Rogue One review

 

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Rogue One had the luxury of avoiding the sweltering hype “Force Awakens” was burdened with, but the Star Wars spinoff can’t help but feel like a disappointment anyway. The film is disguised as a grueling war film with grand scale and true stakes, but the disjointed execution squanders those lofty ambitions. There’s a lack of clarity in the setup during its first half as characters are assembled without personality and previously unexplored planets are quickly visited without identifiable geography. After all, it’s impossible to truly invest into a sprawling cast of characters defined by a single trait. (Donnie Yen is blind. Felicity Jones is the daughter of an associate of the Empire. Diego Luna is untrustworthy. Ben Mendelsohn is an evil control freak. And Alan Tudyk… Is a wisecracking robot.) The inevitably explosive finale is therefore more draining than rewarding despite a welcome shift to a bright color palette. The hopeful political overtones are transparent at best, and the buzzed-about Darth Vader cameo is a wasted novelty. Let’s hope the upcoming Han Solo spinoff proves to be a worthy addition to a galaxy far, far away. [C+]

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