I made no secret of the fact that I wasn’t a big fan of Star Wars: The Force Awakens. Overall I think there was more good than bad, however I didn’t understand the fuss around it. Now one year later, we’re seeing the release of the Rogue One, and it’s safe to say, after a great marketing campaign, and the promise of a new kind of film in the franchise, I was a lot more excited this time around.
Add to this Gareth Edwards, a director only making his third feature film, but a man with a good track record, an amazing ensemble cast featuring some of the best character actors working today, and a plot that plants this film firmly between nostalgic kick and intriguing universe expansion, and it was almost inevitable that I was going to be let down.
Set in the moments leading up to star Wars: Episode IV – A New Hope, Rogue One is the (Star Wars) story of how the rebellion stole the plans for the Death Star. Some of the rebels tasked with this include Jyn Erso (Felicity Jones), the rebellious child of somebody high up in the empire, Cassian Andor (Diego Luna), a handsome rogue and captain of a ship, K-2SO (Alan Tudyk), a camp, well spoken droid who loves telling people about the bad odds their facing, and a few other expendable characters who all go more or less without development in 133 minutes.
The biggest issue I had with this film is that we all know both what it’s about (stealing the plans for the Death Star), and how it ends (they steal the plans for the Death Star). This isn’t always a bad thing, for example, everyone knew that the ship was going to sink in Titanic, but that’s still a good film. The problem is, it takes so long for the characters to get to the part of the story we want to see, that when it comes round, I was already too bored to care.
The final action sequence is genuinely spectacular, and in true Star Wars fashion there are multiple set-pieces taking place at once, all but one of which (unfortunately the main one) are interesting. One thing that did surprise me was that there’s a fantastic battle in space, which was unexpected, and helped regain a little of the interest that I’d lost. Everything else leading up to this point, however, really struggles to be interesting, and some of it even ventures into ridiculous.
One thing I loved about Edwards’ last film, 2014’s Godzilla, was that it didn’t treat audiences like they were idiots. If we see something happening, we don’t need to have it said by a character as well. Unfortunately Rogue One falls into this trap multiple times, and with each one I felt my eyes rolling further and further back into my head. Add to this the huge list of cliches, a lack of any surprises, heavy handed fan service, and some ropey dialogue, and the film that could have given us so much ended up offering very little.
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