'Rogue One' blasts into the Star Wars universe in a big way

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The dark and gritty 'Rogue One' is another entertaining and engrossing addition to the storied 'Star Wars' movie franchise.

Metro Manila (CNN Philippines) — Prepare for another memorable journey into a galaxy far far away in Rogue One.

Riding on the high of The Force Awakens, the newest addition to the Star Wars franchise had big shoes to fill.

This is the first film in the series that ventures into uncharted territory by deviating from the Episode format that fans are used to.

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In a way, the film is a litmus test on whether or not the space opera can go beyond the Episodes through smaller stories.

It is a test that Rogue One gets top marks.

Rogue One is a darker, grittier look into the Star Wars universe, showcasing the dark sides of the protagonists, who are battling through a desperate struggle against the Galactic Empire.

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The newest addition to the franchise inserts itself between Episode III and Episode IV, filling in the void before the Rebel Alliance finally found A New Hope.

The film takes awhile to finally slot itself within the familiar territory of the Star Wars canon, using the first part of the movie as a way to flesh out the characters.

When the pace starts picking up, it rarely relents, dragging the viewer into a crowd-pleasing romp throughout the galaxy.

Older fans of the series will be happy with the many references from both the original and prequel trilogy peppered throughout.

While those uninitiated to the Star Wars universe, might find themselves picking up the original trilogy right after just to continue on the ride.

The audience is guided back into the series by an ensemble cast led by Felicity Jones as Jyn Erso and Diego Luna as Cassian Andor.

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The characters are more rugged than what fans may be accustomed to, keeping in tune with the grim presentation of the film.

Each member for the crew has its own memorable personality, but fans will probably find themselves attached to the team's droid companion, K-2S0, the most.

Rogue One is arguably the most adult in the series, giving the series a more mature tone moving forward.

If the series does decide to move in that direction with the future entries of the series, Rogue One is a great blueprint to build on.