I will try to avoid major spoilers, but this is a discussion of the new movie. There may be spoilers, especially in the comments.
The Force Awakens is a competent but unimaginative movie. It's like Disney asked "What are the elements of a Star Wars movie?" and then went down the list and added in equivalents of each item.
The prequels were bad movies, significantly worse than The Force Awakens. But even they had a sense of vision that TFA lacks. Lucas was trying to tell a story, to tell something new. To add something to his universe. While watching TFA, I got the sense that this movie was so insistent on reminding you that it is a Star Wars movie, that it forgot to be its own thing.
As a result, TFA comes off as a pale copy, a second-rate Star Wars. That's true of many elements in the movie as well. The First Order is a second-rate Empire, Kylo Ren is a second-rate Darth Vader, Jakku is a second-rate Tatooine, BB-8 is a second-rate R2-D2. There are a lot more parallels, but that gets into spoiler territory.
But a second-rate Star Wars is still a pretty good movie.
There are many good things about TFA. The two new leads, Rey and Finn, are solid, engaging characters. Harrison Ford is Harrison Ford, and pretty much steals every scene he's in.
I think Finn is a bit of a missed opportunity. He's an ex-Stormtrooper, but the film went to great lengths to make sure you know he's a good guy and never did anything bad. He might have been far more interesting as a redeemed bad guy.
As for Rey, she's a decent heroine. The problem with Rey is that she is ... excessively competent. (Though this is probably mandatory for a female lead in an action movie these days.) Compare her character to Luke Skywalker from the first movie. The problem is that she has no path to growth. I rather think the only way she'll become interesting is if she falls to the Dark Side.
I should note that complaints about Finn and Rey are minor at best. In many ways they were the best part of the movie.
But I keep returning to the part about "adding something". The really good works in an extended universe make that universe richer and more interesting. As an example, take Timothy Zahn's Thrawn trilogy. Those books may not have been the greatest literature but they gave us Grand Admiral Thrawn and the Chiss, among many other elements. The Force Awakened really does not expand Star Wars in any direction.
As well, I think that I am not a fan of J.J. Abrams, at least his movies. So far, he tends to string together frentic action scenes instead of making an actual movie. It's like "action sequence, glue scene, action sequence, glue scene, repeat". It's not as bad as the atrocity which was Star Trek: Into Darkness. However, I think TFA would actually have been better with fewer action sequences.
To be fair, I think a lot of modern action and sci-fi movies have the same problem. I blame the extensive budgets of modern films. The the older films couldn't afford to make the entire film a special effects extravaganza, so they saved up for a few really key sequences. But now budgets are such that directors can and do go crazy, and I think the films suffer for it.
In any case, that's what I thought of The Force Awakens. It's decent enough, but unimaginative. If you were asked what a Star Wars movie "designed by committee" would look like, you'd probably come up with The Force Awakens.