Rogue One promises to be a Star Wars for adults.
The movie is dark, gritty, and expansive. The world-building here paints a picture of a war-torn world, not just a dysfunctional family at the center of a battle between the light and dark side of the force. Panoramic shots of different planets, terrains, and bases show us that this is not just some squabble in one corner of the universe.
The battle scenes are bigger in scale, as the movie combines aerial fight scenes with ground skirmishes. Apart from engaging space dogfights between X-Wings and TIE fighters thanks to shifting points of view, you have mass destruction in space.
Unfortunately, no matter how hard Rogue One tries to establish itself as its own Star Wars story, it keeps on getting pulled back by retcon storytelling.
This movie could have been a compelling tragic tale about people who are caught in a war and do their best for a cause they believe in. Instead, we get movie tie-ins, creepy CGI, and negligible additional information spread over two hours.
There is a charming cast to get you through, but this a movie about rebels with no characters to invest in. You get an underwritten protagonist, a generic villain, and POCs used as a plot device. All of them are caught up in the cliched narrative about the ragtag of misfits saving the day, which includes the classic pull the lever moment.
There are interesting perspectives here that could’ve been told. It’s interesting to note that there is little difference between Orson Krennic (Imperial Director), Cassian Andor (rebel assassin), Gelan Erso (scientist), and Saw Gerrera (extremist) but it’s not explored.
Rogue One – A Star Wars Story has the elements to be a good standalone movie, but it’s too constrained by its contractual obligations to be a filler in the Star Wars Universe. The result is a spin-off that’s forced into a connected universe to make more money for its stakeholders.
This spin-off is for the fans who will watch anything Star Wars and has bought too many toys to leave the franchise.
Rogue One: A Star Wars
Rogue One: A Star Wars Story is an overlong and overblown action-adventure that's not the least bit rebellious.