The Force Awakens picks up about a generation after Return of the Jedi, where a new dictatorship, the New Order, has risen from the ashes of the Galactic Empire. We're introduced to some new characters who find themselves in the midst of a fight against this new power; Finn, a stormtrooper who's none-too-pleased with the Order's cruelty, and Rey, an orphan of as-yet-unspecified parentage who collects scrap to survive. They meet up with some familiar faces, Chewy, Han Solo, and Princess Leia, and join the Resistance. Lots of stuff happens, some twists and turns, so I won't give too much away, plus you all have probably already seen the film anyways.
I really enjoyed this film and, speaking as someone without much experience with the Star Wars franchise and having seen the new film right after watching the originals for the first time, I appreciated that the storyline mirrored the premier film of the franchise. I consider it to be an effective story-telling tool; there's a familiarity to the story, some mystery over how this might end differently, and it reflects the world that we live in, one in which history often does repeat itself. I loved the new characters; I appreciated the shot of diversity into the franchise (from the perspective of a black woman, this is important), and the cast was incredible. I'm incredibly excited for the rest of this trilogy!