‘Rogue One: A Star Wars Story’ Review: A Gritty Star Wars Spinoff Unable To Pack The Emotional Punch

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Rogue One is enjoyable despite the lack of character development

Prequels are still a bad name around the Star Wars universe and that still lingers on everyone’s mind. Everyone who will sit in the theater waiting for Rogue One to start will have that tiny bit of doubt in the back of their minds. Is this prequel as bad as Episode I or II? No, but Rogue One has one serious flaw – a lack of interesting characters.

Opening to an already rough time in the Star Wars universe, Jyn Erso (Felicity Jones) teams up with a gang of Rebels to fight the Empire in the civil war. Their mission is to find the Death Star plan and give it to the Rebels. As we all know, that will be a young Princess Leia but what comes before is what ultimately is the story of Rogue One.

From the first shot, fans will know that this Star Wars story will be different from the Episodes. The beautiful cinematography first catches the eye. This is undeniably director Gareth Edwards’ (Godzilla) strength. Probably the most beautiful Star Wars film to date, Rogue One uses this strength to its full potential. The gang of Rebels visits various different locations, from a Normandy beach-like area to a Middle Eastern-like desert.

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Rogue One’s war scenes are impeccable

Jyn Erso isn’t the only newly introduced character. Others include Captain Cassian Andor (Diego Luna), Chirrut Imre (Donnie Yen), Bohdi Rook (Riz Ahmed), Baze Malbus (Jiang Wen) and K-2SO (Alan Tudyk). In a Guardians of the Galaxy type deal, Rogue One‘s task, right away, is to introduce us to each individual character and make them relevant to the audience. Unfortunately, the movie never fully achieves this. Standing before us are easily defined one trait characters with the exception of Jyn Erso. Her backstory and persona make her the more well-rounded character in the group and the only interesting one in the group.

Probably the most underused character is Bohdi Rook, Riz Ahmed’s character, in which he is barely in the movie. As the movie searches to make these characters relevant, it comes up with very little. Some small tasks are performed but nothing that special that would make them great heroes.

Darker and grittier than the previous Star Wars movies, Rogue One isn’t afraid to take big risks. From the start, the film shows you just how high the stakes are. Coming around to the third act, the movie shows you just how daring it is, and it does deliver quite a bit. Some of the more emotional parts weaved into the final act don’t always land, but the war scenes are a thing of pure beauty. Edwards rips a page from directly from Saving Private Ryan to deliver some suspenseful moments.

When the credits come rolling, either way, you’ll be in shock. The problem arises whether or not the characters’ were compelling enough to carry the movie. They pose the biggest problem for Rogue One, particularly in the more emotional parts. However, this is still a Star Wars film with plenty of beautiful and suspenseful action. If all else fails then at least, you will get the fan service, which is weaved in flawlessly.

GRADE: B+

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7 comments

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  1. Jason

    Good review. I understand what you are saying about the characters. Its a double edge sword type thing, but since Rogue One was just a one shot film it kind of works. Its not like the other films were they build upon the characters through 2 or 3 films. However, I personally loved this movie.

  2. Josh Hammond

    Agree with you about the characters. Like Jason said, it’s only one film, but the original Star Wars was a “stand alone” as well as I’d hesitate before comparing Cassian Andor to Han Solo. It’s too bad, because I also loved the ending but found it easier to look at (like everything else in the film, which is the best looking Star Wars yet) than to feel anything about.

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