Accomplished, bold and thrilling, Rogue One is the perfect Christmas gift for any Star Wars fan…
We loved The Force Awakens when it arrived last December; it was fun, heartfelt and brought Star Wars back to life in a way that we had all begun to think may not be possible. However, our great, glaring issue with it was the sheer lack of imagination which went into its New Hope carbon copy plot. Playing things too safe was disappointing and there was a concern that Rogue One would follow down that route and give us something candified, lacking in danger and rehashed from previous installments. I can most happily confirm that this is anything but the case. The first spin-off in the franchise’s history needed to be bold, and Rogue One most certainly is that.
Flouting blockbuster rules and giving us a narrative which isn’t afraid to stick its neck out; Rogue One gives us a Star Wars movie which feels darker, more complex and open to thinking about those who sit in-between the light and the dark side. Gareth Edwards finds room within the universe’s strict binary of good and evil to show us ethically questionable rebels, radical extremists and guilt stricken Imperials. To find such murky waters within such classically strict boundaries and yet maintain the correct overall tone is no mean feat and is one of the film’s greatest joys.
Any fan knows that this is the movie which tells the story of those who stole the plans to the Death Star and so enabled Luke and friends to win the day in New Hope. Did we need to see this battle play out? No. But having now been given the story anyway it’s clear that it makes for a smart way to give us a film independent of the Skywalker saga whilst keeping enough connections there to ensure it feels part of that world. What it adds to the original films is a greater appreciation of how tough life was under the Empire. Despite the murder of his Aunt and Uncle, Luke’s decision to fight the Empire never truly felt like one made after living through decades of oppression and terror. Rogue One gives the Empire, and one of its primary members, a palpable sense of danger and tyranny.
There are a few stumbling points within the film; a slightly jumbled opening half an hour as well as a couple of instances of CGI trickery which will most likely not age well, do drag the film down a notch or two. These are criticisms which ultimately do not make much of an indent though in a film which takes joy in surprising us, challenging us and then giving us one of the most exciting and action packed finales we have seen in years. Rogue One goes for broke and thoroughly succeeds.
Rogue One is now open in cinemas, have you seen it already? Let us know your thoughts in the comment box below!