Bunny and I went to see “Rogue One: A Star Wars Story”. Unlike the other Star Wars movies, there's no text crawl at the beginning (it surprised me). You get the Lucas Film logo, the words “Star Wars” and the standard “A long long time ago in a galaxy far away” but no text crawl. I think this is intentional as it's set in the same universe but outside the main story line we know and love.
It's actually another another prequel, taking place just a day or two prior to the 1977 release of “Star Wars” (or “Star Wars: A New Hope” if you want to be pedantic) and concerns itself with the rebels aquiring the plans to the Death Star (and in the process, explains the flaw that ended up destroying it).
Visually, the movie is stunning (like all Star Wars movies), but I found the first half a bit slow moving and the music absolutely forgettable—vaguely … Star Warsish … but … not? Forest Whitaker was wasted, as far as I'm concerned, as we got none of his character's backstory, or the backstory between his character and the main character Jyn Erso (Felicity Jones). What we do learn is told to us, not shown.
Unfortunately, most of the characters are not given any backstory. It's a shame, especially given Chirrut Îmwe (played by Donnie Yen), a blind monk who believes in the Force (and is not a Jedi), and his friend Baze Malbus (played by Wen Jiang) a large gun toting soldier. These are fantastic characters, but again, not much is said about them.
Now, the second half? Once the actual plot kicks in? Oh my God! It's totally worth slugging through the first half. The battle to extract the Death Star plans is incredible. And dark. Make no mistake, this is a “war film” that just happens to be set in the Star Wars Universe. It's the darkest Star Wars movie yet (and mild spoilers if you can read between the lines and think a bit about why we never heard about these characters before).
Darth Vader does make an appearance. He's in the movie maybe a total of three minutes. The first minute (about half way through) is menancing. His final two minutes? This is a Sith Lord. Someone you do not want to meet, period. This is the monster we're told about in the other movies.
So yes, it's worth seeing. Come for the battle. Stay for Darth Vader. And just be glad he's a fictional character.