This is the first in what's supposed to be everlasting years of Star Wars Anthology films and it was generally average. I suppose expectations are going to be high on this coming off of Episode 7 and preceding Episode 8. With that in mind it did feel incredibly like a filler telling an interesting story, but one that didn't entirely feel necessary. The general plot of the story was to build on the universe by showing us how The Death Star came to be and where the rebels got the plans at the start of Episode 4.
The lead here was Jyn Erso (Felicity Jones), the daughter of The Death Star's creator and one that was definitely always a typical rebellious individual. The rebels break her out from an Imperial prison and want to have her help them find her father. This initial mission sends her outward with Cassian (Diego Luna) and the most charismatic/best member of the rebel squad K-2SO (Alan Tudyk). This robot absolutely stole every scene he was in providing a somewhat sarcastic and hilarious point of view. Eventually the squad grows with some Force religious type guys and other random rebels.
Despite focusing on a small group in this film it still was not at all an intimate setting as there were massive space battles and gigantic amounts of carnage. For those wanting to see the technology of today at full force in a Star Wars film, look no further as it just piles on troop numbers. This almost felt a bit off considering that they could have taken more chances with this or even packed an emotional punch with a smaller group, but that was thrown to the side.
There's also a wide variety of cameos thrown into this film in order to almost force this into the franchise and it felt a bit off there. The tone was also really dark and yet still attempted to reach epic heights despite having no characters that should bring that level of required stakes. It was particularly odd that the rebellious convict was even discussing certain mission aspects with the core Rebel leaders and it felt off.
The scale of the worlds that were visited in this film was larger in scale than any of the previous entries. They basically doubled the amount of known planets in the other movies (for those unfamiliar with the extended universe or larger new film universe) and it was hard to keep track of them all.
They also continued the odd love that this series has for desert planets, but that one is a big surprise for fans and a bit disappointing to see what happened with it. The CGI was absolutely incredible in the film truly making each setting come alive and recreating some of the most magical elements of the series. The scale of destruction was also wild with huge amounts of debris being sent everywhere and it was also very dark at most moments.
This is a different kind of Star Wars taking a dark tone with a group of somewhat forgettable characters. I felt my expectations were a bit high for this one so my score is definitely reflective of taking this movie by the quality. The theater of war was massive at most moments and while they had a chance to do something wild or intimate with the cast it turned into just another battle in the universe.
It felt like a bit of a filler movie and I'm unsure how interested I'll be in watching this again as for this one a single theater viewing will suffice. The score was also solid in this keeping with the moody tone, but didn't feel as strong in comparison to that in the main episodes. Rogue One is a decent spin-off for the series, yet not the strong start I was hoping for a series of films that's supposed to go on for a very long time.
Star Wars: Rogue One Review at Theater with Dolby Atmos DBox Viewing