In short, the movie is amazing. Rogue One has a level of darkness that no Star Wars film before it has had. Sometimes this can negatively affect the film, making it too dark for it’s own good. With some more levity added in the third act, and not just some great one-liners, this could’ve been the best film in the series. However, this extremely depressing tone is the only thing holding Rogue One back, as it has a perfect balance of just about everything else.
I was originally terrified for seeing Rogue One, especially after hearing about the re-shoots the film underwent. After my first viewing, I was surprised at just how much my expectations were blown away. The script is well-done, and the dialogue is free-flowing and nothing seems awkward or out of place at all. What makes these go from good to amazing is the cast and how well they portray the roles they’ve been given. When I saw Felicity Jones or Diego Luna onscreen, I believed that they were there Jyn Erso and Captain Andor, respectively. Donnie Yen plays Chirrut Imwe, another one of the best actors in the film, and mainly because of how much fun he has. You’d expect him to be a very strict, stoic, and preaching about the Force whenever he can, but he has some of the better lines and moments in the picture. Forest Whitaker, while not in the movie for very long, is really good for what of it he’s in. The best character, by far, is Alan Tudyk as K-2SO. He has the best moments and lines, and is definitely the funniest character. Everyone in the ensemble cast is great, although you do wish you got to see more of them, it doesn’t hurt the film too much, since you get a general idea of who they are and how they ended up in this ragtag crew.
We can’t talk about Rogue One without mentioning Darth Vader, which is essentially a cameo, but it’s a pretty great one. There’s a lot of cameos in the film, actually, from R2-D2 and C-3PO to the guys who start the fight in the Cantina with Luke and Obi-wan in A New Hope. That’s another very impressive part of Rogue One, when there’s fan service, it’s never too distracting. The film knows how to nod the original trilogy while not overstaying it’s welcome.
“It’s probably one of the best Star Wars films in a long time,” said Junior Colton Krill, who say the film on opening night. “It has a lot of really great things in it that a lot of Star Wars films have never had, like the number of people and the darker side of things.” That’s a good point. How does Rogue One compare to the rest of the films in the Star Wars franchise? While it’s not Empire Strikes Back, it’s definitely high-ranking compared to other films, like the prequel trilogy. It beats Return of the Jedi in my mind due to Rogue One having various meaningful locations and characters. Return of the Jedi suffers greatly from the scenes in Jabba the Hutt’s palace. I think it pushes ahead of A New Hope by making more memorable characters sooner while A New Hope had good characters that couldn’t grab me very well until Empire Strikes Back. I’ve referred to The Force Awakens as the second best film in the franchise, and recently it’s been switching places with A New Hope often, as they’re pretty much the same movie except The Force Awakens had better effects. It’s not nearly as good as Rogue One for one particular reason: Rogue One is a movie first, and a part of a saga later. The Force Awaken‘s biggest flaw in my mind is with it’s emphasis on being a part of a saga first and a film second. Rogue One is a gritty war film set in the Star Wars Universe first and part of a saga second, and that´s allows it to bring some amazing material to the table, like compelling characters and clever ideas.
Overall, this is the second best film in the Star Wars franchise, and I´m glad to see it again any time. Go out and see this amazing film whenever you can. By speaking with your wallet, we can keep having Star Wars Anthology films with this much quality behind them.