Is Rogue One: A Star Wars Story the ultimate fan film? The critics write back

Rogue One: A Star Wars Story has been labelled the “ultimate Star Wars fan film” amid international reception ahead of its release.

With a stellar cast of Felicity Jones, Diego Luna, Ben Mendelsohn, Donnie Yu, Mads Mikkelsen, Alan Tudyk, Jiang Wen, Forest Whitaker, Riz Ahmed and the voice of James Earl Jones, the film was, for the most part, well received by critics.

The Guardian handed it four stars out of five, calling it a “sleek addition to the main fleet”, while the Telegraph, also scoring it four stars, said despite the film’s “darker tone, Rogue One feels cosily at home in the Star Wars universe, and is crowded with the kind of imagination-tickling details the franchise thrives on”.

Meanwhile the Boston Globe scored the film just two-and-a-half stars, adding: “It offers more details of interoffice politics among the squabbling factions of both the Empire and the Rebel Alliance than probably anyone but a mid-level manager cares for.”

The general consensus appeared to suggest the film was one for the already existing masses of Star Wars fans, rather than an attempt to entice a new audience.

Us Weekly called it “an action-packed film that refuses to spoon-feed information” that could leave casual fans “disengaged”.

Meanwhile film magazine Empire called it “the ultimate Star Wars fan film”, adding: “It’s short on whimsy but when it gets going there’s enough risk-taking and spectacle to bode well for future standalones.”

And Variety added: “Younger audiences will be bored, confused, or both. But for the original generation of Star Wars fans who weren’t sure what to make of episodes one, two, and three, Rogue One is the prequel they’ve always wanted.”

The spin-off was hailed as a success in the Daily Mail, whose reviewer, Brian Viner, said the film serves as “jam in the sandwich” of the franchise ahead of the release of episode eight next year.

He heaped praise on Felicity’s portrayal of Jyn Erso, saying she was “tremendously sexy and plausibly feisty” in the role.

The Sun’s Jamie East described it as a “pretty bloody amazing” film with a “riveting ending” but said Felicity did not “shine as much as expected”.

The Press Association’s Damon Smith said it was a “rollicking, action-packed romp” with “dazzling visual effects”.

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