[Spoilers Follow]I didn't see the original trilogy at all until I was in high school, and I didn't actually get to watch the movies until I was in college. I cannot tell you how important Princess Leia was to me - secretly at the time, less so now. Leia is only waiting to be rescued because she knows rescue is coming. Leia is not going to sit back and be helpless just because she needed a pair of faux-stormtroopers to open the door. Leia was in that cell with a torture droid, her home planet was blown up, and when the guys get there, she's not even crying. Seeing her again, older, sadder, still working for a better world - this is what prayer looks like to an atheist.
Further, at least some of Leia's efforts are possibly paying off. There are women all over the place here, pilots, mechanics, doctors, scavengers, smugglers, officers, bartenders. The original trilogy was kind of a sausage fest. This is a delightful improvement. So is Rey. I would personally cut J.J. Abrams a check for the scene where the self-rescuing ingenue dashes out of the cockpit to congratulate her gunner on his shooting.
Lots of plots are retreads. How many versions of "Henry VIII goes nuts and gets married again" have I gotten though? How thrilled am I to show up every time someone comes up with another way to commit Robin Hood to film? Serenity was the plottiest bits of a bunch of Firefly episodes patched together with duct tape and baling wire. Persuasion is Pride and Prejudice but eight years later. Much Ado About Nothing (which I have seen in two movies and a whole bunch of times on stage) is about 50% Romeo and Juliet, with less dying this time. So yes, there's a cute robot here, and a plucky kid from a desert planet, and a guy who almost chickens out instead of being a hero, and a planet-destroying battlestation where the contractors cut costs by omitting handrails. This is the movie I expected to see. It feels like running into an old friend.