Rogue One had a lot riding on it’s success as the first non-episodic Star Wars film. But shifting away from the Skywalker story was a risk worth taking. It’s a great entry into the Star Wars universe, and a hell of a movie in its own right.
But Is It Star Wars?
What makes Rogue One so fantastic is that it is first and foremost a war movie. If it had just been a movie with Star Wars splashed all over it just to sell tickets it would have been a tragedy. Instead Rogue One was obviously conceived as a film about the oppression of tyranny, and the struggle against it. It just so happens to be a great Star Wars story also. What really helped is that it has nothing to do with the Skywalkers. Star Wars has become so much more than one family’s legacy. There is a stunning tapestry of worlds, and stories, that beg to be told. Rogue One is one of them.
Jyn Erso is the lead of the film, and she carries the story as well as any main character of the franchise. She embodies the spirit of the rebellion down to her very core. Brave, resourceful, and the embodiment of hope, she is the most well represented leader of the rebellion we’ve ever seen. It doesn’t hurt that her story runs deep in Star Wars lore thanks to the excellent tie-in book Catalyst. It’s not necessary reading, but it makes her character in even more tragic, and integral to the Star Wars universe.
The rest of the characters that make up the brave squad of rebels are all interesting in their own way. It’s a shame we don’t get more time with each of them, but i think that’s a testament to how great they are. I can’t shake the questions I have about each of their backstories. Hopefully we can expect some books and comics to realize their massive potential.
There was a lot of talk about Darth Vader leading up to Rogue One’s release. He’s certainly in the movie, but not nearly as prominently as some might expect. His scenes are brief, but undeniably powerful. He is the brutal, menacing figure we all remember him as when we were kids, but now actually is on screen. Orson Krennic, however, does deserves a nod. As the central villain, and another character that benefits from fleshing out in Catalyst, he is an interesting take on a high-ranking Imperial. Driven, methodical, and ruthless, his motivations may be more selfish than “for the glory of the Empire”, but he’s nonetheless threatening for it. He is a worth adversary to Jyn Erso and her band of rebels. There is one other Imperial officer who steals the entire movie, but I won’t spoil that. You’ll have to see it to believe it.
The See Or Not To See
Go see it! If you expected Rogue One to be great, you’ll love it. You may even think it’s the best Star Wars movie, and arguably better than The Force Awakens. You can’t beat the rich Star Wars mythology, the intense wartime action, and the ecstatic geeky feel of the whole thing. If you expected Rogue One to be just alright, you will be pleasantly surprised. If you see no point to these Star Wars “stories” I can’t convince you otherwise. Rogue One is great. It’s Star Wars at its best. I don’t think they could have made a better movie for the first non-episodic Star Wars film. The door has been opened to a fantastic world of Star Wars “stories”. I can’t wait to see what comes next!