Star Wars is back, and for the first time, with a one-time spinoff that falls outside the 3 movie trilogies (Disney promises more one-time spinoffs, btw). Rogue One is set just before Episode IV and in the film, the rebels seek to steal the Death Star plans in an attempt to destroy the behemoth battle station before it’s able to inflict maximum damage.
Felicity Jones plays Jyn Erso, the female lead who comes from a hardened and untrustworthy background, yet is recruited by the Rebellion in an attempt to thwart the Empire’s plans to rule the galaxy with an iron fist of terror. From there, she’s joined by a somewhat ragtag team that ultimately comes together to feature quite a bit of onscreen chemistry and charm.
Highlights from the backing cast include characters such as Cassian Andor, a devoted yet very serious Alliance captain played by Diego Luna, Chirrup Imwe, a force-strong blind warrior played by Donnie Yen who provides some comic relief, and K-2SO, a comedically sarcastic and lovable droid voiced by Alan Tudyk.
The film’s main villain is Orson Krennic, an Imperial officer who heads the Empire’s Advanced Weapons Research division. With all the ambition in the galaxy, Krennic is intent upon seeing that he’s recognized by his superiors for his work on the Death Star, albeit he uses Jyn Erso’s father, Galen (Mads Mikkelsen), to make the most technological advances behind the super weapon possible.
Rogue One neither seems to be a heist movie, nor a full-blown epic war drama, yet appears to represent somewhat of a hybrid between the two genres. It features stunning visual effects, nonstop action (especially during the film’s latter half), and plenty of easter eggs that will delight old school fans who worship the original trilogy.
The acting is great, but due to the fact that the film is a one-off, it may leave some viewers wanting to see even more character development that will likely never happen. The beginning of the film also kicks in with quite a bit of planet hopping that seems a little excessive, and the rebel alliance leaders seem a bit colder and dispirited than is probably warranted. Otherwise, there’s a lot to love and numerous parts of the film that will perhaps pull at your heartstrings. 4/5.