The fly girls and fly boys are... fly
The Force Awakens, and the promise of two more movies, gave new additions Rey, Finn, and Poe room to breathe and grow. Cast in a stand-alone, Jyn and company do not have that luxury. Edwards' casting becomes essential. Jyn is a stock drifter with daddy issues enlightened by Jones' take, a mixture of Harrison Ford gruff, Lara Croftian heroism, and inspirational-movie-speech vigor. That's enough to carry us through, but Rogue One will leave you wanting more.
This goes for just about everyone. Luna's Cassian remains a mystery by the end, dashing yet half-sketched, while Mendelsohn only earns a few scenes in which to show his teeth. Chinese superstars Donnie Yen and Jiang Wen play Chirrut Îmwe, a blind warrior in tune with the Force, and Baze Malbus, his gunner ally, who add a flavor of badass mysticism to Jyn's mix while still coming off like playable character types instead of people. Yen's martial arts skills, employed to great effect against battalions of Stormtroopers, make up for the misgivings. Cassian's reprogrammed Imperial droid K-2SO, motion-captured and voiced by Alan Tudyk (Firefly), is Star Wars' answer to Marvin, the Paranoid Android from Hitchhiker's Guide, snapping and groaning and providing a laugh between war-torn moments. With no plans for a Rogue One 2, the movie's biggest failing is not giving us enough of any of this solid cast.