When the movie was announced in 2012 my initial reaction was “Ehh…I don’t know if I have it in me to get excited over another Star Wars movie.” That has, to put it mildly, changed pretty drastically. I’m all on board for this and am anxious to see if it lives up to my expectations in a way that the Prequels, despite the fact that I do like them, never really did. I don’t expect The Force Awakens to transport me back to 1977, 1980 or 1983 and make me feel like I did when I saw the first three movies in theaters as a young child. But if it can entertain me and provide a solid Star Wars story that makes me happy to spend two hours in a theater with these characters then I’ll leave a happy fan.
And that I did. Very much so. More than that even, I can say that the campaign represented the movie as a whole, which was so much fun it’s kind of hard to describe. No, it didn’t make me feel like I did when I saw Empire back in 1980, but that’s an almost impossible goal to achieve because I’m no longer five years old.
I don’t want to spoil anything for those who haven’t seen it yet, but there are moments from the trailers and TV spots that pay off in wholly unexpected ways and those that play out more or less as they’re presented in the campaign. As a whole I kept feeling like the movie often zigged when some other film would have zagged. It was even more enjoyable seeing not just the return of old friends like Han and Leia than I anticipated and the introduction to Rey (the most fascinating, promise-filled character I’ve seen in ages), Poe and Finn was handled in a really fun and engaging way.
As for what the marketing didn’t show – and there was plenty it didn’t show aside from the big beats that everyone talked about – it almost all paid of in interesting and sometimes unexpected ways. It easily could have been 20 minutes longer and I would have felt the same, though I’m now super-excited about what’s next. There was a whole universe worth of movies that were hinted at over the course of the movie with dozens of stories to be told.