Are these Star War movies, and also the Marvel movies, made to make money and cash in on Fanboy's nostalgia? Sure!
But in both cases, the actual people making them are Fans themselves. JJ VETS people he contemplates working with by whether they are Star Wars or Trek fans. Getting to direct TFA was a life long dream for him. And for my money, he did a good job under trying circumstances.
I'd argue that both TFA and R1 were made with a certain self awareness that isn't 100% pandering to fans...but actually using that Fan service to make their own points.
I mean, TFA is actually about the younger generation growing up after the events of the OT. Hell Rey grows up amongst the ruins of Star Destroyers and X-Wings. That iconography is one of the really great (yes GREAT!) things about the Force Awakens.
I'm not crazy about Han's Rathgar Ship or StarKiller base, but both are logical extensions of the OT. And the StarKiller base itself is interesting as a theme: the First Order, like our heroes, is scrambling to recreate the past, is shaped by it. Essentially they want to "one up" the Empire and restore "order in the Galaxy".
Rey is "one upping" Luke, though not conciously. There are interesting themes of young generations learning and improving on their predecessors (or trying to).
Then with Rogue One you are more overtly playing in the OT Sandbox and can go whole hog with call backs, references etc.
Neither of these movies are perfect, but they are more interesting than people give them credit for, and much more interesting than the standard Blockbuster fare we are "treated" to.