Expectations were pretty high going into this one. This is Disney’s second at bat for Star Wars movies and the last (The Force Awakens) was a grand slam no matter how unoriginal some might have found it to be. Rogue One trailers weren’t overly impressive, there were a lot of rumblings about director troubles that ended up being true, and most everyone knew Vader wasn’t going to play a big part … but it is still Star Wars so I couldn’t help but be excited about it. I mean this is the first original non-saga Star Wars movie. This was going to be a darker, gritter, more war-like entry to the expanded universe according to the director and it had a lot riding on it and a lot of built in expectations.
If you are here purely for ratings, on a scale of 1-10 I would give it a solid 7. On a Star Wars scale, I would place it as #5 from best to worst.
There were a few stand out characters who escalated the movie to be more than a heist movie with an obvious ending. K-2SO is going to be everyone’s favorite character by far and was the only real source of humor. Chirrut and Baze made a great team of supporting characters and were probably the only characters I got attached to in the course of the movie. Lastly, Director Krinnec played a very detestable villain which is right up Ben Mendelssohn’s wheelhouse.
The action scenes were all great and definitely added to the gritty feel with a good mix of ground and air assaults. The vehicles were the definite highlights of the battles and would be the #2 reason behind me wanting to rewatch Rogue One (the second is a spoiler and is obvious once you have seen it).
The fleshing out of the Empire and the Rebel Alliance as entities was fantastic. There was a more realistic approach taken to show the Rebels as people doing whatever is necessary to win or take advantage of situations, even if they were a less than morally correct decision. The Empire clearly benefited from their massive size and technological benefits; I’m looking at you AT-ATs, AT-STs, and Tie Fighters … oh and I guess the Death Star can be included on that list.
The pacing was all over the place. The back story intro in place of the crawl was fine, but it seemed like once the story started to progress there would be a sudden jump to another planet. Near the end of the movie when you think the big battle is going to start is exactly when the movie would decide to skip back to another area for more “plot” to further the fighting.
The characters all seemed pretty flat (aside from the ones previously mentioned). There was not much of a reason to root for then one way or another outside of furthering the story. There was a lot of villain monologuing and heroes hesitating to try and build false suspense.
The ending more than made up for all the dull moments of unnecessary exposition. The action sequences helped make up the lack of character growth. This movie also helped answer a few questions you didn’t even know you had about A New Hope until after seeing Rogue One.
For a casual movie goer, you will want to see it so you aren’t kept out of the loop since it will be the big holiday release. Otherwise, I would say there is no need for you to rush out for this one.
For the Star Wars die hards and science fiction fans … you have already seen it. So there is no need for me to tell you this is a must watch to help answer some questions and compare to the others.
If you are curious what order I have the Star Wars franchise as a whole so far:
- Empire Strikes Back
- Return of the Jedi
- The Force Awakens
- A New Hope
- Rogue One
- Revenge of the Sith
- Attack of the Clones
- The Phantom Menace