One of the most anticipated films of 2016, Rogue One succeeds in taking viewers on a different kind of Star Wars journey.

Rogue One is not your typical Star Wars film. In fact, it doesn’t even have the classic opening crawl viewers have come to expect at the beginning of any Star Wars-associated movie. Jedi and lightsabers are hardly mentioned, and for the first time, Obi-Wan Kenobi is not seen or heard.

That’s not to say that Rogue One isn’t a good film. The action takes place in between Episodes III and IV, and it fills in the gap between the prequels and the original trilogy perfectly. However, it also works well as its own standalone film.

It tells the story of how the rebels got the plans which tell where the Death Star’s weak spot is. For moviegoers who have seen Episode IV, we know that the plans Leia sends out had to come from somewhere, and Rogue One tells us of the struggles and battles endured to get those very plans.

Felicity Jones’ portrayal of Jyn Erso is especially convincing, but the whole cast delivers admirable performances. Notably, there’s a new droid in town, and Alan Tudyk’s portrayal of K-2SO might make you love this imperial-turned-rebel droid just as much as some old favorites like R2-D2 and C-3PO. Speaking of old favorites, there are some classic characters with cameos that you don’t expect to see, but of course, you’re glad you do.

4Rogue One is complex, but, since it is a standalone film, it wouldn’t be too difficult for someone who hasn’t seen any of the Star Wars films to figure out.

What Rogue One lacks that the original trilogy and Episode VII have is an emotional depth to the story. Yes, Jyn Erso had a hard life, but for some reason her story is not quite as compelling as Luke and Leia’s, Anakin’s or Rey’s.

Where Rogue One shines is in its battle sequences, which make up the majority of the film. Rogue One is super intense, especially in its latter half, and it will likely leave you gripping your seat.

This is impressive considering we already know how it all turns out — the rebels are indeed successful in getting the plans to Leia. Nevertheless, with its quick dialogue, beautiful yet gripping cinematography and passionate battle sequences, it keeps you guessing on what will happen next.

Ultimately, the film centers on hope, with Jyn Erso’s line, “We have hope. Rebellions are built on hope.” being the focal point of the entire movie. This underlying message of hope — and faith, strengthened by Chirrut Îmwe’s (Donnie Yen) spiritualistic dedication to the force — is prevalent throughout the film’s entirety.

Overall, Rogue One is entertaining, intense and well-acted, making it a strong addition to the Star Wars universe and the best of all the Star Wars prequels. It has its quirks and differences, but it’s sure to delight all Star Wars fans.

Rating: 3.5/4

Photos courtesy of Walt Disney Pictures


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