All right, it’s time to take a look at the first Star Wars spinoff movie. This one helps to bridge the gap between film III and IV by showing us how the rebellion managed to actually acquire the plans to the Death Star. After all, how could they hope to get such secretive intel from the Empire? There’s a lot of action here and it’s always fun to see The Force move about. It’s a little hard to go back to the days when the Jedi weren’t fighting with their cool abilities, but Rogue One is a solid action movie. It’ll help get you ready for the Episode VIII movie which is coming soon.
Jyn is the main character of the film (Could have sworn that it was Jane) and she witnessed her parents get captured by the Empire. She escapes and was rescued by a tough resistance fighter. Many years passed and Jyn is now a very aggressive person who dislikes the Empire and the Rebellion. She is thrown back into the fray when the rebellion shows up and decides to use her to get to the resistance member. Jyn isn’t thrilled about this arrangement, but she doesn’t have much of a choice. Planets are on the line and the planetary destruction weapon is now complete so the clock is ticking.
The film gets to the plot right away as Jyn’s backstory flies by and her first big mission is upon us. There is no need for a super large build up and that’s really the point. In a war, you don’t have time to go to the local deli first, it’s just on to the mission. As soon as Jyn and Cassian are at the first planet, the skirmish between the Rebellion and the Empire begins. From there we get a lot of other action scenes and the big climax is certainly the largest scale one in the movie. When you think that the fight is about to end, it ends up continuing and continuing. The film doesn’t let up right up through the very end. Naturally I won’t go into any details at all about the ending, but it is quite great and the perfect way to end things on a high note. It also explains why a ship wasn’t pulled back with The Force. I suppose it may not have been the wisest move anyway. You’ll definitely want to watch Episode IV afterwards to put all of this into perspective.
The graphics are good as you would expect. Due to the layout of the Star Wars universe, we don’t get a chance to see many futuristic tech or cities lying about, but the heroes do go to one cool city. It’s a fun camera pan out as we see what the city looks like from afar and then see how desolate it really is when the heroes land. The lightsaber that Darth Vader has looks cool as always and I did appreciate the beam battles that we got as always. That being said, I feel like they heavily nerfed the blasters here. Numerous characters are blasted in the chest with no serious injury. I don’t really think anyone should survive getting his by a blast, especially considering that everyone had their phasers set to
I also enjoyed the soundtrack. It was fun hearing the classical themes of the series. I also really like the death wail that all of the machines make when they’re about to explode. I’ve been hearing it more and more as I play the video game and it certainly is catchy. The film doesn’t really have any new tunes, but the classic ones are all that you need in the end. Also, there weren’t really any one on one fights so there wouldn’t be much of a chance to use any new battle music.
Before getting into the characters, I have to talk about one in particular. A guy runs off during the film spouting some nonsense about finding an ultra powerful Jedi warrior who could turn the tables. He said that he trusts her with his life before running off and now we know why. This would give him an excuse to escape before things got messy. What other reason is there for him dashing off and not returning? The Jedi warrior never got to show up unless she was a cameo somewhere and that was just mind boggling. Hardcore Star War fans may know who is was talking about and why it was significant, but for a super casual (At least that’s what I let people think!) fan like myself, it was just rather random.
Jyn makes for a good heroine. I do think that her personality was maybe a little too similar to Rey’s though. Both of them are really tough “Me against the world” characters who know hand to hand skills and dislike everybody. Both of them eventually mellow out though and learn how to be team players. A big difference is the fact that Rey knows the Force though. Regardless of comparisons, Jyn was fun to have around although she maybe became a nice person a little too quickly. Her character arc was a little rushed, but I’ll take action over drama any day so I’m pretty fine with it in the end. Cassian was the main guy in the film and I can’t say that I cared for him. He doesn’t mind putting aside his morals when in the line of duty and even though he got too scared to pull the trigger, it’s hard to put aside the fact that he was willing to do the deed. Jyn calls him out on it and Cassian basically runs off to sulk, after insulting everyone and trying to pick a fight. I know that Cassian’s supposed to be a likable guy by the end, but I just wasn’t buying it. He could fight, which is a nice start, but he was just very annoying.
Speaking of annoying characters though, one of the worst was probably Chirrut. I dislike this fan favorite because he got on my nerves immediately. His whole “I’m one with the Force” gimmick was boring and repetitive. He couldn’t really back it up either as he would have died several times without his generic partner. He came across as a fake Jedi and the only way that I would have liked him would have been if he had an actual lightsaber and used the Force to attack. If the film wanted to have a Jedi around, then they should have gone the whole way. Have him fight Darth Vader near the end or something like that. Yes, Chirrut would have certainly died, but it would have been a good fight and it would have been a way to actually cement the fact that Chirrut was a fighter. His character arc just felt very empty and while it’s cool that we had someone with powers, I was hoping that we’d have someone who knew how to use those abilities.
Back to cool characters though, I certainly enjoyed K2SO. He was a fun sarcastic version of C3PO and he got most of the best lines in the film. He can actually fight, which is a big improvement from C3PO and had some fun action scenes. He is very useful as an undercover robot since the Empire always thinks that he is one of them and the design is cool as well. The heroes would have been utterly doomed without his expertise. Another cool character is naturally Darth Vader. He gets a pair of pivotal scenes, which was nice for his fans. He’s definitely one of the biggest symbols in the franchise and any moment with him in it is always neat. I don’t think his very first scene was necessary as we see him in the water tank since it makes him a little less threatening, but I suppose it was to help acknowledge him as more than just a Sith Lord who wrecks everyone, but I’m actually fine with the latter. You definitely can’t escape from Darth Vader, as many of the characters quickly figure out. It’s why I want a proper light saber fight with him since today’s effects could make it quite epic.
One character that you’ll probably feel bad for is Bodhi. He’s a pilot who had an important message to give to the extremest rebel, but ends up nearly being brain fried for his troubles. It shows just how shady this rebel was and I can see why the rebellion wanted nothing to do with him initially. Not that the rebellion is a whole lot better either. While they aren’t evil like the other guy, some of their members aren’t very courageous. The fact that a lot of them wanted to join the Empire speaks volumes about their resolve. I don’t know how they got a seat in the council. The “It’s a Trap!” guy continues to be a great character though. Now that guy’s a true leader!
Orson and Tarkin are two fun sub villains to have around as well. They’re both political villains who talk a good game and hide in the shadows. They use mind games and overwhelming numbers to take the heroes on while they debate among themselves the whole time. They both have personality and are fun to have around so I actually enjoyed them. They certainly can’t fight all that much, but Orson did manage to take on Cassian in a gun fight so he does have some skills. That or Cassian just isn’t that good and the latter is a real possibility.
I’m probably one of the only ones who feels this way, but I felt bad for the Storm Troopers a lot of the time. They’re constantly defeated through cheap tricks and sneak attacks so it was always cool to see them land some counter hits. The Storm Troopers may be on the wrong side, but they have cool armors and they do try their best. Only plot hax is enough to stop them at times. Rebellions are built on that after all. This film was fairly reasonable on that angle though. There’s no way that the attack should have worked and the Rebellion should have been squashed, but it’s hard to realistically have such a small group attack a big army. The Empire just has too many options at their disposal.
In the end, this film is definitely better than I, II, V, and VI, but it loses to IV and VII. It’s pretty close with III though since that film had a lot more action and big fight scenes while this one leaves you with more of a “Feels Good” feeling. III’s ending is rather somber and dark. In the end, I suppose the epicness wins out so that still puts this film as the 4th best among the 7. 8 if we count the animated film, but it’s really been a super long time since I watched that one. That one could potentially be the best, but I remember always being annoyed that some of the fights are so close to happening and yet they don’t happen. They were probably saving that for the TV show or something.
Overall, Star Wars Rogue One is a fun prequel. It’s a good way of expanding the universe of Star Wars mythos and allowing us to see some classic characters like Darth Vader again. It’ll remind you that the rebellion certainly went through a lot of hardships before they got to claim some victories. The universe desperately needed some more Jedi. If you haven’t watched a Star Wars film before, then you can certainly jump into this one. In a way, it can be a new starting point for fans since it links into IV so well. I have always been with the crowd that says watching IV before I is crucial so this is the only exception to the original trilogy rule. The film accomplished what it set out to do here so I look forward to seeing if the next prequel will be as good. They definitely put a lot of work into these films so I’m confident that they will keep on checking through the script until it’s just right.