Rogue One: A Star Wars Story ★★★

This review may contain spoilers. I can handle the truth.

This review may contain spoilers.

52/100

Was actively bored on a narrative/character level, i.e. for pretty much the first hour and a half. Woke up for the climactic battle sequence, which Edwards orchestrates with tremendous skill. Really woke up when Darth Vader appeared (the second time) to belatedly realize my childhood nightmare about what he might be capable of. So terrifyingly powerful is Vader here that his quick, casual massacre retroactively makes Star Wars and Empire much more harrowing. (Among its many sins, Jedi waters Vader down in a mostly failed effort to make the Emperor even scarier.) I'd hate to never have experienced that brief charge of electricity, and by the closing credits I'd come around a bit; the film ends strongly, which always helps. Ideally, though, I should now feel at least a little bummed that Jyn and Cassian and company won't be around for [films that were made four decades ago]. Instead, they feel like exactly the disposable, generic rebel heroes they were, unnamed, in the Star Wars crawl.

(I'm fine with CGI Grand Moff Tarkin/Young Leia, for the record. The former looked more convincing to me than the latter, for some reason, but the technology has advanced—just since Benjamin Button!—to the point where I didn't find either one a huge distraction. [Leia might have been more of an issue had she been around longer than like five seconds.] Ethical objections just seem silly, as the studio had express permission both from Fisher and from Cushing's estate.)