Truth be told, I wasn’t even convinced that I should see Rogue One: A Star Wars Story opening night. I just didn’t know if I had any interest, and there were these persistent rumors of reshoots that didn’t sound great. I mean, look at the last time we had massive reshoots on a blockbuster. We got Fantastic Four, and that movie was garbage. What I-and most critics-seem to have forgotten is that right before Fantastic Four, another movie was plagued with rumors of reshoots and the like. And that film was Mad Max: Fury Road. What I’m trying to say is that sometimes reshoots are just necessary to make the best movie possible.
I say all this because Rogue One screened last night for critics visiting L.A. for the Critics Choice Awards, and when they went gaga for it. The film has been praised for its story, characters, cinematography, and editing. The final third especially has been praised as some of the best in the Star Wars lexicon. And that Vader scene? It’s being praised as one of the best uses of the greatest screen villain yet. Overall, critics overwhelmingly agree it’s one of the best Star Wars films yet, many say it’s better than The Force Awakens, and some are even being as bold as to call it on par with The Empire Strikes Back. I’m not sure if I’ll necessarily agree with all of this, but I know one thing: if some of the most bitter, cynical critics I know are reconsidering their Top Ten lists over this film, there’s something special going on. I’ve since bought my ticket for opening night, and I can’t wait to see it this Thursday. I hope you all see it too.