Rogue One: A Star Wars Story – review

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A group of rebels must obtain the plans for the death star before Darth Vader and the Empire start using the super weapon to destroy planets.

For a whole film to be based off the opening crawl and a few lines of dialogue in Star Wars A New Hope, I think it does pretty well. With no opening crawl, little use John Williams theme and very little instances of the (often pompous and self righteous) Jedis, Rogue One feels different to other Star Wars movies and this is a good thing.

Rather than the big heroes getting the glory and the medals, this movie is about the little guys, in the trenches having to do the wrong things for hopefully, the right reasons, with high stakes and no hopes.

While the outcome of the story and characters is predestined, the film does a pretty good job of getting there, the third act battle is great, immense, intense and all encompassing. I could have done with a little more characterisation, so I actually knew something about the characters, then I really would have been invested in the outcome. For example I never really knew Jyns motivation for joining the rebellion, other than she might get to see her dad again? Why did Saw Gerrera have such bad asthma and why wouldn’t he leave his house? A lot of the emotional backbone of the film is thanks to Mads Mikkelsen and Ben Mendelsohn, who always makes a terrific baddie.

This movie had reshoots and had the same question marks hanging over it as Suicide Squad. There is a lot of footage in the trailers that is nowhere to be found in the final cut of the film.But unlike Suicide Squad the reshoots have actually paid off. I don’t think we may ever know the differences and originally filmed ending (I think the reasoning director Gareth Edwards stated after release sounds mighty hokey to me).

Rogue One is very dark in comparison to the other Star Wars Episodes, even the comic relief android is full of sarcasm rather than slapstick and Disney should probably be commended for making one of their cash cows not all ages friendly.

I also think it is probably not a coincidence that all of the bad guys are cantankerous old white men and the rebels are everyone else,  women, Asian, Latino, the two guys from Jedha are totally life partners. I am sure there were a lot of Star Wars Easter Eggs hidden everywhere, many of which that that went over my head, but I am sure would be catnip to other people.

A enjoyable, Star Wars story focusing on the ground troupes. Despite its very fan friendly nature it is probably the Star Wars film most appealing to non hardcore fans.