I want to give a hearty thanks to the posters in this thread and other grumblers out there out on the webs.
My lowered expectations going into the Skywalker film and the spoilers made the experience far more enjoyable than
it should have been.
Armed with fore-knowledge about plot developments, I braced for terrible awkward scenes and was instead greeted with mostly
competent dialog and pacing. It was like watching the film from the director's point of view. I knew the broad strokes of what was
gonna happen and got to enjoy the execution.
In many ways, I had the same experience with The Force Awakens. I heard all the dire comments about it and dreaded it
so much then found it "wasn't so bad".
I personally give Star Wars a little leeway in the quality department. A New Hope was very cool but it was also pretty sloppy
and I think it was never meant to be the pinnacle of serious sci-fi drama that Empire made it into. It was supposed to be a junky Flash Gorden
serial made into a modern movie. (Still, I totally would have preferred if the sequel trilogy could've matched the calibre of Empire.)
I was more pissed at the Prequels because of all the retcon on the original Trilogy. IMHO George had one job: show how a likeable and
cocky young Anakin could ever get addicted to "the dark side". Anakin was never likeable and his "seduction" to the dark side was
a last minute contrivance rather than the type of temptations that Luke encountered in Return of the Jedi. George should have had
Anakin using the dark force to win training exercises and teasing the other Padawan about their feeble skills. A natural sequence of
him learning to prefer things "the dark way" and getting annoyed that less skilled Jedi are telling him it's against the rules.
Instead we got a whiney teenager who was scammed into using the dark side by a creepy old man. It barely matched the description given by Obi-Wan.
Back to Skywalker?
It was paced in such a way that you didn't have much time to mull any anomalies in the plot or character development.
I feel like JJ Abrams was trying to emulate the frantic back and forth of Return of the Jedi and didn't care if there was some
nonsense in the character logic as long as the frantic mood and aesthetic was preserved. If you turn off your brain a little and
take it to be a Star Wars fan playing Star Wars themed D&D it's a pretty fun film. It's just too bad that it's not a worthy final installment
as compared to the original trilogy.