Dark, gritty, twisted and yet compelling at the same time. Star Wars: Rogue One delivers pretty much the nuance we have feel on Empire Strikes Back. The film sets in between episodes III: Revenge of the Sith and episodes IV: a New Hope. Typical original Star Wars archetypes of characters, including their styles and uniforms is recognizable as it is more of prequel to the episodes IV.
Like many other superhero films or any western, Star Wars composed of pretty much generic components, compelling protagonist, narratives between good and evil, tyrannical empires.
Rogue One though sets in Star Wars universe, doesn't count as a full fledged-episode, as it doesn't begin with opening crawl text. It sets as a spin-off, a little bit off-shot on the canon saga. There are some spectacular cameos (you can read the spoiler area) with all the classic props. All of the nuance in the movie is the reminiscence that this is the same Star Wars universe, and at the same exact timeline with the original one.
The term Rogue One itself refers to a group of Rebel Spies, mentioned in episodes IV: a New Hope, who succeed in retrieving the secret plans of Deathstar. Consisting of several members who mostly having grudges against the Empire.
Jyn Erso, played by Felicity Jones, a central figure in this movie, courageous, a fugitive, daughter of the scientist, Galen Erso (played by Mads Mikkelsen), designer of the Empire secret weapon, Death Star. The plot in the Rogue One mainly revolves around her, her father and Death Star plan.
Thus the Rebel alliance recruited her and made a movement. They want her to reaffirm the Death Star plan and offering a chance to her for saving her father from the clutches of the Empire. From that point, our protagonist agenda is only about her father and the message. She do not care much at the beginning for the Rebel.
Through the film, we also learn that not all who opposed Empire is in line altogether, most of them scattered in small groups, while the bigger group is remain the Rebel Alliance. The small groups including Saw Gerrera (played by Forest Whitaker) and his extreme militia Anti-Empire movement. This moment becoming a turn-point for Jyn as a protagonist to sparks a glimpse of hope and also turn-point for the Rebel Alliance to go all-out war against the Empire.
Other members of the Rogue One is Captain Cassian Andor, played by Diego Luna, who has his own agenda at the beginning, until Jyn confronts him and made him realize about building hope in people hearts. The other fellow travelers in the group including Baze Malbus (played by Jiang Wen) and Chirrut Imwe (played by Donnie Yen). The latter brings martial arts and his character quite intriguing, a blind-sensitive force and master in hand-to-hand combat. The last one is Bodhi Rook (Riz Ahmed), ex-imperial cargo pilot, who happened to bring message for Rebel Alliance.
Don't forget about the droids. This time, meet K-2SO (voiced by Alan Tudyk), reprogrammed Empire droid, who happened for partnering with Captain Cassian Andor by the beginning of the movie. This droid brings enough satirical comedy to this dark-gritty movie.
K-2SO also reiterates famous Han Solo saying: "I've bad feeling about...... (until Jyn and Cassian interrupted him) in one scene. Another long-time droids who happened to have an appearance is C-3PO and R2-D2, although only in a few seconds.
The villain in the movie is again, quite generic, in the trailer we have noticed of Ben Mendelsohn, played as Director Krennik, who happened initiates the Death Star plan with the help of Jyn's father, Galen. Relation between these two started the reasoning for the plot of the movie: for the Rebel to stole Death Star plan.
There are a lot of banter between Krennic and General Tarkin, who brought back alive with the help of 3D image. It is clear that General Tarkin through-out the film, "stole" Krennic achievement. The most awesome moment for me is the appearance of Darth Vader. Although it was relatively short, his appearance is menacing, especially near the end of the film where he brutally killing off all the Rebel soldiers trying to get a hand on the stolen plan. Extremely satisfying scene!!! In the end, the plan went into Princess Leia, again, with the help of 3D image. While Obi-Wan Kenobi only mentioned as "jedi friend".
Rogue One is by far better than The Force Awakens. It is not the best, but it will be on the top 3 at least. The space battle is spectacular, the best in entire saga. All the members of the team are explored well. Their diversity in characteristic and background are also mixed so well. But the main important for the film is the plot. Yes, we all know the plot from the crawling text in Episode IV.
We all know they had to stole Death Star plan, but how did they do it? This question only has made the film heavily taking on dark and gritty tone to give meaning for episode IV: a New Hope. The film message was well-delivered. A lot of sacrifices has been made for the small-band group to living up "Hope" for the oppressed.
The film is intense, emotional and offers memorable moment. Fully loaded with all the nuance from the original trilogy with all the cameos, combine with beautiful visual, Rogue One is offering an exploration of the Star Wars universe from edgier perspective, the oppressed masses, wrapped in a well-done script. Worth it. It has flaws in here and there, but as a whole it is AMAZING!