Being a huge Star Wars fan, I was excited to see the new film in the franchise, Rogue One: A Star Wars Story. I was interested to see the first movie that would “kick-off” a new series of Star Wars films, and the first to have its lead character be a simple rebel soldier rather than a Jedi or a user of the Force. Unfortunately, I left the theater disappointed.
Rogue One is a great sci-fi movie, there is no doubt about that; however, it is not a great Star Wars movie. The movie does have great action sequences. The scene with Chirrut Imwe (Donnie Yen) taking out Stormtroopers with only a staff is very entertaining and the entire third act is action-packed and exciting. The special effects in this movie are phenomenal. Spaceships and space battles looked impressive. My only gripe with the special effects is there is one character that is completely computer generated and it is very noticeable. It caught me off guard and the character was cartoonish looking, but I understand why it was done and I didn’t have a big problem with it.
However, Rogue One suffers greatly because of one major flaw; the movie’s characters. These characters are not as interesting or entertaining as in previous Star Wars films. The movie does a suitable job of introducing the main character, Jyn Erso (Felicity Jones) and her history and backstory. However, the movie does a sloppy job at introducing its other characters, which results in a lack of focus on the characters. Cassian Andor (Diego Luna) is the best example of this. He is the male lead of the film and he is only given one scene that explains his motivation and backstory. The rest of the characters, which the movie wants you to care about, are not given the same treatment. This reminds of Suicide Squad. A movie that tried so hard to get the audience to like its characters, but failed in every way because of the lack of focus.
And you may be asking why this is so important in a Star Wars film, or any film, that is because the characters keep the audience invested. When I watched The Force Awakens, I kept waiting for Luke Skywalker to show up. When he did finally show up, it was at the end of the movie and for less than a minute. Was I disappointed? Yes and no. Yes, because he is my favorite character in Star Wars and I expected to see more of him, but no because the other, new characters were entertaining and interesting enough to see them have their new adventure. Rogue One’s characters were not enough to keep me invested. I did not care about any of them. The only characters I liked in Rogue One were Darth Vader (James Earl Jones) and K-2SO (Alan Tudyk), the robot. When your favorite characters in a new Star Wars film are not a new character and a robot, then you know your movie has some problems.
Despite having amazing set pieces and impressive visual effects, the characters and the story were not enough to make Rogue One an enjoyable Star Wars movie. The Force (and the hype) was not strong in this one.