The first of a planned three anthology Star Wars movies has arrived in Rogue One. This story closely follows the events between episode three and four as an unlikely bunch of characters are forced together by the rebellion to take the plans for the Death Star. Introduced to an array of new characters to the Star Wars universe, Rogue One immediately sets its self out from the previous movies by having new interesting characters to indulge on, while also offering recurring characters from the previous films that help keep the die-hard fans happy. Most importantly, we get to see new footage of my favourite character of all time in Darth Vader, who 30 years on from his last appearance still owns the screen in such a badass way! Using Peter Cushing with the use of clever computer trickery is brought back to life as Grand Moff Tarkin to full effect, too.
Felicity Jones leads the pack as Jyn Erso, the daughter of Galen Erso (Mads Mikkelsen), who is used by the dark side to create their Death Star weapon, which is capable of destroying planets. As years pass on, Jyn is grown up and is then given the task of finding her father after all these years and to steal the death star plans. Jones does a great job of leading the cast, she just enough to make her character enjoyable, but unfortunately for me, not exactly memorable. For me, the best characters in the film were K-2SO, an Imperial droid re-programmed to work with the rebels, Alan Tudyk voice work is magical and creates a new droid for us to love. Fearless and massively sarcastic, K-2SO brings the humour to the film and helps to bring balance to the overall tone of the film. New characters that I also enjoyed were Chirrut Imwe, portrayed by Donnie Yen, a blind warrior that follows the force and is extremely talented in his fighting technique. A new blend of fighting style brought to the universe is a breath of fresh air that makes the film stands out from the others. The huge under usage of actors like Mads Mikkelsen and Forest Whitaker are extremely disappointing though, as they both do deserve some more screen time, especially in a film filled with some inexperienced actors.
Gareth Edwards, director of the film deserves some recognition for delivering a very enjoyable film for the series. Keeping in tone with A New Hope makes Rogue One seamlessly interlink between the two films in a natural way. It doesn’t feel forced or out-of-place, and this is what makes Rogue One a decent film for me. It’s got its purpose, and after watching it, it will make you watch the original trilogy, and watch them in a different light. Rogue One somehow has refreshed the original three films and brought them back to life again. Because of this, I do hold Rogue One highly in my books, but I can’t help to say that I probably didn’t enjoy it as much as the original trilogy though. The starting 40 minutes seem to linger and struggle at first which didn’t set me up to enjoy the rest of the film, but the plot did seem to pick up pace towards an epic climax with some memorable moments. Including Darth Vader’s last scene in the film, one that I will never forget mainly down to being absolutely insane. The scene shows off his sheer power and velocity and reminded me of why he is my favourite character of all-time.
Rogue One is a great starting block for these anthology movies that Disney has planned. They seem to be the Star Wars movies for the die-hard fans of the series. Brilliant tie ins to the episodes so far and being introduced to new characters is refreshing while also bringing back much-loved characters for some new scenes is also welcomed. Rogue One does seem to struggle at the start, but once it gets some momentum, it soon becomes a beauty to behold. Gareth Edwards has done a fantastic job of making another enjoyable Star Wars movie that you wouldn’t mind watching over and over again. Personally, it might not be one that I would choose to watch over some of the other films, but I enjoyed the way it seamlessly fit in between episode three and into four. 4 out of 5 stars.