Well, i must be old, because the one thing i wanted more of was Han and Leia. Shit, i could have watched a whole movie of them talking about their relationship.
What i dislike about this movie is that i am surrounded by people who are deeply invested in their childhood memories of the original trilogy and have intense feelings about it. This makes appreciating the movie extremely complicated because i have to separate my own feelings about the original movies from my feelings about this mass of fannish children and their expectations. I can't review it as a movie that stands on its own merits because it's tied in a bow topped by a cultural Gordian knot and, quite frankly, i blame you all for this. As that great American William Shatner once said, "Get a life, will you people?"
On the other hand, the movie was crafted as a continuation of a previously set story, and it is impossible to assess it without taking that into consideration.
In sum, fuck you, i'm doing it my way.
As a whole, the movie is like Oingo Boingo's Boingo Alive album, where it's songs you already know, but rerecorded for the fans' pleasure, and the result is often superior to the original, even though you've heard it all before, so the work is predictable in almost every dimension. In addition, a few new things were thrown in, some good, some clearly a better idea on paper, some obviously the result of, "Well, i don't really want to waste this." Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull also suffered from this, and in both movies, Harrison Ford's character and his sassy girlfriend had a particularly annoying son.
Is that really all the Max von Sydow we get? Are you fucking kidding me?
I hate that the slowly emerging FZZHHHNG light saber activation effect has been replaced, turning the elegant weapon from a more civilized age into a glorified crème brûlée torch.
None of the new characters have any depth whatsoever. Then again, neither did anyone in SW:ANH, so, like i said, it hews closely to the original. SW:TFA isn't here to break new ground, just break in the new fans. And maybe break up some scar tissue and adhesions in the old ones. Anyway, back to the new characters. Why did Finn crack? Why does he keep bouncing from confidence to cravenness instead of being a broken mess? How does a girl, abandoned as a small child on some backwater planet, who ekes out a living as a scavenger, understand Shyriiwook?
Kylo Ren is a goddamn embarrassment. He has all the menace of a toothless Cocker Spaniel gumming a pair of Doc Martens. At the same time, he has some seriously fucked up powers, but can only summon a minuscule token of the intimidation that David Prowse gave Darth Vader.
No, i take it back; Kylo Ren isn't a goddamn embarrassment. He's merely a major disappointment. Snoke is a goddamn embarrassment. He looks like one of the little Grey-type aliens from X-COM. And that name? Did JJ Abrams dig into the JK Rowling rejected names bucket? I expected Snoke to be talking about Dementors, not the Force.
I don't know what crawled up General Hux's ass and died, but he's no Grand Moff Tarkin.
Starkiller Base is doubling down on established stupidity because, Hey, We're Not Trying To Break Any New Ground Here.™ Throwing in "sciencey" stuff like powering up from a nearby star (and if the star is that close WHY IS THE WHOLE PLANET IN WINTER) and using a "thermal regulator" as the handwavey reason why the whole thing just works does not impress me. And while i'm on the subject, let me be extremely clear: the whole Star Wars thing is not science fiction. IT IS NOT SCIENCE FICTION. It's high fantasy with fucking space travel. Do not even try to argue this point with me.
I'm glad that Denis "Wedge Antilles" Lawson had the integrity to turn this down. Now we have "Snap Wexley" instead. Shut up, Wexley.
"BUT DID YOU HAVE FUN WATCHING IT, ASSHOLE?" Overall, yeah. I just couldn't get over the annoying things to really get into it. And it was in 3-D. Seriously, fuck 3-D forever. The few cool things i saw thanks to 3-D didn't make up for the obnoxious distraction of it all.
el_muchacho's theory is that, once they've gotten the fan service out of the way, they will now focus on making awesome new stuff. Given Abrams's Star Trek movies, i am not holding my breath. Was it better than the prequels? Sure. If that's your bar, maybe you need to take a long look in the mirror.