The embargo is now over on “Rogue One: A Star Wars Story” reviews and the verdicts are in. Currently holding an 83% and average rating of 7.6/10 on Rotten Tomatoes, the verdict is very good for the “Star Wars” spin-off.
Below are a sampling of review quotes which praise the direction and decidedly more adult tone along with a looser and rougher approach, but criticise some of the flatter characters and callbacks to the original trilogy:
“Somewhat free of the weight of expectations that Force Awakens had to maneuver under, Rogue One is looser and livelier and more daring. It fits into this universe’s milieu with ease and style, while exploring new emotional and narrative terrain. Which is not to damn the film with faint praise. Edwards’s work is sophisticated and deftly choreographed, gradually crescendoing in size and scope without losing its sinewy elan. There’s a haunted air about Rogue One… George Lucas never got there with his first three prequels, opting for kiddie gleam instead of the melancholy of impending doom. But Edwards more than achieves that sense of inevitability, giving Rogue One- all about forgotten heroes of an old war – a maturity that I’m frankly surprised Disney signed-off on….” Richard Lawson, Vanity Fair
“I have to say I am surprised that I liked the first ‘stand-alone’ entry in the franchise, Rogue One: A Star Wars Story, as much as I did. It is not hype on my part to say I really think this could be my favorite of all of them. It’s certainly the grittiest, even using indie film technique like hand-held cameras, and also is the first one to play like a war picture….” Pete Hammond, Deadline
“Loaded with more battle action than any of its seven predecessors, Rogue One: A Star Wars Story plays like a set-up for the events in the 1977 original and, for the most part, does so quite entertainingly. Shooting in a more spontaneous-feeling manner than his series predecessors that keeps the energy high and both the actors and the audience on their toes, Edwards builds up to a gigantic third-act showdown that plays like a sci-fi version of the Battle of Iwo Jima, complete with tropical island…” Todd McCarthy, THR
“‘Rogue One’ nails what it means to be Star Wars in seemingly every way, and it’s not afraid to scare the bejeezus out of a few kids to get there. The relatively uncomplicated structure also helps the movie’s pacing. We see what’s happening with the Rebels, then we see what’s happening with the Imperials. There’s exposition, but not a lot of filler, and those strands regularly link with gritty, handheld, boots-on-the-ground action that gives the audience a more human view of the galaxy. It’s a Star Wars story, but on the street level…” Germain Lussier, io9
“Gareth Edwards has finally made the first “Star Wars” movie for grown-ups. The plot is designed less like a flashy video game, and more like a down-and-dirty war movie… Younger audiences will be bored, confused, or both. But for the original generation of “Star Wars” fans who weren’t sure what to make of episodes one, two, and three, “Rogue One” is the prequel they’ve always wanted…” Peter Debruge, Variety
“Taking place just before the events of the first released Star Wars movie in 1977, this spin-off/prequel has the same primitive, lived-in, emotional, loopy, let’s-put-on-a-show spirit that made us fall in love with the original trilogy. As a movie, it can feel alternately slow and rushed, cobbled together out of spare parts, and in need of more time of the drawing board. But the damn thing is alive and bursting with the euphoric joy of discovery that caught us up in the adventurous fun nearly four decades ago…” Peter Travers, Rolling Stone
“A flawed, but often thrilling entry in the ‘Star Wars’ universe, ‘Rogue One’, patchy or not, makes a strong and persuasive case for continuing further chronicles outside of the main Skywalker-family saga. This left-field, much darker film has a terrific concept… yet the film’s execution is, at times, a little disjointed and clunky. For many, ‘Rogue One’ will be the ‘Star Wars’ film they’ve always yearned for: a more adult, rough-edged and passionate picture that considers what it means to be at war and the deep costs of fighting for one’s beliefs…” Rodrigo Perez, The Playlist
“Almost everything that works about “Rogue One” does so on its own strength, and almost everything that doesn’t work about ‘Rogue One’ does so out of out of deference to other movies that were already holding up fine on their own. It can be cute to watch this cast reach into history and tie knots out of the franchise’s loose ends, but Edwards’ film doesn’t just leverage the franchise’s first two trilogies, it relies on them (a feeling that’s made all the more frustrating by the director’s obvious ability to endow sui generis moments with the saga’s signature thrill)…” David Ehrlich, Indiewire
“Gareth Edwards’ movie does its job with style, energy and respect for the cultish Star Wars fans and the original creators. That also makes it tons of fun to watch. Rogue One may not have the gravitas and scope of The Force Awakens, but it is a quirky companion piece. It is, however, violent. Battle scenes are prolonged. The death toll is staggering. Yet the violence is never bloody. So parents will have to decide for themselves what age, and which children, should watch…” Bruce Kirkland, Calgary Sun
“Rogue One: A Star Wars Story” opens in cinemas on December 16th.