I understand where this film lies in the Star Wars movie-verse, and that this obviously means that there will be links to other films. I also understand that there will be all kinds of references to things which mean nothing to me but which will satisfy those who are more immersed in the universe than I, and which won’t cause a problem to those of us who have no knowledge of anything other than the films.
But. When I leave the cinema thinking that the trailers seemed to have been for a different film, and that there were huge jumps in character or timeline that I didn’t grasp, then I have to wonder what happened. If I can’t understand a film in isolation, then I have a bad feeling about this.
I will say that apart from being a bit confused I was generally entertained while watching this. I was certainly was impressed by the final act, and happy that they made those choices they did with regard to how the characters ended up. Of course I loved Mads Mikkelsen (underused for the second time this year), Donnie Yen, and the dark lord wielding his light sabre down a corridor. But this was not enough for this non-Star Wars freak.
Our main group of rebels all seemed to have the potential to be really interesting in their own right (stand up Riz Ahmed and Diego Luna), but we learn next to nothing about them; what we do discover is largely contradictory, particularly Jyn and Cassian. I didn’t understand why Cassian would do something so brutal when we first meet him, then appear to have a change of heart later on. Jyn hopped around from being sullen kid to rebel leader with no character development and little believability from Felicity Jones, and I have no idea what Forest Whitaker was being or doing – nor why he grew a full head of hair between the trailer and the film.
I also side with those who feel that the controversial CGI characters were a mis-step. For the one we spend more time with, it was definitely a case of being creeped out by the glassy eyes and weirdly moving mouth.