Rogue One: A Star Wars Story is A Galaxy Full of Fun

Rogue One: A Star Wars Story is A Galaxy Full of Fun

Garrett Wheeler, SPN Editor in Chief

The Star Wars franchise returns with the first spinoff film in this new expanded universe – Rogue One. Excitement flowed through this Star Wars fan all the way up to the release date, but I had some reservations because this is the universe’s first deviation from the main storyline. Plus, the numerous reshoots leading up to the release of the film had me slightly worried.

Luckily, this movie was a lot of fun, even though there were some glaring flaws.

This movie follows Jyn Erso, played by Felicity Jones, and how she gathers a band of rebel fighters to try to get the Death Star plans to the Rebel Alliance. This group includes the shady Cassian Andor, played by Diego Luna; the sassy droid K-2SO, played by Alan Tudyk; the imperial cargo pilot Bodhi Rook, played by Riz Ahmed; the blind Force-wielder Chirrut Imwe, played by Donnie Yen; and the gunslinger Baze Malbus, played by Wen Jiang. Any more details here would present spoilers.

The plot is fantastic. It provides mystery and intrigue, and expertly ties into the start of A New Hope. The darker tone is treated well, and humorous splices given throughout help elevate the writing. This movie also addresses one of the biggest plot holes the original trilogy had: Why would the Death Star have such a design flaw? How the film treats this question is thoughtful and sensible.

Jones does well as a stoic, yet knows exactly when to let her emotional walls get torn down in certain scenes. Tudyk is hysterical as K-2SO, providing a much needed comic relief. Yen is another stand-out, truly selling the “one with the force” aspect of this universe. Forrest Whitaker shines for the brief time he’s on the screen. Some people will be annoyed by his voice because he sounds like his windpipe has been crushed, but it didn’t bug me that much.

The action scenes are exciting, well-executed and visually striking. Rogue One portrays its action with grit and dirt, much like a war movie at times. These scenes pair perfectly with the phenomenal cinematography, great stunts, and perfect tension.

One of the best elements is the visuals. This is the best looking Star Wars film. Everything from the laser effects to the explosions to the faint glimpse of the Death Star in the far distance looks as gorgeous as ever. Rogue One should get an Oscar nomination for Best Visual Effects; it could even win.

The ending fight scene is up there with The Magnificent Seven and Deadpool as being one of my favorite final fights of the year. The way every set piece comes together and all characters lend themselves to the battle results in a truly exciting experience. It’s possibly one of the best action scenes in Star Wars history. The climax of this movie almost makes up for all the flaws Rogue One has to offer.

About those flaws: Rogue One has quite a few. The film begins in rough fashion. Many characters are introduced at once with little time given to any of them, causing multiple rushed scenes in a row. Because of this, the pacing for the first third of the movie is off and causes the narrative to feel impeccably choppy.

And that choppiness continues. Because Rogue One went through many reshoots, it’s easy to tell during a viewing. The movie still functions and these reshoots don’t ruin the experience, but the film constantly feels off because of them. This isn’t another Fant4stic, where all the reshoots turned that movie into a disaster.

The biggest problem with Rogue One: A Star Wars Story is the characters. With the exception of Jyn Erso and K-2SO, none of these characters is given much back story or much of a personality. Because of this, it’s hard to care for any of these people, which is a shame, because I really wanted to do so. This is a fascinating universe with memorable characters, and to see a Star Wars movie with weak characters is disappointing.

Despite what it may seem, I actually did really enjoy Rogue One: A Star Wars Story. It may not be perfect, but what it does well, it does really well. If you’re a fan of Star Wars, I’m sure you’ve already seen it. If you haven’t, what are you waiting for? Go watch it! Rogue One: A Star Wars Story is great fun and shows further promise for what this extended universe has to offer.