This is such a weird movie to watch. I think I've see the animated GITS perhaps 50 times. And I owned the manga as well, which I read multiple times.
In this movie I see pieces of the original, scenes done exactly like in the GITS anime. And they are nearly perfect, beautifully done. As many other reviewers have stated, the movie is a visual spectacle, but is, as is Hollywood, hollow. The original themes and story disintegrated into a hollow form that reeks of interference by those that never understood the original.
It's a bit of a mix visually of The Matrix, Blade Runner, Assassin's Creed (the game), and weirdly, Max Headroom. It's like those in charge of the movie had a lot of great influences, but couldn't be creative enough to develop their own and didn't want to stick to the original GITS imagery for reasons I can't guess.
The storyline is pure Hollywood and we've seen it a million times. It totally breaks away from the OG GITS and has a "bad guy" who, in his highly altered form is muscular, which is so weird and un-necessary. His voice glitches like Max Headroom, and he has to explain his whole "thing" to the audience, giving us a narrative instead of building a story that brings us to the internal struggle of The Major and the human condition or "ghost's" need to explore, evolve, become stronger in ways that seem dangerous or illogical to some. Evolution, indeed, is a critical piece of the story that is simply washed away.
Add onto that the standard stagnant seen and heard in any other action movie one-liners and the multitude of advertisements with little to no character development and, you get a ho-hum 4 star rated overproduced underwritten predictable story with a lot of paint (visual effects) to cover up that fact and hope the shiny object will keep you from noticing.
I'm personally tired of it. Of all the focus on gun fights, drugs, and fighting in general while dumbing down one of the most important stories told, a story with real-world, right-now consequences voiced by some of the most powerful in the world (Elon Musk) when it comes to AI, humans, and what kind of future to expect.
As an adaptation of the OG GITS anime, it gets a 1 or 2 for trying and succeeding in the visual through some scenes (just an homage to the original) that are nearly frame-for-frame exact. But the most important part, the story, is gone. Stick to the anime or manga. Watch and read it several times. And remember that it predated the Matrix and perhaps even inspired it. It's brilliant and should have been given a more serious live-action representation. The actors all did their job. As did the visual effects artists. The writers and producers failed miserably on this one. As a stand-alone movie, ignoring the original material, it's a solid 5. Worth a watch if you like sci-fi movies.