“The first Star Wars trilogy had a fresh, insurgent energy, and learning the names of all those planets and galactic adventurers has seemed, to generations of fans, like a new and special kind of fun. Now, though, it is starting to feel like drudgery, a schoolbook exercise in a course of study that has no useful application and that will never end.
“Masquerading as a heroic tale of rebellion, Rogue One‘s true spirit is Empire all the way down. Like the fighters on the planet Scarif, which is surrounded by an all-but-impenetrable atmospheric shield, you are trapped inside this world, subjected to its whims and laws. You can’t escape, because it is the supposed desire to escape that brought you here in the first place.
“Rogue One has no will to persuade the audience of anything other than the continued strength of the brand. It doesn’t so much preach to the choir as propagandize to the captives, telling us that we’re free spirits and partners on the journey. The only force at work here is the force of habit.” — from A.O. Scott‘s N.Y. Times review.