The first hour of THE FORCE AWAKENS is almost perfect, in my book: We spend a lot of time getting to know the three new main characters of this trilogy, see how they fit into the larger universe, and then meet some of the characters from the original trilogy who ground the story in the larger context of the Star Wars series. The second hour-plus meanders a bit, but it’s still solidly entertaining throughout, and the tone of the whole movie is just about right. Unfortunately, there are two things that prevent the movie from being great: One, the transparently recycled story beats from A New Hope; and two, the lousy communication of several key concepts, including what the hell the Resistance is, why the First Order is so powerful, why there is a map to Luke Skywalker, etc. etc. I like this movie, but I can’t say that I love it.