Here continuity can mean attention to universe details, or it can mean aesthetic, or feel, or any combination of these.
Filmmaking can potentially here mean just great scenes, irrespective of their presence or lack of Star Wars flavor. Mmm, Star Wars flavor. We can also talk about acting.
I’ll likely never have the energy for a comprehensive list of plaudits, but I’ll throw out a random few generalizations.
I felt the textures were spot on, not only the weathering of all the physical objects but the “film” itself. Reminiscent but utilizing the advantages of new camera and processing technology.
I haven’t memorized the actor’s names yet, but Finn, Rey, Poe, pretty much the whole cast except Leia (sorry Carrie, you’ll be more in the flow for the next installment, I have no doubt) were fantastic. Committed, earnest performances all around, Leia included.
Vehicle physics were great. Tech was great. The ragged blade of Kylo Ren was such a great touchstone, way more effective than the cross hilt.
Max Von Sydow’s death at the beginning was a device/trick, but a really good one, got us invested immediately. His mystery was welcome. Every story needs unopened boxes, especially serial ones.
BB8 - I fucking love BB8, especially after multiple viewings, and what is way cooler than just BB8 in the movie is that the technology exists in our world to do the mechanical part. There are two remote controlled versions. Way more versatile design than R2 (sorry R2).
Making the relationships between the characters unclear for most of the film was also a good device. Leaving Luke out of most of it was smart as well. The twirling aerial shot at the end felt a bit wrong somehow, but ending with a silent shot of Luke was brilliant. Luke having a beard was also brilliant. I love that he looks kind of like Ben (Obi Wan).
Ok tired of typing now, more later hopefully, but please add your own observations.