The word that is most prominent in my mind when describing Rogue one is average. It felt like Disney were just using the name Star Wars to rake in more money. It felt extremely unsatisfying and for the first half, quite dull.
It was never going to be an easy task for Gareth Edwards to create an entire new cast, (sparing a few minor exceptions), this shows. The Characters showed great potential especially ones like Jyn, Chirrut and Cassian, but there was practically no character development and so when the film finishes you simply do not care. I was briefly sad when Chirrut died and when Bodhi met the same fate, but that was partly because I had seen the actors in previous performances and liked them from that. K2 acted as the comic relief for the movie and he excelled in that position. He was truly funny in a way that matched the circumstances. Once again I understand that this would be difficult for any director. I think the problem was that Edwards spread himself to thin. He should have fully developed a few characters fully and very little with the rest.
The story line was too slow in parts and rushed in others. The film takes far too long to actually get started. I was so bored until the assassination/rescue attempt on Jyn's father. This was when the filmed picked up as it showed that not all things are black and white. This was important for the star wars franchise as typically the bad guys are bad and the good guys are good, (with one key exception). However, anything before this was just mundane and I think most could tell it was simply killing time. This is what was really odd to me. It was clearly important that events in the early half of the film took place, but it just felt forced. Saw could have been a great character and yet ended up being a middle man needed for very little. Apart from this the one other complaint was the Romance aspect. Romance can greatly improve a film. This felt forced. In The Force Awakens I was very glad they did not force a romance quickly and although it will probably eventually happen it will feel more natural as the audience is given time to adjust. Rogue One could not do this as it is a stand alone film, but then they should have left out the romance all together. It was two people who had known each other for a couple days maximum and during this time one had tried to kill the other's father and the father had died. Jyn seems to not really care about this. If these two characters were rational in anyway one would hate the other and the other would be impartial at best. The only good thing about the romance was that it was brief and unimportant. On the other hand the second half, (starting from after the assassination attempt), was a huge improvement. The excitement was cranked all the way up. Characters were challenged and faced moral dilemmas on numerous occasions. The characters all dying did feel rushed but also necessary which made the deaths far more meaningful. The very end of the film was brilliant. It showed Darth Vader searching for the plans and Leia finally receiving them. This set up a new hope perfectly and the film itself acts as a brilliant bridge from episode 3 to 4.
There really is not much to say here except that it was fantastic. It was used mostly to bring back multiple characters for brief, but important, cameos and it looked real enough to work. I was taken back by how advanced it was and even wondered if they had found a relative or lookalike for certain characters like they had for Mon.
The tone was much darker than the average star wars film. I personally much prefer darker films and thought this was a good thing. It was far more like episode 3 or empire strikes back than a new hope or TFA. The tone helped to fully immerse the viewer and allow them to fully appreciate how, (to put it lightly), screwed the rebels are compared to the hugely powerful empire.
Rogue one abused the Star Wars name. It does not fit in with the other films and frequently makes lousy attempts to. As previously stated it is a good bridge between episode 3 and 4 but does not hold its own as a stand alone film. If this was not associated with Star Wars I would not have watched this in cinemas. Without the Star Wars name I am sure this film would be viewed by most as a flop. I believe most people like this film because they want to like the film.