‘Rogue One’ Is ‘Everything Fans Would Want’ and 8 More Glowing Reviews

“Star Wars” prequel starring Felicity Jones, Mads Mikkelsen and Diego Luna hits theaters on Friday

Reviews for “Rogue One: A Star Wars Story” are in, and critics are calling it “groundbreaking” and the “best ‘Star Wars’ prequel film” yet.

“‘Rogue One: A Star Wars Story’ delivers everything fans would want from a “Star Wars” movie: stirring action, beloved familiar faces, and a deepening of the mythology of the series. Everyone wins,” wrote Detroit News film critic Adam Graham.

The film has 84 percent score on Rotten Tomatoes. One critic said “Rogue One” has one of the “most impressive space battle in the series. Another said it’s a “film that stands with the best of the franchise.”

TheWrap’s Alonso Duralde wasn’t very impressed, writing, “‘Rogue One: A Star Wars Story’ is for the fans, all right, but in that expression’s worst way. Unless you’re thrilled by the idea of 133 minutes of sideways mentions, shout-outs and straight-up references to the original ‘Star Wars’ (or ‘Episode IV: A New Hope,’ for those born after 1977), there’s not nearly enough excitement going on here, much less character, plot or story.”

The new film, directed by Gareth Edwards (“Godzilla”), stars Felicity Jones as rebellion leader Jyn Erso. It takes place between the prequels and original trilogies and depicts Erso’s efforts to steal the plans for the Death Star, the ultimate weapon of the Galactic Empire.

Among Erso’s allies are Rebel intel officer Cassian Andor (Diego Luna), Force warrior Chirrut Imwe (Donnie Yen), and Clone War veteran Saw Gerrera (Forest Whitaker). Mads Mikkelsen, who also played the villain in Disney-Marvel’s “Doctor Strange,” plays Galen Erso, Jyn’s father.

“Rogue One” hits theaters on Dec. 16.

See 9 of the best reviews below.

Britton Peele, Dallas Morning News:

“‘Rogue One: A Star Wars Story’ is anything but a cheap cash-in. Not only is it the best ‘Star Wars’ prequel film (taking place immediately before the original 1977 movie, ‘A New Hope,’ but many years after episodes I-III), it’s also a movie that stands impressively tall on its own merits. Yes, it’s part of a series that is now eight movies strong, but it also works alone as a movie about war, oppression, a dangerous heist, a daring rebellion and a spark of hope that ignites the final stages of a revolution.”

Adam Graham, The Detroit News: 

“‘Rogue One’ is groundbreaking for the ‘Star Wars’ franchise, a rousing side story that blows the doors wide open for future installments of the series. That it stands on its own as a slam-bam action thrill ride is a bonus. ‘Rogue One: A Star Wars Story’ delivers everything fans would want from a “Star Wars” movie: stirring action, beloved familiar faces, and a deepening of the mythology of the series. Everyone wins.”

Roger Moore, Movie Nation:

“‘Rogue One: A Star Wars Story’ has fresh faces, fresh music, fresh tech and a fresh take on ‘Star Wars,’ a rarity in this venerable franchise. It’s almost wholly satisfying — witty, warm and entertaining — a film in which fatalism isn’t a joke, where pitiless death is doled out by Empire and Rebellion, where those deaths have weight and meaning, where suspense is genuine, even if we know that this other-point-of-view prequel will wind up with a very irked Darth Vader.”

Justin Chang, Los Angeles Times:

“A similar sense of dramatic convergence materializes during ‘Rogue One’s’ pulse-quickening endgame, which offers the curious satisfaction of turning an unfinished story — a heroic mission in service of a deferred moment of victory — into a resonant pop-cultural moment. As the puzzle pieces snap into place, with a level of precision and economy that honors and even transcends the narrative foundation of ‘A New Hope,’ ‘Rogue One’ at last finds its own reason for being. For one thrilling final stretch, everything old really is new again.”

Matt Zoller Seitz, Roger Ebert:

“It culminates in a thunderous final act that weaves together the most impressive space battle in the series with a prolonged ground assault on an Imperial fortress in which casualties have both physical and emotional weight (which is something ‘Star Wars’ was never big on). But it also bridges the fairy-tale despair of the prequels to the rah-rah idealism of the original trilogy, spackling decades-old logic holes as it goes along. (Chris Weitz and Tony Gilroy’s script even retro-engineers an answer to the question of why the Galactic Empire would build a super-weapon that could be vaporized with a single well-placed shot.) ‘Rogue One’ is a letdown in other areas, and there are creative decisions so ill-conceived they take you out of the story. But somehow these aren’t enough to sink the movie, which manages to succeed as both super-nerdy fan service and the first entry since the 1977 original that will satisfy people who have never seen a ‘Star Wars’ film.”

Brian Lowry, CNN

“‘Rogue One: A Star Wars Story’ answers the question of whether that galaxy far, far away is big enough to sustain multiple offshoots with an emphatic yes, delivering an extremely muscular and satisfying expansion of what had been, under George Lucas, a rather underdeveloped universe … And ‘Rogue One’ does feel different from the main movies, darker, grittier — much closer in tone to an old war movie … This is essentially the real long-lost prequel to ‘Star Wars,’ just 39 years later, and director Gareth Edwards has the advantage of being able to incorporate plenty of crowd-pleasing callbacks to the original.”

Tony Hicks, San Jose Mercury News
“‘Rogue One: A Star Wars Story’ is an absolute thrill ride. At times, the action scenes are so visceral it’s like being on the ‘Star Tours’ ride at Disneyland. There are things to give longtime Star Wars fans giggles of recognition juxtaposed against fresh places and faces. Yes, it helps to be a Star Wars fan to watch ‘Rogue One,’ but it still works for everyone else. It’s a film that stands with the best of the franchise.”

Forrest Wickman, Slate

“By breaking some of the rules, ‘Rogue One’ has made itself the first movie since ‘The Empire Strikes’ Back to redefine the boundaries of what a ‘Star Wars’ movie can be. ‘The Force Awakens’ may have reanimated the once-dormant franchise, but it’s ‘Rogue One’ that will give ‘Star Wars’ fans a new hope.”

James Dyer, Empire Online: 

“The ultimate ‘Star Wars’ fan film, it’s short on whimsy but when it gets going there’s enough risk-taking and spectacle to bode well for future standalones.”

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