Am I allowed to write a reaction to this movie? Is a bounty hunter going to come after me? Everyone's so nervous about spoilers that I feel like I'm doing something terrible. But I can't help myself. I saw it as soon as I could and that means most of the in-depth, nerd-tastic analysis I'm craving at the moment has yet to appear online, meaning I'm stuck with me. So let me preface this with a very clear
First I should say that I'm no expert on Star Wars. You want my brother for that. I've seen all the movies several times and followed the animated shows: Genndy's non-canonical but awesome mini-series, most of The Clone Wars, and Season 1 of Rebels so far. I even wrote George asking to play Anakin when I was a teenager. But I didn't exactly grow up on it. Its Lucas sibling Willow was my jam.
We had a recorded copy of Return of the Jedi that I thought was pretty cool. Even after seeing Episodes IV and V I still liked it the most. Between that and Caravan of Courage, I thought Star Wars = Ewoks. I know, blasphemy.
So let's say I'm initiated, if not as fully obsessed as some fans. I had expectations like anyone. Some were met in a good way and some were met in a less good way, leaving me with thoughts about predictability. When do you want to be right? When do you hope you're wrong? I think everyone's mileage will differ on that one.
Regardless, it's obvious that The Force Awakens mirrors the original Star Wars. I mean, we knew it was going to because a) duh and b) this franchise has always been about mirrors. (And if you have a bad feeling about that, give a Wilhelm Scream as you set off on your hero's journey.) However, plot "reflection" was basically J. J. Abram's lens flare in this movie, and was glaring enough that it's what I'm most eager to shine a light on. (Wow, so many puns. I apologize.)
I threw together the following comparison pretty quickly, so if you see something I missed, let me know in the comments!