Rogue One Review (No Plot Spoilers)
Rogue One: A Star Wars Story is the first in a line of Star Wars standalone films, and focuses on the events that led to A New Hope, the first Star Wars movie. Because Rogue One is an independent installment in the series, it acts more as “filler” content to fill the wait between the seventh and eighth Star Wars movies rather than to advance the series. Rogue One has a different director and thus deviates from the traditional presentation and plot of previous movies, but is worth seeing as a Star Wars fan. The movie surprisingly requires very little knowledge of Star Wars to be enjoyable, but may not be very gripping to those who haven't already invested themselves in the franchise.
Rogue One is the story of how Rogue Squadron acquired the plans to the Death Star, leading to the events of A New Hope. The story follows the struggle between Director Krennic, the Death Star’s head, and Galen Erso, the Death Star's architect who tried to defect from the Empire. Meanwhile, Galen’s daughter, a former outlaw, joins the Rebels’ efforts to destroy the Death Star. Going beyond the movie’s plot, Rogue One must be looked at from two different perspectives: as a Star Wars fan, and as someone who isn't into the franchise.
As a Star Wars fan, the movie is definitely entertaining. Because it has a different director, the movie has a generally grittier tone than the original Star Wars movies, making it seem more realistic. Seeing the Rebels’ efforts to infiltrate the Empire and gain intelligence on the Death Star is exciting- so is seeing Death Troopers and new Imperial technology. While Rogue One focuses on an entirely new cast of characters, there are some appearances from major stars of the originals that are sure to please fans. The plot is not the most memorable or exciting, but a new Star Wars movie in 2016 by itself is enough to please most fans of the series.
People who aren’t already fans of Star Wars will find the movie rather uninspiring. The plot is relatively simple, the cameos from popular characters won’t be appreciated, and it will be difficult to understand what exactly is happening in the story. Rogue One oddly features no crawl at the beginning to act as a prologue, and the characters themselves are incredibly forgettable- so much so, that I personally did not know the names of most of the characters right after walking out of the theater. All of this adds up to an uninspiring and boring movie for anyone who doesn’t already enjoy Star Wars.
I was already a fan of Star Wars before I saw Rogue One, and I did very much enjoy it. However, I didn’t enjoy it for the movie itself, but rather because I got to see more of the Rebel Alliance, the Empire, their massive space battles in stunning, modern visuals, and appearances from actually enjoyable characters seen in the past. In fact, my largest complaint with the movie was the extremely forgettable cast. The character I was most attached to, oddly, was the movie’s new droid.
In the end, Rogue One: A Star Wars Story is a fun movie for existing Star Wars fans that fills the gap between the 7th and 8th installations- it’s not the main event, but still worth seeing.