I have to say that I was greatly worried when they first teased Rogue One. However, after seeing it in the theater, I realized that my worry was unfounded because the first Star Wars spin-off movie is amazing!
If you’re like me, you probably knew what the plot is before you saw it. Following the events of Star Wars Episode III: Revenge of the Sith, the Rebel Alliance is struggling in their fight against the Empire. On top of that, news of a weapon that could destroy entire planets threaten to crush whatever hope the rebels were holding onto. Everything hinges on the dangerous mission to get the plans to the Death Star.
What I like the most about this film is the superb casting choices. Felicity Jones shines as our heroine, Jyn Erso, an orphaned girl whose father, Galen Erso (Mads Mikkelsen), is believed to be the architect of the instrument of death. In the trailers, audiences are duped into thinking that the elder Erso defected to the Empire. However, upon watching Rogue One: A Star Wars Story, we learn that Galen agreed to work with the enemy because the Death Star would have been made anyway without him. Instead, he installed a trap in the structure that would blow up the entire thing when hit. That is exactly what Luke Skywalker and the rest of Rogue Squadron did in the original Star Wars (1977).
At first, I didn’t like Cassian Andor (Diego Luna). But towards the end, I was on board with his character. The movie paints a universe wherein it’s a battle between Good and Evil but sometimes the good guys must do ‘bad’ things to win. The other supporting personalities were wonderful as well. Everyone is raving about K-2SO (voiced by Alan Tudyk) being the best droid in the entire saga. He had some of the best lines in the film. The villain, Orson Krennic (Ben Mendelsohn), is menacing.
My favorite, though, would have to be Donnie Yen as Chirrut Îmwe. There were no jedis in this movie (although Obi-Wan Kenobi was almost name-dropped) and he played the part of a totally badass warrior very well. His repetition of the line ‘I am one with the Force. The Force is with me.’ has to be the most quotable from the film. But I really love another thing that he said, ‘I fear nothing. All is as the Force wills it.’ He goes on to kick the Storm Troopers’ asses. I would like to see more of his character but that might be a stretch considering that most of them died by the end of the feature.
The action sequences were out-of-this-world (pun intended) although the movie started really slow. But as you went along, everything was building into that awesome third act which was a perfect combination of spectacle and story. It was great to see how well it tied to the next film chronologically – Star Wars Episode IV: A New Hope. I felt that the nostalgia was just right and they featured just enough of Darth Vader.
Before I give my rating, I must say that my mind was blown on how they dealt with the subject of trust in the movie. Galen Erso didn’t trust the Empire so he fled. They found him though and he allowed himself to be taken. Jyn didn’t trust her father because she thought he was working for the Empire. Well, she didn’t really trust a lot of people because she has been alone for quite some time. When she meets Cassian and K-2SO, they didn’t trust her. When she proposed her plan to the Rebel Alliance council to infiltrate Scarif to steal the plans for the Death Star, most of them didn’t trust her. Saw Gerrera (Forest Whitaker), leader of the Rebel Extremists, didn’t trust the story of Bodhi (Riz Ahmed), former Empire pilot. Even Orson Krennic didn’t trust the other members of the Empire. However, Chirrut influences Jyn in the ways of the Force. The fact that he is blind and can fight Storm Troopers as well as jedis tells us so much about his trust in the Force. She remembers what her mother said to her before she became an orphan, ‘Trust the Force.’ Before they go on their mission, she motivates the team by saying, ‘May the Force be with us.’ Chirrut smiles with us because we all know how our heroine has changed throughout the film.
Having said that, I am giving Rogue One: A Star Wars Story 4 out of 5 stars. I highly recommend that you watch it if you haven’t. I know I’m willling to watch it again.