ROGUE ONE: A Star Wars Story – Movie Review

Rogue One: A Star Wars Story would have to be one of the most widely anticipated movies in recent years.  With a well-established universe and a legion of fans unlike any other franchise, it was a miracle that this film did not get over hyped and have a barrel full of fan expectation to live up to.  This movie is not a prequel or a sequel, but a standalone story that slots in just in front of and off to the side of Star Wars Episode IV: A New Hope. So is it any good?
YESThe story of Rogue One focuses on a group of Rebels led by Jyn Erso (Felicity Jones) and Cassian Andor (Diego Luna) who’s goal is to get their hands on the plans for the Death Star, a “super weapon” capable of destroying an entire planet. Orson Krennic (Ben Mendelssohn), is the main baddie, he is hell bent on furthering his political aspirations in the Empire and overseeing the construction of the Death Star, with a touch of an Aussie accent to just add to his evil ways.
rogue-one-a-star-wars-story-storm-troopersJyn and Cassian combine forces and gather a group of rogue rebels to take matters into their own hands when it comes to stealing the technical plans of the Death Star, designed by Galen Erso (Mads Mikkelsen) who is Jyn’s father.  I say this because their mission is not exactly sanctioned by the powers that be in the Rebel Alliance.

Rogue One: A Star Wars Story L to R: (Felicity Jones) & (Diego Luna) Ph: Film Frame ©Lucasfilm LFLThis fact was one of the many appealing things about this movie to me.  It shows the Rebellion as being somewhat splintered and made up of many groups each with their own agenda, but a common hate for the Empire.  We see a side of the rebellion that is not just the classic “Good Guy” tone.  They are morally questionable at times, break ranks and self-serving.  This creates a sometimes ambiguous dynamic between the characters that keeps you on your toes.

The new cast of characters come at you think and fast.  While time is spent on establishing the dynamic between Jyn and Cassian, there is a barrage of other fantastic new characters who we get to know… fast. A lot of the comedy in the film comes from K2-SO (Alan Tudyk), a reprogrammed imperial droid who now works for the Cassian and the Rebels. He an amazing humanity to this droid character who also has a great arc and develops throughout the movie.

megerkezett-a-zsivany-egyes-egy-star-wars-tortenet-szinkronos-elozetese_1Another stand out is Chirrut Imwe (Donnie Yen) who is perhaps the most mysterious character in the gang.  He is blind and wields a staff with great skill.  While not a Jedi he is somewhat in touch with The Force, which is a new perspective in the Star Wars films.  A force sensitive warrior who seems to have adapted his own way of becoming one with The Force.
From the get go this movie sets itself apart from some of the traditions we know and love when experiencing a Star Wars movie.  You are dropped squarely into a familiar universe… but with completely new locations and characters.  Director Gareth Edwards executes this combination of familiar and new extremely well.  Completely new worlds populated with familiar vehicles and machines.  Completely new music, yet familiar sound effects of blasters, X-wings and droids. And of course completely new characters, but in some familiar digs at Yavin 4 and the Death Star.

Rogue One: A Star Wars Story (Donnie Yen) Ph: Film Frame ©Lucasfilm LFLThis movie has a big job of introducing us to a whole swag of new characters and getting us to care about them in the first 2 acts.  Some of this can seem a bit slow at times but I feel that the movie really pays off in the third act.  This is action on a level I haven’t seen in a Star Wars film in a long time.  If you heard that this is a “War movie” then you heard right.  The battle scenes are presented in a more mature way than any of the other Star Wars movies and I feel that this one is really made more for an adult audience. Perhaps the ones who were kids when the original trilogy was released and they have grown up loving Star Wars all their lives finally get a movie that feels like it was made a little bit for them.  There are loads of easter eggs and little nods to the originals so keep an eye out.  On the flip side of that, I’m sure that for many a cinema goer this film will be their first introduction to Star Wars, and what an introduction it is. Extremely enjoyable and kick ass. I came out of this film feeling thoroughly satisfied and can’t wait to see where they take the next stand alone movie.