ROGUE ONE: A STAR WARS STORY Spoiler-Free Review; "[It] Delivers Everything A Fan Could Want"

ROGUE ONE: A STAR WARS STORY Spoiler-Free Review; "[It] Delivers Everything A Fan Could Want"

We've heard a lot of conflicting reports about Rogue One: A Star Wars Story thanks to all of that behind the scenes drama, but does the movie deliver? Well, yes, but it's still not quite perfect...

It's hard to know where to begin when it comes to reviewing Rogue One: A Star Wars Story. Does the movie really need to exist? Probably not, but that doesn't mean it shouldn't! Telling the story of the previously unnamed spies who stole the plans to the first Death Star, the movie manages to flesh out a huge part of Star Wars history, and does so in a thorougly excellent manner. It admittedly doesn't start off that strong, but once the hit and miss first act is out of the way, we're off to the races with what is definitely one of the best movies in this franchise to date. To shed any more light on the plot beyond what we've seen in the trailers would spoil it, but suffice to say that it definitely delivers an exciting and surprisingly moving tale of a group of characters none of us have heard of before now. 

The cast is great, and while some actors inevitably don't get as much screentime as they deserve, everyone here does a great job. Felicity Jones is the highlight as Jyn Erso, while Ben Mendelsohn's Director Krennic is a surprising disappointment. The veteran character actor delivers some good work, but does nothing to stand out as a truly memorable villain who Star Wars fans will be talking about for years to come. Alan Tudyk's K-2SO is a real scene stealer, but pretty much everyone gets a moment to shine. The core "Rogue One" team is great, and it's a shame we don't get to spend some more time with them as a group here. Perhaps the movie's biggest blunder is bringing back a character from the past as a fully CG creation. It may be a neat way to tie into the original trilogy, but he looks like he's stepped out of a video game and quickly becomes a distraction. The same could be said for some of the other references and Easter Eggs, but there's really nothing too bad in that respect as they're all good fun for hardcore fans.

Despite extensive reshoots, the movie flows well and nothing stands out as being out of place. What's really interesting is just how many scenes from the trailers and TV spots are nowhere to be seem; a lot has clearly ended up on the cutting room floor, but chances are we'll never get to see any of it no matter how many special editions are released down the line. 

Aside from the character mentioned above, the CG is flawless and the action scenes here are among the franchise's best. Different to anything we've seen in a Star Wars movie before now, the battles here are violent, unrelenting, and extremely exciting. Rogue One gets away with a fair bit despite the PG-13 rating, and if it really was toned down, then I can't imagine what it must have looked like before the reshoots! Regardless, both the ground and air battles are incredible, and Gareth Edwards really delivers on the giving us the gritty war movie we've been promised since the standalone project was first announced.  Michael Giacchino's score also deserves a mention. He may not be John Williams, but the composes does a superb job of paying homage to what's come before while simultaneously delivering his own spin to ensure that this feels like its own beast. 

So, despite some minor niggles, Rogue One: A Star Wars Story is without a doubt a hit. Disney and Lucasfilm needed to get the first of these Anthology movies right, and they've succeeded, putting the spotlight on a great new bunch of characters and an adventure which is better than any of us could have expected. Throw in a sequence that I would say is probably the best EVER in the Star Wars franchise - trust me, you'll know it when you see it - and any doubts you had about these standalone movies will quickly be forgotten. 

Another triumph for Lucasfilm after The Force Awakens, Rogue One: A Star Wars Story isn't necessarily the best instalment of the franchise, but it doesn't disappoint and delivers everything a fan could want.

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