The look feels very new and instead of the male lead, it is Daisy Ridley's Rae. She bounces around a crashed Star Destroyer left over from an old Empire versus the Rebellion battle. Rae is waiting for something but we never find out what. This mystery is saved for later installments and thousands of fan theories. Since I know their will definitely be sequels, it doesn't bother me much that they saved some mystery.
Poe Dameron substitutes the role of Princess Leia in The New Hope as, an awesome pilot. He falls into the hands of the New Order led by Kylo Ren, Adam Driver from Girls. The masked villain shows off his force powers early on but his ruthlessness affects a stormtrooper.
The stormtrooper is Finn, John Boyega. He is funny and handles the action well. His escape from the First Order stardestroyer with Poe as the pilot. All the action looks great and there is an especially cool chase scene involving the Millennium Falcon. Daisy and John show great chemistry.
Han Solo shows up for some more hijinks and strange alien special effects. I was disappointed they didn't use those actors and stuntman from the Raid who are capable of awesome martial arts. The drama follows a similar pattern. Driver is my favorite character of this new series though that is not an easy choice. All the actors are phenomenal and the special effects continue to stun throughout. There are plenty of cameos from old characters, Chewbacca, R2-D2, and C-3PO, along with a few more minor ones but BB-8 was probably the cutest this time around. That little droid was quite iconic.
The best scene comes from Harrison Ford and Adam Driver as Han confronts his lost son. It has the great emotional ending when Ben, now Kylo, drives the lightsaber through his chest so that he can finally totally convert to the darkside with no doubt in his mind caused by the presence of his absent father. It's an interesting twist that instead of a pull to the darkside, Ren has to fight a pull from the light side.
The lightsaber battle at the end between Rae and Ren was spectacular to watch and topped off an exciting film. This movie was a waiting game for a more exciting sequel and possibly multiple spinoffs for thousands of years but it accomplished what it set out to do.
J. J. Abrams is good at giving out a solid movie with fun action and some great shots. It didn't take it to the next level but I'm very satisfied. I would say it is only better than the first two prequels but introduces a certain type of magic that could go a lot of places.
Update 1/10/16: I've seen this movie three times now and have enjoyed it every time so it stands the test of time in my book. I also know now that it has broken box office record and hope it continues to makes lots of money so that there are many more movies in this series and movies like it!