Like so many people, we poo-pooed the movie originally because of the casting of ScarJo. When I saw that 'Beat' Takeshi was going to be in it, I was like, "Well, shit. I guess I gotta go see it now!". Then, a few days after it's release, The Hubs told me that, while the movie flopped in the U.S., it was doing great in Japan! In Japan! Apparently, the Japanese don't have a problem with the casting of Major, like us American fans do. So, persuaded by this, The Hubs and I went out and watched the movie for ourselves.
I still have my complaints, though not as many as I had going in. In the anime movie, Major doesn't focus so much on her past, and accepts what she is, a true ghost existing in the network. The movie was too...squishy, too feel-good for my taste. I've never seen the GItS: Stand Alone Complex series because I thought the Major's story was already done and over with in the first anime movie, so I'm not familiar with The Laughing Man arc, but I found the villain of the whole conflict too predictable. But hey, Spider Tank!
I worried that 'Beat' Takeshi was cast only for aesthetic purposes, but you don't ever cast him as a character that just sits around and gives orders. He did not disappoint.
So, do I recommend Ghost In the Shell? For a movie based on a ground-breaking anime that inspired The Matrix movies, it didn't blow me away. But I'm pleased with the nods to the source material(s), even if the casting of Major still doesn't sit comfy with me. It's still a good action-packed, visually stunning movie. So, yeah. I do recommend it.