Rogue One: A Star Wars Story (2016) – Should I Watch It?
A brunette rebel with daddy issues teams up with a space Mexican to steal the plans of the galaxy’s most powerful weapon: a giant ball with a shiny satellite dish.
Star Wars is quite a phenomenon. The impact that the original three films had upon society is mindboggling. They get revered to the point that if you do not like these movies, you could be considered a minority. Some fans have even gone so far as to embraced the teachings of a fictional group of monks so much, it has become an actual religion.
Then came the prequels, and the world exploded with Star Wars anew. Only this time two opposing sides were created; those who thought George Lucas was a genius, and those claiming he was a fraud. The latter seems to be the more popular opinion, but lately many younger people that grew up with the prequels seem to stand up and defend it. Whatever your stance, Star Wars is still very much alive.
Over time the famed franchise has changed from something nearly universally loved, to one of the most controversial movie topics of all time. And it only grew wilder. Lucas sold his company to Disney, and J.J. Abrams was said to kick off a brand new trilogy. Unsurprisingly, his movie, The Force Awakens, separated fans even more.
Even though it is “just a spin-off”, you can bet on it that Rogue One: A Star Wars Story will continue this trend – as will any future Star Wars movie. Regardless, let us take a look at the first part of the spin-off trilogy that may or may not consist of three entrees.
From time to time you hear people say that they are tired of superhero movies. That it was amazing when it started, fun while it lasted, but that it is now time for their heyday to be over. I do not necessarily agree with this, but that might be because I have a pet peeve of my own: the trend of making movies darker and grittier. Sure, it worked for the Dark Knight trilogy, and arguably for the Harry Potter franchise, but pretty much for nothing else. Superman became depressing, it killed Alice in Wonderland, and I do not even know what those things in the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles were.
Unfortunately, Rogue One also suffers from grittier-itus. And for me, this new approach fails horribly. It turns an exciting space adventure into a serious and boring event. In this sense Rogue One becomes a prequel to the original Star Wars in both time-line and representation. Rather than explaining character relations and story elements by including it to the action and environment, everything gets explained by mundane characters voicing decidedly badly-written dialogue. The word ‘hope’ gets said so many times, I was ‘hoping’ for it to turn into one long SILENT adventure.
The biggest problem with movies that suffer from this disease is that there is not much room for fun. No matter how dire the situation, the dialogue between Han, Luke, and Leia was always great. I always like to think that they were able to deliver these lines because they never felt like they were doomed. As if subconsciously the force told them their story was not yet over, and so rather than give in to fear, they snap a remark to inspire the people around them to remain vigilant. The same goes for Finn and Ray in The Force Awakens.
Rogue One, however, is much too serious for fun. It wants to be dangerous and real. So when our heroes get changed by villains with laser rifles they take shelter and are desperately looking for a way out. You can feel the tension and urgency of the situation. That is, until a blind monk and a snarky robot just burst in and take out everything in sight. Great job, movie. Do you have any idea what you are trying to portray?
If you have read any of my other reviews you might be wondering why I have not discussed the main characters yet, and why I refer to them as our heroes, blind monk, and robot. Well, that is because they are so forgettable and mundane, that even after looking up them up at IMDb, I still cannot remember their name. And that is actually perfect because it is a very suitable analogy for nearly every character in this film, because being nameless means that they are as defined in this review as they were on screen. Which is to say, not at all.
For its many flaws Rogue One does have some merit. It finally explains how Luke was able to blow up such an immense structure with a single space torpedo, and it shows the most bad-ass Darth Vader fight scene ever. For the rest, the movie ranges somewhere between average and mediocre. Pretty obvious conclusion, but watch it if you like Star Wars, do not bother if you do not.
No, don’t watch it.
Let’s keep this a conversation. If you have any remarks or differing opinions share it in the comment section below. And don’t forget to like and subscribe if you want me to keep writing reviews.