The first of the standalone movies for Star Wars begins with Rogue One: A Star Wars Story. For the uninitiated, it is a prequel to Star Wars: A New Hope. However, some of you may say that wasn’t Star Wars: Revenge of the Sith the prequel? Yes, but this is a story about a major detail that was told in A New Hope. Confused yet? Good, then you are ready for the standalone movies. The movies that are not part of the trilogy which fits at random points in the Star Wars universe.
Rogue One tells the story of one of the most important details in the original 1977 movie. It, in turn, creates a two-part story regarding the epic first film. It is a story of Jyn Erso (Felicity Jones), who is left to live with Saw Gerrera (Forrest Whitaker) after her father (Mads Mikkelsen) is taken by the Empire to complete work on their new, powerful weapon: The Death Star.
The primary story is Jyn works with the Rebellion to find her father and eventually search for the plans that will reveal a weakness in the Death Star. The film features a Rogues Gallery of people that join Jyn to retrieve these plans and become what would be considered a real Suicide Squad. Chirrut Imwe (Donnie Yen) is a blind, Jedi-ish fighter who is shadowed by Baze Malbus (Wen Jiang) that brings the firepower. Cassian Andor (Diego Luna) is the rebellion leader of this group being led behind Imperial lines by a defector pilot Bodhi Rook (Riz Ahmed). K-2SO (Alan Tudyk) is Cassian’s co-pilot as a reprogrammed Imperial droid, who steals many of the scenes he is featured.
The film is definitely a sight to see. It has many hits than someone would expect from a first standalone movie. However, the result sets the bar kind of high for the following films. The film tells a compelling story that features an entirely new cast but set in a place that links it to the original films. Their actions essentially sets the next series of movies in motion. There is enough of the new story and nostalgia to make the film feel very balanced.
In regards to scope, the film feels bigger on a film scale compared to the other films, including The Force Awakens. Even those stories tell a larger story, Rogue One feels that it covers more area than all those movies combined. We are taken to various planets in the galaxy with a brief description of how they fit into the Empire. With the exception of the Death Star, all the planets we are taken to in this film are vastly different from one another and different from previous films.
With nostalgia casting of Bail Organa (Jimmy Smits) and Mon Mothma (Genevieve O’Reilly) links it to the prequels and the original trilogy, even the CGI characters I found fun while some may have found it creepy. Don’t even get me started on the Gold and Red leader cameos in the film. I was giddy with joy. While Darth Vader does have a smaller role in this movie, Vader has a monumental moment at the end of the film. If you have read the Darth Vader comics, you will see where I am going with that. Vader gets his balls back.
Rogue One sets the bar high for all the standalone stories that are coming down the pipeline. The film does get to a slow start, but it needs that to set up the characters for this story. We are not dealing with established characters from previous versions of the trilogy. You know, like movies used to do. However, once the movie gets going, it takes you on a fun ride. Definitely a dark story, but it will make you want to rush home and see A New Hope to essentially see part two of this story.