Saw it for a second time today, with my wife and am finally able to get my thoughts down pretty well.
The characters-I thoroughly enjoy the new characters, especially Poe and Rey. Rey is an interesting mystery, and I like seeing the "unknown potential" being unlocked and her past is left deliberately mysterious. Poe is snarky and sarcastic and fun, and is a great fun. Wish he had a little more screen time, but he made up for it in the last half of the film.
Finn is probably the most interesting to me from a psychological level, as my wife and I talked about at length the psychology of his character. I understand that the film doesn't go in to the details, but I think Finn was shocked out of his conditioning by all the death. The first mission is all about preserving order, and then the First Order slaughters whatever and whoever. There might be more, but I imagined it as a kind of "shell shock" that many green soldiers can encounter.
Kylo Ren is also extremely interesting as a villain, and I enjoyed the conflict that he is going through as part of the process of the film. He wasn't what I expected in the villain, which was a nice change of pace. He is powerful, and yet unrefined in many ways. I will be curious to see his development as well.
The visuals were great. There were only a couple of moments that I didn't fully buy in to (the Raptar sequence especially) but the starships zooming around and doing some amazing stunts were definitely the highlight of the film for me.
The story was interesting, even if it rehashed many beats from ANH. The characters who were going on the journey were the more enjoyable facet, so regardless of repeat storylines, the characters made it much more interesting.
Choreography-possibly due to being on this forum for too long but I really enjoyed the fights. Not just the lightsaber, but all the blaster play. Finn, Han, Rey, Chewie and even Kylo all had their own moments of just plan combat superiority. Han takes out three troopers, one without even looking. Chewie's bowcaster is a bit overpowered, and I thought it was great.
Speaking of great, I really enjoyed the lightsaber fights. I haven't read all the comments in this thread, but I thought that seeing Finn, Kylo and Rey go at it, each with their own strengths, and inexperience, was quite neat. There was some good moves, some great use of the environment, and even Kylo's crossguards. More impressively, no one lost any limbs O_o What kind of Star Wars movie is this?
The ending...too blasted long with the helicopter shot. Could have had Luke pull his hood away, reveal, and credits. It was too long, especially since Luke wasn't going to be doing any more in the film anyway.
Starkiller base-ugh, it's the Death Star but bigger. And the film calls it out! The only cool part was the environment provided for Hux's speech and lightsaber duel.
Rey being left behind-there better be a good reason or I will be upset. I recognize that I have a bit of sensitivity towards children, but it is quite frustrating to have no reasons, and to leave her at 4 years old!
Poe's miraculous retrieval-apparently he got better. I hope that gets explained, somehow, because it seems a bit of a "lantern hanging" moment without actually addressing it. Not really a major issue but still minorly irritating.
This is such a fun film. Aside from two scenes that I struggle through, I had a blast. For me, it may be a rehash of the best of the OT (aside from Death Star 3.0) but it was a fun movie. All the characters work for me and definitely left me wanting more.
God loves you!