Rogue One was an interesting move by Disney, expanding the Star Wars universe by adding side stories rather than adding to the continuing story. The fact that Disney created a fantastic fourth installment to the Star Wars series with the Force Awakens did little to dampen fears that the first of these Star Wars Stories would be little more than a cash cow. Fortunately they picked Gareth Edwards to direct and despite not having a huge list of films under his belt, the caliber of his films was such that at least we knew this film would be in capable hands, if nothing else.
Fortunately all our fears were for naught, as Gareth Edwards delivered what is undeniably the second best Star Wars film to date, Sitting comfortably behind Star Wars (in first place) and in front of The Empire Strikes back (in third place) on my list of the best Star Wars films. Yes, it’s that good. Way better than The Force Awakens, which was undeniably awesome (It’s in fourth place on my list).
Edwards has created a side story that fits so well into the Star Wars universe, without adding anything that would upset the continuity of the existing films. He’s populated it with memorable characters and driven by a strong female lead, and some familiar faces make brief appearances.
The story is one of a band of misfits who team up to steal the plans for the Death Star so that the rebels can destroy it. The success of the mission is in little doubt as we know the rebels got hold of the plans in Star Wars, but this does nothing to spoil the anticipation or plot twists the await us.
Purely a military action film, Rogue One has no Jedi, though the force is evident, and the action scenes are what carry the film. But there’s also a decent dollop of humour to keep things light and entertaining thanks to Firefly’s Alan Tudyk in the role of K-2SO.
To say much more would be to risk spoiling the film.
I’ve waited to write this review as I got called up by some friends after posting my post media screening thoughts on social media saying that it was better that The Force Awakens. I still stand by this, but was unsure if watching a film at the iMax – which has the best visual and audio quality of any cinema in Auckland (that I know of) – would have prejudiced me. So after watching the film in one of the worst cinemas in Auckland with a noisy audience and still being rapt with the film I felt assured that my love of this film was purely because it’s fucken awesome and nothing else.
Rating: M Violence.