On first impression, I rather enjoyed it. One of the things I hated about TFA was Disney’s overkill in appealing to our nostalgia for ANH. (The PT has plenty of issues, but at least had more originality.)
This time around, with TLJ, there are some parallels to TESB, but they are a lot less overt than the parallels TFA had with ANH, so it worked more in the tradition of Lucas’ whole thing about the movies “rhyming” with each other.
I liked the interplay between Kylo Ren and Rey, and Johnson did a good job keeping us guessing if Ren will come back to the Light.
I have criticisms of a few things, however. I’m rather disappointed that Lando Calrissian hasn’t appeared yet in the ST, and I can’t understand why this has been the case, especially since Williams is definitely willing to reprise the role. Lando’s appearance could have helped mend another problem with the film: Johnson’s difficulty in knowing what exactly to do with Finn. I don’t see why Lando couldn’t have been the man Finn and Rose were seeking in place of Del Toro’s character. It would have served the dual purpose of bringing back a beloved character from the originals, and perhaps given the mission of Finn and Rose more significance to the overall plot.
Some other things didn’t jive so well with me. Some of the humor, like the exchange between Poe and Hux over the commlink, didn’t fit in a Star Wars movie, and the ending with the boy looking up at the stars was unnecessary and a really bad choice for the final shot.
I also don’t know how I feel about the way Luke’s death occurred. In comparison, I thought that Han’s death in TFA was quite fitting for both the character audiences have adored from the OT, and for the story of Episode VII. But I don’t think Luke’s death was earned as much as Han’s was. Since he is the protagonist of the OT, his death should have been reserved for the final episode of the ST. I’m sure a good writer who cares about the character could have found a fitting role for him in IX.
Other than those , I found TLJ to be a rather enjoyable and worthy entry in the saga. As of now, I’d say it ranks after TESB and ANH, but I’d have to see it again to know how it grows on me. (I was euphoric about TPM and TFA right after seeing each for the first time, but I later sobered up.)