The most inescapable element of Rogue One that constantly impressed me is the cinematography and direction, creating a wonderful atmosphere for the events and characters to live in, reinforcing the plastic-fantastic look of the Prequels and stylistically linking Rogue One to A New Hope. Seriously, there is a wonderful effort make to link this film to the original with easter eggs, nods, designs, and bits of dialog.
There is some heroic magic in the actions of some of the characters with actors that pull it off with drama and not cheese. Of course, the shining moment of the film is the return of Darth Vader to his status as a bad mother fucker of the Sith. When Lord Vader boards the Rebel taskforce command vessel and lights up his lightsaber, filling the naval soldiers with dread and their underwear with shit is a moment that most of us have been wanting to see to redeem Vader from the horror show that was the Prequels. Watching those scenes was a treat for all of us fans and reminds all of us how Vader was able to hunt down the Jedi and why he earns his own theme song. The mentioning of the GOOD elements of the film could not skip on the reprogrammed Imperial droid K-2so, who steals the scene whenever in it. Truly another great droid has been added to the list.
This film is a fanatic mess and it rolls into that mess over and over again through the run time. There is no proper introduction to the world of Rogue One via the iconic crawl and it picks without nothing we are familiar with, making it difficult to settle into. This is only made worse by the jumping from planet to planet that are all new to the Star Wars universe. Much is left half-explained and undercooked with the manic pace of scenes coming and disappearing not helping at all. This fuels the audience to ask themselves: "what the hell is going here again?" Not helping this rapid pace is the amount of element crammed into each of these scenes, overwhelming and underwhelming.
Bottomline on Rogue One
Does ROGUE ONE Fit into the Star Wars Universe?
Is ROGUE ONE Military Sci-Fi?
It is often said that Star Wars is military science fiction, I tend to disagree saying that Star Wars is mostly a space fantasy with elements of military SF woven in...but what about Rogue One? It comes closer to the label of military science fiction with the battle of Scarif being a nice addition to the list of sci-fi battles and some elements of military sci-fi, but I cannot classify Rogue One as military sci-fi completely. It is an hybrid as are many science fiction works that feature warfare and the military, but they are not pure enough to make it on the list of pure military sci-fi.