10 Thoughts on Star Wars: Rogue One
If you are any kind of Star Wars fan, chances are you saw Star Wars: Rogue One this past weekend. This was the first Star Wars movie to take place outside the main Skywalker plot line (as long as you don’t count those Ewok movies). If there was any concern about a Star Wars movie being successful without Luke, Han, Rey and crew, those fears can be put to rest. Rogue One debuted to $155 million in its opening weekend (the second largest December opening in history) and was widely applauded by critics. Now that we’ve had a few days to think about the movie, here’s our thoughts on this Sci Fi blockbuster. Obviously, spoilers ahead if you haven’t seen the movie yet.
10 Thoughts on Star Wars: Rogue One
1. I really enjoyed the movie.
Overall, I came away from the movie pleased. The writing was solid, the action fantastic (at least in the last 1/3 of the movie, more on that in a second) and I thought Felicity Jones was great in the leading role as Jyn Erso. Some have questioned whether Rogue One was even a story that needed telling, but I am glad they made it. It gives us a deeper look at the Rebellion, something the Original Trilogy didn’t really do, as its main focus was on Luke. While the movie wasn’t perfect, I find myself really wanting to watch it again.
2. The beginning half of the movie was a somewhat slow and hard to follow.
This was the first Star Wars movie without an opening crawl and I think it actually suffered a little because of it. The crawl text has always setup the premise of the movie and saved a lot of screen time that would have been devoted to bringing the viewer up to speed.
The result was that the first half of Rogue One was a tad hard for me to follow. We were constantly being introduced to new characters, while jumping from planet to planet. I just don’t think it flowed as well as the second half of the movie. For example, we are introduced to Saw Gerrera (played by Forest Whitaker), and told how important he is, but he barely sticks around much longer than that. New characters were being chucked at us so quickly, most of them hardly had a chance to develop.
3. The space battle was the best since Return of the Jedi.
That being said, Rogue One more than made up for its slow beginnings by the amazing climax of the movie. The space battle was nothing short of amazing, with pulse-pounding action that kept me glued to the screen. My favorite part has to be when the Corellian Corvette rammed into the Star Destroyer. I was on the edge of my seat with excitement.
And even the battle on the planet was amazing. We had our first appearance of AT-AT Walkers since The Empire Strikes Back and they were still just as fearsome. The director did a really good job of dropping us in the mix between the two battles and jumping us back and forth.
4. Darth Vader needs his own solo movie.
While I loved the final battle, my absolute favorite part of the movie has to be Darth Vader showing his tenacity. I’ve long been a fan of the Dark Vader comic book series, where we get to witness him in the height of his power. The scene where he is tearing through the rebel troopers in that ship corridor feels like it was ripped straight from the pages of the comic book. That was the most impressive that we’ve ever seen him in battle and it goes a long way to show why he is indeed so powerful and feared throughout the galaxy.
5. K-2SO was a scene stealer.
One the other side of the coin, every scene K-2SO was in, he pretty much stole the spotlight. Voiced by the talented Alan Tudyk (Firefly, Serenity), K-2SO always seem to have the perfect one-liners to fit the mood of the scene. Even when he wasn’t talking, his actions were still highly entertaining. His death in the movie was probably one of the saddest for me, and that’s saying something as there were a lot of deaths.
6. This was the darkest Star Wars movie yet.
Star Wars: Rogue One ending up being a lot darker than I expected. That actually surprised me, as The Empire Strikes Back was about as dark as a Star Wars movie gets and even that wasn’t that bad. But Rogue One could have been sub-titled: Everyone Dies. I’m used to movies where the hero always seems to find that tiny way to escape and live to fight another day. Not so in Rogue One. From the main character Jyn down to the defector Imperial pilot, no one survived that final battle. And you know what, I think it was a fitting ending for this group. The moment Jyn and Cassian shared on that beach was a perfect ending for the duo. No forced romance, just two exhausted warriors taking a final moment to breathe. But if you are the type of person that wants to see the hero ride off into the sunset, Rogue One is going to be a rude awakening for you.
7. The ending was perfect.
I couldn’t think of a better ending for the movie than what we were given, as it leads directly into Star Wars: A New Hope. I actually wanted to go home and immediately watch that movie because the continuation felt so natural. We now know how the plans got to Leia in the first place, and how they ended up on the Tantive IV. We also know how Darth Vader knew where the plans were and why he didn’t buy into the “counselor ship” BS. He saw the ship flee the system after it barely escaped his grasp.
8. There were tons of easter eggs.
I’m sure you noticed plenty of them, but Rogue One was littered with easter eggs. If you are curious, a quick google search will give you plenty of pages listing them out. Some of my favorites include Jyn bumping into Dr Evazan and Ponda Baba (the aliens Luke fights with in the Cantina), the original Red and Gold leaders back, and finally learning why there was an opening in Rogue Squadron for Luke to slide into. RIP Rogue 5.
9 That CGI Tarkin.
Overall I was pleased with the casting in Rogue One. The Mon Motha replacement was really close to the original actress, and when I first saw her in the trailer, I had to watch it again to see the difference. For Grand Moff Tarkin, obviously Peter Cushing couldn’t reprise his role, since he’s no longer with us. While the CGI wasn’t perfect (is it ever?), I actually thought it worked fine. The animators captured his likeness and mannerisms and I was happy to see him in the movie. While I don’t see CGI replacing real actors anytime soon, in cases like this, it can have a nice effect on the movie.
10. The Death Star flaw explained, finally!
The exposed Thermal Exhaust Port on the Death Star has long since been the butt of numerous jokes. From Star Was Robot Chicken to Star Wars: Family Guy, everyone has taken a shot at this glaring design flaw. Fans have been theorizing for decades as to why the Death Star was built this way, and now we finally know. It wasn’t a huge gaff by the architect, but an intended sabotage. Thank you Galen Erso for finally giving us some closure.