It was pretty much what I expected which is disappointing. I was worried right from the first release of the "new xwing" pic that it was going to rely too heavily on homage and i think it did.
Basically, It failed to surpeise me.
I'd been joking for weeks that they were going to kill han. I don't think they earned that death but they did it anyway.
They telegraphed ren's ancestry in the opening scene. The big reveal fell felt.
This movie was at its best when it was doing its own thing and focusing on Rey and fin but boy did I roll my eyes when the falcon just happened to be parked there. And while that led to the best action seen in the film from that moment on the film pandered to me rather than challenged me.
They have basically remade a new Hope and consequently I felt it was more like a remake/reboot than the next chapter in a continuing saga. This sense was probably exacerbated by the total absence of the new republic (what did they achieve in rotj again?). As a consequence the film lacked any real sense of jeopardy because you knew where it would end.
The Leia han relationship felt completely glossed over and sure it isn't meant to be their story but by not understanding that relationship and their relationship with their son it meant han's murder lacked any serious gravity.
It was star wars greatest hits and I wanted something bold and challenging.
In many respects I feel the brave move would have been to remake empire first and start on a downer with ren's fall and destruction of the academy. It could have used the time to explore han's relationship with Leia and his son. It could have set up the new republic and what it was relative to the first order and explored its ties to the resistance. Better understanding the new politics of the galaxy would have done a lot to create a sense of jeopardy in this movie which was otherwise lacking.
I'm not entirely sold on the casting of driver and thought hux was far too young to be cast as a general. Ridley and boyega nail their roles though.
My final beef is that score was a real let down but it did give me my biggest smile when it hit on an old cue when the saber chose Rey (on that, when did sabers become wands).
In many ways this film has a lot uncommon with into darkness, it is basically a remake with a few tweaks. It's going to take all the dollars and it seems to be making people happy, I wanted it to surprise me and grip me but I can't say it did either.
That said I still want to know more about snoke and Rey and am left hoping that the second film will stand on its own feet more. It is also has the prequels well covered.