Something I've thought of is that potentially, the Shenzhou is in the Kelvin timeline, and the Discovery is in the Prime timeline. From the latest descriptions ("universe-changing decisions") it seems like it could be a possibility.
A good way to ease in fans who've only heard of the new movies.
Probably won't happen, but hey? Who knows?
I'm actually fine with the god vs angels angle that he was going for except that he didn't really do that. He just dangled it in front of our faces and then didn't do anything at all with that story line. As you say, unimaginative. Based on that I didn't bother with this latest movie figuring it would be the same and it sounds like it was.
He's milking the franchise and we are taking notice.