(SPOILER WARNING!!! This article does contain spoilers, if you haven’t seen the movie, just see the first paragraph to be informed without spoilers!!!)
Rogue One: A Star Wars Story is a fun film with great Star Wars-esque action and nostalgia, it did take me a while to really get the story, but once it clicked, you can sit back and enjoy!!!
Rating: 4 Stars
As much as I really liked Star Wars: The Force Awakens, my biggest gripe in the film is that the story reminded me too much of Star Wars: A New Hope. With that said, I still found the film enjoyable and nostalgic which was a great start to continue on the Star Wars franchise. Now I’m ready to see what new themes and stories they will make in their future movies. I’m really expecting something unique that will cement a new legacy into this legendary franchise. As I heard about the film, Rogue One: A Star Wars story, and finding out what it is about, I knew it would be different, but given the fact it is right before Star Wars: A New Hope, it won’t be that big hit to supplant the legacy of Star Wars: The Empire Strike Back and the rest of the original trilogy. In other words, I wasn’t holding my breath. Even though, I was right, it was still an enjoyable film to watch and adds to the legacy of their great stories.
What I Like: Director Gareth Edwards is another director that really understood and respected the franchise, and it showed. There’s some great editing where he even put scenes from Star Wars: A New Hope and added it to this film. It was genius editing and directing to play with the nostalgia that Star Wars fans crave. I also enjoyed how he added characters from Star Wars: A New Hope, and brought them back with some great almost lifelike CGI. I wasn’t expecting Princess Leia’s face to be shown, just implied, but low and behold, she shows her face and said some things which really ignited my nostalgia and left me in awe. Just the nostalgia alone would satisfy any fan of the franchise with so many easter eggs and brief cameos. Heck even from the prequels you will get nostalgic (I still can’t believe I said that). The action is what you expect from a Star Wars franchise. A lot of laser firing, spaceship fights, big machines attacking, but not much light saber action which to me was a good thing. It was a true war film with gutsy characters fighting for what they believe. I really enjoyed the diverse cast. Starting with Felicity Jones as Jyn Erso, a woman whose family was murdered and taken away forcefully to help the Imperial Empire. She seeks him only to find her true purpose in fighting for the Rebels. Diego Luna plays Cassian Andor, a Rebel officer who does his best to defeat the Empire by any means necessary. I really enjoyed Donnie Yen playing Chirrut Imwe, a blind fighter who can fight like Daredevil and a big believer in the force that helps fight with his disability. I also really enjoyed the droid K-2SO, voiced by Alan Tudyk, who provided comic relief and had me laughing and enjoying myself. Lastly, I enjoyed Forest Whitaker’s character as Saw Gerrera. (I haven’t seen The Clone Wars, so I may not fully understand his character.) He did provide the Jyn a message from her father how we purposefully put a weakness on the Death Star that inspired the Rebels with a strategy to give them hope to fight with an actual plan to defeat the Empire. I just the love the line said by a couple characters, “Rebellions are built on hope,” which speaks to the core themes of this franchise. Last thing, the Darth Vader cameo, voiced by James Earl Jones, was brief, but blew me away. I liked how scary he was when they introduced him in some breathing water chamber, and when he came in as Darth Vader in his costume how intimidating he was and using the Force to really threaten those that oppose him. That scene in the end really blew me away. Where he fought several Rebel soldiers, deflecting laser blasts with his lightsaber, and using the force to choke his opponents and throw them around was really awesome. That scene really made me respect the character Darth Vader even more, and showed me how scary this iconic villain can really get. I loved how the story precedes Star Wars: A New Hope and connected a lot of things from this film to the original story. I believe Disney right now is trying to piece everything together with nostalgia and back story to really set up Star Wars: Episode VIII, to cement the greatness of this franchise and show that they mean business to please their past fans, and ignite new fans in this generation.
The So So: This may be nitpicky, but this is the first Star War film that didn’t have the opening crawl to describe the story. I was actually disappointed it didn’t have it, and because of that it took me a while to understand the story to really start enjoying it. With that said, I understand that it is probably not necessary to have it because we should already know what is going on. Since I only watched the films, I probably missed something in the comic books or cartoons to make me understand it quickly. Though, to me, with the opening crawl, I felt something missing, because it is very iconic.
What I Didn’t Like: There were some moments that did make my eyes roll. Clichés like during a battle, a child gets left behind crying, and one of the heroes saves the child, to give it back to a hysterical mother. I also didn’t like how Andor, who perceived to be dead, comes back to save Jyn’s life and complete her mission. How can a guy who falls from high above and hit beams in the process of his death fall not only survive, but can walk to see the protagonist?! I thought that was too cheesy. Last, I did expect all the Rogue One rebels to die. It was a good story that made sense, but it was expected; made it a little too predictable for me.
Overall: This Star Wars film is a fun popcorn flick that satisfies fans everywhere. I wouldn’t put it over Star Wars: The Force Awakens in this generation’s Star War films, but it still is an enjoyable watch full of Star Wars-esque action, comedy, and nostalgia. Can’t wait to see what Stars Wars: Episode VIII brings as they continue their new trilogy, and my hope is this film will be the staple for this generations Star Wars fandom!!!
Rating: 4 Stars