In my original review, I said that Star Wars: The Force Awakens feels like an imperfect imitation of a Star Wars movie.
Watching Star Wars: The Force Awakens for the third time has changed my perspective on the movie considerably. On my third viewing I noticed things I didn't notice before and I feel that I have much better understanding of the film overall. Its one major flaw is that they tried to put too much stuff in it. Having so much story means that most of the movie proceeds at frenetic pace. Transition scenes that would normally occur in a film are simply not there; at times characters seem to jump from one place to another. But a much bigger problem is that there is far too little explanation. There is way too much in the movie that should be explained but isn't, making parts of the story feel like plot holes. It also teases us with many unanswered questions that frustrate the viewer, so I am desperately hoping that the sequels will clear these up.
Unlike the original Star Wars that gave us great characters, Star Wars: The Force Awakens is very much a plot driven film where the characters are okay but not exceptional. The first 20 minutes don't work as well for me because the main characters feel flat. Occasionally both Rey and Finn can be a little grating. Rey frequently clenches her teeth and has an undercurrent of anger which hints at The Dark Side. Finn is in the habit of saying stupid things. Han Solo and Leia Organa feel like echoes of their former selves. Therefore, the most interesting, deepest and brilliant character of the movie is Kylo Ren. He is certainly the most conflicted character, and that conflict is what makes him interesting.
It is no wonder that the film has been widely criticized by Star Wars fans. However, the critics loved it.
Despite the flaws, on my third viewing the movie made more sense and it began to feel like a masterpiece. It is not only a major technical and artistic achievement, but it is also fantastic storytelling. Once the action gets going, the film becomes an amazing thrill ride.
I think that the movie is a masterpiece, but I also think that it is flawed masterpiece that will depend upon Episode VIII to clear things up. Also the new film will need to improve upon on the characters. Otherwise, if we get more of the same then it is going to become repetitious and tiring.