I had a early screening of the movie and even though there were a LOT of nostalgic moments seeing things from previous films, J. J. Abrams did nothing else to impress me.
The continual problem he has with back story development and giving characters historic depth. Like previous movies and TV shows before, all directed by Abrams; like Lost, Super 8, Star Trek and stuff like that, SWTFA had crammy character development, a weak story line and an ending that just ran out of gas, BUT left things wide open for sequels. So I expect him to blame tons of the film on his writers. I liked the crummy "pick up a lightsaber and suddenly knows how to use it like a Jedi" moment.
However, there was a sensational opening sequence with action that caught me by complete surpise, the same energy I felt during the train crash in Super 8; then after that, the movie seemed to just sputter until certain "fragments of danger" led the actors to previous characters of SW films. Make no mistake, Abrams wrote most of the crap that develops throughout the film and without the nostalgic "iconic" tools from previous films, this movie would have never worked. There are some really bad parts of the film that defy explanation for being put into script, but there had to be a tie-in somewhere; I would like you to ponder the ruins in Pearl Harbor and your son asking you if the bombings "really happened" or add that to the September 11 bombings. The idea might have worked IF the story took place a few generations down the road...but this IS a Abrams film, so expect to see holes in the film.
SW fans will love the film and the justification of seeing another film in the saga in our generation, but true SciFi lovers will see past ALL of the CGI and ALL of the cliche "bad 1980s script writing" to keep things in line with Episodes 4-6. ☆☆☆ [3 of 5]