SPOILERS obviously follow, so don’t even start.
There are two great Star Wars movies and two good ones; Rogue One is neither. Gareth Edwards’ Star Wars story belongs in the same conversation as the much-maligned prequel trilogy even if it’s slightly less annoying than the saga of Jar Jar Binks and much more competently acted than the emotional doorstop that was Hayden Christensen’s Anakin Skywalker. But despite its earnest attempt to tap into the rich mythology that pervades the galaxy far, far away—something J.J. Abrams’ Star Wars: The Force Awakens managed to do quite well without bastardizing it—Rogue One suffers from an excess of fan service, an unimposing and forgettable villain, and far too much studio meddling in what could have otherwise been a stylish, standout war film.
Is a Star Wars movie automatically great simply because the hugely successful franchise tag is slapped onto the end of an otherwise interesting title? Of course not, even though a wide margin of fans and critics are besotted with this first anthology film regardless of its obvious flaws. Do people really want a movie that’s chock full of ham-fisted nods to existing films that coddle audiences with a warm blanket of nostalgia rather than an original take from a creative director who could have delivered a visceral war movie set in the midst of the fictional galaxy’s greatest conflict ever? Apparently so.
I’m aware that I’m in the minority here, and far be it from me to sap any enthusiasm for the film that you feel; I only wish I felt the same. But watching the assemblage of uninteresting characters be shuttled from asteroid to planetoid over the course of two and a half hours while only serving to fill in the story gaps of previous films left me far from entertained and without much hope for future anthology installments. Here’s why: