Watching “Star Wars: The Force Awakens” made me realise how much of an auteur J.J. Abrams is. As a devoted fan of the original “Star Wars” film series, I could only imagine the kind of pressure that was being put on Abrams as well as the cast and crew for this highly anticipated “Star Wars” film. After all, there are a lot of “Star Wars” fans like myself are expecting the film to be extremely good.

Did Abrams succeed at directing “Star Wars: The Force Awakens”? If you ask me, I’d say that it’s a job well done. Abrams delivered the kind of excitement that I’ve been expecting to get from the film and “overwhelming” was the only word that could describe how I felt about it.

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Right from the opening sequence, I could tell that I was going to have a great time watching “Star Wars: The Force Awakens”.

The film literally had me sitting on the edge of my seat by maintaining the same level of intensity from the start till the credits began rolling. Without giving away any crucial details, everything in the film leads up to the epic final scene that will leave you wanting the movie to go on well past its 132-minute screen time.

Rest assured, none of the fan theories that you’ve read online about “Star Wars: The Force Awakens” are true. The movie still managed to surprise us with a few fascinating subplots and didn’t stray too far from the heart of what makes the franchise so successful: of the feeling of adventure just around the corner, of the battle of good against evil (and subsequent triumphs).

Star Wars The Force Awakens - Chewbecca and Han Solo

“Star Wars Episode I: The Phantom Menace” (1999) was the first-ever “Star Wars” film I watched when I was barely 10 years old. Sure, it was cringeworthy, but that didn’t stop me from becoming a fan.

Almost every single installment of the franchise made me feel giddy and “Star Wars: The Force Awakens” gave me the same kind of giddy feeling. It made me feel like a kid again and had me geeking out over the old-school feel of the movie.

So, kudos to Abrams for paying homage to the iconic originals envisioned by George Lucas.

Star Wars The Force Awakens - Rey and Finn

There are a couple of jaw-dropping moments in the film that are still indelibly imprinted on my mind.

It’s safe to say that the high-octane scenes reaffirm the film’s status as being one of the biggest movie franchises ever. Battle sequences are featured prominently in the movie and they are executed brilliantly together with the dramatic and hair-raising film score. The film does contain CGI, but Abrams’ attempt to make the sequences realistic and thrilling with a combination of digital effects and trademark camera work is admirable.

Say what you will about the “trisaber” wielded by Adam Driver‘s Kylo Ren, but this new take on arguably the most iconic weapon in movie history results in one of the best lightsabre duels we’ve ever seen so far. The duels in the film are raw and intense, unlike the choreographed spectacle seen in Episode I.

Abrams also couldn’t help but insert a few comedic moments even in some of the most intense sequences of the film. However, that’s really not a bad thing. At least, it’s not the dumb humour found in “Star Wars Episode I: The Phantom Menace”.

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Star Wars The Force Awakens - Kylo Ren

Instead of just focusing on the returning cast members, “Star Wars: The Force Awakens” gives each and every new character enough time to shine on screen.

Daisy Ridley‘s Rey and John Boyega‘s Finn are welcome additions to the series as both characters demonstrate great chemistry together on screen. Ridley gave an exquisitely controlled performances as a reluctant heroine Rey, while Boyega was a breath of fresh air, portraying a Stormtrooper with a moral dilemma.

Despite his limited screen time, Oscar Isaac shone through in his role as Resistance fighter pilot Poe Dameron. He has a disarming charm that Tom Cruise possessed in “Top Gun”.

Star Wars The Force Awakens - Poe Dameron

Maz Katana, a new character portrayed by Lupita Nyong’o using motion capture, was kept out of the limelight throughout the entire film. She’s no Yoda, but she certainly possesses a special kind of power and knowledge that makes her a keeper.

Poe’s loyal astromech droid, BB-8, is sure to be a fan favourite – but we already know that. Abrams’ ability to convey emotion on a character that cannot speak nor breathe further adds to the droid’s adorable factor.

As for the returning cast members, Harrison Ford‘s grey-haired Han Solo is still cheeky as hell and every scene that he shared with Peter Mayhew’s Chewbacca is pure nostalgic joy. Ford’s character didn’t spend much screen time with Carrie Fisher‘s General Leia (though we still prefer calling her “Princess Leia”), but every moment they spent together tells a story of warmth, pain and an undeniable love for each other that shows each time they lock eyes.

On the Dark Side, Adam Driver‘s Kylo Ren is psychotic and unpredictable, which makes him an extremely dangerous person to be around with. His obsession with the Dark Side comes in handy for Supreme Leader Snoke (played by Andy Serkis) as he becomes a pawn in his battle against the Republic.

Star Wars: The Force Awakens Ph: Film Frame © 2014 Lucasfilm Ltd. & TM. All Right Reserved..

Personally, I’d rate “Star Wars: The Force Awakens” as the 2nd best “Star Wars” film behind the fantastic “Star Wars: Episode V – The Empire Strikes Back”. Abrams maintains a fast pace that moves rapidly between the many characters, while the final sequence still had me reeling.

With “The Force Awakens”, Abrams and his production team manages to balance a new path with its new characters while retaining the elements that made the original trilogy such a huge hit. It reignites our passion for the film series and gives some new hope to “Star Wars” fans.

The overall story may be thin, but the little holes will definitely be filled in the coming episodes. For a series reboot, this definitely had me wanting so much more.

Because really, that final sequence though!

“Star Wars: The Force Awakens” is set to be released on 17th December 2015.

For more information, visit the movie’s official website and Facebook page.

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Adrina
Adrina was our former writer and now contributes to Hype. Find out what she's up to on her IG: @moonsglowslow.