It’s a very good film, but it has a lot of problems - it does have a lot of similarities to A New Hope.
I feel that they did a reasonably good job with the initial world building, it’s a very Star Wars movie set in a very Star Wars universe, and there’s a fair amount of attention paid to the source material. Kylo Ren’s character drives the film and is quite well presented - he’s actually a character with conflict and motivation even if he’s greatly exaggerated (but isn’t that the point?) - he’s a moody, disturbed teenager with a lot of power and his over-the-top behaviour exemplifies this. It’s hard to pick out specific positives, but like I said before, overall it is a very good film.
My biggest issue with the film was how terrible Daisy Ridley’s acting was and how poorly written Rey is; amongst one of the worst characters in the series to date, which is annoying as she’s the lead (though mercifully doesn’t get too much screen time in reality) - I really hope she’s better presented in the next film, because I feel she could actually ruin it. Her character didn’t develop at all; for the most part she just didn’t have a character, she was a consistent plot device. Captain Phasma is equally awful but is basically a non-character with no significance at all so it doesn’t matter anyway. My second biggest irk was the CGI character (Maz Kanata), who’s so badly composited that it’s really, really jarring; the quality would have looked poor in the 90s, let alone now. What’s worse, is the character added very little to the plot and had absolutely no reason to be CGI at all.
Smaller nitpicks, I found some of the shaky-camera action scenes to be annoying and out of place; they’re suited for modern action films rather than Star Wars. The overly mobile camera in the first forty-five minutes or so was disorientating at times and a lot of the camera movement was superfluous to the point of detrimental. I also don’t get why they’d introduce the fact that a New Republic had formed with a new Senate, literally to blow it up only two minutes later and never mention it again. On a last note, I feel they should have let Finn die at the end, it would have made the ending much more bittersweet and poignant.
Overall though, it is a very good film. It’s in an entirely different league to the prequels, but it’s no Empire Strikes Back.