I thought the cast of new players was quite good. One thing that stood out for me, and I guess it's a minor thing in the context of the full experience, but I was impressed with Lupita Nyong'o voice acting. She has a rich and vibrant voice and was able to convey thoughtful wisdom, which is more impressive when you think about how young she is. Good on her, that was a good job.
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I get this overall vibe from the movie that the "force" is just on a lower level than even the OT, which had already fallen from the levels we saw in the PT. What I mean by that is, the characters do not seem as amazingly powerful as they were in those heady days of the old republic and the jedi order. Now, we've got scavengers who have to try three times before they can get force persuasion to work; an antagonist who couldn't even build his lightsaber correctly and is striving to live up to his heritage; his insecurity is palpable (and a really interesting turn for a bad guy). The non-Force powers, ie the First Order, starkiller base, etc., are clearly the superior side of the antagonists in this first go around, though I am curious to see and learn more about Snoke.
In the context of the Force Awakens, I suppose this makes sense, because it's inferred that the force has basically been dormant since at least Luke went into hiding, and whatever power Kylo has been able to gain has been very furtive and tentative; power in fits and starts. Some of what he did especially with the mental powers, stopping the blaster bolt, etc., were quite impressive, but his skill with the sword and his overall confidence is very shaky. You can almost feel some panic in him, frustration and impotence, especially when Rey is free on the ship and he can't locate her.
Anyway my thoughts are still forming, but one thing I can say clearly is that it was quite good. They resolved a couple of the legacy storylines, introduced us to all the old crew again, and with that done this story can go in any number of directions. Looking forward to it!!
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