December of every year is good, cause STAR WARS! While this year didn't continue the story from Force Awakens it did give us the first "Star Wars Story" movie which will be continued in 2018 with Han Solo's solo (Heh) movie. So, how did Rogue One fare? Read on...
SPOILERS FROM HERE
OK, here we go
Rogue One chronicles the events leading directly up to A New Hope. It doesn't start right after Revenge of the Sith, but it does end right at the beginning of A New Hope. It follows a main hero, other than a Skywalker. Meet Jyn Erso, a rebel against pretty much everything. Her father Galen was taken to the Imperial side to help construct the Death Star, but Jyn doesn't know that. Right from the prologue, you can tell that this is a very different movie. The stakes are high as rebels want to stop the Death Star, and the Empire races to complete and use it. Mon Mothma and Bail Organa, along with other Rebel leaders want Jyn to help find her father, and this where you have to pay attention. The actors are at their best, but constantly keeping up with where they are going and what exactly they are doing can get hard in the beginning.
Up until we meet Saw Gerrera, many audience member may be confused as to where they are and what this rebelling rebel has to do with anything. After that, it's uphill. Rogue One is a great movie, but the slow beginning may be frustrating for those who want Jedi action and less talking. The characters in this film are some of the best introduced in Star Wars movies that aren't the originals. Diego Luna offers some great conflicted scenes as Cassian Andor, the rebel leader who doesn't know if he's doing the right thing. He's ruthless, and quite frankly doesn't mind killing to keep himself from getting caught. Cassian however is hardly the best, especially when you have K-2SO.
Alan Tudyk becomes a standout from when we first meet him. He's a droid, but he's not your C3PO or BB8. K2 is sarcastic, and is hilarious. The way Tudyk delivers his lines is natural, and fans will have found their new favorite droid. We then have the duo of Chirrut Imwe and Baze Malbus. Chirrut is the closest thing to a Jedi you'll get, and that's not a bad thing. Chirruts martial arts translate into some great action and fighting sequences. Imwe is also a strong believer in the force, much to the frustration of Baze. Baze is pretty much to Chirrut as Chewie is Han Solo, but of the course the latter has a much stronger relationship. While Baze gets frustrated with Chirrut, the loyalty never stops. And can we talk about that gun?
The reason I have Jyn Erso as one of the last, is because unfortunately her character didn't impact me. I left feeling that Jyn wasn't as interesting until the ending. Felicity Jones did phenomenal with her character, but the story of Jyn Erso felt lacking. Finally, Riz Ahmed's Bodhi Rook. He's an imperial pilot, he has a message, and that's about it. Rook doesn't give you impact, much like Jyn. You leave feeling that Bodhi wasn't given enough to do, even though Riz Ahmed's acting is superb. The main team of Rogue One is excellent, with thorough performances all around, but some extra writing for Baze, Jyn, and Bodhi would've been appreciated. We now get to Ben Mendolhsons Director Krennic. Director Krennic isn't up with the villains of Star Wars. Compared to Vader, Tarkin, and even Darth Maul, Krennic is a villain overshadowed by the greater threats. Ben Mendolhson tries his hardest to make us hate Krennic, but we end up seeing the villainous side of Tarkin more.
The CGI recreation of Grand Moff Tarkin was impressive, but honestly had me a bit creeped out. The looks aside, Tarkin shows us his villanous side and ruthlessly uses the Death Star. Tarkin is more effective a villain than Krennic, and that's not neccisarily a bad thing. The supporting cast manages to to excellent as well. Mads Mikkelson brings great balance to the role of Galen Erso, and Forest Whitaker captures the hardened Saw Gerrera in great ways. When we get off Jedha, the story is now picking up. Your intersted in what happens next. When we get to the final act, we see the true Wars of Star Wars. In a battle where Jedi are not miraculously cutting through droids and reaching thier objective, we see the people armed with nothing but blasters and wits ultimatley win out. Rogue Ones ending is a daring, yet realistic ending. The main characters all perish, and each death hits you with force. Gareth Edwards has created one of the best battles of Star Wars before the Original Trilogy.
However, Rogue Ones finale just adds to the greatness with Darth Vader. The best villain of all time shows no mercy in a heart pounding moment, where he cuts through rebels like paper. One pinned to the celing, a sabe through ones heart. Darth Vader shows us his true villainy and it makes Rogue One an even greater viewing experience.
Over all, Rogue One succeeded and showed us a true Star Wars Prequel. The events of Rogue One gives the beginning of a New Hope a whole new backstory, one that won't soon be forgotten.
RIP Carrie Fisher, who passed the morning after I watched this movie