Finally, I get to see a Star Wars movie in theaters! While I’ve yet to see the prequels or The Force Awakens, I have enough understanding of the Star Wars universe and all of its events to be able to understand the plot and all the important stuff in Rogue One. Now that I have seen it, I can say it doesn’t even require any knowledge of the Star Wars universe at all, merely a basic understanding of the science fiction genre as a whole. As always, since this is a new release, I won’t be spoiling anything relevant to any plot!
Now, I should stay I’ve heard mixed reviews on this movie, both before and after I’ve seen it. I’ve heard it called the best Star Wars movie to date, while others think it’s terrible because quite a lot of screen time is devoted to combat, not to mention there were claims that the acting and character interactions “felt rigid and unrealistic” to paraphrase another’s words. I personally wouldn’t say this is the best Star Wars movie made, but overall, I think this one performed relatively well!
First: the pros. This movie had great combat, which I really didn’t expect to be saying since there is relatively little use of lightsabers or the Force. The fight scenes did an awesome job establishing what the characters need to be doing and the obstacles in the way moment to moment. It wasn’t just “kill the guy shooting at you”. All the fighting in this movie had a purpose, which is pretty impressive because a lot of movies of high production value throw action in because that’s what you paid to see, not because that’s what needs to happen. (Admittedly, this isn’t an either/or scenario, but a lot of action movies have unrealistic action because special effects are what make the movies look good.)
I also liked the characters. They were believable, and many had great lines! Now, I admit that there were too many names thrown at me too quickly. I couldn’t even tell you two characters’ names off the top of my head. Beyond that, given common tropes, the plot was a little predictable on this front (ex: stubborn character makes X bad move because of their obstinate nature), but that made it no less entertaining when X bad move really does end poorly for our heroes! Also, the CGI Grand Moff Tarkin looks pretty good. He was noticeably CGI, true, but I think it’s mostly because he was meant to look like a specific person rather than “generic background piece”.
The movie also introduces things and pieces of the universe never before seen on the big screen. We get more characters and insight as to the events leading up to A New Hope, of course, but there is a lot more happening on the side lines to make this movie good in its own right, not just an immediate prequel to Episode IV.
There are a few cons, as there is with everything that exists. I do agree to some extent that the interactions between characters could have been a little more natural and seamless. We don’t see very much character growth in pretty much any character, and as cool as the ending was, a few (minor) things left a bad taste in my mouth. As I write this, I find I do want to talk about it a little bit more, so I will have an extra note at the very end, notated by a spoiler warning.
Overall, this movie is pretty good. It definitely has the best climax and battle of any Star Wars movie (that I’ve seen), so if you like large scale events happening, this one is definitely a movie to see. It doesn’t add any crucial lore necessary to enjoy any of the other movies out there, but that wasn’t what it was supposed to do. That’s all for today, unless you like spoilers!
There were two things I didn’t like about the ending. First, all of the characters died. I understand that, but pretty much each and every character died within ten seconds of accomplishing their crucial task. This wouldn’t bother me if it weren’t for two things: one, pretty much everybody dies in this manner, and two, since everything blows up anyway, why does showing the characters dying on screen matter at all? They would have died anyway!
Second, the two characters go from the top of the tower to the beach at the bottom of the tower in the span of seconds, somehow, and one of them was limping. The explosion begins, and then one of the next shots is them suddenly at the bottom. I understand the thematic need to have them die on the beach, but there’s no way they could have gotten down several hundred feet while handicapped in the manner of seconds.