Extended thoughts, in my typical laundry list format:
-There was a point where I stopped thinking of Daniel Day-Lewis as playing Lincoln and started thinking of him embodying Lincoln. I can absolutely believe that this "version" of the man is the one who existed. I especially LOVED that Spielberg, Kushner and Day-Lewis weren't afraid to show him at weak moments, such as when he loses his temper at Mary, admitting he doesn't know what the future will bring, or slapping Robert.
-The supporting cast is of course excellent from top to bottom. Sally Field does some of her best work in YEARS as the multifaceted Mary Todd Lincoln; I especially love the scene where she talks to Thaddeus Stevens at the party, and we see that she could be just as politically savvy as her husband. David Strathairn is one of my favorite actors, so to see him get such a plum role as Seward is fantastic, and he nails every moment. Tommy Lee Jones easily has a lock for Best Supporting Actor as the hilarious, passionate Stevens, although his best scene might be his very last one ("Read it to me again, m'love"). The aforementioned Spader-Hawkes-Nelson trio is magnificent, and I love their little bluegrass theme that pops up on the soundtrack. Joseph Gordon Levitt's best scene is his reaction to the dumped pile of severed limbs and the conversation that follows. Actors with smaller but crucial roles like Bruce McGill (his reaction to Lincoln starting up another story is one of the biggest laughs in the movie), Jackie Earle Haley, David Oyelowo, S. Epatha Merkerson, Jared Harris and Michael Stuhlbarg fill out their scenes wonderfully.
-It is also, as always, lovely to see Hal Holbrook, although he's either put on a lot of weight since Into the Wild or is wearing a very convincing fat suit. His presence is also a sly in-joke considering Holbrook's history of playing Lincoln in other works.
-Kushner's script is quite excellent, although I don't know how it compares to his last Spielberg collaboration since I never saw Munich (should I? I've heard mixed things). I like how he incorporates famous quotes and speeches in a non-showy manner, for instance, and his way of showing Lincoln's character through action and words is very keenly done.
-Much like with Schindler's List, Spielberg's usual grandiose touches are almost completely absent. I was particularly impressed with how much tension he managed to wring out of the central conflict even though I already knew how the story ended. That, to me, is a sign that you still know what you're doing. And this is the best-looking Kaminski collaboration since, I dunno, Minority Report (didn't see War Horse yet either)? I've never bagged on Kaminski as much as some, but he's certainly had his off days. But Lincoln is quite a lovely film, even when it's ugly like in the opening, grueling battle scene.
-I too thought the movie could have ended when Lincoln is walking to the theater... but then we wouldn't have Sally Field's reaction to his death, and I don't know that I'd trade that for anything.