Finally got around to rewatching this last night; first time since theaters. I was pleasantly surprised to see that I still really like this movie, despite the intermediate time being full of reading people say the movie has Problems and isn’t so great. Nah, I think it’s great. I was even surprised to find that CG-Leia was fine! CG-Tarkin, however, is still not fine. It is bad. Oh, and incorporating Red & Gold Leader worked surprisingly well. I could still tell the footage wasn’t quite as crisp as the others - but it was close enough.
But yeah, I liked the characters! I even think Jyn had an arc: She went from not wanting to be a part of the Rebellion because of her traumatic childhood, to giving her life for the slim chance that someday someone might succeed (i.e. hope). I suspect the Cassian show will have a lot of stuff about him learning to kill.
Standout performance was definitely Riz Ahmed - but I thought all the rest were good too. Most compelling scene was the emotional debrief onboard the cargo shuttle after the botched Eadu mission, confronting Cassian about whether he was sent to assassinate Galen or not. Worst moment is, of course, when Vader makes a pun, and frankly that entire scene is pretty bad, even though I’m all for showing that Krennic is all about getting favorable job performance reviews instead of the glory of the Empire. If that guy had been born a hundred years earlier, he would have been obsessed with ensuring the Senate recognized his ability to manage grain shipments or some equally Republican job.
And, yes, I am a sucker for Exciting Times with X-Wings. I can not deny that that helps.