I'm initially gathering thoughts here privately and I won't publish them until after 25th to reduce spoilers (unless they are obviously spoiler free).
I saw it in IMAX 3D on Friday morning in Perth, Western Australia so before most of the US.
When the opening crawl starts, you have to remind yourself: this is new stuff, I need to pay attention.
First up: the film does an amazing job of feeling like it's part of the same story as the original trilogy, more so than the prequels ever did.
I suspect that's a combination of being shot on film, better integrated computer graphics and actually going back to doing a lot of practical special effects and scenes on location.
It took me a little bit of time to work out what the tone was going to be, so the first time there's humour it actually jolted me a bit.
But I quickly realised this is aiming for the tone of the original and does a pretty nice job of it!
Aside from occasionally over-intense expressions, Daisy Ridley did an amazing job with Rey. Easily my favourite character.
I loved the way early on Finn kept trying to help her and clearly she was far more in control than him: "why are you holding my hand?"
I found Poe a very flat, comic-book character. Likeable enough but not really of any consequence. When you think he's dead you don't really care (or at least I didn't).
Even though this was a continuation and not a reboot, it had SO many elements of the first film in a way it serves as both a continuation AND a reboot.
I found myself often thinking, "okay, THIS is the bit that corresponds to THAT in Episode IV".
I liked the way they implicitly conveyed that a lot went down between VI and VII (e.g. what happened on Jakku, how did the First Order emerge) without wasting any time on exposition. Made the universe feel much richer.
At some point I hope they explore some of that but I'm glad they didn't in this film.
A lot of questions surrounding Snoke: Who is he? What is he? Even, where is he?
The big questions prior to the film around why Luke wasn't featured in the trailers (other than voice over in the first trailer) actually played really well into his absence in the film which was, of course, crucial to the plot.
Obviously Kylo Ren's return after "finishing his training" will make for an interesting VIII.
But the big mystery is of course, Rey's background. Who is she and why was she left on Jakku?
I kinda got sick of the Starkiller (Deathstar Mk III) thing.
At this point it’s getting a bit Road Runner and Wile E Coyote.