NOTE: Don't read the comments for fear of people posting spoilers.
Unlike Episode I, I managed to get all the way to the opening scroll of Star Wars: The Force Awakens completely unspoiled, and it was terrific to be able to do so. You can count on my review being spoiler free as well.
It's a bit odd to not hear the 20th Century Fox fanfare, but right after that it gets very familiar, very quickly. If you loved the original trilogy, and who reading this doesn't, you are in for a treat.
From beginning to the end, save a few places reserved for necessary exposition, this film moves along quickly, but I never had trouble keeping up. Thankfully we've got no confusing trade federation blockade conversations getting in the way of this story.
J. J. Abrams has thoroughly infused the film with his familiar touchstones - there's a lot of them, maybe a couple too many for my taste, but that may just be me. One thing nobody will think is there is too much digital imagery. There is very little of it, actually. The film is full of stuff that was actually built, and that makes it easier to relate to than the digital world building of which we see so much.
Unlike the original trilogy films, this one was cast more with more diversity. J.J. said on 60 Minutes "... that the movie should look like the world in which this movie is being released". Not that this was good or bad, but it was different and different can be risky when you have the expectations this film has. But right from the beginning, you're diving in with the new guys, anxious to see what they are all about. Even BB-8 is a great fit.
Daisy Ridley, John Boyega and Oscar Isaac are real standouts. It's great to see Han and Chewie still in action, and we catch up with Leia, C-3PO and R2 as well.
If you grew up with the original trilogy, get ready for a familiar world that's both funny and serious - one that will make you laugh and feel that tug on your heart as well. If Star Wars is new to you, it will be the same; funny, serious, with many laughs... well, almost the same, and you'll now have a world of friends with which to share it.
Celebrating 5 Years Of The Force Awakens
5/14 - George Lucas
5/16 - Star Wars: Episode II Attack of the Clones (2002)
5/19 - Star Wars: Episode III Revenge of the Sith (2005)
5/19 - Star Wars: Episode I The Phantom Menace (1999)
5/19 - Peter Mayhew
5/19 - Claudia Karvan
5/21 - Star Wars: Episode V The Empire Strikes Back (1980)
5/23 - Barrie Holland
5/23 - Star Wars 10th Anniversary Convention (1987)
5/24 - Star Wars Celebration IV (2007)
5/25 - Frank Oz
5/25 - Star Wars: Episode IV A New Hope (1977)
5/25 - Star Wars: Episode VI Return of the Jedi (1983)