The Star Wars franchise has one of the most loved stories around, with a number of books, TV shows, films, and games that have been released to the awe of geeks worldwide.
Previously all of that story was managed entirely by LucasFilm, but ever since Disney acquired LucasFilm back in 2012 for $4 billion, it has been their job to revitalise the franchise and get their money back in the process. Last year they made a good start to doing that with The Force Awakens, directed by J.J Abrams, it was widely considered as one of the best films in the Star Wars series, achieving a score of 92% on Rotten Tomatoes, that film featured many call backs to previous entries in the Star Wars films but with a mostly new cast.
Rogue One follows that trend slightly, continuing on from the story in previous entries within the series while keeping the film fresh and modern.
Rouge One is an expansion of the Star Wars franchise, set before the events of 1977’s A New Hope it brings in the side-story from the film about a group of Rebels who attempt to track down the plans for the original Death Star in order to find its ultimate weakness.
Of course, because it is a film this goal comes with a few challenges along the way.
We are going to attempt to keep spoilers in this review to a minimum, so we won’t be going into the story much more than that, however, we will be providing you with a look at the overall film.
From the start, Rogue One throws a lot into the story boiling pot, and in that attempt to build upon a new set of characters and arcing story lines, the film struggles to build upon one theme and most of the way through the film, I found myself confused as to where the emphasis was.
By the end, the film does attempt to bring this story to a succinct conclusion, focusing further on the character of Jyn Erso and the rest of the Rogue One group of rebels as they work towards their goal of finding the plans for the original Death Star.
For me, some of the most interesting characters were the Imperial droid named K-2SO, who provided some much needed comedic value during the film, and Ip Man, who is a blind monk that uses the power of The Force to fight incredibly. Sadly these characters don’t see as much focus as they should and a lot of them simply fade into the background, leaving you all but forgetting them by the end of the movie and sadly, Admiral Raddus (the Rogue One version of Admiral Ackbar) doesn’t feature quite as much as we would like him too, nor does he have his own much-needed one-liners, despite him being modeled after Winston Churchill of all people.
But with all of that, Gareth Edwards added on some typical Star Wars flair with fantastic X-Wing dogfights and battles that make up for some of the film’s low points. All of these visual effects are a nod at the previous films in the series, they feel authentic to the series, yet they add the modern feel that you would expect from a film in 2016.
There are also a range of Easter eggs in the film for the long-time fans of the Star Wars series, with multiple references that are sure to get your nostalgic senses going, That said, these references are slight, and you likely won’t notice them as much as you did with The Force Awakens, however, they don’t really need to be there as much.
At its core, Rogue One is meant to be a standalone movie, sure it is meant to be linked to the overall Star Wars series, but it’s also supposed to be the start of what are hopefully many more occurrences of spin-offs for the Star Wars series.
If you are a lover of Star Wars then you should definitely check out Rogue One this weekend, however, if the Star Wars series doesn’t bother you all that much then you could probably wait until it comes out on DVD or Blu-Ray.