Young orphaned scavenger living on a desert planet finds droid with a message, then hooks up with two rogues in a beat-up ship. Young hero starts developing a talent for the Force. Dark-side dork with daddy issues slays daddy in death star duel. Ace X-wing pilot flies down trench and kills death star.
Where have I seen this movie before?
Episode VII is a distinct improvement over the last set of Star Wars films, the Anakin prequels. We care more about Rey and Finn than we ever did about Anakin and Padme. George Lucas’s characters were wooden and unconvincing; Lawrence Kasdan (who wrote The Empire Strikes Back and Return of the Jedi), J.J. Abrams, and Michael Arndt do a better job. The similarities with Star Wars IV: A New Hope are surely by design, but it’s its own story. The pace is almost unrelenting, with explosions and chase scenes and battles one after another. Daisy Ridley and John Boyega give strong performances as Rey and Finn, while Harrison Ford is all roguish charm as Han Solo, and Adam Driver shows some moral complexity as Kylo Ren.