I was thinking of how to write this, and honestly I never really came up with anything. If you talk about the story, or even a synopsis it is a huge spoiler. It is not like most other movies where the trailer gives you that information already. So I decided to just go with some general thoughts presented from a huge fan, and from somebody who is not. That way you get both sides, and don't have to worry about the details of the film being ruined for you.
I don't remember when I first got into Star Wars, but I remember when it became such a huge thing to me. In the late 90's they re-released the movies in the theaters. I was already a fan, but something about seeing them up on the big screen just made them special. I started buying up the old toys, collecting the various versions of the movies, and it quickly became something more then just a franchise to me. So yes I am one of those people who hold the original 3 movies in a special place, while being of the mind that the later 3 were not so good. Going into The Force Awakens I was worried about how it would compare to the others. Would it feel like a Star Wars movie, or which Trilogy would it better fit in with. I did read a lot of rumors about the new movie as we all waited for new details to surface, but I managed to not read any actual spoilers. So with my wife, I went into the movie knowing nothing more then the characters names, and what I learned from the previous movies.
The story for the new movie was nice. The movie set up the next two, while having its own contained adventure. It felt large in scale while focusing on smaller events and world and character building. The last new Star Wars character I believe would be Ahsoka Tano from the 2008 Theatrical release of the Clone Wars animated movie. It took years for the fans to warm up to her. However the new characters in this film were the opposite. Within minutes I knew I liked Finn, and Rey grew on me very quickly to. Everybody has their own story, but the movie never rushed to present them. And in some cases never directly did, but instead gave details spread through out various scenes for you to put together yourself. It was smartly done and never got bogged down as it tried to get you invested and introduced to these new roles.
The movie reminded me more of the original trilogy from the way it was presented, handled its story telling, used humor, and the way they presented the combat. It didn't take itself to serious, but still never crossed the line to just being goofy. It was smart, and the humor was witty and on point. BB-8 was a great addition, and I loved the way he interacted with the various characters. The combat felt gritty and didn't feature the more acrobatic style the newer prequel seemed to use. It was more emotional, as if they wanted you to understand just how horrible it was for the people involved. And the new First Order Troopers were insane.
The movie had some truly memorable shots, and the cinematography was amazing. The music was on point, and there are multiple moments I still vividly remember in my head simply because of how they were presented. Using silence and visuals to create emotion and tension, it really was a amazingly well shot movie.
I really enjoyed the movie, I can't wait to see it again.
On the other side is my wife. She has seen the various films, and has a basic understanding of the history of the films. She doesn't really care for them, and doesn't remember a lot of the details. We tried to watch them before this one to get her caught up, but she stopped half way into the first one because it was boring.
She went with me to see this one, and she really enjoyed it. She liked the action, and the characters. She told me she really enjoyed the humor and her favorite character was Finn. She didn't feel lost not really knowing much about the other movies either. When I asked her how she would rate it she said 4.5 stars. Thinking about it I think that is fair for my verdict to.