Without giving anything away and in a complete nutshell: yes, the movie is worth it; yes, it lived up to my expectations; and yes, it is everything a Star Wars-geek-since-she-was-four-years-old girl could ever hope for.
I'm gonna start by saying that I am very pleased with the cast. Daisy Ridley, who plays Rey, is like Keira Knightly of the early 2000s. She is fresh-faced, downright gorgeous, has a killer accent and is a fabulous actress. I loved her. I loved her so much. And the best part is that she didn't have any annoying sidekick with her. No C3PO. No Jar Jar Binks.
There weren't any unnecessary scenes in this one, either (early-2000 trilogy, I'm talking to you), and there wasn't even any cheesy love story to be annoyed about, either. No. In true 'new era Disney' fashion, they stuck to the 'a woman does not need a man to be happy' mantra of the Queen Elsas and Maleficents of the world, and they stuck by the 'girl power' theme, too.
For the first time in Star Wars movie history, (SPOILER - highlight to read): a woman FINALLY wields a lightsaber in true Jedi fashion. Yes, I am aware that there are female Jedi in the older movies, but none of them were ever main characters.
Continue highlighting to read: And now here Rey is in all of her beauty fighting with a freaking lightsaber instead of shooting at enemies from afar. Believe it or not, that is the main reason why I never liked the idea of dressing up as Princess Leia or Queen Amidala: no lightsaber. (That, and no hot body to be Slave Leia.)
And while we're on the subject of girl power: is that a female Rebel Alliance pilot in that star fighter? YES IT FREAKING IS!!!
Aside from that, The Force Awakens fixed everything wrong with the old movies. Not that there was anything wrong per se, but they improved everything for the newer generation.
I have a 5-year-old daughter, so I'm actually basing this on a kid from today's generation. I have tried so hard to get her into Star Wars the way I was into Star Wars when I was her age, but she always found something to complain about.
"Why is R2-D2 so slow, mommy?" Well, there you go: ROLL, ROLL, ROLL LIKE THE WIND, BB8!!! "What do you mean the Stormtroopers are people?" Well, there you go: not only do they move more like people in The Force Awakens, you actually get to know Finn as a real live human Stormtrooper. "Why is the chair moving so much? (Pertaining to shooting from the Millennium Falcon)" And they poke fun at exactly that in this one. Perfectly made for this generation of kids, I'm telling you.
Even the storyline works well for this generation as it is pretty similar to A New Hope in terms of characters and story lines Let's face it, though: how many kids will love A New Hope the way we did? Basically, The Force Awakens is a revamped version of A New Hope and does exactly what I think Disney set out to do: make this generation of children fall in love with Star Wars the way we did. And they succeed exceedingly well at doing so.
That doesn't go to say that the 'oldies' won't enjoy it, though. The 'this is too similar to A New Hope' feelings aside, the mere nostalgia of it all will put you to tears. The minute I heard the opening credits and read the opening credits, the old feelings came back and my heart leapt for joy. My heart didn't go nuts until I first set eyes on the Millennium Falcon, though. My hand literally tightened around my boyfriend's hand the minute I realised it was there. And man, that Han and Leia reunion. AHHHHHH.
It wasn't a perfect movie, though. I wanted to see exchanges between Han and Leia that hit closer to my heart. An "I love you" - "I know" or at least a kiss. But if they had done that, then I might have left the movie house in tears, so maybe that's a good thing.
Also, I hated (SPOILER - highlight to read): that Luke pulled a worse version of Leonardo DiCaprio in Django Unchained in that he only showed up at the very end.
And it didn't quite feel the same without Yoda, but I guess Maz is a nice replacement for him. She's cute and memorable. Other than that, there really isn't much more to say. Your kids will love this and you will, too. Don't worry if you haven't seen the older movies. You can start your love for Star Wars for this one. And if you're a die-hard fan like me, then you can continue it with peace in your heart, knowing that it didn't fail like The Phantom Menace did.