I had a 13 hour flight over the weekend and to my absolute joy the plane entertainment system not only had TFA, but all the old Star Wars films too
it had been four months since I had seen TFA and many months since I'd seen any of the OT, so I decided to watch them all in order together to see if it changed my opinion on which were the best ones. I didn't bother re-watching the prequels as I watched them all in the run up to TFA already.
So I started with A New Hope and watched episodes 4-7 in sequence. Sorry, but all it did was remind me how untouchable the OT are, and confirmed my issues with TFA. I enjoyed TFA the first 2 times I saw it, but I think 50% of that was just the pure joy of watching a new SW film and getting caught up in all the hype. Now that has all died down, I could watch it more objectively.
In my opinion, the OT are better in every way. The acting is better, the stories are better, the effects in most places are better, the light sabre duels are better (back to the old "less is more" argument.) TFA is not as bad as the prequels and I don't hate it, but I just don't understand how anybody can claim it's even in the same ball park as ROTJ (who many people rated it above.)
I havo two main gripes with TFA: Firstly Rae - I just find her character and the actor who played her incredibly annoying. For example, the awful over-acting when Kylo Ren freezes her. The 18th Century English accent. For all their faults, I far prefer Padme in the prequels. And secondly Kylo Ren - Terrible casting. He's fine up until he removes his mask, but the pathetic twit who reveals himself is a mere shadow of the menace of Vader in ESB. Almost as bad as Hayden Christensen in the prequels. I also hate to say that I don't really like Han in it, he's just far too corny -like shooting a Stormtrooper backwards without looking, or his crap par secs joke.
Is it better than the prequels? Yes I think so, and that alone is some comfort. And don't get me wrong, the OT are not perfect, I can pick holes in them too. However I honestly think in years to come, and when all the hype has died down, TFA will be viewed along the same lines as the prequels - yes it's a Star Wars film, but it's not one of THE Star Wars films.