Rogue One: A Star Wars Story, better understood as Star Wars: Episode 31⁄2, has, maybe with the exception of The Empire Strikes Back, the best climax and ending of any of the Star Wars movies. Otherwise, it’s a cliché-ridden slog through a galaxy far, far away. The story goes that the Empire needs a brilliant scientist (Mads Mikkelsen) to build a weapon. Knowing that the Empire is coming for him, this brilliant scientist sends away his daughter (Felicity Jones). Flash-forward fifteen years: the Rebels, fractured into factions, seek the Scientist through his daughter. Fans of two other scientists—Pinky and the Brain—recalling the two mice’s sendup of The Lion King, may find bathos where Rogue One director Gareth Edwards intends pathos. In fact, Edwards fills his movie with tropes anyone who’s ever watched doomsday or disaster or alien movies can laugh at. Thankfully, there is someone to laugh with in Rogue One, and that’s the sassy droid, K-2SO, who steals the movie. And, if you think we’ve been less than kind to Rogue One, note that, at our screening, it received the most rousing round of applause we’ve heard all year. So what do we know?
By Alec Julian & Carrie White