Rogue One: A Star Wars Story Review

A long time ago, in a galaxy far, far away… and what happened right before the beginning of Episode IV, we are told a story that’s going to be beneficial to what happens next. As we were told they we were getting new Star Wars films, we never thought it would include anthology stories that would be shown from a different point-of-view in the universe that we have never seen before that might not have been in anything canon related. So Rogue One: A Star Wars Story is the first anthology films setting place between Revenge of the Sith and right before the beginning of A New Hope. In this, the rebellion has recruited Jyn Erso (Felicity Jones) to get the prints to the infamous weapon Death Star a.k.a. the star that brings deaths to planets. So they must steal the plans to hopefully stop all the destructions that will be caused in the later movies. As it said in the opening crawl in Episode IV, “During the battle, Rebel spies managed to steal secret plans to the Empire’s ultimate weapon, the DEATH STAR.”, this really puts the center of how these rebels will put together the best they can. Rebellions are built on hope, right? Indeed so. Rogue One is a lot better than expected as it came off as the best Star Wars has to offer for fans. First off, the cast was perfect. We’re introduced to new characters in this universe that feels better than what was being presented in Suicide Squad in all honesty. I heard this was going to feel like “The Usual Suspects” in stealing the plans and I can see that Felicity Jones as the main protagonist Jyn Erso was a fearless and strong rebel. There’s really something about her character that makes you want to achieve all possibilities into stopping the Empire. Besides the fact that she’s beautiful, she so capable of fighting her own strengths and she’s a great new addition to this saga now. It feels great to have two Star Wars movie in a row that focuses on reliable and smart heroines with Rey in The Force Awakens and now Jyn. Overall, she’s just a fantastic actress even after her breathtaking role in The Theory of Everything. The two best new characters were K-2SO and Chirrut Imwe. Alan Tudyk as the droid, K-2SO brought out the humorous scenes throughout and having the biggest laughs. And Donnie Yen as Chirrut Imwe, a blind warrior who believes in the force, had some of the coolest battles scenes that are in awe. Other characters like Cassian Andor (Diego Luna), Bodhi Rook (Riz Ahmed), and Baze Malbuss (Jiang Wen) did well in their roles respectively. Ben Mendelsohn as director Orson Krennic was really good as the villain who delves in this scenes well even if goes into overacting, he’s still talented.

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All of the action sequences were flawless as this felt like an actual war movie going on. This has everything from the dogfight battles in space, TIE fighters are flying and AT-AT’s walking, and it gets to that length of almost going hardcore with the action. Impressive overall. There was an appearance of a character that involves some sort of CGI technology that has been used in movies before and the way it was shown, it actually worked and it wasn’t bothersome. And when Darth Vader is on screen, his screen presence is glorious beyond words. He isn’t in a lot of scenes, which is perfect because he in this more, it will possibly lose focuses on the actual story. The visual effects were great and almost realistic for what they were going for.

So going to the flaws: besides Jyn, there wasn’t enough character development between the rest of the crew to show why we want them to survive. Maybe because the first act felt a bit rushed trying to give them background information. Personally, these are the heroes, but just some strength making me believe that they need to live in the end just rooting for them so I can forgive that. The second act was briefly slow but eminently picked up once the third act was about to begin. There was a scene that was unnecessary and didn’t make sense on why in was in there. And finally, Forest Whitaker as Saw Gerrera was underused. What’s strange is that he’s an existing character as was seen in the Clone Wars series. Plus,  his voice was kind of weird. Besides those problems, this was an action-packed film to end the year fresh on a high-note. Side note: some scenes that were in the trailers didn’t appear in the final cut. As it stands, though, it’s fine for now.  

Director Gareth Edwards (Godzilla) really did a great job putting together a film that hopefully won’t disappoint fans. Because of what he did with Godzilla, it was a letdown only just of how Godzilla was less involved in that. With this, it doesn’t cut away from anything integral to the story. When it was reported that went through reshoots, there were speculations about if could ruin the film overall and it didn’t. The direction he took was beautiful while making feel gritty and old school war or even the older Star Wars movies feel. Many people will probably get confused since this isn’t a sequel to The Force Awakens as it doesn’t have any the characters from the movie, but this has new characters we’ve never seen before on an adventure so different from what we always wanted to see. This didn’t rely on nods the previous movies though when it did, it was fairly entertaining. Once the third act starts, it’s very compelling and gripping to no end leaving with a realization about what will come after it all ends with your heart beating possibly. As a fan of Star Wars, I knew how it was going to end, to be honest, but this really delivered something special. It’s a great story to tell that probably haven’t been shown in yet. Probably in the future, I might want to read the most recent canon book, “Catalyst” to really delve into what happened before. For me personally, The Force Awakens was a much better movie and if this were to be ranked, it would be my fourth favorite out of the seven films that have been released by now. With how much awesomeness was punched into this, the Han Solo standalone film could be good now. And since this is a prequel technically, it’s pretty great. As a Star Wars fan, it succeeds. The action sequences were great, the characters worked well together on this mission, and I applaud Edwards for not screwing this movie up for everyone being the first standalone movie in the franchise.

Rogue One was a spectacular and excitable prequel that it really offered something different in the Star Wars saga to new heights.

Grade: A-

 

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