I will say upfront, I was not as hesitant to see this Star Wars film as I was about Episode VII, probably because the expectations to carry on the legacy were so much higher and demanding (which VII, in a few ways, failed to meet), however I was gung-ho for ‘Rogue One’. I went in blind, with little expectation and wasn’t disappointed. It isn’t a ‘great’ movie, but as an entry into the Star Wars universe, it certainly is good.
A hybrid between Star Wars and WWII (which I think George Lucas on some level would appreciate), Rogue One helps tie a few of the loose ends that Episode III left hanging in the minds of the fandom, at least in immediate relation to Episode IV (I realize that statement nearly pulls a string that may not ever stop unravelling in fandom circles…) in terms of place setting for ‘A New Hope’. Ah yes, hope. If it isn’t a word you appreciate, cover your ears because it will be hammered into your brain for the next two hours. Yes, ‘Hope’… we get it. The usage of hope is one of say, less than a handful of things, force-fed to the viewer as reminder that EPISODE IV FOLLOWS THIS..!! Again, we know and we get it. Even the most common of movie layperson who may have only seen Episode IV in passing a time or two will know the common ideas and the familiar thread. *SPOILER* When a certain Senator begins reminding us of a certain Jedi Master and what he’s been doing for 18 years… we know. A great fandom scene, over talked and poorly set for the sake of pushing the next chapter in case you weren’t familiar with it.
Now, if you can get past the swiftly changing settings of the opening twenty minutes and forgive a bit of the cardboard dialogue… you’re in. The film settles in and unfolds fairly well, sure there are a few dragged transitions, more for fitting periphery story / characters in (Vader Vader Vader) but it does work to progress into Act Three. Now technically, you know how this ends, don’t kid yourself or you’ll be sad and sniffling like a few of the other theatre goers. We all know who the man in black is and he’s as badass as ever. On a happier note, it was very cool to see old Star Wars faces in new places even if some were unexpected and others a little creepy (not Grand Moff Tarkin… that was cool).
Pretty good once it gets rolling, fairly well paced and with enough characterization to be more than a mere place mat for Luke, Rogue One supplies a bit more setting and angst for our lovable, desperate yet hopeful rebellion. Sno-Caps or M&M’s, no bathroom breaks.