No flips for you!
I’ll agree to all of that. I still think it all just confuses the narrative, in that even thought it is a substantial victory (and we feel that NR “won” at the end of FA), the NR really had only changed an overwhelming defeat to a defeat. Then in LJ, the NR situation doesn’t convey well. But I thing we agree there.
Pulling together the overall arc, it rather seems that either the NR was negligent, or the galaxy as a whole didn’t sufficiently care. The first undercuts the heroic arcs of the major characters of movies IV-VI, while the second makes for a meh story: why should I care about a galaxy that ignores a clear threat?
Okay, let's put this in film perspective. The Rebels blow up the Death Star. This is a major accomplishment. But they then start ESB in hiding and having to run from the Empire again, so it's about the same level of victory with the winners of that battle still desperately clinging onto a losing war. Heck, even when they blow up the 2nd Death Star in RotJ, there's still a major confrontation at Jakku to finally end the Galactic Civil War.
So, it's not really something new to the franchise, is it?
The OT gets so much of a pass on these same issues because we're all so steeped in the massive amount of backstory that's seeped out over the year, especially in our RPG playing and novel reading. But, based on the films alone, the same sins that are being hammered on for TLJ and TFA were also all over the OT. That doesn't mean there isn't a lot of room for criticism, but let's all step back a moment and consider that we don't currently have nearly the depth of additional materials and decades to absorb them into our mental pictures with the new films as we did with the OT. I recall taking a huge amount on faith when watching the OT - those things just were, and I was excited when I found out even more from sources outside the films. But, since we don't have the cultural depth of information accumulated over decades of fandom, we're holding the same things up to scrutiny in the new films that we adore (because of the cultural depth) in the OT. That's not exactly being fair.