Rogue One: A Star Wars Story review

A long time ago, in a galaxy far, far away, the Rebel Alliance burst onto cinema screens everywhere changing our lives forever, with the plans for the planet-destroying Death Star in their hot little hands.

How they got their hands on those plans; now there's a story. And it's called Rogue One.

Managing to mostly keep its balance on that precarious tightrope between the familiar and the fresh, Rogue One: A Star Wars Story gathers together a band of rebels armed with a few secrets and each a particular set of skills, united in their singular hatred of the Empire.

There will be war.

This is Star Wars, but not quite as you know it, Jim. Standing alone, with its own identity, the storytellers make the most of their opportunity to explore new ground, new planets and new characters, while ensuring the fans still get treated to a few old favourites.

As with all Star Wars films, what I or anyone else has to say is essentially moot - if you're a fan you've already bought a ticket. But even if you're not, I'd argue this is a Star Wars film you can crack right into with little or no real time invested in the franchise.

So go on, I dare you.

What else can I say, really, other than of course I loved it.

Dark, gritty, dirty, brave and a Star Wars story worth telling. No it's not perfect, it's not the instant re-watch The Force Awakens was for me.

But it delivers us so deliciously to the door of A New Hope and it's jam-packed with everything I need for a thrilling few hours in that galaxy far, far away.

Four-and-a-half stars.

         Rogue One: A Star Wars Story

:: Director: Gareth Edwards

:: Starring: Felicity Jones, Mads Mikkelsen, Ben Mendelsohn, Alan Tudyk, Donnie Yen, Forest Whitaker, Diego Luna, Riz Ahmed

:: Running Time: 133 mins

:: Rating: M - violence

:: Release Date: December 15, 2016