Star Wars is really important to me and so many others. It has became such an important part of film culture over the years. It was this trilogy, starting with The Force Awakens that led me to loving these movies and the characters. The fact that the past two movies, which have been stated as the end of the Skywalker saga, have been so contrary to the films I love is such a disappointment. I will always love Star Wars, and I even contend that much of The Rise of Skywalker was great. However, so much of the movie was poorly received and I have to agree.
1. Finn not leading a Stormtrooper rebellion
This would have been the most obvious arc for Finn's character. The Force Awakens started this so perfectly with him being the first Stormtrooper to willingly leave because they were able to break through their programming. Finn is shown to be someone that cares about his friends and about fighting for what is right. He spent his whole life with the other Stormtroopers, enough to feel grief when one of them died in his first battle. So why would the writers not think to have him infiltrate The First Order and encourage his fellow Stormtroopers (who we know have been stolen and brainwashed) to also go against their programming and rebel to end The First Order?
2. Rey being a Palpatine
I guess JJ thought making Rey a Skywalker would have been again, too obvious. Even though all of the story had already been written that way. Most Star Wars fans had seen the parallels between Rey, Luke, Leia, and Anakin. The film itself was called The Rise of Skywalker. We see her have these instant connections with that family and with Anakin's lightsaber. It would have been the logical conclusion, and the one with the most emotional impact. Instead, they made her a Palpatine just to bring him back and create some kind of Luke/Vader, Rey/Palpatine parallel. Which really just reinforces the fact that she should have been Luke's daughter, because nothing in the Rey and Palpatine interactions were interesting.
3. Poe being a past drug dealer
Aside from the fact that the writers brought in some random love interest for Poe, basically only for Finnpoe shippers benefit, they also made him a stereotypical drug dealer. Even though canonically his parents were Rebels and with his characterization it makes no sense for him to have that backstory. This plotline adds nothing to the story, but unfortunately drugs and a robot chick are all Poe gets.
4. Anakin doesn't make a cameo
I started in the Star Wars fandom essentially learning that the Prequels suck, and that's what the writers reinforced throughout this trilogy. Funny enough, the Prequels are actually great and the Sequels going against them are part of what make this new trilogy so unwatchable. JJ doesn't let Obi Wan or Anakin make an appearance as force ghosts, even though The Last Jedi was almost primarily about Luke, who has the strongest relationships with those characters. It doesn't let Anakin try to persuade Kylo to the good side, though that would be realistic. Even when they set up Rey seeking help from past Jedi, they only give Hayden a small voice part, when it would be much more compelling to have many of the Jedi appear as force ghosts to help Rey.
5. Finn doesn't tell Rey what he wanted to tell her
The writers set up this plot of Finn having something important to tell Rey. One could suppose (with the non-answer we received) that he wanted to tell her she was a Palpatine. However, shouting at someone that their parent is a super villain while you're both about to sink into quicksand forever makes no sense. Likewise, telling her that you have the Force in this moment also makes no sense. Narratively, these sort of scenes only happen with love confessions. However, we never get a love confession from this couple.
6. Rey and Finn not ending up together
The Force Awakens is one of my favorite Star Wars movies, mostly due to the chemistry and bond between Finn and Rey. They spent majority of the movie together and so many scenes hinted at a romantic connection. Even the last hug in The Last Jedi showed something romantic. Putting them together would have shown a healthy, pure love story for this saga. Instead, TLJ put Finn with Rose which led to nothing, and putting Rey with Kylo. JJ wouldn't put an interracial couple together even though they consistently showed care and understanding of one another. Making Finn force sensitive and saying rightfully so that he did know her would have given them a bond. Finn would be someone she could relate to. Even in this film they have Finn primarily care about Rey, but she ends up alone.
7. The 'Dyad' plot was contrived
I will never get the point of this plot line. For some unknown reason Kylo and Rey are connected because - what exactly? He's from Vader and she's from Palpatine? It doesn't make sense, and they don't explain it. Not to mention, Palpatine wanted Kylo to kill Rey, not bring Rey to him. So in the end him wanting her as Queen makes no sense as well. Just a dumb way to make Kylo and Rey happen.
8. Rey and Kylo kissing
Despite even all of the cast's objections, it still happened. Despite The Last Jedi being poorly received due to the Rey and Kylo content, it still happened. They put in a kiss for no reason. Somehow, they thought their first female protagonist should exist only to coddle the white male villain. They thought making her spend the entirety of the last film trying to bring Kylo to the good side and failing wasn't enough. Furthermore, they believed that Kylo getting "redemption" by saving the girl he was already obsessed with was satisfying. He doesn't even reunite with his family as a force ghost, so his entire character was about getting Rey, the girl that he tortured along with her friends. Rey ends up looking like another in a line of female characters who can only save a boy, instead of saving the galaxy and her found family.
For everyone hurt by the Sequels, let's all watch the Original trilogy (and the Prequels if you can admit they are awesome) and forget these past three movies ever happened.