Rogue One is the first standalone movie set in the Star Wars universe and, despite some lazy character development, it’s a worthy addition to the canon. We follow Jyn Erso, a reluctant recruit to the Rebel Alliance, and a motley band of freedom fighters as they try to steal the plans for the first Death Star. The plot moves along at a brisk pace and it soon becomes apparent that we are watching a war movie that is much darker in tone than other entries in the series (with the possible exception of The Empire Strikes Back). The theme of war and its costs hasn’t been explored much in the previous movies, so I was a little surprised at how bleak Rogue One could be at times.
The movie also provides a wealth of visually arresting moments as well as carefully placed Easter eggs for the hardcore fan. I’ve already seen it twice and I’m sure I still didn’t completely absorb all of the details in each scene. I would have liked a little more depth in the main characters and fewer vaguely portentous lines about their backstories, but vaguely portentous statements are the bread and butter of Star Wars. Perhaps the next standalone movie (featuring a young Han Solo) will do better in that regard, but Rogue One is still hugely entertaining.