Possible spoilers ahead!
In a galaxy far, far, away, a rebellion has started to take shape – thanks in part to the efforts of former Imperial senators, Mon Mothma and Bail Organa. Meanwhile, the Emperor and Darth Vader prepare to take control of the galaxy with the aid of their super weapon, the Death Star.
In a desperate attempt to unite the different Rebel factions, Alliance leaders enlist the help of Jyn Erso (Felicity Jones), a longtime friend of extremist Rebel leader Saw Gerrera (Forest Whitaker). The Alliance believes that Gerrera may have obtained crucial information about the Dath Star, while Jyn hopes Gerrera will bring her one step closer to finding her father, Galen Erso (Mads Mikkelsen), the engineer responsible for designing the Death Star.
Jyn agrees to join the mission, and she’s teamed-up with Cassian Andor (Diego Luna), a Rebel Alliance Intelligence officer, and K-2SO (Alan Tudyk), a former Imperial enforcer droid whose memory is wiped by Andor. Their search for Gerrera however, is interrupted by a clash between Rebel insurgents and Imperial Stormtroopers.
Soon, Jyn realizes that she can’t afford to sit on the sidelines any longer, and she sets out with a strange band of heroes on a mission to unite the Rebels and get revenge on the man responsible for tearing her own family apart.
“Rogue One: A Star Wars Story,” takes place between Revenge of the Sith and A New Hope. Now, I know the word prequel has an ugly history in the Star Wars world. However, Rogue One is not only the best prequel they’ve made, it’s also one of the best Star Wars movies. But I’ll go even a step further: Rogue One is not just a great Star Wars movie, it’s a great sci-fi movie period.
Rogue One proves that Star Wars movie doesn’t need Lightsabers or a Skywalker to tell epic big screen adventures. Director Gareth Edwards made sure the plot in Rogue One fit well into the mythology. He brought back a number of well-known faces and story threads which enhanced the core tale of A New Hope, and its characters.
That said, Rogue One is about more than just setting up STar Wars mythology. The film introduces audiences to rich new characters in this galaxy. Jyn Erso (Felicity Jones) is a strong leading lady, both as a seasoned soldier, and as our emotional entry point. Jyn is a baddass, and I would love to see her get her own Marvel Comic in the near future.
Jones had some great chemistry with Cassian Andor (Diego Luna), but I’m glad that the film never goes down the romance tunnel. But Cassian is pivotal in how Jyn’s story, and in transforming other characters into a functional Rebel Alliance.
The remaining members of Rogue One are also quite effective. Imperial defector Bodhi Rook (Riz Ahmed) along with former Jedha temple guards Chirrut Îmwe (Donnie Yen) and Baze Malbus (Jiang Wen) are each provided moments to shine, provide humor, and kick ass. But, it is Cassian’s droid co-pilot K-2SO (Alan Tudyk) that steals the show most of the time.
I loved this movie, I really did. But I do have two minor nitpicks. One, aside from Jyn, none of the other characters have any back story or development. Oh wait, Cassian gets one line of dialogue about his past. But I would have liked to know more about the rest of the group. Perhaps Marvel Comics will help me out with that.
Two, the first twenty minutes of so of this movie was title card after title card. And the jumps from one place to another were so damn quick, that at one point I lost track of where Jyn and the others were at. Three, I didn’t get a Porkins cameo, the fat guy deserves better. And four, there was no Jar Jar Binks death scene like I’d requested. But, these are just nitpicks on my part.
At the end of the day, the first stand alone film of the Star Wars saga, provided an exciting, edge of your seat movie going experience. Rogue One will thrill long time fans and casual filmgoers alike. This is one well-crafted movie with insane action, humor, and heart.
One last thing: to parents or anyone planning to bring children to see Rogue One. Please note that while this movie has fun moments, humor, and lovable characters. this is a war-time story. This is one dark and violent movie compared to the rest of the Star Wars movies.
“Rogue One: A Star Wars Story” final score: 9.5