Rogue Leader: Jim Tudor, Featured Critic
Rogue One is a candid in its portrayal of a flawed and difficult Rebel Alliance. Although it is led by familiar faces Mon Mothma (Genevieve O'Reilly) and Bail Organa (Jimmy Smits), and stationed in the established Yavin 4 secret base (recreated to a tee), this Rebel Alliance is not always easy to root for. This courageous depiction is much to the film's credit. Good and evil remain, but basic interactions with them are humanly cloudy as ever. This aspect of Rogue One is just one such factor that places it alongside of 2005's Revenge of the Sith in terms of dark, less kid friendly visions of Star Wars.
Just as long-lingering, nitpicked details of George Lucas' original 1977 film are finally addressed and laid to rest, Rogue One also releases a whole host of new debate fodder into the universe, just to restore balance. Because, if everything were all perfectly explained and crystal clear, it just wouldn't be the Star Wars we love so much.
But Rogue One's got it where it counts: The battle scenes, when they finally do roll around, are spectacular. Several cameos by past characters are impressive, most impressive. And the tactile quality of the film never feels like anything less than returning home again. Don't expect it to mesh perfectly with the stylistic template of all previous entires, but that's the point: This is the stand-alone debut; the rogue one. And a welcome first of many.
(Excerpt from Jim's full review)