Rogue One: A Spoiler Free review

When Disney/Lucasfilm revealed that Rogue One would be based around the rebels stealing the plans to the Death Star, we wondered what kind of approach the film would take. When Gareth Edwards later confirmed it would be a war film, that wondering didn’t go away.

The hierarchy of the rebellion in the original trilogy, as good as they were, never struck us as war heroes in the obvious sense, so the film needed fresh blood to build the story around and boy did it get it! None of the leads appear in A New Hope onwards as you will know, so we had to get to know these characters, become invested and say goodbye all within two hours.

The plot is relatively simple, which isn’t a bad thing, but the characters had to compensate for this. The lead character and reckless Jyn Erso, portrayed by Felicity Jones, was an unconventional hero who grew into her role on the frontline of the rebellion. It’s difficult to say too much without risking spoilers but we get to know her in depth from a young age and we see her develop as a person as she unites with Captain Cassian Andor. The Jyn Erso at the beginning of Rogue One is not the same person at the end of the film, with the power and influence of the rebellion evident.

Cassian himself is a far more interesting character than the trailers let on. Given this is portrayed as a war film, Cassian represents the many aspects of war itself. He is a man divided by the rebellion, gradually losing sight of where the line is. While he is dedicated to fighting the Empire, he has become wrapped up in a sea of espionage and fighting within. Jyn inadvertently helps him find his focus again and we see Cassian transform from a soldier almost lost to a hero with a clear cause.

The enemies in Rogue One are quite simply brilliant. Director Krennic is an emerging figure in the Empire with big aspirations but finds himself fighting a political battle far more delicate that the battle against the Rebellion. He finds his aspirations slipping through his fingers making him more edgy and dangerous, something that solidifies his place as the primary antagonist. Then there is Darth Vader. Though many fans will have wanted to see more, it’s a case of less is more as it’s always a good thing when you’re left wanting more. From what we see of Vader, even the most hardcore of Star Wars fans will be thrilled and exhilarated. Krennic’s demeanour around Vader simply speaks volumes of his place in the galaxy.

From our experience in the Star Wars universe, we get to see so many worlds and so many different settings on both the light and dark side of the force that this film had a lot to live up to. And one thing we knew we would see from Gareth Edwards as director was an ambitious attempt at seizing the opportunity to amplify the grandeur of the Star Wars galaxy and he did not disappoint. Everything from the Death Star to the final battle in space and on the ground were mind blowingly brilliant. It will be difficult not to rank these scenes among the very best in Star Wars. We did watch Rogue One in Imax so the scale of the settings was something to behold but even on the small screen, every inch of the galaxy is perfect. This is Star Wars at its best.

Rating- 4.5 Stars out of 5