Movie Review: “Rogue One: A Star Wars Story”

When I first heard that Disney and Lucasfilm were planning on doing a film about the raid to steal the Death Star plans (taking place immediately before the events of “A New Hope”), I was incredibly excited. In a series so overwhelmingly focused on the trials and tribulations of a single family, “Rogue One” as a concept had the potential to be a real breath of fresh air. In the original trilogy and prequels alike, the enlisted guys with blasters and goofy helmets were never more than poorly-trained cannon fodder for the protagonists to throw around – here was a golden opportunity for the Star Wars cinematic universe to expand in a way it never had before, by telling the story of the grit and determination of the ordinary soldiers who made the Rebel Alliance’s victories possible.

I’ve seen the movie twice now, and I can say with confidence that on the whole, it succeeds wonderfully. It’s far from a perfect film (it is Star Wars, after all), and on the second viewing the flaws were more pronounced, but at its core, “Rogue One”¬†delivers a compelling story¬†about the sacrifice of (relatively) everyday people in the face of brutal tyranny, unimaginable odds, and near-certain death – a heartfelt, thrilling film with real stakes and mortal peril, and just enough humor to lighten the mood and endear you to the characters.

Oh, and the last hour is devoted to the hands-down best action sequence in any Star Wars film, immediately followed by perhaps one of the best scenes in the entire franchise, hands down.

I should warn you that this review is going to be filled with spoilers – so if you haven’t seen the film, turn back now.

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