To start off I’d like to make it known that this is an unbiased review on Rogue One. I personally enjoy the Star Wars films, specifically the original three movies. But I never created a nostalgic attachment to this series, nor the characters, in a way that would cause me to defend Stars Wars to the death if it were to be insulted. Additionally, this review is unaffected by my opinion of Star Wars: The Force Awakens, which is highly positive by the way, for this film included an entirely new cast and a story taking place long before the preceding movie; it is actually set just before the original Star Wars from 1977.
Now to truly begin, I will start off by saying this movie was not the best nor the worst. Rogue One clearly aims towards an audience of nostalgia for the original films, much like that of the preceding movie. However, several aspects of Rogue One cause this film to be a let down. It’s humor was off and the characters were unappealing, yet the story itself and the action-packed scenes that make Star Wars so lovable were stunningly executed. Overall, the main issue of this movie was that it relies too much on the original story and lacks aspects of a well executed film when judged on its own instead of being viewed as an additional entry to the Star Wars series.
One of the main criticisms that I believe is overlooked has to do with the plot of Rogue One. Because this is somewhat of a prologue, the events that will take place in this alternate universe past this movie are already known and this gives way to Rogue One‘s story. Star Wars plots are usually accompanied by shocking reveals and the emphasis on the Death Star in Rogue One is most likely seen as boring by Star Wars fans who know this is just the first of many Death Stars that will be destroyed by rebel forces. On the other hand, it was interesting to dive into the background of how the Death Star came to be and somewhat intriguing to see the characters question the existence of such an extraordinarily powerful object.
A criticism I have that I probably share with members of the audience who haven’t even seen the other Star Wars films is that there is way too much going. The amount of characters, planets, and side plots that are introduced within the first few minutes of the film is quite confusing and off putting, which made me at the time not want to even sit through the rest of the movie. However weird this may sound, at one point I truthfully had to look up the plot of the film and read through up to where I was in order to catch myself up and fully understand what was going on. Sure, if I had been watching this at home I wouldn’t mind too much to pause the movie and search the plot, but when I’m sitting in the iPic movie theater, enjoying an expensive meal while I see my movie, I don’t want to have to hide my phone and look up the plot of what I had just watched. But if I hadn’t, I wouldn’t be able to enjoy or appreciate the rest of the movie, for I wouldn’t even understand it. This annoying feature also is the source of why I didn’t particularly like this movie. I felt unable to create an attachment with any of the characters or feel remorse at the tragic end because of this. By the time the movie is almost over, I felt as though I had a hard time even remembering where are these characters had been or how they had met or why they were sacrificing so much for one another. This creates a lack of memorable scenes scenes, which, in my opinion, make movies in general so favorable. Additionally, things move so fast throughout Rogue One that there was no time for noticeable character development or growing relationships. Spoiler alert here: I feel as though the characters were not well thought out or presented since the creators knew they were going to kill them all off in the end and therefore none of these characters were going to be people that brought the audience back for another film. This was a flaw though, since it also dissuaded the audience for wanting to return to theaters for a second watch.
Lastly, Rogue One tragically lacks originality and therefore barely feels like an addition to the franchise. There is minimal discussion of the force and it sticks to the main theme of Star Wars: good vs. evil. This movie would not be successful had it not been supported by taking place in the Star Wars universe. It’s missing the necessities of an enjoyable film of this genre. Without nostalgia, it disappoints me to say Rogue One is a weak film. However, it is supported by nostalgia and is in fact taking place in the Star Wars universe and therefore, by the statements I’ve been preaching throughout this review, Rogue One was a good movie. Out of the new releases, meaning discluding the original three films, Rogue One is the better of the films after The Force Awakens, of course, and I would not insult it further than I have already. Now, go see it for yourself and decide whether or not I’m totally unreliable on this subject!