So I saw Rogue One last night. And oh my god is it amazing!
I’ll start with the characters. Jyn Erso (Felicity Jones) is perhaps one of the most likeable and relatable Star Wars characters to ever grace the franchise with her acting. A strong female lead, a first for the franchise, whose scenes are all enhanced by her presence. She has a palpable energy about her, she simply makes everything better. I won’t hear a bad word against her.
Captain Cassion Andor (Diego Luna) is the Rebel trooper who enlists Jyn into the Rebels. Unlike in previous Star Wars films where every soldier is an expendable extra, Cassion is a committed, fleshed out commando. His scenes are all meaningful and he brings a soldiers resourcefulness and conviction that other characters have trouble with. His dedication to the mission show him to be a true believer in the cause.
K-2SO (Alan Tudyk) is Cassions reprogrammed Imperial security droid. Who like 3-PO brings a small amount of comic relief that such a serious film needs. His constant need to remind everyone around him how unlikely their chances of survival are raises the stakes in a film like this.
There are plenty of other characters who change up the story like Saw Gerrera, Chirrut Imwe and Galen Erso who shed new light on the Rebellion and the Empires affects on the Galaxy. Unlike the originals which simply tells you that the Empire is evil but shows little in the way that they are, Rogue One uses imagery that today’s viewers can all understand. Such as one scene shows a platoon of Stormtroopers on patrol through Jedha City, with an Imperial Hover Tank taking the lead. Reminiscent of images during the Iraq War.
In every interview before the release of Rogue One it was stated that this film would be a war film. No magical space wizards with laser swords coming to the rescue. Rogue One fulfills this promise in full. The action is gritty with liberal use of shaky-cam to bring you into the battle. Laser fire feels dangerous and grenades become scary as they’re thrown around throughout the film. The prospect of battalions of Stormtroopers now carries gravitas as they fulfill they’re role of elite soldiers instead of lazy, clumsy conscripts.
Overall Rogue One is, in my opinion, the best Star Wars film since Empire. And definitely up there in my top three. Perhaps even in my top ten favourite films ever.