Force Awakens is seriously flawed movie, but it thunders along and has some genuinely charming moments and some really likable (albeit underwritten) new characters. I'd be tempted to say that the first hour is pretty much spot on
THE FORCE AWAKENS was an uninspired reboot. I was already grumbling at some hitherto unknown* version of the Empire or whatever the First Order is supposed to be even before I watched the blessed thing. Rey's too powerful. The fan service tedious. And anyone being able to use a lightsaber diminishes them as weapons.
* The passing interest I have in STAR WARS rarely extends beyond the movies. And I like it kept simple. The Empire was defeated in RETURN. Except, apparently it wasn't. And even that tablecloth's been pulled once already.
As I said - it's a seriously flawed movie. I largely agree with your criticisms. Rey is
too powerful. Finn's ability to wield a lightsaber in the midst of battle is
dumb (and on a related note, they also make lightsabers less and less cool every time they introduce weapons like the baton that can counter them). The characters are (mostly) quite weakly written and only buoyed by the ludicrously charismatic actors who play them. The recycling of ANH plot beats is
distracting and unnecessary (I think even TFA's biggest defenders would admit that the Death Star 2.0 was poorly executed and entirely superfluous. The First Order is problematic, and they don't really make a lot of sense as an entity, but it's hard to see how they could feasibly even make an Episode VII without
resurrecting the Empire in one form or another. Better the New Order than an endless procession of rogue factions of the old Empire and/or Emperor Palpatine clones that kept cropping up in the old EU stories.
It's a 2 (charitably a 3) star movie that I keep rewatching in the hopes that it will somehow turn into a 4 or 5.
Despite the flaws (and I still maintain that the movie really starts to fall apart during the second act before recovering slightly in the third), I'd still argue that as a film it's far superior to Rogue One. On your fan service point - it's totally a subjective thing, but I find the blatant fan service in R1 far more pernicious and distracting than anything in TFA. Ultimately, I liked all the characters in TFA so I felt invested in the plot to some degree. It had a trace of the old movie magic about it. In Rogue One I felt absolutely nothing.