Whether you are a diehard fan or someone looking for £10 well spent at the cinema, Rogue One is the film to see. Its huge success has contributed to the UK box office reaching its highest ever total in 2016 and shows that, once again, the Star Wars universe has us all starry-eyed.
With a great performance, by Felicity Jones as Jyn Erso, the audience is immersed in her turbulent life as a rebel and the daughter of Galen Erso, the builder of The Death Star. The film is set between Episode III: Revenge of the Sith and Episode IV: A New Hope, and shows Jyn leading the rebels against all odds to capture The Death Star in a mission to disable it.
There is a sense of nostalgia created by including well known Star Wars motifs throughout. With shots of R2D2 and C3PO, hologram messages and the overarching theme of good vs evil, the film is recognisably from the Star Wars franchise. Rogue One also acts to sew up past plot holes and join together the disorganised world of Star Wars franchise. However, unlike The Force Awakens which at times relies too heavily on nostalgia, Rogue One stands alone. The film’s success does not depend on loyalty to the franchise and its characters to hold the audience’s interest. Instead, this is encouraged by a strongly driven plot and well-executed climaxes.
Highlights include one of the final scenes where Darth Vader emerges wielding a lightsaber in perhaps the most captivating and terrifyingly brilliant combat scene Star Wars fans have ever seen. Another notable mention is the use of sharp humour introduced by reprogrammed Empire droid K-2SO. The droid offers comedy through sassy quips and insults which provide laugh out loud entertainment alongside the seriousness of Jyn and the rebel’s struggle.
However, with regret, it must be acknowledged that the film has its faults. Characters in Rogue One were poorly formed as the film failed to establish them in a short timeframe. Previously, the franchise has benefitted from having several films to build characters and has since relied on connections with them to drag audiences through the film’s weaker moments. But Rogue One didn’t present strong enough individuals to invest audiences in their fate, which meant that their deaths weren’t overly upsetting. It was sad so many of them died, but I doubt you can remember their names.
Overall, writers Chris Weitz and Tony Gilroy, and director Gareth Edwards offered audiences a thrilling film full of excitement and action which expanded the Star Wars universe at the expense of character development. However, it is a safe bet at the cinema nonetheless.