The social media buzz over the latest Star Wars offering, Rogue One, may not be quite what it was for last year’s The Force Awakens, but we suppose that’s to be expected.
After all, that film not marked the beloved franchise’s return to theaters after a ten-year absence, it had trusted sequel and reboot architect J.J. Abrams at the helm.
And it didn’t hurt that TFA was the next installment of an ongoing saga, whereas Rogue One is something else entirely …
The Gareth Edwards-directed film has been described as more of a spinoff than a proper sequel, tonally different from the rest of the franchise, as it offers a view of the rebels as a gritty band of guerillas.
Does the risk pay off?
Well, here’s what some top critics have to say:
“A tense, well-made spacefaring war movie about a desperate and demoralized band of insurgents standing up against a rising authoritarian regime.” – Chris Klimek, NPR
“Except for a few jocose, fan-serving moments, the movie is a dour affair, lacking the charm and chills of J.J. Abrams’s spirited Star Wars: The Force Awakens, not to mention George Lucas’s founding trilogy.” – Leah Pickett, Chicago Reader
“The good news is that Edwards’ effort to make a storm-the-beach war film produces a tense third act that earns most of its big moments and also justifies much of what’s come before.” – Matthew Lickona, San Diego Reader
“Rogue One does a great job of walking the fine line between being a Star Wars film and not feeling like any other Star Wars film.” – Matt Neal, The Standard
“The movie didn’t rekindle the thrill of seeing, say, The Empire Strikes Back, but Rogue One will loom pretty large in the Star Wars galaxy – if only because there’s so little competition.” – David Edelstein, New York Magazine
As evidenced by its 85% fresh score on Rotten Tomatoes, the is doing well with critics overall, but falls short of the standard set by TFA.
Still, it seems that Star Wars obsessives are buying into this darker vision of their favorite far away galaxy.