Caught this with Mr_Shifter and WalthamWookie early this AM.
Wow, that was spectacular. As mentioned by others, the highlights were the things that were lifted/tied-in closely with the OT. The original Red and Gold Leaders, the Death Star Gunners, the characters and droids and the imagery of the DS plans were all brilliantly done. Was it me or in the final scenes on the transmission tower, as Jyn and Cassian was it meant to echo in look and feel Leia helping Han to walk after releasing him from carbonite? Cassian's top is identical and Jyn's hair and look is Carrie all over at that point.
I missed the opening crawl, fanfare and even the words "Star Wars" on screen and worried they were trying to make it not SW, but that was soon forgotten as it was unbridled OT: slow at first but by the end you were in no doubt you were watching SW Episode 3.9 (it's so close to ANH in time). I was willing the final 60 seconds of film to take a certain path as it unfolded on-screen and it didn't disappoint at all. Just brilliant.
I liked the characters. The darkness of the things the Rebellion had to do was a really nice touch. Jyn was great and Krennic was also superb. I really liked the brief scene when Galen Erso was seen in his former life as an Imperial Science Officer putting the young Jyn to bed; it gave the Imperials that human feel.
K-2SO was a surprise to me. Really liked him. His comedy moments were nicely done (bag drop was hilarious) and not overplayed by the director, I didn't think.
Bizarrely enough, unlike almost everyone here, I disliked the Vader (except the final scene, just bloody brilliant) and although it was close, Tarkin just screamed X-Box One cutscene to me. Nice attempt but he was just not life-like enough in movement or look. My issue with Vader was the costume looked like it was out of fancy dress shop, he almost had a swagger in his walk (I swear) and he just didn't have the presence of Prowse. I actually wriggled in my seat watching that first scene with him and Krennic I was that uncomfortable.
I did also find all the new vehicles and troopers totally unnecessary. Surely a toyline marketing ploy? Given it's set hours/days/weeks before ANH, where did they all go in the Eps IV-VII?
On first viewing I would give this a solid 4/5. Lost marks for Tarkin, Vader and new Imperials. Not above TFA at the moment. Very aware that TFA took a 2nd and even 3rd viewing to be fully appreciated so keen to get back to the cinema and see it again
Thanks Disney, you can keep doing movies like that.