Rogue One: A Star Wars Story (2016)

Directed by Gareth Edwards
Starring: Felicity Jones, Diego Luna and Alan Tudyk
Genre: Action, Adventure, Sci-Fi

Rogue One: A Star Wars Story is an enjoyable and successful addition to the Star Wars franchise.

Set immediately prior to the original Star Wars film, Star Wars IV: A New Hope, the story revolves around obtaining the construction plans to the most dangerous weapon and space station in the galaxy, the Death Star.

Rogue One had a darker tone in comparison to many of the previous films in the franchise to date, whilst still feeling like a Star Wars story. Understandably in a franchise where films aren’t made chronologically, enthusiasts of the franchise were likely able to predict parts of the plot based on what follows in the Star Wars timeline. Regardless, Rogue One provides fans with a detailed history of the origins of the Death Star and an insight into the early days of the Rebel Alliance. This is conveyed with enough detail to create a standalone plot that remains compelling for both newcomers and long-time fans.

The protagonists in Rogue One are compelling and leave you wishing that they were not limited to a spin off film. Jyn Erso and Cassian Andor provide a similar relationship to that of Han Solo and Princess Leia, albeit with less romance and more partners in war.

Jyn is portrayed as a survivor, being predominantly raised by somewhat of a vigilante and then being abandoned as an adolescent. She solely focused on her own needs and agenda, until the film reveals that her father is alive. Cassian is initially portrayed as a ruthless assassin working blindly for the Rebel Alliance. As the film progresses and Jyn questions the rationale behind his actions, and whether his motives for working for the Rebel Alliance were being fulfilled.

There were a number of character cameos from various stages of the franchise, however one was a standout. Some punters have claimed that Rogue One contains the best Darth Vader scene of all time. Vader was seen as one of the best villains of all time when the Star Wars franchise first began, and maintains this status almost 40 years on. The advances of the Star Wars franchise are illustrated through a ruthless Vader scene, far livelier than any of his appearances in the original films. The audience hears the iconic heavy breathing then see a red lightsaber appear in a doorway filled with fog. Vader then strikes down a room of Rebel soldiers with complete ease whilst the soldiers scramble to pass on important information to an escaping Rebel ship.

One downfall of Rogue One is the noticeable absence of a lightsaber duel. Whilst there were no Jedi in Rogue One, several references to the both Jedi and the Force were made. Chirrut Imwe, one of the best characters introduced in Rogue One, knows much about the Jedi and the Force, and has great fighting skill. While the end result would have been predictable, it would have been great to see a lightsaber fight scene between Chirrut Imwe and Darth Vader.

Verdict

As a whole it was hard to fault Rogue One. The film was limited in being a spin off film with a largely predictable storyline (for those who follow the franchise), but managed to satisfy both new comers and die-hard fans. Rogue One is best seen as an informative addition for Star Wars fans, but would likely still be enjoyed as a stand-alone film.

Rating: 4/5

Header image via: http://geektyrant.com/news/george-lucas-liked-star-wars-rogue-one-and-see-gareth-edwards-movie-poster-notes
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