Ok, saw this yesterday. The following is my opinion:
This was not a good movie.
First off, this wasn't Episode VII. This was Episode IV mk2. Nothing of what happened in the original trilogy has an impact on the plot.
Empire's still around, but with a new name and the Nazi dialed up to 11 (lol Nuremberg Rally scene). Wouldn't want to be confused about who the villain is. Rebel Alliance still around, but with a different name and slightly different X-Wings. Yeah, they worked real hard on the premise, didn't they? And don't point me to books. Books aren't going to justify this film's fundamentally lazy premise.
Rey (and Finn) beating Kylo Ren didn't feel like a triumph, it felt contrived. There was no sense of accomplishment. At no point does it feel like the characters earned that victory (or any of their victories). Everything just felt like it was handed to them. Rey jumps in the Millennium Falcon and she can fly it well enough to outfly TIE fighters immediately. She can use the Force effortlessly 20 minutes after she learns she's Force-sensitive. She beats the film's main antagonist in a lightsaber duel the very first time she picks one up.
It took Luke three movies to beat Darth Vader in a duel. That scene had weight because of that. It had weight because the last time he fought Vader, he got his hand served to him on a platter. And that was after being trained by Yoda and Obi-Wan.
Rey? None of that. Here, have a lightsaber and a handful of midichlorians, should have no problem beating a dark Jedi. Yeah, he was shot by Chewie and stabbed by Finn first, but that's not the point. Making the villain weaker still doesn't make the victory feel earned. Same thing happened in Star Trek 2009 when Kirk gets command of the Enterprise despite not having graduated from the academy yet.
It feels like JJ just thinks up cool scenes without caring at all about how those scenes are supposed to tie together and progress in a satisfying manner, because the individual scenes in this movie are actually pretty good on their own.
Han Solo died. Okay, well, it's really obvious JJ wanted one of the original cast to die because that scene had no point and no emotional impact. You could remove it from the movie and say a stormtrooper shot him on the way here and I wouldn't really care less.
Starkiller base: Really couldn't try a new plot, could they? Constant ultimate superweapons was boring in the EU, it hasn't gotten less boring now. Oh yeah, it blew up a few planets we didn't care about. That happened but could have been faked for all the impact it had. Looked good visually though.
Tangentially related: if it sucks up a sun to power itself, why does it need to fire at all? Removing a star is going to **** up the planets in a system already.
Kinda related: there's no sense of distance or travel in this movie. Where was the Starkiller Base when it appeared? Where was it when it exploded? Where is the rebel base in relation to all the other locations in the movie? Are they all in different systems or did it move? What about those planets it killed?
This is a JJ thing because Into Darkness had the same exact issue. Everything feels right next to everything else.
Kylo Ren: so I'm guessing JJ was a fan of mopy, ansty prequel Anakin, because that's basically who this is. I completely understand him feeling inadequate compared to Vader because he's a worse character in every way. Summons none of the personality or sheer cool factor Vader did. Hell, none of the villains in this movie even manage to be as memorable as Grand Moff Tarkin.
Actually, this kinda reinforces that this is really episode IV mk2. I find Kylo Ren a much more obvious progression of prequel Anakin than original trilogy Darth Vader ever was. Replace Luke with Obi-Wan or Yoda, Snoke with Palpatine, and boom, episode IV completely replaced (with a worse movie).
I think this movie tried way to hard to echo ANH, and JJ abrams is a bad, bad director when it comes to plot.
Visually, it looked good. The dogfight scenes were solid, so was the lightsaber fight at the end. That frozen blaster bolt at the start looked cool as hell. I loved the graveyard of Imperial equipment on Jakku even if there's zero explanation for it in the movie, but I'm a sucker for ship graveyards.
Final verdict: worse than Revenge of the Sith. Possibly worse than Attack of the Clones. Still better than Jar-Jar. Immeasurably worse than the Thrawn Trilogy. I'm hoping it's made better by the next two movies. Which is entirely possible.