Movie Review: Rogue One – A Star Wars Story


Rogue One is a wonderful addition to the Star Wars cinema franchise. It reaches further into the lore of the “main” Star Wars Trilogy and is a great set-up for Episode IV. Now, I’m no fan of the Star Wars prequel trilogy, but I do love the original trilogy for what it is. Rogue One: A Star Wars Story follows the adventure of rebels that stole the plans to the Empire’s Death Star. Basically, this story is an extended edition of the three sentences of the opening crawl to Episode IV, which both benefits and detriments the film.

First off, all of the new characters in this film are fantastic and the actors that play these characters give their best performances. One of the standout characters to me was the reprogrammed Imperial droid K-2SO (Alan Tudyk) mainly because of his snarky and sarcastic quips, which was definitely something fresh after C-3PO. Another highlight that stood out was Chirrut Îmwe (Donnie Yen), a blind monk who can really throw down when he needs to. On the “dark” side, Orson Krennic (Ben Mendelsohn) is an interesting character as he’s the Director of the Death Star, and thus adds layers to the Empire. He’s the man who has to get stuff going and essentially prove to his higher-ups that his battle station has potential, so I kind of felt bad for this Imperial jerk.

This movie has a lot of characters which makes it hard to keep track of who’s who — at least at first. That’s one main problem I had with this movie; for most people, like me, who already know about most of the returning characters, such as Mon Mothma, Bail Organa, and Governor Tarkin, won’t be as confused, but for newcomers, I can’t even imagine.

The first third of this movie is kind of slow and a little confusing with time jumps and planet hopping in order to learn about the main characters, but after that, I was engrossed. The action was intense and “real” — especially since there are no Jedi in this movie. That’s what really sets this movie apart from the rest of the franchise, it doesn’t feel exactly like “Star Wars” because this story is about “normal” people who don’t have a lightsaber-wielding Jedi on their side to save their butts every time they fail. Compared to the other Star Wars movies, this has a more boots-on-the-ground feel to it.

Rogue One also added layers to both sides of the fight, the Rebel Alliance isn’t as “perfectly good” as you think it was. Some people make calls that don’t seem quite right. Darth Vader was used sparingly, but if he was not in the movie, it would be no different; still, all of Vader’s scenes are great, especially the last one. The movie had an underlying theme of trust, which is something I hadn’t expected but enjoyed.

By the end, I was thoroughly entertained by Rogue One; it had a slow start, a lot of characters, and once again featured a giant planet-killing station, but I loved it.