The best Star Wars film to date?
For many fans of Star Wars Rogue One has filled a long awaited hole in the lore and Star Wars timeline between the prequels and the original trilogy. How did the rebels acquire the Death Star plans? How do they get into the position they are at the start of A New Hope? Rogue One does more than answer these questions, providing a tale of heroics, sacrifice and bravery leading up to just minutes before the start of A New Hope.
Jyn Erso (Felicity Jones) is the daughter of Galen Erso (Mads Mikkelsen) the man who designed the original plans for the Death Star. When he is captured and ordered to work on the construction once more, Jyn is left to fend for herself under the brief care of rebel extremist Saw Gerrera (Forest Whitaker). However, when the Rebel Alliance hear of the Death Star they track Jyn down to enlist her help in finding out more on the base and her father’s whereabouts in order to stop the Empire.
Rogue One is a much darker, grittier film than previous Star Wars film. It’s more of a war film than the Space Opera style of previous films, which tend to have lighter elements and not delve so much into the grit of the war. From minute one the settings of the film reflect this. They’re darker, muddier, dirtier instantly reflecting the atmosphere to the film as well as the subject matter. It’s a dark time, with the Rebels trying to find hope … A New Hope (awful joke, apologies).
The story covers matters and themes of family, loss, sacrifice, bravery and betrayal very effectively through the scope of an impactful war film surrounding a group of new characters who we quickly build a bond with. Their bravery, effort and friendship which gradually builds as the team comes together is genuinely touching, particularly with their defiance to help stop the Empire.
As Star Wars films tend to do, the film ends with a fantastic climactic battle between the desperate efforts of the Rogue One squad, who are seriously outgunned and out-manned by the Imperial forces. It’s inspiring to see them face up against the Empire despite their obvious disadvantage. They face up to the bullies of the Galaxy and dare to stand in their way. It’s a brilliant end to the film, and beginning to the original trilogy.
The cast are spectacular and play their roles perfectly. Felicity Jones as Jyn has fast become my favourite Star Wars protagonist. She’s defiant, rebellious, tough, headstrong and despite having gone through so much, she keeps going. Another highlight is Alan Tudyk as K-2SO who is fantastic in providing comic relief with his dry wit and brilliant comic timing. Personally, seeing Riz Ahmed, who plays Bohdi Rook, doing so well is brilliant to see as he’s a very talented actor, with a vast range of abilities.
However it’s not just these actors who are brilliant, the whole cast have such charisma and really embody their characters. Ben Mendelsohn provides a wickedly brilliant villain as Orson Krennic, Diego Luna provides a determined leader in Cassian Andor who will do anything for the Rebellion cause. As well as this, the duo of Donnie Yen as Chirrut Îmwe and Wen Jiang as Baze Malbus provide a touching brotherly relationship as well as a connection to the force and the more mystical side to Star Wars.
Gareth Edwards has done a fantastic job in directing a Star Wars film which pretty much removes all Jedi and elements of the force (only with the minor scenes with Darth Vader) and still makes an engaging, entertaining and touching film. It’s a credit to him, the cast, the writers Chris Weitz and Tony Gilroy, as well as Disney for creating such a dark, gritty Star Wars film that still encapsulates what the series is about, and providing fan service by filling in a crucial piece of the Star Wars saga.
Jyn Erso is fantastic, K-2SO is hilarious, but another crucial highlight is the inclusion of Darth Vader. There’s a stark reminder as to why he’s such a powerful, threatening villain in the Star Wars universe and this scene alone is worth watching the film for, especially for any Star Wars fan.