Is it really possible that Disney produced a good Star Wars movie? And not just good, but on par with, if not better, than the original Star Wars film? After the bad fanfiction that was The Force Awakens I didn’t think it was possible. A trip to the movies with Catholic Geek founder Matthew Bowman and my roommate Cat proved otherwise. Hopefully this spoiler free review will make it clear why.
For me, this movie finally brought the tale that began with Star Wars full circle. It wasn’t your typical space opera that Episodes 1-7 are; it fell within the war movie genre. There were no Jedi, no epic lightsaber battles, and no over-use of the Force. (Don’t kill me for that last one, I still think the Force is really cool!) Rogue One told the story of a small, ragtag group of rebels who went up against enormous odds to essentially set up the plot of the original Trilogy.
I’m not going to say too much because the trailers did a really great job of keeping a lot of the finer points of the film secret, but I will say that Rogue One got a lot right. The plot was solid, the characters were brilliant, and the costuming and sets—something I always look at when I watch movies—absolutely blew me away. It had the look and feel of the classic Star Wars films, right down to some of the Imperial and Rebel uniforms. The characters that had to be re-casted were magnificently portrayed, and there were so many references to the original movies that we’d be here all day if I tried to type out even half of them.
My only real “complaint” about the film would be the score. It was well written and fit the film quite well. But while it had a lot of references to and snippets of some of the original music, it didn’t connect this film with the original Trilogy as well as I had hoped it might. There were sections that had a lot of the feel of the original movies (listen to it really closely during some of the final battles), but for the most part it was just a little too different for my taste. I could tell right from the start that John Williams didn’t compose the score, and something about that saddened me.
The last thing I’m going to say is that Rogue One really brought the story of Star Wars full circle for me. Starting with the original film and finally arriving at this one, the entire story, beginning to end, gets told. (And yes, I am excluding The Force Awakens from this particular statement. No, I won’t apologize to anyone who loved it.) It matches up so well with the vision of Star Wars while still managing to tell a completely different type of story that I feel like it’s safe to say that Rogue One has earned its place in the Star Wars universe.