MAJOR SPOILERS! This is not some rant at a Star Wars movie. I’m a huge Star Wars fan and always will be. I really wanted to like Rogue One, but, for me, it was a confused mess that made little sense throughout. The problem? Too many whys.
I’ve now seen it again, hoping that my first viewing was just an off day or something. But if anything, I liked it even less.
Characters I didn’t get/like
None of the main characters jelled with me as they did in The Force Awakens.
Rogue One just didn’t work at the character level.
Unlike Rey and Finn, I got no sense of ‘who Jyn was’. She seemed a very flat character who I never got a handle on. Which was problematic as the story arc involves her influencing hard-nosed soldiers to follow her.
And as for Cassian? He lacked depth, charm and believability. Nearly everything he did was odds with who he was supposed to be—a calloused field agent.
And why didn’t Cassias pull the trigger to kill Jyn’s father, Galen Erso?
If he was this hard-nosed assassin type, he’d have no trouble following orders like this in the field.
And, importantly, there was no preceding scene to cement a relationship between Cassian and Jyn to prevent him pulling the trigger.
Both characters were not portrayed deeply enough to justify their lead roles.
The ‘relationship’ between the two didn’t have time to blossom. Things simply moved too rapidly from one event to the next.
Also, why didn’t Jyn kill Director Orson Krennic when she had the chance on the tower?
Krennic killed Jyn’s mother and forced her father to create weapons of mass destruction.
Yet she allows Cassius to stop her doing this.
Just why would Cassian stop her?
He’s supposed to be a cold-blooded killer (we saw that in his first scene), so there’s no reason why he’d miss an opportunity to kill such a high-ranking member of the enemy.
Why is Cassian indestructible?
He should have died during his epic fall inside the tower. His head hit the metal beams.
He must’ve had broken bones or at least broken ribs, but he bounces back as if nothing’s happened.
Because I think he was supposed to die and they brought him back for the different ending with Tea Leoni and her father waiting to die on the beach, as they did in the movie, Deep Impact.
A lot has been written about the inclusion of ‘Asian characters’ in Rogue One.
I have no problem with racial types, aliens, women, homosexuality or gay, bright blue, furry xenomorphs in fiction, movies or any media.
Humans, like aliens, are fucking diverse. I love all that stuff.
But the Asian characters seemed to be added just for ‘effect’.
Chirrut Imre was dressed in Asian style. And was an ‘Asian style mystical type’.
Why make that generic choice?
We are in A Galaxy far far Away. It was just so lazy a choice for him. His character and his mate were a really disappointing duo.
As for the rest of the ‘band’?
There were too many characters and not enough time spent with them to get a handle on who they were… and more importantly, to actually care about them.
Also, Jyn’s mother? What was her motivation in taking out the gun to threaten Krennic?
Why did she do this?
I thought she must have some plan… but no. Nothing.
Did she want to get herself killed and leave Jyn parentless? It sure seemed like it.
A dumb move that I didn’t understand.
And I hate Mexican standoffs. Generic nonsense that infests nearly every movie and TV show.
The Stormtroopers/guards would have shot her dead where she stood.
Let’s move on to Saw Gerrera. A total waste of Forest Whitaker.
He was only there to excite the fanboys, not to further the plot. And what happened to his blue eyes?
Other cameos were awkwardly tacked on.
I found myself sighing at all these sad ‘nods’ to other characters. E.g. C-3PO and R2-D2 shoehorned in for fan service.
The movie didn’t need them.
They reminded me I was watching a film, and it jarred.
Characters I liked
K-2SO was the one character I loved. A wonderful change from the other Star Wars—a droid who can shoot! Bringing both humor and some great action to the film.
To be honest, K-2SO was the best thing in it.
Overall there was a lack of comedy—integral to get us liking and caring about the main players.
Grand Moff Tarkin was excellent. What a shame we didn’t get more from him. Although he wasn’t that wonderfully rendered. But neither was Leia for that matter.
I also liked Jyn’s dad, Galen Erso, although his holo-speech monologue was both rushed and too convenient.
Plots don’t always have to make sense if the characters are strong enough to carry the story.
But without believable, interesting characters, the plot holes shine through like bright fucking lights.
What I liked was:
The explanation for the exhaust ports on the Death Star.
The Jeddha explosion and the other planet explosions.
It picked up near the end with the Rebel spaceships. It was like Star Wars arrived with their ships.
But the things that jarred were:
The whole first act didn’t feel like Star Wars but more like some Homeland Baghdad episode.
A giant octopus that can send you mad, got one scene.
The guy who was ‘sent mad’, was only mad for a little bit.
The Empire keeping all their stuff on a single disk (no backup procedures? Haha).
The TV dish on the top of the tower…
The silly master switch.
The ‘Doc Brown wire that is too short’ sequence. I’ve seen it before in Back To The Future.
It was great in that movie. Here it’s just an embarrassing, cringe-worthy repeat.
The rebels assaulting the tower wearing WWII styled helmets reminiscent of US troops in the Pacific—again, hardly A Galaxy Far Far Away.
Too many storm troopers being shot and blown up that it became tedious.
The final couple of scenes were something taken from Star Wars Battlefront and again, tacked on.
And Darth Vader didn’t look or sound like himself—he didn’t connect with me as being ‘real Darth Vader’.
Because the Darth Vader we see at the end of Rogue One is not the Darth Vader we meet in A New Hope. In Rogue One he’s all fucking lightsabre badass. Killing rebs all over the place.
A scene for the fanboys.
He takes on an army all by himself without even breaking a sweat. He’s nothing like the Vader we meet in the next movie. It jarred with me so completely as to ruin his ‘return’.
Just utter fanboy nonsense—like the manic Yoda fighting Count Dooku in the prequels.
And I don’t understand the need to fill in every single gap of the pre-A New Hope narrative.
I’m the kinda guy who loves to watch Star Wars movies over and over—but not so much the prequels.
I’ve watched the original trilogy hundreds of times, particularly The Empire Strikes Back.
After watching The Force Awakens, I saw it at the cinema as many times as I could.
I only watched Rogue One a second time because I hadn’t seen what everyone else had and I wanted to make sure that I hadn’t missed something.
If I’d seen this before Force Awakens, I’d probably have been a lot happier with it. But it was a confused movie that failed to develop its main characters.
I was hoping it would find its feet, yet it never did.
I’ve read reviews where they say this is a ‘more dark’ Star Wars.
To my way of thinking, The Force Awakens was very dark. Han Solo killed by his son dark. Good vs Fucking Evil dark.
All the greys of Rogue One added up to a grey film. I wanted to be transported away from my life and taken somewhere fucking amazing and special—like a good Star wars movie should do. But Rogue One wanted to remind me of the Middle-east, the Second World and Star Wars Battlefront.
All these things just added up to keep me from suspending my disbelief. Lots of jarring moments where I was asking ‘why’?
So, what to end on?
Despite all the hope and the hype, the movie isn’t that great. Remove the Star Wars universe and the tiresome fanboy bits and no one would be talking about this three star (just) film at all.
Sorry, but it is what it is… *braces for flack!*