Spoilers! Spoilers! Spoilers!
Are we clear on that? If you read further, I will likely spoil key aspects of the movie for you.
Everybody’s view of the film is influenced by their past experience with the franchise. I have yet to read a review that wasn’t in somewhat tainted by the relationship the writer already had with the series, though I have seen more than a few that refused to own up to the baggage the author brought with them.
I will try to explain my own baggage. I didn’t mind the prequels. I wasn’t one of those people who raged about how George Lucas had destroyed my cherished childhood memories. Yes, there was a lot to dislike about the prequels. But I had already had my moment of hate when it came to GL, because I felt Episode VI: Return of the Jedi was the big betrayal. After Star Wars: The Muppet Movie, I was never as big a fan of the series. So midi-chlorians were a kick in the nuts, but not the deal breaker it was for a lot of fans who had no problem with Ewoks defeating Storm Troopers with bows and arrows.
I like it. I liked it a lot, enough for my daughter and I to go back and see it a second time.
That isn’t to say I liked it uncritically. There are aspects of the movie than make me shake my head and groan, choices that I clearly would not have made. But in the totality of the film, I liked a lot more than I disliked, it far exceeded my low expectations, and I had a lot of fun.
I’d go see it again.
I will admit that having watched the George Lucas prequels and remastered original trilogy, where the added CGI bits get more annoying with each viewing, in the run up to this movie helped set up a situation where The Force Awakens was going to sit favorably with me.
After the cut, some more specific thoughts. Last chance to avoid spoilers.