By Emanuel Ortiz
Rogue One: A Star Wars Story’s cast of rebels and the journey they go on had me longing to see more where stakes are as high as they are in this war film.
Rogue One: A Star Wars Story’s takes place between Star Wars: Episode III and Episode IV, where the Death Star (a planet destroying weapon) is being built by the Empire. While the Rebel Alliance is trying to stop them before they become unstoppable.
I went into this movie more or less blind, only having seen two trailers. Because of this, I found myself pleasantly surprised by how much I enjoyed this movie. The third act in particular was breathtakingly executed and made me remember why these movies are given the name Star Wars.
It honestly felt grand in scope and this movie truly made me feel as though the characters were at risk throughout, which I thoroughly enjoyed. To quickly compare to another movie, Captain America: Civil War had a scene where a large amount of characters fight each other. The difference between Rogue one and Civil War is the stakes are real in Rogue One. Characters can die. In Civil War, although these characters were fighting one another, there were many jokes thrown around during the battle. It took me out of the movie at times because I knew they weren’t really fighting. There were no stakes in that movie. Rogue One had stakes and you felt it consistently throughout the film. It stood apart from other Star Wars films and had a grittier realistic feel to it.
The main group of rebels, otherwise known as Rogue One, consisted of Jyn Erso (Felicity Jones), Cassian Andor (Diego Luna), K-2SO (Alan Tudyk), Chirrut Îmwe (Donnie Yen), Baze Malbus (Wen Jiang), and Bodhi Rook (Riz Ahmed). The way these characters are listed here is a good representation of their importance as far as how well they were developed. The interesting thing about this story is how much doesn’t happen in the movie. There is a book called Star Wars: Catalyst in which these characters are further fleshed out and you get to learn where they come from and so forth. I had not read this book so the development I got from these characters comes from the movie and there wasn’t very much of it. These characters are introduced seemingly out of nowhere. You don’t get much of any context and to why they are where they are or why they’re doing what they’re doing. They’re just there to help and the audience is supposed to accept that. This was a problem with me while watching the movie. I understand that if I want to know more, I can read the book and I will re-watch the movie when I have done so for sure, but for the many who haven’t read it, the characters are underdeveloped.
That’s not to say you don’t enjoy watching them. The movie mainly revolves around Jyn, the driving force for the story. These characters join her on her mission when others wouldn’t. It was sort of watching the little guys on the playground fight back against the bullies. It is because of this, that you care for the characters regardless of how much background you get on them. You care for their safety especially during the war which wouldn’t have also happened if these characters were annoying or the actors portraying them didn’t do a good job.
This movie had great pacing. There was never a moment during this 2 hour and 15-minute movie, that I felt as though a scene was dragging on or I was losing interest. During the first act however, I found myself a little bit confused about characters that other characters were talking about. For example, Jyn or someone can be talking about Bodhi, but at that point in the movie you’re not introduced to the character yet so you’re confused as to what is happening. That being said, as the movie progresses, you are introduced and everything starts to make sense thankfully. Darth Vader is also in the movie very shortly. I won’t spoil his scenes but if you’re going to this movie just for him (I can’t imagine anyone would go just for this one character), then you’ll be disappointed. I thought they used him just the right amount however.
All in all, I found this movie to be quite refreshing and different than previous Star Wars movies have been. It had a realistic feel to it and the stakes in this movie kept me at the edge of my seat hoping to see these characters that I’ve followed throughout, make it out at the end.