Like many diehard Star Wars fans I was a bit nervous when Disney announced that they would be making stand alone movies that were separate from the main saga, but after seeing Rogue One all of those concerns were blown away. It…was…awesome!

Featuring the best battles of the entire saga and a plot that answers a few of the biggest questions raised in the original trilogy, Rogue One is what every fan wanted. Sure there are no lightsaber duels (except for an amazing scene with a certain dark lord of the Sith at the end of the movie) and the music isn’t Williams iconic score, but it still manages to feel like Star Wars.

With some fantastic cameos from characters that appeared in the original trilogy and a really good cgi version of Peter Cushing’s Grand Moff Tarkin (and a not so great version of another iconic character) the movie is both an homage to a New Hope and a worthy setup to it.

The cast of new characters was done well and whilst none of them were as memorable as say Han, Chewie or Luke they were likeable enough. Felicity Jones’s Jyn Erso could have done with a bit more development I thought and I’d like have to seen or learnt a bit more about the back-story of the other Rogue One members. Donnie Yen did a fantastic job playing the (not jedi) warrior monk and Diego Luna was pretty good as the Rebel intelligence officer who’s had to perform some dark deeds in the name of the Rebellion.

It was those scenes that depicted the Rebellion as an organisation that had committed morally questionable acts that gave the film some grounding and removed the issue that the rebels are purely good, Empire purely evil that Star Wars has always suffered from a bit. A Rebellion in real life is often a shady thing, a thing that often requires dirty work to be carried out in order to succeed. The saying that one person’s freedom fighter is another person’s terrorist is addressed surprisingly well.

The battle scenes were some of the best in the whole saga and we get to see plenty of ground battles and space battles involving dozens of capital ships and fighters. Episode 8 now has a lot to live up to in that area as Force Awakens lacked in this area. Also, look out for some familiar faces in the X-Wing and Y-Wing cockpits, and we finally see how Luke just jumped into the Red 5 seat in a New Hope.

My main niggle with the movie was the pretty weak musical score. You don’t realise just how much you miss the iconic music of Williams until it’s not there! A movie about the Empire at the height of its power should have had iconic music to go with it. Also, there is a scene near the end between Jyn and Luna’s characters that felt out of place and appears out of nowhere. Forrest Whitaker’s character and scenes were also probably the weakest parts of the movie for me.

All-in-all  Rogue One was a really good movie and if you’re a Star Wars fan definitely go out and see it. Now the long wait begins for Episode 8!

Overall score – 8/10


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