I was very unsure about whether to actually watch it.
I wanted to see the story and the characters and everything, but I heard it was a war movie and I'm a bit sensitive about violence. And - considering we know what happens afterwards - I was fairly sure at least some of the main characters would die. Probably my favourites.
So I was postponing watching it and read peoples' reactions and asked their opinions. In the end I was really glad that I've been well spoilered before I went to see it, so I was prepared to deal with what would happen.
The following part will contain SPOILERs. You've been warned.
Aspects I liked:
- The characters! As in The Force Awakens, I really liked many of the characters. When I got out of the movie, I wanted to watch it again - just to spend more time with some of the characters.
Chirrut Îmwe and Baze Malbus are already legendary and I really hope they get their own spin-off media (comics, for example). K-2SO is great and I liked Bodhi Rook more than I'd have thought. I really, really hope we'll see these characters in the Star Wars universe again in some form.
- Hera lives! Chopper lives! As a fan of Star Wars Rebels, I was of course looking forward to the hints about the Ghost crew. And Hera was promoted to General - you go, girl! (I really hope that they survived the battle of Scarif.)
- Thank you for not having Cassian and Jyn kiss. In one scene it almost looked like they would, but thankfully they didn't. I think their relationship is just perfect; also considering what they went through together.
I'm really glad that Star Wars has the guts to show strong women without needing to put them in a romantic relationship (unlike what the Hobbit did to Tauriel).
- I really liked how the movie didn't look like a 70s movie, but still contained the look of the original trilogy.
- The settings were beautiful and creative. No desert planet this time.
- The idea with the Hammerhead Corvette ramming into the Star Destroyer was genious. The guy should have gotten more recognition for that idea (can't even remember his name). Good ideas win battles!
- Leia - that was the moment when I actually got a little tear in my eyes. Carrie Fisher had just died when I watched Rogue One and seeing Leia was emotional. It was also just the right amount of screentime for a cameo and a digital re-creation.
I was also critical about how "heroic" the deaths were going to be portrayed. I'm not particularly fond of the American "war hero" ideal. But it was OK.
Aspects I didn't like so much:
- Unfortunately, Cassian Andor did not have a Spanish accent in the German version of the movie.
- Star Wars really hates its mothers, doesn't it? Did we really have to kill off Jyn Ersos mother first thing of all and in such a useless way?
- Bail Organa and Mon Mothma were really bland. I understand that Jyn Erso had to have her big speech, but in that situation the leaders of the rebellion should have been... well, leaders.
- And the Rebellion gives up just like that. "Death Star - ok, we quit"? I can't imagine it's that easy and fast to abandon a cause and disband a rebellion.
- I really didn't understand the motivation of some of the main characters to go on that last mission, especially Chirrut Îmwe, Baze Malbus and Bodhi Rook. These three were not part of the Rebellion and it was never explained why they went on that obviously deadly mission, they just kind of tagged along like it was the most natural thing to do. Maybe they felt like they had to stop the Death Star - but it was never mentioned or explained.
- Tarkin. I think it was unnecessary to have him have such a big role. Yeah, he must be mentioned since he commands the Death Star in Episode IV and a little cameo would have been fine, but he had a lot of screentime and I thought the digital version was a little creepy (not in the good way).
- Speaking of unnecessary: what was that scene in Darth Vaders "castle" on Mustafa about? It did nothing for the plot at all. Most fans seemed to have loved it because Vader, but I thought it was stupid.
- The whole Saw Gerrera part was also kind of strange. First of all, I didn't really get the feeling that Gerrera is an extremist. In theory we see his people risk the lives of civilians, but the movie didn't really put enough emphasis on this. He was portrayed too "good" in my opinion, especially considering the times we live in and that there are actually enough people like that - we call them terrorists.
And this strange mind-reading creature? First we get a warning that it leaves people brain-damaged, but of course our pilot is an exception. That was just too cliché.
- Everybody dies. Everybody. I was expecting it, of course, but in a way it was a bit much. Especially Bazes death was kinda pointless. It felt a little like the easy way out. There could be other reasons why these guys were not there during the events in Episode IV and a little variation would have been nice.
I think it was on the Rebels Chat podcast where it was said that you didn't really feel hope at the end of the movie and I agree. I can see how they tried (and of course we all know the Rebels win in the end); but still - everybody died.