*Spoiler Alert! If you are avoiding spoilers, do not read further. You’ve been warned.*
Rogue One: A Star Wars Story is an excellent movie all Star Wars should see. Even though it is a stand-alone piece, it still manages an interesting storyline with very lovable characters. This is a quality movie and it may be my favorite Star Wars film in the franchise. I’m not sure where Disney gets their magic, but I hope they can keep it up.
Rogue One jumps right into the story and I have to say it is a little weird to not see the iconic Star Wars crawl at the beginning but Rogue One does a decent enough job in its storytelling so I don’t think we are missing out.
The scientist, Galen Erso (Mads Mikkelsen), is hiding from Imperial forces with his wife and daughter. Krennic (Ben Mendelsohn) finds Galen and tries to coerce him to return to work on the Death Star. Galen’s wife, Lyra (Valene Kane), threatens Krennic with a blaster but ultimately loses her life. Jyn Erso (Felicity Jones), Galen’s daughter must escape and hide. Jyn is found by a Rebel who becomes an extremist by the name of Saw Gerrerra (Forest Whitaker).
Fifteen years later an Imperial pilot, Bohdi Rook (Riz Ahmed), brings a message from Galen to Gerrerra. Rook defects from the Imperials. Jyn is held captive for petty crimes and is freed by Rebels. The Rebels decide to use Jyn to find her father since she will be able to speak with Gerrerra for information. Gerrerra raised Jyn and the Rebels assume the relationship between the two will aid in adding to their intelligence. The Rebel officer Cassian (Diego Luna) and reprogrammed Imperial droid K-2SO (Alan Tudyk) take charge of the mission as General Draven (Alistair Petrie) tells Cassian to kill Jyn’s father.
Cassian, K-2SO, and Jyn travel to Jeddha in their search for Gerrerra. The three meet a blind warrior named Chirrut Imwe (Donnie Yen) and his mercenary friend and protector, Baze Malbus (Wen Jiang). These two are very close friends and it is hard not to quickly enjoy their interactions throughout the movie. With the two new additions to the team, they are taken to a holding cell by Gerrerra’s troops where Rook is also being held captive.
Jyn speaks with Gerrerra for the first time. It is a very heartfelt moment in the Rogue One movie as we find out Gerrerra was looking out for her best interests and did not merely just abandon her. Gerrerra shows Jyn a hologram message from her father. Galen’s message is about the Death Star and how even though he did help to build the weapon, he also left a weak spot that can easily be attacked to destroy it. Jyn must bring this information to the Rebels so they can steal the plans from the Imperials and destroy the Death Star.
Jyn and her team must hurry and leave Jeddha after the Imperial forces decide to attack with the Death Star. Gerrerra says to Jyn he is tired of running, but Jyn must go and destroy the weapon. The Rebels then go to Eadu where Galen is at a research facility.
When Jyn realizes Cassian’s plans to kill her father, she attempts to rescue Galen. Cassian also decides not to assassinate Jyn’s father, but Rebel forces bomb the platform where Galen admits to Kennric that he is the source of the leaked information about the Death Star. Despite Jyn’s attempt to save her father, Galen dies in her arms. Jyn and the others then make an escape in a stolen Imperial ship.
Jyn comes up with a plan to recover the intel for the Rebels, though the Rebels do not want to risk it, she decides to go through with it anyway. Many of the Rebels who have done terrible things for the cause decide to join her group as well since giving up the fight would mean their own sacrifices and crimes will have meant nothing.
The rest of the fight and plan to recover the schematics and send the message to the Rebels takes place on Scarif. One epic battle all for the Rebels’ cause is literally the most non-stop and exciting moment of Rogue One, but also the most gut-wrenching. I was not expecting to invest so much in these characters and come out the other end as if I’d finished The Red Wedding.
I think this is where my first complaint might lie. Did everyone really have to die? I mean really? I totally understand Rogue One was meant to be a stand-alone movie and all the loose ends must be tied off, but do endings really have to be this final. I loved this movie, but some of the deaths felt a bit lazy. Gerrerra for example, all of a sudden decides he doesn’t feel like running and gives up to die. It’s not a very good explanation for a Rebel extremist. Maybe it’s because he felt he had reconciled with Jyn? Maybe he just meant he literally didn’t feel like running since he was constantly having difficulty breathing and had to carry around a breathing mask? I’m not sure, but I was not completely satisfied how this character’s life ended.
The moment on Scarif was heartbreaking for me. I was not emotionally prepared to become so attached to the characters, only to have them ripped away by death. Some of my favorite movies and shows have done this to the audience and I guess in a way it does make me stop and consider the importance of the lives given to the wider story of Star Wars. In the past Star Wars movies, the depth of the Rebels’ cause never really resonated very much since the lives of the main characters, for the most part, did not feel at risk.
After Rogue One, those movies now carry a lot more weight and meaning for me after experiencing the lives lost on Scarif. I might be analyzing and processing the actions and the emotions for some time to come. I’m grateful for such an epic story like Star Wars to still be able to hold that much weight with me.
Rogue One hands down had some of the best characters in the Star Wars universe. The blind warrior and his mercenary friend were some of my favorites, though I do wish there had been more backstory. The actors Donnie Yen and Wen Jiang did a wonderful job with their interactions and the interactions between the rest of the cast. I couldn’t help but laugh as the more peaceful warrior is also protected with the help of his friend and watch their silly quips back forth throughout the movie.
K-2SO is another easily favorite character. He speaks his mind and protects his comrades with funny moments throughout the film. While Felicity Jones as Jyn Erso and Diego Luna as Cassian also do outstanding jobs in their lead roles.
Rogue One did a decent job portraying the Rebels as more than just one sided good guys. Cassian’s character obviously has done some pretty horrible actions and is even ready to kill Galen Erso as ordered by General Draven. He deceives Jyn in his intent as well. At first for me it is pretty hard to like Cassian when you know he is about to kill Jyn’s father, a man put in a position where he had to choose between his death or to work on the Death Star for the Imperial Forces but instead still tries to find a way to fight even though he’s forced to build the weapon. Both Galen and Cassian are portrayed as complicated characters, not merely good or bad.
The cinematography and the special effects in this film are amazing and gorgeous. The scenery from the different planets is gorgeous to look at while even the moments on board the different ships added to the scenes in Rogue One. I absolutely fell in love with the X-wings in space when the Rebel Alliance Fleet is called in to help with the battle on Scarif. Some of the reactions of the pilots are reminiscent of some of the older movies as well. It may be a bit over the top, but I enjoyed it just the same. I mean they are the ones crashing to their doom, so what do I know?
The computer generated face of Leia’s at the end is a little odd and appears overly smooth, but it’s not too bad. Besides, I was glad to see a familiar face at the end of the movie with the reminder and reassurance of hope after so much grim death on Scarif.
Rogue One may have been a filler piece to connect the larger story in Star Wars, but it’s a really good filler piece worth your time. Usually, filler means something without substance but there is much substance here. Rogue One adds weight to the wider story with interesting characters and story. Disney may be interested in milking the franchise for all its worth, but if Rogue One is any indication of future Star Wars movies I will happily give my money to the franchise.
Rogue One: A Star Wars Story brings hope to the future of the Star Wars movies. If Disney can continue the same level of quality in the future movies, Star Wars fans will have a lot to look forward to. Go see Rogue One: A Star Wars Story in theaters if you haven’t.
Have you already seen Rogue One? Let us know what you thought about the movie with your Geeky Talk in the comments below and may the Force be with you.