So, first off, I liked it. Though it should be noted that people who are simultaneously human, female, and non-white continue to be very hard to find in Hollywood in general and in space in particular.
As near as I can tell if you want a woman of color in space in a movie you have to either have your inner Trekkie crushed to see new-Uhura or suffer through the black guy dying first and "I am a leaf on the wind, watch how I--Urk" to see Zoe.
That aside, so far aside that we totally ignore diversity or lack thereof for this paragraph, I found myself thinking that, while I did like the movie, I would have rather watched Han, Chewie, and Rey (female lead) saying, "Fuck the galaxy," and having wonderful criminal adventures together on the Falcon.
1 Why the hell do you think finding Luke is going to accomplish shit? He ran away and never came back. Everyone good and bad is assuming that finding a map to Luke will accomplish something but Luke is in SELF IMPOSED exile so severe he didn't even bring R2 with him. Luke always brings R2 with him. Unless you've got really fucking good reason to believe that the reason he didn't come back was that he was stranded, this is not the savior you're looking for. Move along.
2 Why wasn't Leia trained? Yes, she has work to do as an important leader person, but fucking designated survivor rule. And she's already Jedi approved.
Yoda seemed convinced that if Luke went to Bespin and died/turned to the dark side Leia would be a good potential replacement (and apparently was convinced that if Luke walked into the trap it would give Leia the chance to get out regardless of what fate Luke met.)
3 They should never have transferred Fin out of sanitation. There's no evidence that he disliked his work in sanitation, but one mission killing innocent people without decent cause and he's trying to jump ship. This implies that their brainwashing isn't nearly as effective as they think. I was expecting him to at least try to sway the other stormtroopers by pointing out that you don't have to do this, you can totally get out, and if it weren't for these jerks repeatedly pulling him back in he'd be beyond the bad guys' reach by now. Why did he just remorselessly shoot the people who were just like him instead?
But rewind a bit they had the black guy be a storm trooper. Let's think about that for a bit. It's never been any secret that the Empire is composed of space Nazis and the name stormtrooper is a part of that. It doesn't hearken back to the WWI units of the same name, it's all Nazi all the time.
So lets talk about the Nazi stormtroopers from which the Star Wars ones take their name. Stormtroopers were early adopters of the whole Nazi thing to the point that other Nazi organizations looked up to them. This was especially true in the SS who modeled their rank structure on stormtroopers and eventually took over all of the stormtrooper duties when the stormtroopers became defunct.
So when we're thinking Final Solution we're thinking SS and the SS are thinking, "Damn we wish, were stormtroopers. We stole their ranks and their duties, but we never did get the name. It would be so awesome if we get the name."
And this is one of those wonderful places where connotation and denotation meet and say, "That's what the word unambiguously means."
So, naturally, the black guy is a stormtrooper. The black guy. Our only example of a black guy. It would have been fairly easy to have the role stormtrooper plays in the story taken by the hotshot pilot instead, and then the black guy (why was there only one?) could be in that role instead of the, "We specifically named them after white supremacist fuckheads who genocidal white supremacists want to be like," role.
4 The map: what the fuck?
The map is in two pieces, one of which is had by everyone in the galaxy except for the ones who are trying to find Luke and contains the entire fucking galaxy except for one section.
The other contains the vital endpoint and a really fucking huge section of the galaxy, the galaxy our heroes repeatedly go from one end of to the other, which is completely uncharted because WHAT THE FUCKING FUCK?
When Han said that the area on the map piece that is the plot device in the movie was uncharted I assumed that it was small. Then we see how big a swath of the galaxy it takes up and . . . did they just fail to notice that one quadrant of their galaxy existed?
Hell, if they did then they could have said, "Well it's got to be in the uncharted section so we'll just go around there at random until we find some of the stuff on the map," and it would have worked. The map fragment covered to large of an area for it not to work fairly quickly.
5 Is light-saber fencing an important of storm-trooper training. Did Fin pick it up in his time at sanitation? Or does the bad guy just really, really suck? I was kind of annoyed (read: very fucking perturbed) that Fin didn't give Rey the lightsaber a lot sooner because, "Give the obvious fucking Jedi to-be who can apparently pull knowledge straight out of the force the god damned lightsaber already."
Fin has difficulty picking up the art of shooting shit when it's not that different from his training in shooting shit, Rey is already god damned fantastic with melee weapons (see: her and her staff) and is able to pick up, "I know how to fly a space ship," faster than Neo learned Kung Fu. Fin should have given her the lightsaber the moment they met up with each other again. Hell, the only reason he was carrying the lightsaber in the first place was to deliver it to her.
6 Um, about that lightsaber. . . part of me really, really wants to know if wise old alien woman with coke bottle glasses also has Luke's severed hand. A bigger question, though, is why she didn't give some sort of explanation to the others about why Rey should be given the lightsaber. It would have taken one line:
"I've been keeping that saber here for over three decades, waiting for it to call out to someone. Until today no one heard a whisper, it shouted to Rey."
Ok, I used two sentences, but you get the idea.
7 People are really annoyed with the saber with the cross guard, I'm honestly not sure why. Granted the guy who wields it can't sword-fight for shit, but if a blow were going to cut off one of the secondary sabers then with a normal saber said blow would cut off the user's arm so it's still providing more protection (where the blades of the secondary sabers are) than a normal one. granted it would be easy to make a design without that flaw, but someone would have to hit it just right to exploit that flaw which is a lot better than, "Anywhere between the wrist and ... the entire rest of the body," we see in traditional sabers.
8 Why is our not-Sith antagonist so really, really under-trained? Is there some rule that you have to get your ass kicked in a light-saber duel before the evil boss will teach you the fun stuff?
9 R2 woke up when he did why?
10 Han seriously didn't see the double-cross coming? It wasn't even a double-cross, it was exactly what you'd expect. A single cross?
Granted being completely vulnerable might be a necessary part of trying to get bad kid to turn good kid since you can't really do the whole spiel if you're trying to kill him, but surprise was totally uncalled for.
11 Did the force wake up? Someone said, "There's been an awakening," in a pseudo title-drop but nothing in the movie really seemed to imply that. There's one force powerful person who starts doing forcey force related stuff. Hardly a sign that an omnipresent thing that flows from, through, and around every living thing in the entire galaxy (and possibly universe) has ended it's nap.
If the omnipresent super-powerful thing is waking up should the results be more omni and less isolated?
12 Bad guy can stop a single blaster bolt in mid air and can block shit with his saber. Why is no one trying some laser Gatling gun on him? Or, you know, orbital bombardment.
13 In a movie that played up the space Nazi angle so god damned much that they almost "Sieg Heil"ed and they did implement what they thought was a final solution (even if it was far less surgical in its killing than the actual final solution) why the fuck was the only black guy starting out on the Nazi side? Yes, I know this was three too, but seriously, they really pulled out the stops on Nazi-esque imagery with, in particular, an evil rally of evil that was clearly meant to evoke, "Nazis!" in the mind of the viewer.
14 Han never tried out Chewie's crossbow before? Seriously? If nothing else you'd think the fact that it's a damned energy crossbow would evoke some interest given that that makes no sense and thus has high novelty factor.
15 How the fuck is Luke a threat or a hope? The resistance doesn't seem to have an army of, "We'd be Jedi if we just had a teacher," lying about the place. Ignore the points I raised in one about Luke being in self imposed exile and thus apparently not wanting to be found. Say that he really wanted to return but his ship was broken and the map thing makes sense, which it doesn't.
All of the motivation and finding related plotholes disappear.
Even then, what difference does he make? Everyone's all about saying he's game changer who will, depending on your point of view, bring salvation or destruction because as the last
Unless Korra throws a wrench into the way things are that actually awakens the force so that Jedi start popping up all over the place, what's Luke going to do?
There don't seem to be any would-be Jedi waiting to be trained, thus there's no way that a teacher could resurrect the order. Instead Rey is the only one we see and she only showed up after competing attempts to find Luke ended up thrusting her into the middle of things.
But ... without her, and neither side knew about her, there's nothing much Luke can do and thus nothing much to suggest that either side should have finding him be a priority.
16 Where the hell did the god damned map that drives the entire plot of the movie come from? No one knows where he went because he just disappeared but there happens to be a two piece map that shows his entire journey from start to finish that both the new empire and R2 have the vast majority of and a random other person has the missing piece of?
It would have made a lot more sense if the Millennium Falcon had been the macguffin. Luke's whereabouts were transmitted to the Falcon, which was planned, and automatically stored in its databanks but the ship had been stolen so many times that no one knew where it was anymore. (Seriously, the people who stole it the final time had no idea it even was the Falcon.)
17 There was more but I should have been to bed hours ago and all of the more has leaked out of my tired brain.
"It was remarkably non-terrible for something involving JJ Abrams."