Rogue One: A Star Wars Story Movie Review

In anticipation for Star Wars: The Last Jedi, every week SuperBroMovies is doing a review of Star Wars films leading up to a review of The Force Awakens the week before The Last Jedi. I had the honor of rewatching and reviewing Rogue One: A Star Wars Story for this week. I hope you enjoy the review!

Rogue One: A Star Wars story, is the first anthology film released by Lucas Film following their purchase by Disney and the successful release of Star Wars Episode VII: The Force Awakens. Released in 2016, the Gareth Edwards directed anthology film had a lot to live up to, following the success of the first of the Disney/Lucas Film release. Luckily, Director Gareth Edwards managed to knock it out of the park with another great Star Wars film, with impressive visuals, an amazing cast, and an inspiring and hopeful story that is sure to go down in Star Wars history as one of the better films of the franchise. Despite some awkward Character resurrections via CGI, the film still manages to be enjoyable and stand out form other Star Wars films as well.

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Although some may have doubted the films narrative strengths when it was first announced that the plot would be centered around the acquisition of the Death Star Plans, the film wastes no time in moving beyond the plot to focusing on the characters and expanding the world of Star Wars. From the busy trading outpost filled with dangerous looking aliens and Stormtroopers, to the Empire occupied planet of Jedah, Rogue One takes us to brand new planets and locations, with the new planet of Scarif being a favorite of mine now thanks to this film. Visiting these new locations in this film also drive the point of how much control the Empire has over the Galaxy at this time in the film, and makes for a fantastic re-watch immediately after the prequel films, and before A New Hope. Seeing our heroes take a stand in this Empire controlled galaxy brings that much more emotional impact to the film as well. Speaking of our heroes, let’s talk about the new protagonists in Rogue One: A Star Wars Story.

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Rogue One sees a whole new cast of characters introduced to the universe, with reluctant rebel Jyn Erso (played by Felicity Jones), Morally grey Rebel fighter Cassian Andor (played by Diego Luna) and a whole variety of other characters such as Bodhi (played by Riz Ahmed), Chirrut Imwe (Donnie Yen), Baze Malbus (Jiang Wen), and Alan Tudyk playing new Droid character K-2S0, this new diverse cast succeeds in giving us well developed and fleshed out characters to root for in the film. The reasons why they are brought together are done so organically, with each character having believable motivations, and each reacting differently to the state of the galaxy and the Empire. Jyn Erso has the most development out of all the characters, and her natural growth throughout the film is a standout from the film. Diego Luna’s Cassian Andor provides a great perspective on what it means to be in the Rebellion, and gives you an idea of what the rebellion is fighting for, and Cassian Andor is character that believes in it and will do anything to stop the Empire, no matter the cost. Cassian’s morally ambiguous actions and his struggle with morality in general throughout the film is something that has never been explored before in Star Wars films the way it is done here, as the Dark Side and Light Side are usually straight forward, and your idea of what is right and wrong is clearly laid out in this film. However, Cassian’s character and actions in this film are a highlight of the larger focus on the War in Star Wars, as is the film as a whole. The grit and battles, as well as the casualties of war, are clearly evident in Rogue One, another reason this film stands out from the rest of the films.

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Chirrut and Baze are a fantastic duo as well, picked up from Jedah and tagging along for the adventure. While there are no main Jedi or Force User characters, the character of Chirrut showcases a new form of Force-influenced powers, as Chirrut displays interesting skills for a blind believer in the force armed with a staff. Baze acts as his protector and close friend, and their relationship was a joy to watch every time it was on screen. Bodhi plays a defector from the Empire, and as said before, this provides so many different perspectives form the Empire to the Rebellion to everything inbetween, Rogue One provides a lot more depth than some originally perceived. Alan Tudyk is a standout as K-2SO, a reprogrammed Imperial Droid with quite an attitude. K-2SO manages to steal almost every scene he is in, with well written dialogue he has great chemistry with Jyn and Cassian, and overall I loved the entire cast of main characters, which made the third act of the film that much more emotional.

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The third and final act toe the film is a standout, as the battle switching from on land to in space to steal the Death Star plans is one of the most epic that the Star Wars films has to offer. The emotional impact of each sacrifice that the heroes makes to get the plans to the rebel alliance really shows the gravity of the situation. The action is thrilling to watch and paired with the emotional beats, it is a truly astounding third act. The film also benefits from a closing scene featuring Darth Vader, with the nostalgia factor playing a huge role in how satisfying it is to see Darth Vader in action on the big screen again. In a film with already so many amazing scenes, it manages to do the impossible and make Darth Vader even cooler than he already was. Add to that significant although not quite developed villain in Ben Mendelsohn, and you have a fantastic first entry in the Star Wars Anthology films. With interesting characters, fantastic pace, and stunning action, Rogue One: A Star Wars Story succeeds at being it’s own Star Wars film, albeit with some reliance on other films and a bit of nostalgia, though that shouldn’t be a bad thing. – Ernesto Valenzuela

GRADE – 8.7/10

Star Wars: The Last Jedi Hits Theaters December 15th, 2017

For Those Curious, here’s a look at my personal ranking of the Star Wars films:
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