Rogue One: A Star Wars Story Review Roundup

Does the prequel live up to the hype?

By Francesca Bacardi Dec 13, 2016 8:02 PMTags
Watch: Felicity Jones Talks Filming "Rogue One: A Star Wars Story"

Star Wars fans will finally get what they've been eagerly waiting for this week: Rogue One: A Star Wars Story.

The film, which will pull in tons of loyal fans no matter what the reviews say, officially hits theaters Friday with some screenings Thursday night. The highly anticipated prequel, which takes place between Star Wars: Revenge of the Sith and Star Wars: A New Hope, has been reviewed and judged. So, what do the critics say about Rogue One? They mostly agree that there are too many characters with not enough time to flesh them out, but all in all it's entertaining. But read on to decide for yourselves whether you should see or skip this flick.

Rogue One: A Star Wars Story Premiere

New York Times: "You're left wanting both more and less. There are too many characters, too much tactical and technical explanation, too much pseudo-political prattle. And at the same time, there isn't quite enough of the filial dynamic between Galen (Mads Mikkelsen) and Jyn (Felicity Jones), and not enough weight given to the ethical and strategic problems of rebellion. When might ends justify means? What kind of sacrifice is required in the service of a righteous cause?"


The Verge: "The screwball banter from characters like Han Solo and Princess Leia—or Rey and Finn, for that matter—are so essential to what we think of as Star Wars, so it's hard not to feel like something's amiss when those kind of exchanges never materialize, or when the darker tone never gives way to the Flash Gordon-style adventure we've grown accustomed to. The score also suffers from comparisons. Michael Giacchino's work is excellent, but despite a spattering of themes and adopted stylistic flourishes, the film simply doesn't have the John Williams cues that have become so inextricably linked to the franchise. It's a tension that runs throughout the film: it's trying to be Star Wars, but not. It's trying to do something original, but not too original."

Rogue One: A Star Wars Story's Felicity Jones, Diego Luna and More Dish On Their Most Wild Experiences ''Going Rogue''
Jonathan Olley/Lucasfilm

Variety: "Still, between epic battles featuring scores of familiar spaceships and the genuine thrill of hearing composer Michael Giacchino riff on John Williams' classic score, there's no denying that the film belongs to the creative universe Lucas established. This is the rebellion as it is experienced in the trenches. Younger audiences will be bored, confused, or both. But for the original generation of "Star Wars" fans who weren't sure what to make of episodes one, two, and three, "Rogue One" is the prequel they've always wanted."

Jonathan Olley/Lucasfilm

Rolling Stone: "As a movie, it can feel alternately slow and rushed, cobbled together out of spare parts, and in need of more time on the drawing board. But the damn thing is alive and bursting with the euphoric joy of discovery that caught us up in the adventurous fun nearly four decades ago. Familiar faces, human and droid, make cameos. But not once do you doubt that the new characters are breathing the same air as Luke, Leia, Han, Chewie and that baddest of badasses, Darth Vader."

How Beyoncé Impacted Rogue One: A Star Wars Story
Jonathan Olley/Lucasfilm

The Hollywood Reporter: What the film really lacks is a strong and vigorous male lead (such as Han Solo or John Boyega's Finn in The Force Awakens) to balance more equally with Jyn and supply a sparring partner. None of the men here has real physical or vocal stature, nor any scenes in which they can decisively emerge from the pack in a way that engages audience enthusiasm. Both [Diego] Luna and [Riz] Ahmed have proved themselves repeatedly in big-screen and television performances, but their characters never pop here, to the film's detriment. And given that Jyn is rather less gung-ho and imposing than was [Daisy] Ridley's Rey, there's an overall feel of less physical capacity on the part of the main characters.

USA Today: "At least the woman at the heart of Rogue One is memorable. Played with defiant verve by Felicity Jones, Jyn Erso has a back story—told in a fantastic opening sequence—that puts her at odds with the Empire. Her father, Galen, is key to the Death Star's operational capabilities, and the Rebels see Jyn as a means to shut down this superweapon of mass destruction...But important characterization gets lost amid fan-service gymnastics, excessive even for a Star Wars aficionado. The effort put into working in Easter eggs, winks and knowing nods to the past could have been used better to further its new cast."

Rogue One: A Star Wars Story hits theaters on Dec. 16.