First off, I turned off my analytical, star wars nerd brain as soon as there wasn't the crawl. I knew if I wanted to enjoy this film to the fullest, I had to watch it like that. Enjoy it I did. Second viewing will get the analytical brain. These are just initial aftershock reactions. OKay, maybe it's a little analytical.
As far as shots from the trailer being absent, weren't there rewrites/reshoots? Am I making that up? I don't remember for sure but I bet that's why.
I loved it. I felt way more connected to the characters in this than in any other piece of star wars media. I think that's because this is really the first SW movie I've seen for the first time as an adult, besides TFA, but I think the characters live in a more morally grey area in this movie, and that makes them more real.
Yeah, some of the acting was a bit camp but its a ****** star wars movie, what do we expect? Some of the plot devices were a bit convenient, but it's a star wars movie, what do we expect? And I'm not saying bad acting/lazy writing get a pass, but I don't think that's what was going on here. My point is that this is still a star wars MOVIE and it operates as such, to a level that isn't too overboard (side-eye to TFA) but still exists with the general quirks of the genre. I don't personally think the fanservice moments were too numerous, although they were a bit jarring. What were there two? It's safe to say I enjoyed this much more than TFA. But don't tell Oscar Isaac, I wanna be best buds with that dude.
Anyways, that Vader scene, HOLY SMOKES. Actually terrified. Also, am I the only one that thought Donnie's staff/blaster was going to be a lightsaber at the end, with the way he was holding it and the shape of the tip? I got a little teary when his bud was cradling him. That's a first for SW for me. I was on that beach with them, emotionally.
Costume design? Hell yes. If the original trilogy was WW2, this was Vietnam. Loved that choice.
Tonally I'm in love. I hope all the star wars stories can be this compelling. Loved the dark parts. I live on that ****. The dread I felt at the end of the movie (I was so engrossed I actually forgot that everyone was going to die) was great. I want to ask any old-timers if this is how they felt after Empire. Sure, we know what happens, but shoot, that doesn't make what happened in the movie weigh any less on me.
Alan Tudyk and whoever animated K are the real winners here.
And yes, half my brain was playing a game of EOTE/AOE the whole movie because stealing imperial ships and uniforms to get into imperial facilities is 3/4 of what we do in my game hahaha.
Tl;dr just go see the movie. Convince Disney we need another gamble on non-established characters.
OH, and Tarkin. I hated the CGI. And it was super noticeable to my girlfriend, who is not familiar with the character at all. She immediately turned to me and said he looked weird. Leia looked better though, but she had way less to do.