hate Kylo Ren as some people do or will, but I do have a problem about his reveal.
    Without spoiling much, there’s two scenes where he takes off his mask. The first one is very weak and I feel like it should not exist as it makes the much better second scene less impactful.

  8. As much as I enjoyed this review, I really hope you guys do a spoiler review, but with other One of Us members. I’d really like to hear Beau, Bryan, Elliot, Sarah etc.’s opinions.

  9. As someone who’s super unfamiliar with Star Wars, Richard has convinced me this will be an awesome starting point for me. Can’t wait to grab it on Amazon Vod in six months.

  10. Love it or hate it, this movie feels like Star Wars–and that’s very important. Yes, there are some problems with it, but the film was enjoyable. Much better than any of the prequels.

  11. If George Lucas didn’t like anything about this movie I think that it’s obvious his gripe is that this movie isn’t target exclusively towards children under eight years old. Lucas clearly felt the movies where just films for children; ewoks, Jar Jar, R2-D2 spraying droids with oil, yakkity smackity kid dialogue between Kenobi and Anakin, etc etc. To this day I’m still flabbergasted that episode 2 and 3 wasn’t just two hours of a poop alien that farts all the time, while eating pizza and riding around on his skateboard as he stares into the camera telling all the kids watching how “rad” he is.

    While I think J.J. Abrams’ directing is an abomination before the eyes of the Cinema Gods, I enjoyed this movie despite those feelings as well as other problems I had with the film. The main thing I really enjoyed about The Force Awakens is that it wasn’t targeted towards eight year olds. There were no “Jar Jars” in the film just to appeal to the Great Unclean Ones aka toddlers. While there were moments written to be funny, they were “generally funny” instead of “written down” to be funny so the Drooling Masses aka annoying toddlers would find it silly.

    It had its issues but I enjoyed it. I’m just really fucking glad that J.J. Abrams isn’t directing the next one.

  12. Y’ow, there was nothing phenominal about the prequels Y’ow. this was great fun, sits fine with the other 3. it was a bit fanfamiliar but it added so much, the practical creatures, the huge wrecked StarDestroyers and cool new vehicles, actual stormtroopers but even cooler and fucking x-wings and Tiefighters! the garbage/falcon gag had me sqeeeing! the two leads were a bit full on shouty with some dodgy lines, I had the big plot event spoiled by some dickfucker on FB and The silver stormtrooper was pointless!? Also the scene with Han talking his way out of a pasting by two gangs of other space pirates wasn’t good – the gang leader had a Scottish accent which is just wrong in the SW universe lmao but it was Great fun! 7.5/10

  13. I would like to hear a podcast with Jason Murphy and Richard talking about the prequels. And remember people No

  14. I’m actually with Richard on this. Though I don’t hate it as much as he did, every point he makes is exactly right. This was a shallow movie, and all the emotional beats were so telegraphed that certain film reviewers predicted it almost beat for beat over a month ago…and had me sitting in the theater going “OH JUST DO IT ALREADY” when what they were doing was supposed to be shocking.

    And yeah…the Jedi stuff was…come on, seriously? That’s all I can really say without spoiling, but using the Force to explain why she can do whatever the plot needs her to do is lazy.

    It all left me very much with the impression that I would rather be watching the story of how Kilo Ren turned evil in the first place.

    JJ Abrams strikes me as a guy very much stuck in the 80’s. He wants to be Speilberg and Lucas combined into one, but all the time he’s still a little kid saying “do it again, but bigger, with more lasers, and more explosions!”

    And seriously, who the fuck was the old guy at the beginning of the movie that they made a big deal about?

  15. I would have LOVED to hear it in Boyega’s natural accent. “Oi! Bruv! Oi was raised to dew one fing, an I can’t dew dat no more mate, seaw, oi got nunna foight for bruv! Believe it!”

  16. I also wanted Oscar Isaac to come face to face with General Downhill Gleeson and break out in disco dancing but I was disappointed. And how do you put Max Von Sydow, Yayan Ruhian and Iko Uwais in a movie and not use them?

  17. Personally, I would give it a solid 8/10. My only gripes were with Rey’s plot mistakes within the middle and a few too many callbacks. But the action, the special effects, Boyega and Ford giving great performances and the touching moments connecting the old with the new.

    I can understand where Richard comes from hating the movie because JJ Abrams does play it so closely to the original trilogy. He isn’t wrong in that sense because point-by-point, hits that target But I really don’t understand how the prequels are better. You referred to this movie as empty, yet all the prequels have such incredibly flat acting, pacing, tone, and a story that overall lacks any sort of consequences. Maybe you’ll be right when the other films of this trilogy comes out and they fail to connect things together, but I did not see a successful vision by the time Lucas finished Revenge of the Sith. I just saw a man who really loved to use new special effects and try to wrap everything together in the shoddiest way possible.

  18. 95% of this review I was thinking “Why is Richard saying these awful horrible things?!”
    Last 5% I was thinking “oooooh, he loves the Prequels…. never mind.”

  19. I enoyed the movie despite few flaws but hee’s the main one – Did Only I found the character of Ray a very generic and flat character?

    I love strong female characters, I hate when they are afraid do give them character trades other then “She’s awsome at everything”.

  20. I think at the end of the day I think the issue for me and this movie is that at the end of the day something like Abram’s Star Trek felt like a discovery whilst this movie felt like a sigh of relief because its something I recognized and I was ok with it. I have to call BOOLshit on Richards comments on this film lacking vision and artistry, they spent 200 million dollars on this thing, and every dollar is on screen, I could write an essay on why I think that just not a good criticism of this film, there was just sooooo much for your eyes to take in so much work put into making these films reminiscent of the original trilogy and at the same time bringing it into the 21st Century in a way the prequel could only dream of doing. Not the best movie ever made, but goddamn its a lot of fun.

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