Okay, we saw it as promised on Xmas Eve Eve (Saturday.)
Going in, the only things I knew were what I saw in the previews, a good movie buddy of mine seemingly disappointed and offering the non-spoilery comment of "the middle is kinda bad," and accidentally seeing biscuit's thing about Akbar dying...
I missed like 3 mins, 1.5 each around the point where Leia goes into the sickbay and then one later on (can't remember where) for pee breaks (GDI getting old sucks... first one was mine, second time was both me and my oldest son, lol)
Overall, I really liked it. It is what it is, a modern Star Wars film that extends the nostalgia of my childhood. Things I really liked:
Leia's stuff - literal tears at some points because: Carrie Fisher
the Porgs and the Lanais - Call me a sucker for the cuteness/humor factor of the Porg and the Lanais reminded me of something out of Labyrinth or another Henson creation
The action sequences - from Poe's space battles to the escape from Canto Bight to the standoff on the salt flats of Crait, not many can do what Star Wars does when it comes to this
Things I thought were good or okay:
The humor - some came off forced, yes, but I am glad that my kid and I can share a laugh about some things from the movie
The subtle stab at rich "both sides" people (arms dealers, class system on Canto Bight)
The Cantina-esque environment in the casino, complete with a tune that would make Figrin D'an proud
3P0 still being annoying, and the callback to the odds of successfully navigating an asteroid field (3,720 to 1 in case you didn't know)
Things I thought weren't that good:
Rose - she seemed like a forced attempt at bringing in/appeasing another demographic, but it came across to me as almost playing up to racial misnomers, right down to the Yin-Yang style amulet
Chasing someone through hyperspace - I just didn't think it was all that possible or logical to track someone through hyperspace, much less take the same route. Call me uneducated on the subject if it is indeed explained elsewhere in canon. But, I seem to recall "jumping into hyperspace" as an easy way to get away from someone (I suppose it is easier if they can't track you, obviously, but still...)
Admiral Holdo - I kept hearing "Admiral Hodor" and she basically served the same role, with a little more dialogue and bad character
Benicio Del Toro turning heel. What a cheap cop out. I was hoping it was a double cross and we'd see him help Finn and Rose get back to the rebels, but meh
Luke's death. I mean, I get that he died, but I still don't understand exactly how. Was it because he used so much of the Force to project himself and fight Ren? Or, was it because Ren struck down the projection? How could they physically fight (clashing sabers and all,) but then Ren's lightsaber just poke in and out of Luke at one point? That whole sequence was just confusing as hell to me. Maybe a second viewing would clear it up, not sure.
I could have done without Luke milking that alien on the coast. Kind of a pointless scene, and kinda creepy.
Seeing Kevin Garvey in the casino as the code breaker had me wondering if he was dreaming/sleepwalking/dying again and the whole Star Wars universe is somehow tied into the Other Side of the Leftovers universe, lol.
Overall, and again, you take the good and the bad and come out with exactly what I hoped for going into it. It was a continuation of the nostalgia of my childhood with enough freshness/lore of its own to hopefully be passed on to my kids' generation.
If I had to reshuffle my order of favorite Star Wars films now, it would look like this:
ESB, TFA, R1, ANH, TLJ, ROTJ, ROTS, AOTC, TPM