My only problems with it were that it had a terrible tone problem for some of it; the opening scene most notably. There was a lot of joking around in there, and it just wasn't funny for the most part, but I can forgive some rubbish humour because it isn't a comedy. But when the comedic stuff is invading other scenes it just felt like bad editing, this gag would appear out of nowhere, or they'd go straight from a gag into a high-stakes scene without any room to breathe. Don't get me wrong, I love an unexpected joke landing in an otherwise serious scene, they can be some of the funniest jokes. But for a couple of scenes in this I felt that the surrounding scene ignored the joke that was in the middle of it, so it felt jarring, and left me confused as to how the film wants me to feel about the scene. That felt like a real shame, because in the second half of the film the problem seemed to go away completely, the film fully committed to the high-stakes scenes and had my heart racing and my bum twitching and my head freaking out and wondering wtf was going to happen next. And there were small visual gags slipped in a lot of scenes in the very end, which provided good momentary unexpected lols without sacrificing any of the gravity of the surrounding scenes.
My other problem was Finn and Rose's casino jaunt. Their scenes together on the rebel ship when they first met were pitch-perfect, I got a great sense of Rose and thought she was a great complimentary character for Finn to hang out with. The overall theme I felt that the film as a whole wanted me to take away was that PEOPLE CAN, AND DO, CHANGE. This was put across absolutely flawlessly with the Luke/Rey/Ben storyline (which I reckon is one of the most intriguing character pieces I'll ever see in Star Wars, or any big-budget corporate blockbuster, for that matter; top marks to Rian). But the Rose and Finn storyline seemed to try to juggle another major theme in there to counter and compliment this, which I'll call BLESSED ARE THE MEEK FOR THEY SHALL INHERIT THE GALAXY. We have Finn, who himself is already illustrative of theme number 1; he deserted the Empire and became a hero of the Rebellion. He meets his match with Rose; she's the working class of the galaxy, unremarkable blue-collar schmuck who keeps everything running without glory. She's THE MEEK, if you will. Rose perceives what she thinks is Finn switching sides again, and she isn't having it. The switching sides and changing is not something she, or the rest of the meek, have the luxury of. They're in a struggle for justice, and they'll go and meet their maker for it if they have to. Rose's identical twin was killed as canon fodder in this battle, which effectively makes her the embodiment of rebel we see killed in a split-second shot without any context as to who they were. But Finn is also an embodiment of the exact same thing, but on the imperial side.
Finn and Rose get to casino-world, and Rose's dialogue specifically goes into how she was a proletariat kid who's planet was fucked over by the Empire. The excess of the casino planet shows that the rich don't suffer, and BDT shows us that the rich can afford not to take sides, THE MEEK do not have such a luxury. The weird rabbit-horses, and the horrible little Oliver Twist children (whom I hate) are also examples of THE MEEK. The rabbit horses get their moment of catharsis when they break free and trash the casino, the Oliver Twists' may be yet to come. When Finn and Rose are back aboard the Star Destroyer towards the end of the film, Captain Chromium orders their execution at the hands of the stormtroopers - "aha" I thought "this will be where Finn appeals to the stormtroopers to turn the tide and rise up against their oppressors, Finn himself shows us that stormtroopers are also THE MEEK in this universe". Nope. No such luck.BDT's character displays that when people are selfish and out for themselves, their fellow MEEKs suffer for it, and that's a nice arc, but I do think I as an audience member am truly satisfied until THE MEEK do rise up and INHERIT THE GALAXY. Back to casino-world, though, this theme is certainly present there, but it feels under-served by plot hurrying and the abovementioned tone problem. But we return to casino-world for the very last scene of the film, for a shot of Oliver Twist, which suggests to me that Episode 9 will be a socialist parable about how the working classes must overthrow the rich.
I will say that when Finn was about to go all kamikazi on the big gun, I really thought it was happening, I was gripped. I had conflicted feelings about it, but I thought it fit with his character arc very well; for him to go from scared stormtrooper without even a name who just wants out and not to fight, to rebel hero who gives his own life to save his comrades in a blaze of glory is definitely a hell of a way to go. But I was a bit uncomfortable that it's the black man's life being spent to save the mainly white heroes. Then when Rose pulled in and saved him I thought it was a cop-out, until she explained why, and I fucking love the fact that the resolution of their arc together is to recognise that they, the anonymous grunts of the universe, are worth saving as much as any big flashy Skywalker or Solo.
Hmm... perhaps the apparent reveal of Rey's parentage (which I really hope is 100% true btw), playing into THE MEEK SHALL INHERIT THE GALAXY as well. To be considered during viewing #2.
Dianne from Twin Peak's character was very confusing here. Her acting was flat-out odd and felt very out of place, and I'm really not sure what the point of her was. Am I supposed to think she did fuck up? Am I supposed to think she was right all along? Why didn't she just tell everybody what she was doing? She got herself mutineered by keeping it to herself! Why didn't she just ram the Star Destroyer as soon as she could see they'd turned their attention away from her? Strange strange strange.
BB-8 has, very disappointingly, become prequel R2 D2 in this film. Why does nobody seem to grasp the brilliance of R2 D2 as a character? It's not because he's adorable, and he pops up and just does adorable things for the sake of it; it's because he has purpose! In the original Star Wars film he is paired with a shiny golden godlike-figure who can talk pretty much every language their is, yet is utterly clueless, useless, and self-concerned. R2 is a squat little worker drone who exists to do what he's told and to go and fix things, he's not even alive, he's the very lowest of the low, and he cannot say a word. In the very first scene he's given a task to do, and he goes and fucking does that task. He doesn't do anything showy and superpowered like shitty little prequel R2 would do, he operates completely within his very limited means. All the way through the film he shows singular determination to getting that Death Star blown up, without complaint or regard for his own safety. He encounters space royalty, lofty Jedi masters, hero wunderkinds, and the endless tyrannical might of the Empire; and he knows more than any of them, and he affects the story in more ways than any of them. Who pulls Obi-Wan Kenobi into the fight, setting Luke on his path to become a Jedi, and our protagonists on their path to rescue Leia? R2. Who finds where Obi-Wan needs to go to turn off the tractor beam? R2. Who finds where Leia is? R2. Who turns off the trash compactor and saves our heroes' lives? R2. Who delivers the Death Star plans safely to the rebels? R2. Who is right there on that X-Wing with Luke, saving his bacon and helping him blowing up the Death Star, nearly getting killed himself and doesn't even want a medal? R2. Who's the black private dick who's a sex machine to all the chicks? R2. So when I see BB-8 having a big long extended slapstick comedy scene of fixing the ship, or repairing his own decapitated head, or taking out the casino police by firing coins at them, or killing swathes of stormtroopers while piloting a scout-walker, I shake my head.
So there's a conclusive list of my gripes. Other than this the film is bloody great, guys.