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Jyn Erso (Felicity Jones) is a young woman who has no love for the evil Galactic Empire or authority. She has seen her share of tragedy and has learned to be a survivor in a cold and dangerous galaxy. Fate has other plans for Jyn in “Rogue One: A Star Wars Story”, as she may be the key to unlocking the secret’s to defeating the Empire’s new weapon, a planet killer known as “The Death Star”.

The Rebel Alliance believes that Jyn’s father Galen (Mads Mikkelsen) is the key thanks to information they have recovered from a defecting pilot.

Tasked with eliminating the threat, Jyn and Rebel intelligence officer Cassian Andor (Diego Luna), and his droid K-2S0 (Alan Tudyk), must race against time and overcome several obstacles to complete their mission.

Of course things are bigger and the stakes far more higher than anyone could have imagined and with the Rebel Alliance divided a small band of rebels hatch a plan born of desperation to save the galaxy.

The film moves along at a brisk pace but allows time to introduce several new planets into the Star Wars universe as well as several new characters, who we are given just enough about their backstories and motivations to make us care about them in the epic struggle they are undertaking.

Director Gareth Edwards paces the film well and unlike the Prequel Series; never lets the abundance of amazing effects overshadow the fact that the story at its core is a struggle of ordinary people facing overwhelming odds.

The look of the film is a loving tribute to the original series that tells its own unique and distinct story that fits well within the established storylines without seeming gratuitous or recycled.

The film does at times have a darker tone than fans would be used to seeing in the series, but it is done in a way that shows the seriousness of the situations facing the characters.

The strong cast works very well with one another and are each giving some memorable lines and moments which are sure to endear themselves to fans of the series that grew up on the classic films.

The finale third of the film is a great mix of action and suspense as conclusion builds and I can honestly say that “Rogue One” delivers the best space battle in the series and only falls short of the Hoth battle in terms of ground conflicts.

There are a few great surprises for fans sprinkled throughout and the film answers some of the questions people had from the original series but does so in a way that is respectful and in no way undermines the classic.

“Rogue One: A Star Wars Story” is an outstanding entry into the series and is one of the most compelling and rewarding.

I look forward to seeing what future efforts have in store for fans, as this film shows that the Force is indeed strong.

4.5 stars out of 5

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