Have never read the novel, not sure if the film follows the novel to the dot or skew from it. Though just finished watching it today, most of time at 2x or more so somethings might be missed, like to address some of things in this post. Not to go against anyone though. Hopefully can post without spoil bunch of things for those that have not read the novel or watch the part 1 yet.
Unless somewhere mentioned the specific years after Char’s Counterattack, Unicorn, NT, or maybe it was on the news things somewhere, the film did not explicitly stated what year it was. In fact, it did not even stated that everything takes place in Universal Century. Again, might have missed that somewhere, but did not see any mentions. So it was understandable that if someone never read anything about the film and watched it the first time will likely not knowing when this event take place.
Anaheim Electronic did develop the Gundams. And most likely the organization paid for it. But again, just going by the film, they did not really specify how it was acquired, except that it will show up at some rendezvous point.
Got bunch of Gundam series to catch up, after watching the part 1 and though have not watched Z in full, it feels that the group was not too different than that of AEUG. In Z, it was AEUG vs Titan, which was converted from the old Federation. In part 1, it was Mafty vs the Federation. Not to be political or anything, but pretty much any anti government groups can and will be considered as terrorists if they take extreme measures such as attacking government establishments and officials or riots. Also not conforming to laws and breaking them repeatedly, regardless of their intentions, will definitely make them enemies of the government. So in the case of Mafty, due to their use of force, they will be considered as terrorists, even if their intentions were good. Though large scale battle was most likely not their intention.
As for their mood in the organization, well, you cannot really expect them to be all dark and gloomy. If you watch some other films, probably like Mission Impossible or something, the bad guys were also happy and contend within their organization.
Since only the part 1 was released, the other 2 parts will likely be more of backstory and character developments, hopefully. But that will definitely be depended on how much they can and willing to squeeze in the next 4 hours or so. Hopefully they do provide backstory of the organization and how it came to be. Most probable, not unlike other movies, part 3 will be more concentrated on Mafty fighting against Federation.
Now, probably the only person that got confused the first time, but thought the Penelope pilot’s name was Lame Aim on first watch. It was a “what the…” moment. Had to rolled back a little to catch the subtitle stated Lane Aim… Eyesight is getting worse these days…