MIAMI – By now, every reviewer based east of Coruscant has weighed in on the soon-to-be blockbuster behemoth "Star Wars: The Force Awakens."
But really, the question isn't whether it deserves two thumbs up, 4 stars or an A grade; it's whether you'll enjoy the movie or not. Because, let's face it, if everyone you trusted told you that the "The Phantom Menace" was a masterpiece compared to "The Force Awakens," you're still going to see it.
So this isn't so much of a review as it is the results of a litmus test to determine whether your expectations will live up to reality and if you'll leave the theater with a smile on your face like you did in 1977.
The answer? Yes. Double yes!
Star Wars: The Force Awakens is fantastic as a reawakening, not a reboot, of the series. If you're one of those, like myself, that ranks the movies in the franchise, this latest incarnation truly belongs near the top along with "A New Hope" (because it was the first) and "The Empire Strikes Back" (because it was the best).
I'll admit, I was apprehensive as I awaited the first notes of John Williams' now-legendary score. Anytime you revisit an old favorite, it brings to mind the time you dropped by your old high school and remarked that everything looks so much smaller. You never get that old feeling back. That's just what time does.
However, from the first lines of the scrolling prologue, "The Force Awakens" leads you down a road never taken. After decades of amassing Star Wars knowledge (both trivial and extremely trivial), it's a bit jarring to not know what comes next. And that's what made it so thrilling.
No offense to Hayden Christensen, Ewan McGregor and Natalie Portman, but the new actors appear to actually enjoy playing the characters they've been entrusted to portray. Daisy Ridley and John Boyega treat their roles with respect, not pity as the more established actors of the prequels made it feel.
CGI is kept to a minimum by director J.J. Abrams who is now 2-for-2 along with Star Trek in reviving beloved science fiction franchises. Yes, you know you're in a fake world, but it doesn't feel so forced.
And just like seeing your favorite band after they broke up 30 years ago, "The Force Awakens" mixes the old hits with the new ones. There are enough fan service moments to quench your thirst for the old days, but it's not done with a hammer to the head. It's just the right amount.
The story is great. The acting is sensational. The action scenes are amazing.
I could dive deeper into material that more experienced film critics are trained to expound upon, but I'm just your normal Star Wars fan. My job was to let you know if you will enjoy your new Star Wars experience.
And the answer to that is a resounding yes.
You may not be transported to 1977, but at least you'll love the ride to a new world that is just as thrilling as anything you remember from your childhood.