This is not your typical "Star Wars" movie. I would say this is a war film inside of the Star Wars universe. It's dark, gritty, and violent. But "Rogue One: A Star Wars Story" shattered all of my expectations as cheaply done spinoff film. The action is phenomenal while still maintaining a heart felt story. While it isn't perfect, this film holds up among the other films and really offers a fresh taste of originality to the Star Wars filmography (I'm talking about you, "Force Awakens"). But this is a film that will be talked about for a while and it sets a very high standard for other Star Wars spin off films.
The biggest complaint I have about Rogue One is the lack of character backstory and development for the ensemble of characters. The only characters I felt attached to were Jyn and Cassious. Donnie Yen's force monk character was awesome but we barely knew about him. The pilot was a bit wacky at times and his actions seemed confusing at certain points. Saw Guerrera (Forrest Whittaker) was very underwhelming from how the trailers depicted him. This is a similar issue another ensemble film, the abomination known as Suicide Squad, struggled with but I believe this film handled it better... the characters were all still likeable.
Another issue I had was how rushed the first act felt. At one point the film travels to 4 different planets and cities within a 5 or 7 minute span. I felt confused at certain points as to where the characters were and why. The time could've been better used learning more about the ensemble characters rather than on Saw Guerera. I feel that his character was simply thrown in to give Clone Wars fans a little hoot but it just felt forced.
Also the clear homages to other Star Wars films were present but besides Guerrera's character, they felt delightful and seamless. My favorite little flashback to the other films had to be Darth Vader. Every scene he's in is fantastic and while he's used only sparingly, he's used effectively. I'm going to simply call it "the scene" with Vader and it will blow your mind as a Star Wars fan or casual viewer alike.
As for the new characters, I absolutely loved Jyn Erso (Felicity Jones) and her nemesis Orson Krennic (Ben Mendelsohn). They're both layered characters that I really enjoyed seeing progress throughout the plot. Also to my complete surprise, the CGI robot known as K2-S0 nearly stole the show away from our main characters. He was everything Jar Jar should've been... a comedic relief that actually contributes to the story. K2-S0 is one of my favorite Star Wars characters now, that's how flipping awesome he was.
Overall I think this movie separates itself from the past 7 films but in a very satisfying way. In my opinion I actually think this is a slightly better film than the force awakens and what gives it the edge is it's originality. It's not a perfect movie but it is one hell of a ride.
Must See For Any Star Wars Fan