There are times when Abrams leans too heavily on the in-jokes and those nostalgic inversions -- the reintroductions of the original trilogy characters are especially awkward. But when the film focuses on its new characters, as it does more confidently in its latter half the more it becomes its own thing.
Listen, skeptics, when someone important to you asks you to go to the new Star Wars film with them, avoid rolling your eyes and making an excuse not to go. Because this movie, in the brilliant way that its written and filmed, allows you to enter the Star Wars world of your loved one while falling in love with it yourself.
Directed by J.J. Abrams, Star Wars: The Force Awakens is the seventh Star Wars installment (though "Episode VII" has been curiously absent from the marketing), the first to be released by the franchise's new minders at Disney, and the first to follow on from the events of the beloved original trilogy that concluded with 1983's Return of the Jedi.