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'Star Wars' Reviews: 'The Force Awakens' Gets Rave Reviews From Critics, Who Praise John Boyega And Daisy Ridley

16/12/2015 10:19 GMT | Updated 16/12/2015 10:59 GMT
Disney / Lucasfilm

The reviews are in, and ‘Star Wars: The Force Awakens’ has received almost unanimous praise from critics.

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Earlier this week, those who’d seen the film shared their thoughts on Twitter, and while they were a nice enough stop-gap, we’ve now got the full reviews to sink our teeth into, and it sounds like fans are in for a treat.

New recruits John Boyega and Daisy Ridley have won particular praise (excluding one Evening Standard review which called the British actress “disappointing”).

Check out the SPOILER-FREE reviews for yourself below…

The Mirror - 4/5

“After dozing for a decade, the world's favourite sci-fi space opera reawakens in a visually-spectacular seventh instalment guaranteed to enthral fans - while delivering the series' biggest-ever shock.

“For action, humour and heart, the Force is strong with this one, even if the storyline is strikingly familiar to the 1977 movie that started it all.

“It may be billed as a sequel but it often feels weirdly like a remake."

Digital Spy

"The Force Awakens gets it. It gets what makes Star Wars, Star Wars. The Force Awakens gets so much right, in fact, the inevitable niggles eventually seem somewhat irrelevant.

"It has an enjoyably light tone at times – seen particularly in Harrison Ford's Han Solo, Oscar Isaac's Poe Dameron and John Boyega's Finn – but can successfully sachay into darker, more angsty territory as and when it needs to.

"In short: it's slick, it's smart and you feel like you're in safe hands the whole time. JJ Abrams should breathe a massive sigh of relief: he's done it. He's made one of the good ones."

The Telegraph - 5/5

“From the off, JJ Abrams’s film sets out to shake Star Wars from its slumber, and reconnect the series with its much-pined-for past. That it achieves this both immediately and joyously is perhaps the single greatest relief of the movie-going year.

“There are moments of drama and excitement here that are pure late-Seventies vintage, although The Force Awakens’ new leads – a young woman and a young black man, neither one an obvious heir to the Skywalker Aryan farm-boy mantle – show that stories set a long time ago in faraway galaxies can still move with the times when it counts.”

The Guardian - 5/5

"‘The Force Awakens’ does not, in the way of other franchises, feel the need to be “dark”... it basically powers along on a great surging riptide of idealism and optimism, that family-movie ethic which some have derided for killing off the dystopian tradition of sci-fi.

"In fact, ‘Star Wars’ has now gone beyond the sci-fi genre to its own kind of intergalactic quasi-Arthurian romance: that and a return to the world of Saturday morning pictures. ‘The Force Awakens’ is ridiculous and melodramatic and sentimental of course, but exciting and brimming with energy and its own kind of generosity. What a Christmas present."

Daily Mail - 4/5

“'The Force Awakens' is a triumph of escapism and the most exhilarating film yet in this mighty franchise. It is the magnificent seventh.

“At the core of this film, rather aptly in the week that Britain sent its first astronaut to the International Space Station, are a pair of hitherto little-known British actors.

“John Boyega is splendid as repentant former stormtrooper Finn, but the real star of the show – a show which makes rather a point of championing women's strength over men – is Keira Knightley lookalike Daisy Ridley.”

BBC

“There's much in ‘The Force Awakens’ to please fans of the original Star Wars trilogy, and not just the return of Han, Luke and Leia.

“The look and tone of the film is extremely reminiscent of A New Hope… and that's at the heart of what makes this film feel less like the prequels and more like the films from the 1970s and '80s.

“The story is rooted in strong characters and real conflict, making them relatable - even if they're not always likeable."

Wired

“‘The Force Awakens’ has to do more than not disappoint. It has to redeem. It has to clear out the chaff of decades of misfires, to evoke not the reality of the first three movies but the memory of how they felt. It has to let a whole demographic of Gen-Xers reclaim a singular master narrative while simultaneously bringing a new audience into the fold. That’s heavy stuff.

“The movie, thankfully, bears the weight.”

Evening Standard - 4/5

“Abrams is a more dynamic, kinetic film-maker than George Lucas ever was - and The Force Awakens is a much more involving, dramatic proposition than the originals when re-seen now.

“But the movie has a major problem in this central character.

“Ridley, previously little known, seems a genuinely sweet girl and is quite pretty - but can barely act at all. You start thinking: give her time, she'll loosen up, it'll get better. It never does. And she's the heroine, the very heart of the film.”

The Hollwood Reporter

“In the end, Star Wars: The Force Awakens feels like the work of a very capable student, one who has studied his subject so diligently and thoroughly that he knows what to do and what to avoid, is smart enough to have engaged one of the experts in the field, in this case Kasdan, to work on the blueprint, and to have ensured that another of the key contributor to the series' success, John Williams, would return again after all the years.

“The franchise is indeed reawakened, and we already know when to expect several more installments.”

Variety

“Even by film’s end there remains a frustrating if intentional degree of mystery surrounding Finn and Rey, the two characters charged with carrying the series forward, and whose backstories presumably will be fleshed out more satisfyingly in subsequent films.

“Viewers inclined to pay attention to such things will have a field day analysing the casting of a white female and a black male as co-leads in the year’s biggest blockbuster — an audacious and frankly long-overdue corrective to the status quo, quite apart from the fact that both actors are excellent.

“Boyega, so good in ‘Attack the Block’, brings sly wit to the role of a soldier grappling with a vaguely Jason Bourne-style crisis of conscience. And Ridley, in a doozy of a breakout role, is terrific as a young woman not yet sure what to make of the powerfully beckoning Force, or of the glorious and terrifying destiny that might await her. She may not yet have the heroic stature of a Katniss Everdeen, but future movies will surely tell.”

Deadline

“The most anticipated movie of the year is finally here. So, does Star Wars: The Force Awakens triumph or disappoint? From my point of view I can only say director J.J. Abrams has taken George Lucas’ baby and reinvented it for true fans of the early films.

“Although it would be impossible to overtake the emotional experience of seeing the original 1977 Star Wars for the first time... Abrams together with his screenwriters Michael Arndt and especially Lawrence Kasdan (who wrote ‘The Empire Strikes Back’ and ‘Return Of The Jedi’) have captured the heart, soul, wit, adventure and wonder of what it is that makes ‘Star Wars’ such a phenomenon in movie history.”

NME

“The story… plays equally to the new characters as the old. If you were concerned the oldies would only be here for glorified cameos you’re wrong. Old and new are knotted together in a story that makes the already complicated ‘Star Wars’ mythology richer, rather than denser. A lot has happened in those missing 30 years.

“There are times when it clunks or the old adage that ‘you can type this shit but you can’t say it’ comes to mind, but that’s ‘Star Wars’. The originals were scrappy and sometimes wooden. Abrams has as thoroughly captured the original spirit as could be reasonably hoped. The old characters feel like weathered versions of themselves, the new ones live convincingly alongside them. And because we know this is the start of another trilogy – and then some, most likely – Abrams give you just what you want at the end: enough of a tease to make you start anticipating all over again."

'Star Wars: The Force Awakens' Premiere

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