Well, still haven't watched TLJ a second time, but we did watch the Prequel Trilogy again last weekend. This was the first time I had watched the Prequel Trilogy in a couple of years. I've read some comments that TFA and TLJ are "still" better than any of the Prequel Trilogy, and after rewatching the Prequels, I would strongly disagree!
Now, take away any issues people have with Jar Jar Binks (who wasn't as bad as people let on, nor was he a major character - he is basically added to explain the "life debt" of the OT between Han & Chewie), and you have a pretty much linear plot throughout Eps. 1 to 3. Now, don't anyone come on here and start talking about small "plot holes" in the Prequel because EVERY movie has plot holes - ROTJ has a major plot hole called "the Second Death Star."
Anyway, the Prequels were MUCH better than the Sequel Trilogy (thus far) because the plot is very linear: Palpatine/Sidious uses Trade Federation blockade to gain political power = Palpatine/Sidious uses Separtist to persuade votes for Republic Army = Republic Army wipes out Jedi. VERY linear! We are also introduced to Anakin, who may be the fulfillment of some Jedi prophecy. He is trained by Obi-Wan. From the get-go he has anger issues = he kills Tusken Raider & children (yeah, so don't be so shocked when he killed those Padawans "too soon" in ROTS) = he falls to the Dark Side and leads the armies that kill Jedi. Again VERY linear.
The main issue with the Prequel Trilogy isn't really the Prequel Trilogy, it's the Original Trilogy because we ALREADY know what's going to happen. So, with the exception of maybe the Qui-Gon Jinn's death (which we really all expected) there wasn't any real "GASP" revelation like TESB. And you know what else the Prequel Trilogy didn't have??? A STUPID DEATH STAR or DEATH STAR PLANET! Well, except only in concept and design - it takes 2 episodes to plan and begin construction of what we eventually see in Ep. 4 - again VERY linear.
So, compare this with the Sequel Trilogy - thus far. TFA really screwed up the everything established in the PT and OT by basically making the Heroes of the Rebellion and the New Republic epic failures: Han and Leia failed not only as parents, but as political leaders, and Luke failed as the religious/Jedi leader. The New Order can build a Death Star planet - DUMBEST plot hole of the entire saga - that basically destroys the Republic in one shot.
OH, and the lightsaber battles in TPM (Qui-Gon, Obi-Wan vs Maul) and ROTS (Anakin vs Obi-Wan) are much better choreographed than anything in either TFA or TLJ. As a matter of fact (well, my opinion at least) the ROTS final lightsaber battle is probably one of the best choreographed "sword duels" of all time!
So, Lance Quazar is right that Rian Johnson could only follow what had been established in TFA, but main TWO major things I just can't get over - no matter how they try to explain them is (1) that dang turtle space race between the New Order and Resistance - just not believing that Resistance ship could out fly that Dreadnaught. The Blockade Runner certainly couldn't out run a Star Destroyer. And this plot hole alone is actually the major premise of the entire movie - trying to outrun the New Order, and (2) FINN - his entire story is redundant. You could literally edit out everything associated with Finn in TLJ and you would still have the same story. It's like the Big Bang Theory joke about Raiders of the Lost Ark - you can basically take away Indianan Jones and you would still have the same ending of the story. I really wish they would have just killed Finn's character off which would have given him some sort of meaning.
In addition, we weren't really introduced to any new characters that really moved the story along or will continue to move the story along in Ep. 9. So, to me, TLJ is almost like TFA part 2 and not really enough to considered Episode 8 OR we change Ep. 8 to Ep. 9 seeing as how the ending of TLJ would be more fitting for the ending of the entire ST.
Anyway, enough of my rant.