No spoilers follow, except those you can pick up from trailers and movie posters.
We went to see this in 3-D on a rainy Wednesday night before Christmas. The theatre was still pretty busy. The brilliant folks who made this movie seemed to realize they were making a Star Wars movie, not just a marketing tool to get the kids to demand action figures from their hapless parents.
Although I'm sure that will happen too.
Specifically, I found myself smiling pretty much all the way through—my smile muscles were a little achy afterward, in fact—both in enjoyment of what was up on the screen, and the meta-pleasure of noticing all the things the filmmakers did right. Plenty of good new stuff, but also considerable nostalgic echoes of what we liked about the original trilogy.
So what does it have? Well: you see Han and Leia over there on the poster. Also the venerable Millennium Falcon. A plucky young woman who unexpectedly gets caught up into … well, let's say "galactic conflict". An equally plucky young man who helps out. (The actor is African-American, but how that translates in the setting "a long time ago in a galaxy far, far away"—your guess is as good as mine.) A new cute droid, smarter than it lets on. A new bad guy in a mask commanding endless waves of white-armored storm troopers.
And, oh yeah: the Force awakens. (Apparently it had been napping.)
The acting is probably the best I've seen in any Star Wars movie. Harrison Ford has had about 30 years to get this right, but the youngsters do a fine job too. They aren't above dropping an occasional wisecrack in the middle of desperate situations; I missed that.
The IMDB raters have (as I type) the movie at #29 on the top 500 movies of all time. I don't know about that, but it's right up there.
OK, one small spoiler: folks in the Star Wars universe continues to design workplaces that would get shut down by OSHA in nanosecods.