I learned long ago that “things happened that I didn’t like” and “it was badly made” are two different complaints about a movie. And while a lot of stuff happened that I didn’t like, it was interesting and creative in a way that Star Wars hasn’t been able to be in decades. We knew where the prequels were heading, we knew where Rogue One was heading, and The Force Awakens followed essentially the same plot beats as A New Hope.
It’s dark, yes – but not really much darker than Revenge of the Sith, another film that features the slow, inexorable snuffing out of hope by a powerful galactic-sized force, leaving only a handful of heroes at the end. But with RotS, we knew things would get better (eventually). This time, we get a triumphant return at the end, and a hint at a better future in the epilogue.
The Last Jedi made it possible for Star Wars to be surprising again, and unless Episode IX goes out of its way to reject it (or even if it does), I suspect it’ll be received better in the long run than it has been in the moment.