Firstly if you have not watched the Star-Wars films (shame on you) the following contains spoilers.
I have had this conversation many times (more than is really sensible for a man of my age). The thing is people hold it up to some artificially high standard, that it could never have reached.
To start with it is quite obviously a children’s film. The problem here is that the kids that loved the originals have turned into grown-ups and are expecting the new films to appeal to them on the same level as the originals.
Secondly, people point to the wooden acting. Have you watched the originals recently? My argument is that the originals were great in spite of Mark Hamill and Carrie Fisher.
Third we have the whole Jar-Jar issue. Absolutely he was added purely as a comic character for kids to laugh at, but does anyone remember the original Yoda! He was so crazy and jittery it almost hurt to watch it again after seeing how well he could be done in the recent episodes.
But most importantly for me is that without watching the rise and fall of Anakin you don’t have the emotional connection to really care when Vader dies in Episode 6!