As Kylo Ren says, "You have to break with the past. Kill it, if you have to."
And that's exactly what Johnson does with this installment. Funny, if even flippant at times, and not afraid to sacrifice some sacred cows. This film finally pushes the Star Wars franchises out of Lucas' shadow. It will also probably piss off many die-hard fans, but since these are often the same people who obsess over the details of the prequels - films awful both as cinema and as additions to the SW universe - who cares?
The only downside is the next installment will be directed by Abrams, who will likely bring it all back in line with midichlorians and destiny nonsense, unimaginative hack that he is. So enjoy this breath of fresh air while it lasts.
. . .
OK, I wrote that a few months ago, and after watching it again, I have to agree more with Sloth's succinct assessment. The Star Wars universe definitely needed a shake-up, but I'm not sure if veering so far in the opposite direction was a good idea. At times, this film seems like a parody of itself. And it's overlong by at least 40 minutes - the entire casino segment could be excised with no loss.
Probably the best thing about this I can say is between the actual film's faults and the utter assholishness of a vocal part of the SW fandom, it has totally made me never, ever want to see a Star Wars film again.
And after seeing Rise of Skywalker, I can make a succinct reassessment: utter shite.
It was alright.
WORK IN PROGRESS
For the other films in the STAR WARS series: