Obviously, it looks and sounds great and I got no problem with any of the actors. Except, I thought the pilot guy was fairly bland. The music is fine, but I'd have to give it another listen to know for sure how I feel about it in the grand scheme of things.
I though the opening (after the prologue) was awkward. I generally don't like it when a movie's just cutting from one new character to another like this rather than introducing them gradually as they come into direct contact with our main characters and the main narrative.
I really don't think we needed the chyrons popping up and telling us where we where each time it cut to a new location. Felt very un-Star Warsy to me.
I found the first appearance of Bail Organa, where he just steps out of the shadows without saying anything, really anticlimactic, but I loved having him back once he actually started talking. As an admitted fan of the prequels, I thought it was really neat to have that link between the old and the new.
Go away Ponda Baba and Dr. Evazan. You don't get to show up and shout a catchphrase at our main characters just so the audience (who mostly don't even recognize you) might get a cheap thrill.
I didn't know that Tarkin was gonna be in it and thought that was a great surprise. The CG wasn't great, but that didn't bother me at all. I'm still (and will continue to be for a long time) in love with the idea of younger (and now dead) versions of older actors showing up in contemporary movies. However, I found his voice incredibly distracting. If you're gonna try and make the character look like Peter Cushing, you got to nail the voice, and I really didn't feel like they did. I admire the overall effort though.
Thought the first big Vader scene was bad. I can't really explain why, but I felt like Vader was saying a lot of vaguely Vader-like things, but none of it felt important enough to actually penetrate my brain. It was like they were so excited to have JEJ back that they thought they could coast on that instead of actually writing a meaty scene for him.
The brief reference too Obi-Wan is a moment I don't mind in theory, but I thought the execution was lacking. The awkward way things had to be phrased just so they didn't say his actual name came across as clumsy writing to me. Might sound better on a rewatch though.
Thought the Threepio and Artoo appearance was a little random with them just standing around at Yavin 4. If they'd been boarding Tantive IV when we saw them, I would have been more okay with it, I think. (This is hella nitpicky, I know)
Loved seeing and hearing Red and Gold Leader in the final battle. I found that incredibly charming. Couldn't help but wonder if anyone else in the theater recognized them from ANH. Seems unlikely...
Didn't expect Jyn to die. "Pleasantly" surprised. I'm enjoying how unspoiled I am for these new Star Wars movies comparted to the prequels.
The last Vader scene was kind of an eye roll moment for me. I guess it's all those years on TFn with people talking about how awesome it would be to see Vader let loose with the force and his lightsaber. I guess I never felt like I needed it or thought it would be cool. And at that point, I was more focused on if we'd actually get to see Leia or not... which leads me to:
I've actually been predicting a young Leia appearance at the end of this movie since it was announced. I thought for sure it would be a fuzzy hologram appearance though, so this nonsurprise ended up being a nice surprise. The appearance was brief, so there wasn't a lot of time to notice if the CG was good or not, which in and of itself is great. The last line is hoaky as hell, but I still got a little misty.
It struck me towards the end of the movie that I liked the pacing of this one quite a bit better than ep VII. The camera is more relaxed and scenes are actually allowed to play out without an ACTION BEAT having to interrupt anything resembling exposition or even just dialogue. Also, it didn't feel like it was rehashing as many plot elements as ep VII did, which was nice.