Rogue One: A Star Wars Story (2016) - Rotten Tomatoes

Rogue One: A Star Wars Story (2016)

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AUDIENCE SCORE

Critic Consensus: Rogue One draws deep on Star Wars mythology while breaking new narrative and aesthetic ground -- and suggesting a bright blockbuster future for the franchise.

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From Lucasfilm comes the first of the Star Wars standalone films, "Rogue One: A Star Wars Story," an all-new epic adventure. In a time of conflict, a group of unlikely heroes band together on a mission to steal the plans to the Death Star, the Empire's ultimate weapon of destruction. This key event in the Star Wars timeline brings together ordinary people who choose to do extraordinary things, and in doing so, become part of something greater than themselves.

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Cast

Diego Luna
as Captain Cassian Andor
Ben Mendelsohn
as Director Orson Krennic
Donnie Yen
as Chirrut Imwe
Mads Mikkelsen
as Galen Erso
Forest Whitaker
as Saw Gerrera
Jiang Wen
as Baze Malbus
Riz Ahmed
as Bodhi Rook
Jimmy Smits
as Bail Organa
Alistair Petrie
as General Draven
Ben Daniels
as General Merrick
Paul Kasey
as Admiral Raddus
Stephen Stanton
as Admiral Raddus
Ian McElhinney
as General Dodonna
Fares Fares
as Senator Vaspar
Jonathan Aris
as Senator Jebel
James Earl Jones
as Darth Vader
Valene Kane
as Lyra Erso
Beau Gadson
as Young Jyn
Dolly Gadson
as Younger Jyn
Duncan Pow
as Sergeant Melshi
Jordan Stephens
as Corporal Tonc
Babou Ceesay
as Lieutenant Sefla
Aidan Cook
as Two Tubes
Andy de la Tour
as General Hurst Romodi
Tony Pitts
as Captain Pterro
Eric MacLennan
as Rebel Techs
Eric MacLennon
as Rebel Techs
Robin Pearce
as Rebel Tech
Francis Magee
as Grizzly Rebel
Bronson Webb
as Rebel MP
Geraldine James
as Blue Three
Ariyon Bakare
as Blue Four
Simon Farnaby
as Blue Five
Drewe Henley
as Red Leader
Angus MacInnes
as Gold Leader
Richard Glover
as Red Twelve
Toby Hefferman
as Blue Eight
Richard Cunningham
as General Ramda
Jack Roth
as Lieutenant Adema
Michael Gould
as Admiral Gorin
Rufus Wright
as Lieutenant Casido
Michael Shaeffer
as General Corssin
Geoff Bell
as 2nd Lieutenant Frobb
James Harkness
as Private Basteren
Matt Rippy
as Corporal Rostok
Michael Nardone
as Shield Gate Officer
Nathan Plant
as Imperial Guard Droid
Christopher Patrick Nolan
as Alderaanian Guard
Warwick Davis
as Weeteef Cyubee
Ruth Bell
as Jedha Server
May Bell
as Jedha Server
Angus Wright
as Hammerhead Captain
Alan Rushton
as Engineer
Robert Benedetti
as Hall-Engineer
Weston Gavin
as Engineer
Nick Hobbs
as Engineer
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News & Interviews for Rogue One: A Star Wars Story

Critic Reviews for Rogue One: A Star Wars Story

All Critics (328) | Top Critics (57)

Rogue One is largely free of the weight of myth and expectation that were borne by The Force Awakens, and this turns out to be both a good and a bad thing.

December 18, 2016 | Full Review…
The Atlantic
Top Critic

With all the aerial dogfights, armored combat vehicles, grenades, flame-throwers and snipers, Rogue One feels like a film for those who think that most Star Wars movies are insufficiently like World War II flicks.

December 16, 2016 | Rating: 6.5/10 | Full Review…
NPR
Top Critic

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.

December 15, 2016 | Rating: 2/5 | Full Review…
San Diego Reader
Top Critic

A a tense, well-made spacefaring war movie about a desperate and demoralized band of insurgents standing up against a rising authoritarian regime.

December 15, 2016 | Full Review…
NPR
Top Critic

Audiences once packed theaters to gawk at the future; now, it's to soak in the past. The emphasis is on packing in as much nostalgia as possible and tersely editing it together to resemble a film.

December 15, 2016 | Rating: C- | Full Review…
MTV
Top Critic

"Rogue One" spins "Star Wars" into a whole new orbit.

December 15, 2016 | Rating: 3.5/4 | Full Review…
St. Louis Post-Dispatch
Top Critic

Audience Reviews for Rogue One: A Star Wars Story

Good action. Some cheese. Fan service, at its core, but enjoyable with popcorn.

Daniel Perry
Daniel Perry

Super Reviewer

½

In the opening text crawl for Star Wars Episode IV: A New Hope, it says, "During the battle, Rebel spies managed to steal secret plans to the Empire's ultimate weapon, the Death Star." Disney, in its infinite wisdom to cash in on every potential resource of its lucrative cash cow, has decided to devote a whole movie to that one sentence in that initial crawl. I can't wait for each sentence to get its movie. Rogue One: A Star Wars Story (in case you'd forget) is the first film outside of any of the trilogies and much is at stake. Not just for the rebels but for Disney shareholders. If a wild success, expect future tales coming from every undiscovered corner of the Star Wars universe. And if Rogue One is any indication, that's exactly the kind of artistic freedom needed to blossom. Not actually in the finished film. Jyn Erso (Felicity Jones) has plenty to rebel against. Her father (Mads Mikkelsen) was forced against his will by Orson Krennic (Ben Mendelsohn) to work on a fiendish death machine for the Empire. Jyn's father is responsible for the designing the Death Star. Jyn is broken out of imperial prison by Cassian (Diego Luna) for the rebellion. They want her to track down her father, find out whatever she can about this new fangled Death Star, and if possible, retrieve the plans on how it might be stopped. Her mission will take her to the ends of the galaxy to reunite with her father and to provide hope to the rebellion. Finally after many movies we finally get a war movie in a franchise called Star Wars, and it's pretty much what I wanted: a Star Wars Dirty Dozen mission. It's thrilling to go back to the height of the resistance against the Evil Empire and see things from a ground perspective with a skeleton crew working behind the scenes. We may know the future events of those Death Star plans but we don't know what will befall all of these new characters. Who will make it out alive? The open-and-shut nature of this side story in the Star Wars universe brings a bit more satisfaction for telling a complete story. This film will not have to wait for two eventual sequels years down the road in order for an audience to form a comprehensive opinion. I welcome more side stories like Rogue One that expand upon the fringes of the established universe and timelines, that establish colorful new characters and tell their own stories and come to their own endings, and hopefully don't feature any more Death Stars (more on this below). It seems like it was ages ago that major studio tentpoles just attempted to tell a single, focused story rather than set up an extended universe of other titles to nudge along their respective paths. Director Gareth Edwards (2014's Godzilla) is less slavishly loyal to the mythos of the series than J.J. Abrams. His movie doesn't feel like flattering imitation but its own artistic entry. The cinematography is often beautiful and the natural landscapes and sets provide so much tangible authenticity to this world. Edwards has a terrific big-screen feel for his shot compositions and achieving different moods with lighting. He knows how to make the big moments feel bigger without sacrificing the requisite popcorn thrills we desire. Rogue One has to walk a fine line between fan service and its own needs. While it's fun to see Darth Vader on screen again voiced by the irreplaceable James Earl Jones, it's also a bit extraneous other than some admittedly fun fan service. We don't need to see Vader clear out a hallway of rebel soldiers but then again why not? It's the same when it comes to the inclusion of cameos from the original trilogy. Some are minor and some are major, achieved through the uncanny valley of CGI reconstruction. Gene Kelly may have danced with a vacuum cleaner and Sir Lawrence Oliver and Marlon Brando both appeared as big floating heads after their deaths, but this feels like the next step beyond. There's a somewhat ghastly feel for watching a dead actor reanimated, so your sense of overall wonder may vary. The cameos are better integrated than the Ghosbusters ones. There's a great cinematic pleasure in putting together a team of rogues and rebels. The characters on board this mission have interesting aspects to them. Chirrut Imwe (Donnie Yen) is a blind warrior and aspiring Jedi. He feels like he stepped out of a great samurai movie. He uses his connection with the Force to make up for his lack of visual awareness, and Chirrut demonstrates these abilities in several memorably fun instances. There's a world of back-story with Saw Gerrera (Forest Whitaker), a dotty wheezing warrior who is more machine than man at this point. Whitaker gives an unusual performance that reminded me of a kindlier version of Dennis Hopper in Blue Velvet. The reprogrammed robot K-250 (vocal and motion-capture performance by Alan Tudyk) is a reliable source of catty comic relief and I looked forward to what he was going to say next. The first 40-minutes is mostly the formation of this group, and it's after that where the movie starts to get hazy. We know how it's all got to end but the ensuing action in Act Two feel a bit lost. This may have to due with the reportedly extensive reshoots that were done last summer to spice up the movie (much of the earliest teaser footage isn't in the finished film). I'd be fascinated to discover what the original story was from Chris Weitz (Cinderella) and just what rewrites Tony Gilroy (Michael Clayton) performed so late into its life. For much of the second act, the characters feel a bit too subdued for the life-or-death stakes involved, and that translates over to the audience. We travel to different locations throughout the first two acts but I can't tell you much about them other than some intriguing mountainous architecture. The plot is a bit too undercooked and still obtuse for far too long, requiring our team to bounce around locations to acquire this person or that piece of information. Rarely do the characters get chances to open up. It all comes together in the final act for a 30-minute assault that makes everything matter. It's a thrilling conclusion and the movie finds a way to keep escalating the stakes, bringing in powerful reinforcements that force our Rogue One crew to alter their plans and placement, while still clearly communicating the needs of each group and the geography as a whole of the multiple points on the battlefield. It's what you want a climactic battle to be and feel like where each player matters. It's also a welcome addition to the Star Wars cannon, as we've never seen a beach assault before. It feels like a new level that was unlocked in some video game, and that's no detriment. The ending battle has different checkpoints and mini-goals, which allows for the audiences to be involved from the get-go and for the film to jump around locations while still maintaining an effective level of suspense. Many of these characters make something of a last stand, and you feel the extent of their sacrifice. I read in another review that the reason Jyn and her rogues win is because they accept that they are replaceable, and Orson Krennic fails because he made the mistake believing himself irreplaceable. I think that's a nice summation about the nobility of sacrifice. I won't get into specific spoilers but I was very pleased with the ending of the film even though it's not exactly the happiest. It feels like a fitting ending for the darker, grittier Star Wars tale and it provides earned emotional resonance for the setup of A New Hope, which the movie literally rolls right into. With as many fun and potentially interesting characters aboard for this suicide mission, it's somewhat surprising that they are also the film's weak point. Beyond simple plot machinations like Character A gets character B here, I can't tell you much more about these rogue yet noble folks other than their superficial differences. Take for instance the Empire turncoat, pilot Bodhi Rook (Riz Ahmed) What personality does he have? What defines him? What is his arc? What about Cassian? He's supposed to secretly assassinate Jyn's father if given the chance, but do we see any struggle over this choice? Does it shape him? Does his outlook define his choice? Can you describe his personality at all whatsoever? What about the villain, Krennic? Can you tell me anything about him beyond his arrogance? What about Baze Malbus (Wen Jiang), who carries a big gun and is close friends with our blind wannabe Jedi? Can you tell me anything about this guy beyond that? Even our fearless leader, Jyn Eros, feels lacking in significant development. She wants to find her father, get vengeance, but then changes her mind about sacrificing for the greater cause of hope. Many of the character relationships jump ahead without the needed moments to explain the growth and change. The original trilogy was defined by engaging characters. When you have a ragtag crew of six of seven rogues, you better make sure each brings something important to the movie from a narrative perspective, and not just from a pieces-on-the-board positioning for action. Look at Marvel's Guardians of the Galaxy for tips. If this was going to be an emotionally involving war movie, the characters needed to be felt deeper. All too often they get lost amidst the Star Wars debris and then they become debris themselves. Ironically enough, Rogue One has the reverse problems of The Force Awakens, a movie that benefited from engaging characters but sapped from an overly familiar and cautious story. It's telling when my favorite character, by far, is a sassy comic relief robot. Let's talk about the Death Star in the room, namely the fact that over the course of eight Star Wars movies there have been Death Stars, or the construction thereof, in five of them (63% rate of Death Star sighting). We need a break. You can cal it a Star Killer Base whatever in Force Awakens but it's still a Death Star in everything but name. I can't even put a number to the amount of money it cost the Empire/First Order to build these things, plus the review process to try and correct design flaws that never seem to get corrected. At this point it feels like this model just isn't cost-efficient for its killing needs. What about a more mobile set of multiple mini-Death Stars? I hope that the filmmakers for the new trilogy refrain from putting another similar planet-killing space station-type weapon into their movies as we've had enough. However, the use of the Death Star in Rogue One was perfectly acceptable because it already fit into the timeline of the first. I also greatly appreciated the clever retcon as to why the Death Star had its fatal flaw. It took a bothersome plot cheat from 1977 and found a gratifying and credible excuse. Now when Luke blows up that sucker it'll have even more resonance. Rogue One is a Star Wars adventure that feels like its own thing, and that's the biggest part of its success. By being a standalone story relatively unencumbered by the canonical needs of hypothetical sequels, the movie opens up smaller stories worth exploring and character deserving a spotlight. This is an exciting and entertaining war movie, and the kind of films I want to see more of in this multi-cultural universe. It's not a faultless production as the lackluster character development definitely hampers some audience investment. I wish more could have been done with them before they started being permanently taken off the board. While Rogue One is looking to the past of Star Wars it still makes its own independence known. I hope this is the start of a continuation into exploring more of that galaxy far far away without the required additions of every Skywalker and Solo in existence. It's a far bigger universe and it needs its close-up. Nate's Grade: B

Nate Zoebl
Nate Zoebl

Super Reviewer

Gareth Edwards steps away from the original episodes to tell Rogue One: A Stars Wars Story. Traversing across the galaxy at 2 hours and change, scenic planets and moons come and go with a variety of characters to show the way. The pace is quick, moving from setting to setting, while at the same time, keeping plot details simple and easy follow. The visuals are fantastic with Scarif leading the way, thanks to its tropical setting. The CG is also worth a mention. The diversity of the characters make for an interesting watch. Felicity Jones leads the way with the likes of Diego Luna, Donnie Yen, Jiang Wen, and Ben Mendelsohn following close behind. Rogue One: A Star Wars Story finds its place in the Star Wars universe. May the force be with you.

JY Skacto
JY Skacto

Super Reviewer

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