This article contains spoilers for Rogue One: A Star Wars Story
It’s finally here. The first Star Wars film to not revolve around our core Saga characters. A peripheral story about characters we haven’t heard of or seen on screen before (with a very small smattering of ones we have). Rogue One has finally debuted and it is an astounding piece of filmmaking the likes of which we have not seen in the Star Wars universe to this point.
Stardust and Papa
Star Wars has had a rich history in telling stories about the children who grow up after losing their parents or guardians. Anakin with his mother, Luke being adopted and left on Tatooine, Rey being left on Jakku, Kylo Ren leaving the guidance of his parents and his Uncle. Rogue One is no different with Jyn Erso (Felicity Jones). We get to see her character grow up from a brave and scared child into this woman who was built for the Rebellion. She’s taken away from her genius father Galen (Mads Mikkelsen) and left in the care of Saw Gerrera (Forest Whitaker) who raised her to be a fighter yet still abandoned her when she was sixteen years old.
Jyn Erso is the hero we all need. She is my hero. She will be your hero. Her arc is built around finding her father, confronting her guardian for the way he raised her, and leading a wayward and misguided makeshift rebel squadron. She does all this with passion, humanity, and stalwart intensity.
Nothing BUT Hope
In this story, war finally catches up to Jyn and she is forced to take a stand one way or another. This film encapsulates what it’s like to be on both sides of a war. Whether you’re on the side of a powerhouse force of destruction (the Empire) or this ragtag desperate band of rebels who simply have had enough of being forced to submit to their oppressors, you see what it takes to win a war. However, Jyn wants nothing to do with either side’s way of fighting the war. She is the guiding voice or HOPE for the rebels. She is the reason that Cassian Andor (Diego Luna) becomes a better man and a better soldier. You can see his resolve in performing the most heinous of acts in the name of a better galaxy. Jyn shows him there’s another way. The ending of this movie conveys exactly what she did for the rebel forces and how she brings them the weapon they need to destroy the Empire. Not Death Star plans. Hope.
Droids are Better Than Humans
We fell in love with random beeps and whistles of R2-D2. Regardless of how annoying he can be, we also grew to appreciate C-3PO as R2’s trusty companion and let’s face it, he saved Luke, Han, and Leia many times. Then we were introduced to BB-8, again we were mesmerized by a plucky attitude and adorable noises. If I were to captain a ship in the Star Wars universe, there is no other droid I’d want with me than K-2SO (Alan Tudyk). “K” steals every scene he’s in with the sarcasm and wit that you can only expect from a reprogrammed Imperial droid. He’s defiant yet fiercely loyal to his master Cassian and he doesn’t much care for any of the other humans around him and that makes him wonderful!
The Future Is Present
There’s so many moments in this film that take you back to A New Hope. Call backs to characters and call signs. If you pay close enough attention you may just see Cornelius Evazan and Ponda Baba (those would be the guys in the cantina that Luke runs afoul of before Obi Wan cuts off Baba’s arm) quite literally bumping into our heroes early in the film. The Easter eggs in the movie aren’t forced, they feel natural and they do not pull you out of the moment. They’re fun and they make sense. There’s more, but I’ll let you seek them out!
Never Stand On An Imperial Platform
The villains of the piece are the very definition of evil. Orson Krennic (Ben Mendelsohn) is the Director of the Advanced Weapons Research for the Imperial Military. He has one goal and that’s to be in charge. His ambition to please the Emperor puts him at odds with Grand Moff Tarkin, he shares an intimidating scene with Darth Vader, and he’s absolutely ruthless when he’s flanked by his Death Troopers. He’s the type of villain that you’re just rooting for the hero to take down for the entirety of the movie.
This is a story that you know the ending of before it starts. We know what happens. We know if the heroes succeed or fail. This does not spoil the emotional ride you will take while watching this movie. My heart was in my throat for the final act and I would’ve been on the edge of my seat if I had not been sitting in a very comfortable reclining theater seat.
By now you should know that I really enjoyed this movie. I don’t like to hype something for someone who hasn’t seen a film yet because more often than not you’re left feeling underwhelmed by the experience. This movie was beautiful. The score (Michael Giacchino) moved me in ways that I hadn’t thought music could move a person. I felt like a child again, enjoying Star Wars for the very first time. I haven’t even brought up the supporting cast of rebels yet, who were equally as astounding as the leads of the film. The performances were award-worthy. By the closing moment of the film, I was in tears (and I do NOT cry… Like ever). I loved this movie and I will be seeing multiple times. It’s a gorgeous piece of storytelling that is as gritty and dark as it is visually stunning.
These are just my thoughts.
What did you think of this film? How do you feel about the stand alone movies going forward? Did this movie move you the way it moved me? Let’s talk about it in the comments below!
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