Honest, spoiler free review of Star Wars: The Force Awakens from a non fan.

I was very privileged to be given an opportunity to see the newest Star Wars movie on Tuesday, a couple of days before the official premier. Star Wars: The Force Awakens is the talked about movie event of the year. People have been lining up for weeks to be first in line to see the latest in the Star Wars series.

Unlike those lining up and camping out for days to see the movie, and also unlike most everyone else on the planet, I have not seen the other Star Wars movies so I went into The Force Awakens with no preconceived ideas about what to expect (except that I expected it to be pretty good since JJ Abrams was at the wheel this time around.

How is it that I could be an 11 year old when the first Star Wars was released and not actually see the franchise? Good question, and one I’ve been answering a lot lately. I don’t know. I saw other movies that year including The Goodbye Girl, Airport ’77, The Deep, Oh, God!, Heroes, Saturday Night Fever and High Anxiety. I also figured Star Wars was a boy’s movie. My brother and his friends saw it repeatedly and talked about it all the time so if my brother loved it, I probably wouldn’t – was my thinking back then. When the sequels came out I hadn’t seen the original so didn’t bother to see them. Sure, I’ve seen bits and pieces of them over the years and I have a pretty general idea what they are about, I just hadn’t seen them from start to finish.

The viewing experience was minimal at best –  11am on a Tuesday, no pop, no popcorn, no Jujubes. Thankfully the theater that I, four other women and about 45 men saw it in was directly across from the restrooms.

We were not allowed to have our phones in the theater with us and any bags were searched and we all got the metal detecting wand as we entered the theater. I was okay about this given other movie openings.

I wasn’t sure I’d be able to follow the story from the beginning, I figured there’d be a learning curve, but thankfully the opening credits of the movie, the part with the words scrolling through the galaxy to John Williams amazing orchestral piece, gave a pretty decent synopsis of what had taken place in the story so far.

Basically the story is about finding Luke Skywalker. There are a few new characters and many of the old ones everyone loves so much. It is the new characters – Finn, Poe, Rey and BB8 – that really move the story along. Daisy Ridley, who plays Rey, is captivating.

I was hoping to review Star Wars: The Force Awakens as a stand alone movie but it really isn’t. Don’t get me wrong, it was fun, filled with humor, romance, excitement and surprises, it just would have made a lot more sense if I had seen episodes 4, 5 and 6 of the series (or 1,2 and 3 for those of who remember when the first one was just called Star Wars). Because the movie is the first in the final trilogy of the Star Wars franchise it ended as such. Not really a cliff hanger, just the place where it made the most sense to end a movie that already has two sequels.

I’m not complaining, I’m looking forward to seeing the next two (really more interested in seeing the first three) movies it’s just that this one ended not unlike the first part of episode three of The Hunger Games ended. With more of a whimper, not a bang. It was slightly unsatisfying.

The first Star Wars movie (Star Wars Episode IV – A New Hope) may have been conceived as three trilogies but when it was made they didn’t know if it would be successful enough to have a sequel. The movie ended when that part of the story ended. Everyone wanted more but it could have stood on it’s own. The story was told. I didn’t get that feeling here.

It was entertaining, funny, and exciting but it wasn’t groundbreaking. Not that there’s anything wrong with that. I’d give it a solid B. If you’re a fan, you’re going to love it no matter what. You many not see it 100 times like you did the original Star Wars but you won’t be disappointed.

I’ve seen many movies with my 12 year old daughter this year. From Paul Blart Mall Cop 2 to Minions to the final Hunger Games movie. Most of the time when the movie is over, before the credits start to roll, people get up to leave. A few of the movie we saw this past summer – Jurassic World and Terminator Genysis people not only stayed for the credits but they also clapped when the movie ended.

No one clapped when Star Wars: The Force Awakens, and no one bothered to stick around for the credits.

Is it worth seeing? Yes, absolutely.  It just probably won’t live up to expectations.