Flo Lieb’s review published on Letterboxd:
Essentially my review of this film could simply be: no.
Alternatively it also could be: why?
I don't recall anyone ever asking for or wanting a continuation of the Star Wars trilogy. So this movie only exists because some corporate suits at Disney want to shake some money out of the people. Heck, this movie is so unnecessary that even a self-proclaimed fanboy like J.J. Abrams does not manage to come up with anything original to tell the audience.
I know George wanted these films to rhyme and therefore repeat themselves but I thought we were past George. So why do we have to watch Star Wars happening all over again, convoluted with plot that hardly makes any sense since the director does not supply you with enough information going into this movie. The prequels sucked, sure, but if I go from Revenge of the Sith to Star Wars there is actually a transition. With Return of the Jedi and The Force Awakens there is none.
So Luke has vanished for reasons we find out halfway into the film yet still they're not fully explained. The rebellion overcoming the empire in the previous film seemingly was for nothing, reasons unexplained, too. They're still the rebellion but there is no empire so is there a senate? Are Leia, Akbar and Co. operating besides some form of government? Which one? How does the First Order pay for all its shit? Like a giant Death Star no one could stop them from developing. Did they buy all those Stormtrooper gear and other equipment from the former empire at a yard sale? Sure, J.J. likes to be mysterious but I don't think – Vader reveal in Empire Strikes Back to and fro – Star Wars is the right place for that kind of stuff.
The rebellion meeting about the Death Star therefore is probably the worst scene in the film. With those meta-quips that this is way bigger than the ones before but there is always a way to blow these things up. A perfect scene to unveil the uninspired approach to this sequel. My favorite scene on the other hand is now the death of Han Solo. Mostly because Kylo Ren's dialogue is spot-on and poignant.
At the end of the day though this movie didn't not evoke any kind of feeling from me. I don't care about the characters, not even Han Solo, and there's hardly any nostalgia since this film visually looks way more like J.J.'s Star Trek movies (which themselves did not feel like Star Trek films) than a Star Wars movie.