Rogue One: A Star Wars Story

Starring: Felicity Jones, Diego Luna, Ben Mendelsohn, Donnie Yen, Wen Jiang, Alan Tudyk, Riz Ahmed, Forest Whitaker, Mads Mikkelsen, Jimmy Smits
Directed By: Gareth Edwards

Plot: Chronicles the story of the rebel squad that uncovered the Death Star, and stole the plans to destroy it. Jinn (Jones), a thief, must team up with the rebel alliance, led by Cassian (Luna), if she has any hope of saving her father (Mikkelsen), and restoring his good name.

What Works: It’s a little like two other films we’ve already seen this year, with Suicide Squad and The Magnificent Seven. We have a ragtag group of expendables who, against all odds, are our only hope. This repetitive structure works again for Rogue One, a little better than it did for Magnificent Seven, which spent far too long recruiting everyone. The cast is also full of really good actors, even if Forest Whitaker seems to not remember he’s an Oscar winner. It will help propel Felicity Jones’s star status, as well as establish lesser known actors like Riz Ahmed, who is about to breakout. The special effects are incredible. The Death Star has never looked better. The score, which is lightly inspired by other Star Wars films, was great (as usual with this series).

What Doesn’t Work: Of course this film was directed by Gareth Edwards, who I’m convinced exists only to suck the life and fun out of everything he touches. He directed that awful Godzilla reboot, which was far too dark, and far too serious for its own good. It’s not a bad film, but that’s because I guarantee his leash was a lot tighter on this than it was on Godzilla. He couldn’t just do whatever he wanted. I’m sure, if he had, he would have found a way to kill the Star Wars franchise. This is the most depressing Star Wars film I’ve ever seen. Spoiler Alert: Everyone Dies. Every. Single. One. The only actor who didn’t die in this film that I listed up above who didn’t die is Smits. This film is a giant fucking massacre. It talks about hope, and yet it leaves us with none. Jinn doesn’t really get her happy ending, instead she’s forced to sit on a beach with Cassian as death approaches. As far as film endings go, I hated this one. Even if ONE of the Rogue One squad had made it out, I would have been so much happier. Even if it was one of the lesser characters. Someone. ANYONE. Nope. And I hinted at it earlier, but I felt like Forest Whitaker was in a different movie. His acting fell over into the “cheesy” waters. I liked this a lot less than The Force Awakens, but it’s still better than other films in the franchise.

Final Word: A lot of potential squandered by the overrated talent of Gareth Edwards, who continues to prove himself to be void of fun in his directing. He’s a black hole that pulls in excitement, and turns it into despair. It’s not nearly as fun as Force Awakens, and won’t leave you cheering at the end with its dreary ending.

Final Grade: B-

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