There were a lot of things I liked and didnt like about the movie. It was very pretty and exciting to watch but I dont think its a movie that will be good to watch over and over.
I dont like the starting point. The republic rolled over so quickly, and I do understand that they were demilitarizing but they still have all those ship yards and things like Kuat and Corellia. I would have much rather seen the republic turn around and re-engage all its industrial power. Sure they should be on the back foot for a while rebuilding but even then broad strokes of the plot would have still worked and you would have been able to get some amazing starship fights (or foreshadow it coming up for the next movie). Instead the whole galaxy rolled over in what felt like minutes. They just won a massive victory destroying this incredibly powerful base, the threat of annihilation is gone so get angry dont roll over and submit, or if you do roll over at least pretend to be dead. It feels like they are trying to recreate the little guys take on the giant star empire and win like they had for the originals. I would have much preferred to see this have been about fighting to maintain what was won in the previous trilogy rather than throwing it all away. Also for that matter starkiller base was a massive investment in resources that was lost. Why did they need the base if they had enough fleets to take control of the galaxy? They could have easily built so many more fleets for the resources and not had it be so easy to destroy.
I didnt care that the movie basically opened with a joke and then had that whole bomber scene. It was pretty but so many things dont make sense like a complete lack of point defense, the one fighter taking down the remaining defenses, the bombers with gravity bombs which felt like they were going for a WWII style bombing but it felt out of place, also the complete failure of command structure that that worked. I guess it was supposed to set up the Po being impulsive and uncontrollable.
There are a bunch of interconnected things with the hyperspace tracking and the mutiny that really annoyed me. I don't have a huge problem with the idea of light speed tracking but it also makes things really kinda lame since they can just follow whenever they want and there is no longer the enemies searching since they know immediately. It was also the set up for the whole trip to the casino which was just awful. I can understand to some level the purple admirals secrecy but Po was at that point one of the highest people in command. The mutiny could have easily been prevented but it was also resolved super quick or she could have just explained what she was doing at that point. I would have much preferred that there was a spy on the ship and the sub story was about them rooting out the spy and then at least the secrecy would have made sense.
The whole subplot with Finn and that Asian girl. The Asian girl was a terrible character. She was boring and a bit preachy. The actor was uninteresting. I literally did not care whether than character lived or died she was so dull. It feels like they tried to introduce another hero and this one is just awful. The whole subplot felt completely out of place and didnt really make sense. Also the get there immediately get arrested and then meet a master code breaker in their cell and then escape. And the escape felt like it was humor smushed with a disney movie a bunch of animals running through a casino breaking things and lots of interesting looking characters behaving in silly ways. The whole section felt like it was a heavy-handed preachy political commentary.
Leia's lack of death. Fisher died long before the movie was done and she should have died in this movie and they really missed an opportunity I think. She had two key points when she could have died. The first was when the bridge blew up. And honestly I was expecting that was where they were going to kill her and it would have been a good and interesting death that does actually throw a wrench in that the leadership is gone. But nope, she finally becomes fully in tune with the force and floats back to the ship. I would have been fine with it if they had done anything in VII that she had become more in tune with controlling the force, maybe not a full jedi but something willfully and not just feeling her husbands death. Also the way it was animated her floating back felt really awful. It reminded me of the tanks rolling over the hill in episode I where it suddenly looks laughably bad. It looked like someone had opened powerpoint stuck a picture of leia over a picture of space and then used the powerpoint animation that moves pictures around. It also did take her out of the movie for almost all of it that she could have died without changing much. The second big shot was that she could have piloted the cruiser instead of the admiral. That would have been such and amazing and bad-ass way for her character to die rather than just dying or whatever they will probably do for IX probably get some voice somehow and a bit of animation to kill her.
There was a lot of humor in it that felt out of place and it would be randomly thrown in there. Some things like the rocks being broken and breaking the wheelbarrow and the porgs were amusing even if they didnt feel so much like a star wars movie and more like a lord of the rings movie. Other things like Finns compression suit and the rampage through the casino didnt really make sense or add anything. And then there was some other things that I think were supposed to be humor like when we was milking that creature with the green milk. I couldnt tell if it was humor or if he was just sexually assaulting this thing. It was strangely sexual especially with the creature staring back at rey like 'you want some?' and really uncomfortable.
I didnt like Lukes character. It didnt really make sense. He went from Ive made this map so you can find me in times of great trouble to leave me alone Im an old man I just want to die. Also he went from I see the good in you father in the second most evil man in the entire galaxy to my nephew has some darkness in him, I should kill him. The whole plot of this trilogy doesnt make sense in Lukes character. There are ways they could have made it work like something that Snoke had gotten into his mind and was the reason he tried to kill Ben and that is why he cut himself off from the force but it is left completely unexplained that his character just looks like shit.
I really enjoyed the scenes of Kylo and Rei talking and being connected and the hints of redemption for Kylo. There were a bunch of points with it starting in Episode VII with how torn up Kylo was after his fathers death and them him holding his fire against shooting at his mother and then him killing Snoke. They did a lot of development of Kylo in this movie which I really enjoyed and killing Snoke was really cool that they were trying to set up his path to redemption only for him to then immediately go back to his whiny bitch self and undo all the development they had done.
Snoke death was really cool when you watch it the first time but I think they really missed the mark with what they could have done with it. Leaving out the view other lightsaber spinning would have been much better surprise. Snoke was this mysterious and extremely powerful character that winds up dying in a rather lame way. I would have preferred to see that when Snoke is struck he just laughs and for a few seconds destroys them offering something about how they are fools if they think hes done. It sets up Snoke to be the main villain still and have Kylo continue on his path to redemption. They arent going to add a new baddie so it sets up Kylo to be the baddie that it will probably come down to a lightsaber duel between Kylo and Rei which is kinda lame. They had tried to justify that Rei was so powerful because as Kylo grew in power Rei's power grew as well that Snoke could have let Kylo turn seeming to be losing only to show that has Kylo turns to light both Kylo and Rei lose their powers.
The codebreaker character I didnt care for. It felt like they were trying to introduce a new Han Solo but then decided at the end to not go with it. It would have been fun to see his layers of double crossing keep going deeper rather than just yup the rebels are cloaked. For that matter how did he know they were getting off on cloaked ships. He shouldnt have knowledge of that. Also they have scanners which can scan for cloaked ships, why the fuck arent those just part of a scanner sweep? Im sure there could be reasons like it takes longer or something, then do a normal scan first and then a cloaked scan or something.
The lightspeed ram was really awesome and Im so glad they finally did it. The silence after the ram was perfect and it was visually beautiful. But, it brings up the question why the fuck havent they done it before or weaponized that? Make missiles with light speed drives on them. Light speeding an X wing would have been a great way to blow up the Death Star. Also why the fuck did it take you so long to do that. You are fly the ship knowing you are going to die. Why did you not do that as soon and the first transport was fired on. Also for that matter it was revealed they knew they were being tracked. Why didnt you jump in closer drop everyone off in the transports and jump away? Also does the first order not have more fleets that they couldnt jump a ship slightly closer or on the other side or can you not make really tiny light speed jumps?
I didnt care for the Hoth salty planet scene. It was very much a call back to the Hoth scene from Episode V but this one felt really weak. It was immediately undone and everyone can immediately make the salt scooters work just fine. The Asian girl also ramming Finn so he wouldnt sacrifice himself annoyed me. First off the positioning doesnt make sense she would have to be going so much faster than he was to ram him like that which should have also killed both of them. But the forced love plot or love triangle they are setting up I just dont care for at all. The "we win by saving what we love not destroy what we hate" was so annoying. First off you two have known each other for six hours or so at best you are infatuated but second you cant save what you love when the things that you are preventing destroying are in turn destroying what you hate, like a massive cannon that is about to destroy your base and kill everyone inside. I would have rather Finn died either by ramming the cannon or just not getting there in time and the cannon firing through him.
Rei gets absurdly powerful as the plot needs her to. One scene she can barely control a lightsaber and the next she has total control of it, she can suddenly take down those red guys who are supposed to be super good fighters and save Kylo once or twice, and she can suddenly use the force to lift all those rocks so they can get out of the tunnel. The timeline also doesnt make sense. I think it is supposed to be that Rey's story is quite a bit longer given the other story is literally about six hours but they dont really show that and present it like it is happening all at the same time which makes things very confusing.
Lukes arrival and Astral Projection was really cool but really only once. Now that you know whats happening it's not exciting or enjoyable. The lightsaber fights in the prequels were very pretty and good to watch over and over and this isnt. When he walked out there and then was still standing after the barrage from the new ATAT it was like "oh yeah this is happening" and we were going to see the full power of Luke but instead we got a lame lightsaber fight that gave us two dodges and that was about it. The astral projection was cool but there needed to be some point to it over being there himself. From one side it does show his power but not in any exciting or meaningful way and his death felt unsatisfying. It would have been so much more awesome if he was actually there swoop in blow up a few ATATs and then have his craft blow up and have him land in the middle or crash and walk out then do the barrage and a full proper fight and once the Millennium Falcon flew off let himself be struck down as a martyr or evaporate into the force then.
I think the biggest mistakes the movie made though were the hyperdrive tracker and setting up Kylo to be the main enemy. They should have gotten rid of the hyperdrive tracker and use a spy since it spawned the awful sidestory and some very confusing character actions which would have suddenly made sense. They could have used the 45 minutes or so of that subplot rooting out the spy and giving us more about Rei's training and growth since she is still the same character or more about what happened with the temple or more about Snoke or more of Kylo's training. Killing Snoke without hint that he will return is also a big mistake. It takes away a lot of Kylos development as a character but it also sets us up that we know the last battle will be Rei and Kylo rather than some uncertainty about what Snoke can actually do. We know what Kylo can do and even if he gets stronger it wont be interesting.
As a movie on its own it was pretty enjoyable but it feels out of place and it feels like they arent writing a trilogy but three movies in a row. Some parts of it feel like someone made a full movie out of a poorly written fanfic and that the Asian girl is a self insert. The character is dull and immidiately one of the heroes falls in love with her and the character has a dark past of slavery and escaping and losing he sister while at the same time being a character with a lot of abilities. The movie itself is full of plotholes and things that didnt make any sense and they could have done a much better job with it.