Thirty plus years in the waiting and we got a remake with more questions than answers. Those ingredients usually make a terrible film but under the direction of JJ Abrams, however, it was fantastically done.
Abrams made a new generation of Star Wars fans with The Force Awakens. He did it not by rehashing an old storyline, but by placing good actors in suitable roles. Daisy Ridley shined in her role as Rey, a scrap metal scavenger who ended up as one of the major players in the film. Ridley made Rey a fun character who had the sass of a young Princess Leia. Her mostly scrappy personality was also met with a sincere and soft side as viewers saw later with Finn.
Furthermore, Abrams struck gold with John Boyega as Finn. Finn left the First Order to run away but oddly enough found Rey in that attempt. Their onscreen chemistry rivaled Harrison Ford and Carrie Fisher's in episodes IV - VI. It was that good and going forward, fans will see more of it. As good as Boyega was, however, Finn wound up in the wrong place at the wrong time. Usually that would make for a terrible character, but Finn had the capability to rise to the occasion and not cower from the fight. He was a rebel with a cause.
Even Adam Driver as Kylo Ren was correctly placed. His presence as the constant antagonist was something the prequels desperately lacked, so watching his abilities and onscreen presence was refreshing. With his interesting beginning and surprising killing, Kylo Ren fully aligned himself with the Dark Side. What is more, his name stuck and held the aura of the Dark Side champion.
While the acting was no doubt great, what about the story? The story, while a reboot, was exceptional. Abrams held the magic of Spielberg rather than Lucas. That storytelling ability made the reboot s revitalization. The Force awoke with new fans and a new direction. In some way, it had to pay homage to the old order with various cameos and inconsequential roles. That mixture needed a high level director to achieve success and Abrams pulled it off.
One downside about the film was Ren's inability to exert his Sith fighting prowess upon non Jedi. It confirmed that Ren required more training but his trouble to deliver the final blow was bothersome.
The ending, leaving viewers with more questions than answers, was perfectly drawn. Will he take it? Then what? The scene in and of itself would have been futile without the music and John Williams' touch hit the dramatic spot.
With The Force Awakens, Star Wars returned to its paramount of great storytelling. Its ascension was not out of nostalgia but a good story. Its future was built on a solid foundation and that was tremendously done by Abrams.