No one did plot and character in the disguise of a hangout movie better than Howard Hawks. He did it so well that it looked way too easy and in return he didn't get deserved credit for his time. Even in interviews with him, he makes the filmmaking process seem like the easiest thing.
In usual J.J. Abrams fashion, the film moves so fast that some narrative connective tissue gets lost in the shuffle, but there's no denying it's pretty, it's emotional and the world tactile, all qualities that have been missing in Star Wars for 32 years. It's a good feeling that a new generation will experience this film first and then look at the prequels as what they are: trash.