Another year, another Star Wars movie, we are getting spoiled. But this isn't the next entry in the episodic sequence, no, we need to wait until next year for that. But while we wait, Disney have moved from sequel territory to prequel, although it's technically a sequel as well... This is Rogue One, set some time after the events of Episode III, and less time before the events of Episode IV. It follows a rag tag bunch of rebels, lead by Jyn Erso (Felicity Jones) and Cassian Andor (Diego Luna) as they attempt to steal the plans for the Death Star. That's about as much of the plot as I'll give away, I know people can be touchy about that (me included).
This is a damn good Star Wars move, hell, it's a damn good movie. Many were extremely dubious when Disney bought the franchise, but I'd say they're continuing to deliver in better ways than anyone expected. Episode VII was a great callback to the original trilogy, and Rogue One shows what they're willing to do pushing forward. It brings the wars back into Star Wars, with epic fight scenes, great, sprawling assaults, and yes, battles in space. The visuals are top notch, the action is amazing, this is a blockbuster that delivers on a lot of fronts.
That's not to say it's not without its flaws. Since the action is pretty non-stop, the ensemble of characters doesn't quite get as fleshed out as they could. Some seem to be there just to being a different fighting style to the table, and while that's cool, they do lack the depth of others. Felicity Jones is a pretty good leading lady, and Diego Luna turns in a decent effort too, but with not much downtime between scenes there's not really enough time to build up the chemistry. In a way the plot suffers from this as well, it's a little linear and cookie cutter, but since this is a prequel with the story afterwards already very well known, it does well fitting in with the canon overall, and there are so many references and easter eggs scattered throughout that it connects everything up very nicely.
This is where Rogue One shines. It caters to the fans, and provides so many nods and continuities, but still stands as a great movie in its own right. Characters appear who have been pretty fleshed out in the TV shows (so I've heard, I haven't seen them myself), and there are yet more brief references to other things that already have a pretty firm standing in other parts of the franchise. There are some fantastic connections to Episode IV that are mostly very well done, overall this is a movie that was made with the fans very much in mind, and it's hopefully a glimpse of what's to come in what Disney have to offer to Star Wars. Rogue One is not the perfect movie, but it is a fantastic Star Wars movie, and I'm looking forward to Episode VIII even more than I was before.
My rating: 4/5