Rogue One: a Star Wars redeemer (review with spoilers)

It may be difficult for hardcore fans of the franchise to believe that Disney (that is, LucasFilms‘ parent company) was able to pull off what might be the most realistic, dark, and compelling feature in the Star Wars cinematic continuity to date.

‘Rogue One: A Star Wars story’ hit theaters two days ago and is already drawing incredible reviews. Peter Debruge at Variety calls it “the prequel [fans] have always wanted,” and Matt Zoller at “the first entry since the 1977 original that will satisfy people who have never seen a ‘Star Wars’ film.”

Peter Debruge from Variety calls it “the prequel [fans] have always wanted,” and Matt Zoller from “the first entry since the 1977 original that will satisfy people who have never seen a ‘Star Wars’ film.”

Though some plotholes are already in the mouths of many viewers, moviegoers will indeed get to live the Star Wars universe from an entirely shifted perspective, one that deals with much more pain, anger, and redemption from the war-torn Republic than its (arguably) sweetened predecessors.

“We have all done terrible things for The Rebellion”

Felicity Jones is an Academy Award-nominated actress best known for her work in ‘The Theory of Everything’ (2014). Alongside Diego Luna, both make a screen couple that could have used a bit more chemistry, but seems to fit perfectly within the context of this particular Star Wars film.

The Empire stands as a flourishing military power, and not an established dictatorial government, such as viewers can see in Episodes IV to VI, which makes them more aggressive, more relentless, and more prone to making mistakes.

This scenario also gives a way for the Rebellion to be at the peak of its military resistance, not entirely hiding out but actively indulging in what could a form of terrorism, even when directed towards the bad guys.

Cassian Andor’s (Luna) cold-blooded murder of an informant in the very first scene sets the mood for the entire movie, not the Star Wars many fans know and love.

Later on in the film, the same character reaffirms this matter by stating “we have all done terrible things for the Rebellion.” The epic feeling then shatters and a tragedy starts to envelop the ordeal, like a perverse nod to The Force Awakens’ bloody helmet scene.

Rebellions build themselves on hope, but before that, there’s always despair

The re-imagined space battles brought back most elements of the original franchise but made their losses more palpable, their sacrifice more evident.

The movie pressures the viewer into defying their expectancy of success, starting with the beach campaign and ending with Darth Vader’s both glorious and dreadful display of power.

So even through the light-hearted moments of comic relief, a real improvement when compared to the script in The Force Awakens, the looming shadow of consequence, fear, and overwhelming destruction fills the movie’s most iconic moments, emphasizing the Jedha battle and the internal conflict posed by Andor’s character.

Jyn’s role (Jones) seemed more of a plot device at times, not allowing her to attain a whole paradigm of personality. Her suffering appeared thwarted at every moment, even when she saw her father Galen (Mads Mikkelsen) die before her eyes.

However, her performance still breaks the mold when comparing her to other Star Wars leads, and helps to distance the movie from a poor fan-service effort.

Viewers could find some downsides regarding CGI characters and a couple of plotholes

Rogue One’s praise lies mostly in its ability to succeed at telling a Star Wars story that aims to go a little deeper into the conflicts that made the franchise famous in the first place. However, sometimes it seems to force the narrative a little bit too much.

An example of this could be Jyn’s already mentioned lack of anger, especially towards the Rebellion officials who killed her father. Also, it is quite a long shot to think that the Death Star plans would be on a small hard drive in the era of light-speed traveling.

Some reviewers have also marked the deaths of Jyn’s mother Lyra and Saw Gerrera as pointless, also noting that General Hux (Ben Mendelsohn) fails to acknowledge who Jyn is in the first scene, even though both areĀ nearĀ each other on one of Jyn’s flashbacks.

The CGI rendering of a young Princess Leia (1970’s Carrie Fisher) and Grand Moff Tarkin (Peter Cushing, who passed away in 1994), have been the object of some criticism, but enjoy overall acceptance so far.

Rogue One is not for everyone, or at least not for everyone who loves Star Wars. However, through its many flaws it has a soul the original trilogy did not have, the prequel trilogy lost track of entirely, and The Force Awakens could not recreate.