The main thing that comes to mind about Rogue One is that while it is part of the Star Wars canon, it is not really part of the Skywalker saga that is the general focus when it comes to the series.
What must be said is that there are appearances from a few classic characters in the series, a couple of whom play good enough roles in the story to help explain plot elements. But apart from that this film does its own thing, with a few elements that lead to forthcoming events, chronologically in the canon. Ergo, why this film is dubbed “A Star Wars Story” in the subtitle.
With that being said, Rogue One does a good job as its own film.
Plot-wise, the film tells the story of Jyn Erso, played by Felicity Jones, who works with the Rebel Alliance to steal the plans for the Death Star from the Imperial Alliance, and also to find her father, Galen, played by Mads Mikkelsen.
A couple of other things that impressed me were the action scenes and special effects. I will start with the latter, how one important character in this film was presented. It felt like the actor was actually there on-screen despite use of effects to make it look like it was that person, when it was really a body-double with digital effects used to make up the person’s appearance. The battle sequences, particularly the ones with the Tie Fighters and the X-Wings, looked amazing. I almost wondered if the effects were practical or CGI.
Another action sequence that was done well involved martial artist Donnie Yen, who played a blind warrior-monk named Chirrut Imwe. I have yet to see some other films that Yen is in, but one sequence impressed me with his skills.
The film’s storytelling did a lot more showing than telling, especially with some of the character arcs that were crucial to the story. There didn’t need to be long monologues that stated anything about what was going on as a lot of what was seen was right in front of you. Plus, the film was left with a satisfying yet dark and realistic conclusion that would still send the fans home happy.
I will say that I was more satisfied with Rogue One than I was with last year’s The Force Awakens. Not that I didn’t like that film, but this film had a darker and grittier feel in the story, with some elements of comedy at times and had better storytelling overall.
Score: 4/5 Stars