Loved: THE SPECIAL EFFECTS ARE AMAZING! Thank you for bringing practical effects back, JJ. The world seems lived in, real, not the pretty, glossy, cartoonish world of the prequels. All of the background creatures looked amazing and interesting and I want to know more about them, the exact same feeling I had about the originals. The character of Maz is simply unbelievable. She seemed completely real to me.
The new characters – Finn, Rey, Kylo Ren, Poe. All seemed fully fleshed out (except maybe Poe, but we don’t get much time with him). The protagonists are easy to root for. Rey is a terrific protagonist. The battle scene with her and Kylo was awesome – when she grabs her light saber, I was all amped up - LETS GET IT ON. Domnhall Greeson as General Hux did a fantastic job (interesting rivalry going on with Ren as well).
The dialogue. OMG, 10,000% improvement on the prequels. There was a corny line or two, but for the most part the dialogue was much more realistic. And this is easily the funniest of the Star Wars movies with 4-5 legit LOL moments.
NO ANNOYING CHARACTERS. Even C3PO is limited to just a few lines, none of them are annoying, and he actually is kinda funny.
Liked: The battle scenes. I typically do not care for the modern action scene because the current trend is to have scenes too busy with quick jump cuts. They had more patience in their scenes and the dogfight scenes were exciting and tense. They also avoid the battles going on too long (another dreadful sin in many modern action movies).
The pacing. The prequels suffer horribly from terrible pacing. Big battle, nothing interesting happens for 45 minutes, pod race, boring exposition, battle, etc. Here, they move on pretty quickly, but without rushing it. Exposition, battle, chase, exposition, chase, etc. Its pretty snappy.
BB8 is pretty cute.
Han dying. It had to be done. Made a lot of sense with the plot and didn’t seem to be done just for shock value.
Didn’t Like: The plot. I mean I didn’t hate it, but its a complete re-hash of A New Hope. I know they’re just throwing red meat at the fanboys and my guess is they’re giving us familiar footing before they take us somewhere different in Eps 8-9, but it was a bit TOO familiar to me. "Oh, its new Luke, new R2D2, new Darth Vader, new Yoda, oh, another Death Star? Uh, okay."
It was also a bit difficult to tell what exactly has happened the last 30 years. So the Republic is still around and in charge and its the First Order that is kind of the rebels this time? Who is financing this extensive weaponry? They didn't much into the backstory, which maybe is good considering how the backstory weighs down Phantom Menace, but it still left me with a ton of questions on this world we are now in.
How quickly Kylo Ren went from intimidating bad guy to angsty teen with daddy issues. "Oh look, the scary guy is the dude from Girls."
Loved the cameo from Han Solo, kinda wish he wasn’t such a big part of the movie. Leia is in the movie much less, which is good, because Carrie Fisher is a terrible actress in the movie. But even Harrison Ford seems to be losing his fastball, and I kinda feel like he was phoning it in in some parts.
Not sure I liked the last scene. It felt very anticlimactic, but I know we needed a cliffhanger to set up the next film. Kinda felt like that should be the opening scene of the next film, but we’ll see.
The silliness of once again having a Death Star-type base that can be blown up easily. But I just shrugged my shoulders and said "I accepted this twice already, just go with it."
Hated: Snoke. I mean, I’m guessing that’s not really what he looks like (its a hologram, perhaps an avatar), but I was like "oh, the bad guy is Smeagol."
The creatures Han was carrying (Ratnars?). They were silly and a looked like the fake CGI creatures of the prequels. I get it, its hard to do a chase scene without using CGI, but the whole sequence was kinda silly.
Overall, I loved the movie, but until the plot takes us somewhere new, I still have it firmly behind the original trilogy, and miles ahead of the prequels.