With our second Disney Star Wars film, it has become clear that they intend to take the franchise in a safe, nostalgic direction.
Being the first of the new standalone films for the franchise, Rogue One is free to work away from the direct plot, allowing it to take liberties that both help and hinder it in the end.
Rogue One takes place directly before Star Wars: Episode IV – A New Hope. It tells the story of the Death Star’s completion and the Rebel Army’s acquisition of its plans, finally answering the question of why the Empire’s super weapon had such a glaring weakness.
Nevertheless, the story of Rogue One is all too familiar. Consider the following tropes: an orphaned hero, a hologram bringing an important message, seeking an aging mentor for help, the comic relief droid, the super weapon destroying a planet, and the perilous journey to fight evil.
Being a standalone film, Rogue One should be a breath of fresh air. It holds the potential to explore new parts of the Star Wars Universe that the main trilogies do not. In some ways, it does manage to achieve this, but in many ways it fails to do so. Despite being unrestrained by the main plot, Rogue One builds itself too much around nostalgia. The film tries too hard to please old fans by including as many nostalgic elements as it can when the Star Wars franchise should be looking forward to new generations.
In addition, the heroes were all one-dimensional characters. There was little to no depth to the team of rebels, who were given little to no background, limited motivations, and poorly developed relationships. The empire officer Orson Krennic, who headed the Death Star research team, wound up being the most developed character; he was interesting to watch.
Many prequel films manage to work well toward an ending that is already known by slowly showing how the events build towards the climax. Rogue One did not manage this as effectively. Everything in the plot was predictable, making it a less than memorable film.
Nevertheless, it was still enjoyable. The special effects were on point and the action scenes were beautiful. I would definitely recommend Rogue One to any Star Wars fans.
All in all, Rogue One is a decent standalone if lacking in originality.
Former scientist Galen Erso lives on a farm with his wife and young daughter Jyn. His peaceful existence comes crashing down when the evil Orson Krennic takes him away from his beloved family. Many years later, Galen is now the Empire's lead engineer for the most powerful weapon in the galaxy, the Death Star. Knowing that her father holds the key to its destruction, a vengeful Jyn joins forces with a spy and other resistance fighters to steal the space station's plans for the Rebel Alliance.
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