With this seventh chapter in the Star Wars saga, J.J. Abrams and crew have done exactly what they did with Star Trek, and created a fun movie that not only respects the blessed canon of a beloved franchise, but stands on its own as a piece of supreme entertainment. It’s 2015’s most entertaining film, for sure, and a movie that stands up proudly in the realm of Star Wars movies. In many ways, Star Wars: The Force Awakens is the best movie in the franchise. I won’t say it’s my personal, sentimental favorite. (I think The Empire Strikes Back still holds that post, but a little more time will tell.) The Force Awakens has solid storytelling, its special effects are first rate, and the performances are, undoubtedly, the best the franchise has ever seen. That’s due in part to Daisy Ridley, an incredible talent who becomes an instant star for the foreseeable future as Rey, a scrappy scavenger on a Tatooine-like desert planet. I don’t think I’m overdoing it by saying she delivers the all-time, all-around best dramatic performance in the Star Wars universe in this role. I can say she does some of the year’s best “face acting,” and you’ll have to see the movie to find out what I’m talking about. The film will leave you craving for more, and a good Star Wars craving is a nice thing to have.

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