Rogue One: A Star Wars Story in Review

Rogue One: A Star Wars Story, directed by Gareth Edwards, is the first movie in the Star Wars franchise not entitled Episode #. The movie follows Jyn Erso (Felicity Jones), as she joins the rebels on a mission to infiltrate the Empire. Joining her are: Cassian Andor (Diego Luna), a pilot of the Rebellion; Bodhi Rook (Riz Ahmed), a fugitive ex-Empire soldier; Baze Malbus (Jiang Wen) as the protector of a Force temple; and Chirrut Imwe (Donnie Yen) as a blind force-monk. The movie also stars a reprogrammed Empire droid named K-2SO (Alan Tudyk).

Rogue One was probably the third most-anticipated movie of the year, after Captain America: Civil War and Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice. All things considered, I’d say that it managed to live up to the hype pretty well. While the acting isn’t as perfect as Harrison Ford’s Han Solo or Daisy Ridley’s Rey, the casting was very well done. None of the characters were dull, lifeless droids; not even K-2SO, who is a droid. In fact, he plays the funniest character in the movie, with many of the best lines.

One of my favorite scenes is when Chirrul Imwe is introduced. Marvel fans will understand that he is Daredevil in a galaxy far, far away. Another great thing about this movie is the morality of each side. In episodes four through six, they are seen as perfect heroes fighting a completely evil force. In Rogue One, both of the sides are a little more gray. For those of you who don’t know, Darth Vader (James Earl Jones) stars in the movie, albeit only two scenes. However, those two scenes are easily the two best in the movie, and not just because the greatest villain in cinema history is in them.

However, I must admit that the film does have some flaws. While the acting is pretty good, almost none of the characters have any backstory except for Jyn and Cassian. Everyone else is just there, with no origins shown. The film had to go through many reshoots, and it shows in the film when certain scenes are never shown.

Perhaps my biggest nitpick was the fanservice, as ironic as that is. There were more than a few parts of the movie used to give nods to the original trilogy, and while some of them were pretty good, I must admit that a certain cameo of two characters felt slightly… forced. A couple of the character cameos were made possible with the use of CGI, and while it’s not as bad as, say, 1998’s Godzilla, it is noticeable and won’t hold up as well as many of the original trilogy’s practical effects.

In conclusion, Rogue One is a great film to sit down and watch with your friends. While it can’t compare to A New Hope, The Empire Strikes Back, and The Force Awakens, it certainly beats the prequels and competes with Return of the Jedi. However, I am a bit biased as a Star Wars fan, so you should totally go see it and form your own opinions. The force was definitely with Gareth Edwards in this movie, and I can’t wait for future anthology films.

-Sam Hoffman ’20

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