Rogue One is largely free of the weight of myth and expectation that were borne by The Force Awakens, and this turns out to be both a good and a bad thing.
With all the aerial dogfights, armored combat vehicles, grenades, flame-throwers and snipers, Rogue One feels like a film for those who think that most Star Wars movies are insufficiently like World War II flicks.
The good news is that Edwards' effort to make a storm-the-beach war film produces a tense third act that earns most of its big moments and also justifies much of what's come before.
A a tense, well-made spacefaring war movie about a desperate and demoralized band of insurgents standing up against a rising authoritarian regime.
Audiences once packed theaters to gawk at the future; now, it's to soak in the past. The emphasis is on packing in as much nostalgia as possible and tersely editing it together to resemble a film.
"Rogue One" spins "Star Wars" into a whole new orbit.
[K-2SO] has all the good lines. I'm not sure if it's such a good thing that the best character in a sci-fi movie is a robot. But then again, the best character in 2001: A Space Odyssey was HAL, and that film wasn't half-bad.
Except for a few jocose, fan-serving moments, the movie is a dour affair, lacking the charm and chills of J.J. Abrams's spirited Star Wars: The Force Awakens, not to mention George Lucas's founding trilogy.
Rogue One works best because its story is so narrowly focused.