Feature Image: Den of Geek
First let me start off by saying that growing up I was never a hardcore fan of Star Wars. My fondest memory of the series was dressing up as Darth Maul the main villain from Episode 1 for Halloween in 1999. I actually never even seen a full Star Wars movie until last year with Episode 7(The Force Awakens) in which I highly enjoyed. However, just because I never watched the original trilogy nor the prequels does not mean that I don’t have an understanding of the Star Wars lure. You would have to be living under a rock if you never heard of Darth Vader, Luke Skywalker, Han Solo, Princess Leia, Chewbacca, or the Stormtroopers. Those characters are iconic in cinema and are all go to cosplay or Halloween costumes for adults. Based off my enjoyment of the Force Awakens, I figured that it was worth giving Rogue One a try although the movie is a prequel of the original trilogy which means a DARTH VADER appearance !
It must be mentioned that you do not have to watch the original trilogy in order to appreciate this film. If anything this film’s job is to inspire you to watch the original trilogy.
Rogue One introduces us to 6 original heroes, Jyn Erso (Felicity Jones), Captain Cassian ( Diego Luna), Chirrut Imwe (Donnie Yen), Pilot Bodhi Rook (Riz Ahmed), Baze Malbus (Jiang Wen), and my personal favorite K-2SO (Alan Tudyk). The film also featured original characters such as Mon Mothma, Senator Bail Organa, Darth Vader, R2-D2, C-3PO and CGI versions of a young Princess Leia, and Grand Moff Tarkin.
Since I am admittedly a Star Wars noob, I had no idea that Grand Moff Tarkin played by actor Peter Cushing passed away in 1994. This only proves that technology is moving in the right direction as Tarkin did not look out of place at all in the film.
Rogue One is not film about lightsaber duels or Jedi mind tricks. It is a war film and in a war there are going to be casualties. The film is very grounded and gritty. Stormtroopers are covered in dirt, blood is spilled, and planets blow up in the battle of the Death Star plans which ties in perfectly to the plot of Episode 4.
For those who main reason for giving this movie a try was the reveal that Vader was going to be in the film might be disappointed in knowing that he is in for only 2 scenes. However when Vader is on the screen, he makes his presence known. In Vader’s initial scene he makes Rogue One’s main villain (Krennic) “choke on his aspirations” and in the film’s climax (which was the best part of the film in my opinion) he slices and dices Rebel soldiers with his lightsaber before they could get away with the Death Star plans.
Overall, I enjoyed this film very much. My only gripe is that I wasn’t given enough reasons to care about the main characters. There were some plot points that felt rush from Jyn initial hesitation to joining the Rebel alliance to automatically being down for the cause after seeing a hologram of her father revealing why he made the decisions he made. We also weren’t given a proper origin story as to why Chirrut and Baze were so close, and how Captain Cassian and Jyn grew to trust each other after it was revealed that his mission was to kill her father. The character that had the most progression was the witty and sarcastic K-2SO who went from a selfish comic relief character to a soldier willing to sacrifice his own life for the greater good. His demise hit me the most because he had the best character arc in the film and we organically got to watch his character shift. The ending sequence ties in so well to episode 4 that I highly recommend picking up the film because where the film ends is exactly where Episode 4 A New Hope begins . It must also be mentioned that the original Episode 4 film came out in 1977 so the fact that a modern film can easily be used to kick off an original story is a testament to the writers of this film.
I give Rogue One A Star Wars story a 4.5/5