Saw it yesterday. My quick spoiler free thoughts below (We can use the comments to discuss spoilery plot points)
1. Pretty good entry to the canon. Of course, after the prequels my expectations were at an all time low so I was pleasantly surprised.
2. Much of the enjoyment I had from the movie were from Daisy Ridley and John Boyega who were excellent. Especially Daisy who looked as if she was born to be in the Star Wars universe. It was a delight to see actual acting being done in a Star Wars movie after 3 prequels of awful acting. I’m not sure if it was because Lucas sucks at directing or if there was far less green screen acting on this one which even Ian McKellan has difficulties with. Which reminds me…
3. I have no idea how much cgi was in this movie but it looked realistic. At least my brain wasn’t sending me, “WTF” signals every 6 seconds like most movies nowadays. The obvious cgi in it wasn’t distracting as in the prequels or even The Hobbit.
4. For the not so great, the story was kinda meh. This isn’t necessarily a bad thing. The original Star Wars was basically a couple of guys trying to escape a weapon that destroyed their destination. Empire Strikes Back threw in a bit more but was more or less about a man and his wookie trying to get their hyperdrive fixed. The interaction of the characters were always key to the original movies. The plot to the prequels were so complex that I still didn’t understand them after Red Letter Media took 6 hours to unravel them. But if you have good character interactions then I can forgive any plot shortcomings. Which is why Empire is the best. The characters are far more developed than they were in the first and you develop attachments to them.
5. The plot twists were, not really that shocking. Let’s put it this way, if you have come across a spoiler and know a key point to the movie, it won’t really take that much away from the experience.
6. My thoughts with spoilers I’ll add to the comments as I think of them.