Review: Rogue One: A Star Wars Story (2016)

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Now that Rogue One: A Star Wars Story is finally on Netflix, my SO and I finally decided to watch it last night. I’ll admit, I didn’t think I’d like it as much as I did. The plot and characters were solid, and the atmosphere often reflected well. It was fun seeing actors that I recognized such as Mads Mikkelsen and Jimmy Smits (although, he was reprising his role as Bail Organa).  ~Spoilers Ahead!~

The plot from beginning to end was done well. At the beginning and even in the middle of the film, the atmosphere reflected the hopelessness that the Rebel Alliance was feeling against what seemed to be the unbeatable Galactic Empire who had just created a massive weapon of destruction. The Death Star is used twice in the film to help solidify its might and bring fear into the hearts of the Rebels, which nearly succeeded if not for Jyn, Cassian, and the rest of their motely crew who disobeyed authority on both sides of the aisle to try to fight for what they believe to be is right.

For me, the best part of the film was the characters and how they interacted with one another and the situations they found themselves in. There was a variety of ethnicities represented in the film, which I thought reflected how the Rebel Alliance came from all over and was also a bunch of species and ethnic subspecies of those groups that are just trying to fight to take back their freedom from the dictatorship of the Galactic Empire. Considering that most of the characters that we built rapport with as viewers died by the end of the film, the time that we had with them was great. I didn’t expect for nearly everyone to die at the end except for the lucky suckers who managed to escape Darth Vader and get the Death Star plans to Princess Leia, but I thought it portrayed the real sacrifices that rebels are forced into to do what they believe is right which is to fight even though there’s no real hope beyond just trying to do something and hoping it’d work out (which it did in Rogue One, even if it cost them their lives). They didn’t know if they would succeed or not, but they knew they had no choice but to try or else they’d be bowing down to the Galactic Empire as slaves.

Moreover, the synergy between the characters was fantastic. The trio of Jyn, Cassian, and K was funny but it does differ from Chirrut and Baze’s atmosphere of hilarity. K’s sassiness was hilarious, especially when he gave out percentages to Cassian even when Cassian doesn’t ask for them. I giggled every time he gave out a percentage, even if it was a bit morbid. Jyn being a pal by giving K the laser gun actually did give the other two enough time before he had to completely lock the vault as he died. K was awesome. Moreover, Jyn and Cassian’s relationship kept evolving throughout the film. Seeing them hold onto one another as they watched their doom come was sad, but there was a sense of relief in me that comes from knowing that the people I’ve long cheered to win won’t be dying in vain.

Lastly, the best pair for last, Chirrut and Baze were epic. To me, they were clearly the most entertaining of the characters in the show. I laughed a lot when Baze tells Chirrut good luck when Chirrut goes to follow Jyn only to get the reply: “I don’t need luck. I have you.” Baze’s sigh and then actually getting up to do what Chirrut wants was hilarious. The two also had the best weapons in the movie. Chirrut had a weapon similar to Hawkeye’s exploding arrows and Baze’s laser guns and the bazooka-like gun that he tried to use against the dinosaur weapon machine was badass. Then, Rogue One shows us Chirrut and Baze’s death scenes and I cried. I especially cried when Chirrut died. Watching Chirrut making it through to actually pull the lever up while chanting: “I am one with the force and the force is with me” and then having Baze do the mantra for Chirrut as Chirrut dies in his arms was heartbreaking. I still tear up still thinking about their last scene together with both alive. The bromance between the two characters was definitely felt in the film.

Overall, I liked Rogue One and am glad I got to watch it in my home. For its time of 2 hours and 13 minutes, Rogue One was paced well with great characters who synergized well with one another.

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