Now that "Rogue One" has been seen by most anyone who cares to see it, all sorts of articles detailing this movie in spoiler-heavy fashion have been released, so let's join in on the fun. Spoiler warning for the following content...duh.
Where I want to start off with this spoiler-filled review is unfortunately with one of my flaws with the movie, and that would be towards some of the weaker supporting characters. I think that people like Jyn Erso, Cassian Andor, K-2SO, and Chirrut Imwe were all strong, interesting characters who added to the journey, but then there were other characters in the group such as Baze Malbus and Bodhi Rook who didn't interest me at all. Bodhi's main purpose was to be a defecting Imperial pilot who sets forth the scheme as he leaks Galen Erso's message about the Death Star to Saw Gerrera, but that's just about all he does. He doesn't seem to have many defining characteristics or motives; he's just...there for the ride, I guess.
With Baze Malbus, he was ultimately more interesting than Bodhi, but he paled in comparison to his friend, Chirrut. With Chirrut, he was a Force-sensitive warrior who had all sorts of wise sayings about the Force and he even helps to expand on the Force without being too overt about it. Baze, however, is basically just a mercenary with a grudge against the Empire. He has a couple of cool moments when fighting in on Scarif against Stormtroopers, but both him and Bodhi left me feeling empty when they ended up dying during the film's climax.
If we're still talking about negative aspects of the movie, it's just minor nitpicks at this point, but they're still worth addressing. For one thing, I wasn't exactly sure how to feel about Saw Gerrera's weird tentacle monster that wraps itself around Bodhi in one scene. The effects themselves were basically just a CGI blob and the actual scene was one of the few instances where I could tell that this movie had reshoots.
Also, I forgot to mention in my spoiler-free review that I wasn't in love with this movie's score by Michael Giacchino. As far as a regular science-fiction score goes, it's actually not bad at all, but for a "Star Wars" film, it doesn't stand out in any way. You get some small clips of classic music composed by John Williams mixed in with the new score, but there's nothing in this movie that'll stand the test of time. Granted, Giacchino only had about four weeks to compose a score given his last minute replacement of Alexandre Desplat , so he can't be given too much flack for this score.
But now that we're getting to the positives of the movie, what I really liked seeing was the constant theme of questionable actions in a time of war. We first see this on display when Cassian Andor shoots one of his own informants after being told about the Death Star and you start to see that the Rebels really aren't the squeaky clean heroes that previous movies have made the out to be. This goes a step further when we find out that Cassian has also been ordered to kill Galen Erso upon finding him, also doing it without informing Jyn. This movie's depiction of a Rebellion in the works just felt more real than anything we've seen from them in the past.
I also surprisingly liked the addition of Grand Moff Tarkin to this movie. He's in this movie by means of CGI Peter Cushing face being placed onto a body double and at first it's very noticeable. His introductory scene in this movie is when I found the CGI to be most noticeable, but it got to the point where it started to grow on me as the movie progresses and I eventually felt as if Tarkin was truly back in his full glory. The same can't be said for CGI Princess Leia at the end of the movie, though. The CGI on her face was much more noticeable even for just a few seconds, but I still liked the addition of both Leia and Tarkin to the movie as a nice way to connect this movie to "A New Hope". Besides, the imperfect CGI faces are nowhere near as awful as Jeff Bridges in "Tron: Legacy" or Arnold Schwarzenegger in "Terminator: Salvation".
Now onto Darth Vader and his role. He only has two scenes in the entire movie, but I think Vader being used sparingly was the right choice. His first scene has him talking with Director Krennic in his castle on the planet Mustafar, a scene that fully displays Vader's power and intimidation. The entire scene has Krennic struggling to even look at Vader and it's in this scene that we see that Vader doesn't need his lightsaber to be a threat. All he really has to do is just stand there and talk in that menacing voice of his. His demeanor in this scene also served as a nice juxtaposition to his entrance when we briefly see him without his suit while submerged in a bacta tank, thought I admittedly wasn't a fan of the "Don't choke on your aspirations" line as he Force chokes Krennic.
Vader's second scene, though, is a brilliant display of his power as one of the most feared leaders of the Empire. As the Rebels are escaping with the plans to the Death Star after the battle on Scarif, Vader makes his way aboard the Rebel ship and proceeds to absolutely massacre the Rebel soldiers. He cuts through all of them like they're nothing, and it's incredibly satisfying to see given his treatment in the prequel trilogy. From a whiny teen who hates sand and mopes 24/7, to a badass Imperial monster with no mercy for anyone who crosses his path.
I also really liked the decision to kill off all of the main characters in the Battle of Scarif. I'm sure most everyone saw it coming for obvious reasons, but it was still well handled, Jyn and Cassian's deaths in particular. They both embrace on the beach as the Death Star slowly destroys the planet, creating a beautifully done climax to an already exciting, tense battle, both in the air and on the ground. Killing off these characters was a necessary thing for this particular story, because one would probably wonder about their lack of involvement with the Rebels future plans.
So those are my spoiler-heavy thought on "Rogue One". Like I've said before, it was a fulfilling bridge to "A New Hope", ending literally just minutes before the 1977 classic. Given the success of this movie both critically and financially so far, I can already see the scripts being pumped out for other spin-off films for this saga, but now the focus goes to next year's "Episode VIII" and how that'll hopefully continue the streak of new, successful films in this franchise.