So, now all the short-term hype and reactionist fuss has died down, it’s important to take a more considered, longer-term view of The Force Awakens. Does it matter that the movie is a rehash of New Hope, Empire SB and Return OTJ? Does it matter that the character of Maz is just Yoda? Kinda. It means the movie lacks originality and the world-changing impact of the first movies. BUT it means the movie takes on themes about how crimes of the parents are visited on their children, only for those crimes to be repeated by the children, and about how human history often repeats (because we are the same as we ever were – we are not developing or we have fairly essential values). Arguably, then, The Force Awakens has a better sense of its own place within history and time than the other movies – it is more self-aware. And the audience isn’t being patronised really, because the audience is more self-aware these days (look at movies like Dead Pool, Guardians of the Galaxy, etc). More than all of that, The Force Awakens isn’t just a rehash – it makes important changes to the original three movies – including updating gender roles and removing the racist midichlorian bloodline explanation for the power of the Force.
Where does all that leave us in terms of a final judgement then? Sadly, due to its derivative nature, I don’t think The Force Awakens will really stand the test of time (despite its superior understanding of time). Far worse movies have of course successfully stood this test, mainly because they demonstrate true creative originality. That does not mean The Force Awakens is a waste of time though – it may turn out to be a crucial adjustment and forerunner for a movie that does then change the world, a movie that might not have been possible otherwise. Let’s damn well hope so. The Force Awakens, then, is a crucially important ‘holding’ movie. And it’s a lot of fun too, which is important. In and of itself, it’s 7/10 as a movie, but in the larger scarier scheme of things, it’s potentially a 10/10 (which ain’t too shoddy).