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Rogue One: A Star Wars Story SPOILER Movie Review

Rogue One: A Star Wars Story is officially in theaters which means it’s time to talk about some spoilers in another spoiler movie review presented by FatCats Gilbert on the southwest corner of Greenfield and Baseline! FatCats Gilbert is the best place to check out all of the latest movies including Rogue One! Hopefully you’ve already seen Rogue One if you’re reading this, but the best place for a repeat viewing is right in a FatCats Recline-N-Dine seat!

In case you couldn’t tell by the title, this is a SPOILER HEAVY article. If you haven’t seen Rogue One: A Star Wars Story, click right HERE to check out my spoiler-free review, then see the movie, then come back to this SPOILER HEAVY review. That being said, the movie is in theaters, and it’s finally time to talk in-depth about some of the insanely awesome stuff we saw in the movie as well as maybe a few things I didn’t really care for. It’s all fair game, so let’s get going!

I’ll start out with some positives, and I think my favorite thing about the movie is that we really get the “war” feel. Rogue One feels like a war movie with high stakes and amazing action directed very well by Gareth Edwards. Coming into Rogue One, I had a checklist of things I wanted to see, and if I saw those things, I was probably going to walk out as a happy camper. One of the things on that list was high stakes war scenes. We definitely saw those. Also on that list was a scene where the rebels have the plans and need to get them to safety. Some of the rebels just need to sacrifice themselves for the good of the Rebellion, and they realize that they’re going to be brutally killed by Darth Vader while others bring the plans to Leia. I think that was my favorite scene in the entire movie. I bought into the Darth Vader marketing, and both that scene, and the scene where he Force chokes Krennic could probably top my list of favorite scenes. In the finale, he slices through rebels with his light saber while he Force chokes others and throws them against the ceiling. It was honestly one of my favorite scenes in any Star Wars movie. Next, as much fun as I was having watching these characters, I also love how it ended for all of them. I think each and every one of them had a very fitting death scene that perfectly suited the needs of the story and did the characters justice. I also love all of the nods to the original films. One of my favorites is hearing that the Rebellion is going to find an old Jedi friend of theirs to ask for help, which is, of course, a reference to Obi-Wan, as well as find Leia who has never let them down. It was also nice to see C-3PO and R2-D2 on the Rebel base. It didn’t feel out of place or shoehorned in, and it was a great way to tie the stories together. I also love all of the planets that are introduced in Rogue One with my favorite being Scarif. I couldn’t tell if it was because by far my favorite part of the story occurred there or the fact that it looked incredible, but I loved everything about it. It gave us something new that we haven’t really seen so far in the Star Wars saga. I don’t watch Rebels or The Clone Wars, so maybe we’ve seen a tropical beach planet or something like it, but for me, it was really refreshing. Some of the stand-out characters, to me, include Jyn Erso, Cassian Andor, Chirrut Îmwe, and K-2SO. Jyn Erso was undoubtedly the deepest character, and between her soft side and her hard side, she’s one of the best characters we’ve seen so far in the Star Wars universe. I didn’t think Cassian Andor was particularly deep, but he is very likable, and he’s one of the most fun characters we’ve seen use a blaster. I also loved K-2SO. He won’t go down as my favorite droid, but he’s perfect for levity, and he’s a solid supporting character who keeps the jokes coming and always lightens the mood when it needs to be lightened. Chirrut Îmwe, who’s blind, also had some of the best hand-to-hand combat scenes we’ve seen. I guess I should say “hand-to-staff” combat. I recently watched Daredevil on Netflix, and between both Daredevil and Rogue One, I now know how much fun I can have watching a blind person go crazy in a fight. I also thought he did an amazing job bringing more depth to the Force. The Force is a mystical concept that you have to believe in to see the effects of, and Chirrut Îmwe brings the Force to life. Finally, this movie somehow makes the original 1977 Star Wars better. I didn’t think that was possible, but it did. It brought a whole new level of sacrifice and stakes to the original film, the rebellion, and the Death Star. I didn’t realize that the Death Star had the history that it did, and Rogue One showed me exactly how we get to where we are in A New Hope.

I had a blast with the movie, and as a huge Star Wars fan, it did give me moments that made me fanboy out and light up, but there were things I didn’t like about it. First of all, I didn’t love that there wasn’t a crawl. It didn’t bother me to the point where it made me enjoy the movie less, and Star Wars films typically don’t cover the time span that Rogue One does, but I still like to hear the John Williams score as the crawl goes because it feels like a tradition. I saw the movie for a second time last night, and as soon as “A long time ago in a galaxy far, far away….” hit the screen, I heard an audience member start to sing the John Williams score. He was sure in for quite the surprise when it just cut to space. Next, as I mentioned in the spoiler-free review, the film is very up-and-down in terms of quality and tone. I really disliked everything that happened with Saw Gerrera. I know he is a character from The Clone Wars, and maybe he’s just in the film to tie some loose ends, but he was such an off-putting character for me. Forest Whitaker was selling the character way too hard, and he wasn’t someone I found awesome, funny, compelling, or interesting, so nothing pulled me in about him. He also had a few scenes where he did things I didn’t find necessary to the story. I didn’t think the scene where the “truth tentacles” were wrapping themselves around Bodhi was necessary, and that took me out of the film. Next, I think a lot of the characters were flat because there were just too many. I didn’t feel the impact Galen Erso’s death should have had on me, and I didn’t feel emotions in scenes that should have made me feel emotions. The movie doesn’t have many scenes where characters are actually built, but even the scenes where they are trying missed for me. Just about every moment where the movie tries to build Krennic missed. Finally, I really didn’t like what we saw with Leia and Grand Moff Tarkin. I think that just by showing vague reflections and shots from behind they could have had even more impact on the story. Both characters were completely composed of CGI, and it’s pretty easy to tell. Tarkin is integral to the story and the Death Star, so I understand why he had so much screen time, but was it really necessary to show Leia’s face? I think anyone who will be seeing the movie would be able to tell who it is just from her hair buns, and the obvious CGI look wouldn’t have even been needed.

I really liked Rogue One, and it gave me exactly what I wanted. It checked all the boxes I had coming into it, and at the end of the day, that’s all I can ask for. I had a blast with it, and I think it has one of the best third acts of any Star Wars film. The first two are a bit bumpy, but once I saw Darth Vader cutting down rebel after rebel, I basically forgave everything I didn’t like. Also, I might have liked it more the second time just because I could appreciate the little things slightly more, so I will say Rogue One rewards repeat viewings. If you’d like to see my score and spoiler-free thoughts, you can click right HERE. It’s not the original trilogy, and I did like The Force Awakens more, but I still can’t wait to pick up Rogue One the first day the Blu-ray is released! What did you think of Rogue One: A Star Wars Story? Hopefully you’ve seen it if you just read this, but if not, I would suggest checking it out! As always, thank you, and keep listening to 88.7 The Pulse!

All images courtesy of Disney

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Justin Lyons

Hey, it's Justin Lyons! I am the Chief Film Critic for The Pulse. Have any questions for me? Please feel free to email me at movies@pulseradio.fm