Rogue One: A Star Wars Story – Review

This is the 8th film in the Star Wars Franchise. In typical Star Wars fashion, this film was made out of order of the rest of the series. First, we received episode 4 in 1977 (A New Hope) followed by episode 5 in 1980 (Empire Strikes Back) and then Episode 6 in 1983 (Return of the Jedi). Then, in 1999 we got episode 1 (Phantom Menace), episode 2 in 2002 (Attack of the Clones) and concluding with episode 3 in 2005 (Revenge of the Sith). Now we jump to current time and we get Episode 7 in 2015 (The Force Awakens) and finally in 2016 we get a film that falls between Revenge of the Sith in 2005 and A New Hope in 1977. So let’s dive in a take a look at “Rogue One: A Star Wars Story” in this box office review.

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I’m sure you’re wondering why I was used so many dates for the introduction. We’ll get to that, don’t worry. Right now we’ll look at some of the characters and why they worked or did not work in my opinion. First let’s look at the 2 main characters, Jyn Erso (Felicity Jones) and Orson Krennic (Ben Mendelsohn). These two characters both worked as good and bad leads. I felt that I got more from Mendelsohn’s performance as I believed every bit of why his demise was destined to occur. His character had significant weakness in that he just wanted to be part of the Emperors inner circle but he lacked the spine to do what was necessary to get there, from a Sith point of view. Jyn Erso felt a bit two dimensional as we get to see her back story and motivation but her overall delivery left something to be desired for me personally. I enjoyed her character but I believe she could’ve given more if pushed to give more.

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Next we have a new band of resistance hero’s. Four characters, a Captain, his droid, a blind force sensitive warrior monk and his back up who carries a massive gun. Out of these four, it was Captain Cassian Andor (Diego Luna) who stole the entire film for me. We first meet him on a planet trying to locate a fellow resistance fighter who needs transport and has updates on the new potential deadly weapon the Empire is working on. It’s in this scene we see how far Cassian is willing to go for the rebellion and I was immediately invested in his character. I couldn’t believe he shot the guy he came to save because survival called for it. From there we learn how long his character has been fighting the empire and why this is more than just a war, it’s life for him. I know several people loved K2S0 but shortly into the film I realized that this new droid was a robotic replica of “Dr. Sheldon Cooper” from the hit TV show “Big Bang Theory.” This didn’t lessen my enjoyment of his character but I couldn’t invest myself into this character because Sheldon shouldn’t be in Star Wars. Also, Chirrup Imwe played by martial arts expert Donnie Yen fell flat for me. His character felt like a super spiritual “Daredevil” from Marvel comics/Netflix. The film even has one scene that could’ve been stolen from the Netflix show Daredevil where Yen is using his hyper sensitive hearing to visual the battle that is about to ensue. I enjoyed his character also but like K2S0 I saw a similarity to another popular character and I couldn’t invest.

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Ok, so the story is as what one would expect being that it takes place immediately before “A New Hope.” The rebels steal the plans for the death star but this film is based on “the how” of that achievement. I saw this film twice to better understand the story. My first viewing I walked out of the theater terribly confused to what story I just watched. In my mind, the story would introduce new characters in Act 1, the plans would be stolen in Act 2, Darth Vader would be on the hunt for the plans and the rebels in Act 3. Nope. I was completely wrong. So the first time I saw it I was waiting the entire film for Darth Vader to be Darth Vader, like he was in the final 10 minutes of the film. So I walked back into the theater a few nights later with a friend who hadn’t seen it and I watched it a second time, except I knew what the story would entail, thus allowing me to focus more on the story and not why Darth Vader wasn’t being Darth Vader.

Overall, I enjoyed the story and the ending is more poetic than if Darth Vader was to meet my unexplainable expectation. We see Krennic die from the very death machine he was in charge of building. This was poetry in motion. I actually loved it after my second viewing. I still wanted more Darth Vader but the last 10 minutes gave us a pretty good showing and helped build on Vader’s importance and power in the Empire. Now going back and re-watching “A New Hope” it’s clear that the power line goes as follows, the Emperor, Tarkin/Vader. Similarly to how “Force Awakens” has Snoke, Hux/Renn which we can argue at length over who stole from who. Yes, A New Hope came first but it isn’t until Rogue One that the power triangle is established between Jedi Master/ Imperial Officer/Jedi… or is it? The third act of this film also has one of the best looking battle scenes I’ve watched this year on the big screen. The war that breaks out on that beautiful island paradise planet was spectacular. Sure the film starts off a little slow but it gains momentum quickly enough and ends with a battle royal that is unmatched on screen this year. I loved the third act of this film so much.

Rogue One: A Star Wars Story” is in theaters now! I definitely recommend you get out and see this film. The attention to detail that this film captures is unprecedented. The time line I laid out as the introduction shows that this film is the precursor to a film made in 1977 and the costume design, space ship design, characters and even weapons share continuity. I was blown away. This film was made 39 years after the very first film and it finishes looking exactly like the 1977 movie. The attention to detail alone demands you see this on the big screen. Aside from that, this is a truly entertaining film and it looks incredible on the big screen. Plus, it’s Star Wars people! Go see this film on the big screen and may the force be with you.

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