Rogue One: personal experience matters (a truism if ever there was one): what one knows about a franchise (or cinematic universe, as the parlance goes nowadays), or how one feels, cannot be undone; the flip side, of course, is that expectations are also adjusted accordingly. Gareth Edwards has this going for (and against) his film, particularly as the plot (in particular, its ending) must fit the pre-existing films like a glove, which allows for little leeway. In that regard, it succeeds; also, the film has entertaining battle scenes and it’s very well-put together (the special effects are top-notch, so is the sound design; Michael Giacchino put together a nice score, as well). The issue lies that, no matter how lively the banter (and there are a few memorable one-liners here) and how well-defended the characters are by the varied and attractive cast (Felicity Jones makes a fine plucky heroine; Ben Mendelsohn a nice villain; Alan Tudyk’s voice acting is particularly good; I could go on), the characters are mere gears in the plot, not given much chance to breathe, shine and grow. The film as a whole is given too little emotional space; that said, coming full circle, this still is a Star Wars film.