For me I think not having a crawl was good. It established that this was not and “episode” movie, but something different, yet still Star Wars. The beginning did need some work though. Something felt missing from the beginning. Instead I think the title card could be improved and I would definitely change the music that goes along with it. Or maybe even add it to the beginning after “A long time ago…” and then jump right into the movie.
I would also change the constant jumping from planet to planet in the beginning, removing the planet titles with it. The scene with Cassian right after the title card at the city between two asteroids I think can be removed, it doesn’t really add anything to his character and it makes him seem like a really bad guy. I understand that they are trying to get across the fact that in a war there is a lot of grey area and sometimes you have to do bad things for the greater good, but I feel that shooting a man in the back is just taking things a bit too far. It makes it hard for the audience to believe that he is a good guy and makes the scene where he decides not to shoot Galen unbelievable.
I think merging a lot of scenes in the movie especially in the beginning would make the movie flow better. Everything leading up to Yavin seemed kind of disorienting and messy to me.
I would definitely cut the mind reading monster from the movie, and much of Saw as well. I would leave him to be a bit more mysterious. I also didn’t like the voice that Forest Witicker used, it seemed over the top to me, so cutting a lot of his lines would help. Especially the “Save the Rebellion, save the dream” line. If maybe there was a way to restore his blue eyes, that would be kinda neat to see.
As awesome as it was to see Mustafar and Vader in the bacta tank, I thought the conversation between Krenic and Vader was unnecessary, and I’m not sure if I like the force choke pun. Also possibly pitch shifting Vader’s voice to sound more like ANH Vader would be nice if left in. I think the only time I personally would show Vader is the final scene.
The flashback on Coruscant, the R2 and 3p0, and the Ponda Boba and Evazan cameos were not needed as well. As much as I liked Baze and Chirrut characters I think their intro could be toned down a bit. Finally I would change Cassians decision to not shoot Galen and instead just have him get distracted by seeing Jyn on the platform.
After watching it a few more times I may have more cuts.
Just my 2 cents
“You can’t polish a turd. But you can shape it to look like candy.”