Review: Solo Is An Uneven Star Wars Film. But It\'s Filled With Terrific Performances

strong data-redactor-tag="strong" data-verified="redactor"">>4. The New York Times

The injunction not to ruin anyone's good time by "revealing spoilers and detailed story points" is itself revealing, an indication of the meager and disposable pleasures this movie is meant to provide, and also of the low regard its makers have for the audience. It hasn't always been this way, of course. The first Star Wars trilogy had a fresh, insurgent energy, and learning the names of all those planets and galactic adventurers has seemed, to generations of fans, like a new and special kind of fun.

Now, though, it is starting to feel like drudgery, a schoolbook exercise in a course of study that has no useful application and that will never end. Rogue One, named for the call sign of an imperial cargo ship appropriated by rebel fighters, is the opposite of that vessel. Masquerading as a heroic tale of rebellion, its true spirit is Empire all the way down. Like the fighters on the planet Scarif, which is surrounded by an all-but-impenetrable atmospheric shield, you are trapped inside this world, subjected to its whims and laws. You can't escape, because it is the supposed desire to escape that brought you here in the first place.

Star Wars Rogue Cassian Andor (Diego Luna)
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5. The Hollywood Reporter

Rogue One definitely puts the war back into Star Wars. It may call itself rogue, but this first stand-alone feature in the series officially unconnected with any of the previous entries fits comfortably in the universe George Lucas birthed 40 years ago. Loaded with more battle action than any of its seven predecessors, Rogue One: A Star Wars Story plays like a setup for the events in the 1977 original and, for the most part, does so quite entertainingly.

Since anticipation for its arrival can't possibly match the pent-up public excitement that surrounded the franchise's rebirth with Star Wars: The Force Awakens a year ago, box office probably won't equal that film's staggering $2 billion worldwide haul, but everyone at Disney command central will still be all smiles for a good while after the December 16 opening.

Star Wars Rogue One Donnie Yen as Chirrut Imwe
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©  Lucasfilm

6. Entertainment Weekly

Rogue One would have been a very good stand-alone sci-fi movie if it came out under a different name. But what makes it especially exciting is how it perfectly snaps right into the Star Wars timeline and connects events we already know by heart with ones that we never even considered. It makes you wonder how many other untold stories are waiting in the shadowy corners of Lucas' galaxy far far away.

Jimmy Smitt as Bail Organa in Rogue One: A Star Wars Story clip
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7. Empire

At points Rogue One does resemble Star Wars bingo: here's a glass of blue milk, there's a mouse-robot sound effect, there's that character you like doing that line he's famous for. Some of it's clumsy, some of it's great (watch out for some ingeniously repurposed archive footage from A New Hope).

But like The Force Awakens before it, the movie gets better the more it deviates from past triumphs. Unlike Awakens, which slid into Star Wars cliché as it went, this standalone story struggles through a slightly uneven middle section but ends on a high, with a triumphant third act set on the tropical planet of Scarif. Taking its cue from Churchill - "We shall fight them on the beaches" - it's part heist, part battle, a thundering action spectacle with AT-ATs stomping down palm trees, death troopers splashing in azure waters and some truly surprising twists. It's here, when Rogue One shakes off formula and goes rogue itself, that it finally fulfills its promise.

Star Wars, Rogue One, Felicity Jones as Jyn Erso
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©  Lucasfilm

8. Nerdist

While certainly not a perfect movie, I feel like Rogue One: A Star Wars Story succeeds far more than it doesn't, and has some rich characters and terrific performances (specifically Tudyk and Yen) to go along with the beautiful visuals and intense action. I'm not ashamed to admit the finale had me choking up in a wave of nostalgic glee.

Whether this nostalgia sells some of the new characters and elements short is debatable, but it made this particular fan's heart sing.

Darth Vader in Rogue One
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©  Lucasfilm Entertainment Weekly

9. Telegraph

Despite its darker tone, Rogue One feels cosily at home in the Star Wars universe, and is crowded with the kind of imagination-tickling details the franchise thrives on.

Jyn Erso in Rogue One
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©  Lucasfilm

10. /Film

Rogue One is thrilling, an action-packed adventure in a chapter that we never imagined we would ever see on screen. It's a fantastic trip to new worlds within a galaxy we love, adding to the mythology without having to be beholden to the Skywalker legacy as a focal point. It may have taken four decades, but this film finally earns the word "Wars" in the "Star Wars" branding. And we finally get a Star Wars prequel movie worthy of playing alongside the original trilogy.

It's gritty and dark, yet gorgeous and big scale. We feel more in the center of the action, and it often feels different than what has come before in the series. For instance, Donnie Yen's character Chirrut Îmwe brings a samurai-style that gives us a nice break from the blaster firefights and X-wing battles of old.

K-2SO in Rogue One: A Star Wars Stor
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©  Lucasfilm

Aside from The New York Times, everyone seems fairly impressed. Finally, a Star Wars prequel we can be proud of...

It's nearly time for your verdict! Rogue One: A Star Wars Story opens on Thursday (December 15) in the UK and Friday (December 16) in the US.

Watch Digital Spy chat with em data-redactor-tag="em" data-verified="redactor"">>Rogue One: A Star Wars Story's Diego Luna below:


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Review: Solo Is An Uneven Star Wars Film. But It\'s Filled With Terrific Performances

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Review: Solo Is An Uneven Star Wars Film. But It\'s Filled With Terrific Performances

Review: Solo Is An Uneven Star Wars Film. But It\'s Filled With Terrific Performances

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Review: Solo Is An Uneven Star Wars Film. But It\'s Filled With Terrific Performances

Review: Solo Is An Uneven Star Wars Film. But It\'s Filled With Terrific Performances

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Review: Solo Is An Uneven Star Wars Film. But It\'s Filled With Terrific Performances

Review: Solo Is An Uneven Star Wars Film. But It\'s Filled With Terrific Performances

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Review: Solo Is An Uneven Star Wars Film. But It\'s Filled With Terrific Performances

Review: Solo Is An Uneven Star Wars Film. But It\'s Filled With Terrific Performances

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Review: Solo Is An Uneven Star Wars Film. But It\'s Filled With Terrific Performances

Review: Solo Is An Uneven Star Wars Film. But It\'s Filled With Terrific Performances

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Review: Solo Is An Uneven Star Wars Film. But It\'s Filled With Terrific Performances

Review: Solo Is An Uneven Star Wars Film. But It\'s Filled With Terrific Performances

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Review: Solo Is An Uneven Star Wars Film. But It\'s Filled With Terrific Performances