*Not a spoiler free review*
The Rebel Alliance makes a risky move to steal the plans for the Death Star, setting up the epic saga to follow.
Starring: Felicity Jones, Diego Luna, Alan Tudyk, and Donnie Yen
Directed by: Gareth Edwards
Written by: Chris Weitz, Tony Gilroy, John Knoll, and Gary Whitta
Being a big "Star Wars" fan, I wasn't sure what to expect from "Rogue One: A Star Wars Story.” Some people weren't sold on the idea of Disney doing a stand alone movie, but I say the more "Star Wars" the better. Of course there are some high standards to meet. If they’re making a movie just for the money, then fans will know and this will quickly turn into a bad idea.
"Star Wars" has given fans so many great characters to love, but could they do it again with any of these characters? Well this story starts and ends with Jyn Erso (Felicity Jones). Was she the most lovable character ever... probably not. However, starting off with her from a young child, and seeing what happens to her parents definitely gets the audience on her side. Then there's Cassian Andor (Diego Luna), who's a rebel that continues to battle over doing the right thing. He probably didn't win over too many fans until the end.
One character who probably won over many fans is the robot K-2SO (Alan Tudyk). While C-3PO uses fear and clumsiness to humor audiences, K-2SO is a whole lot braver, and extremely blunt. Think of him as the family member who speaks their mind and always embarrasses you. Whether audiences like or disliked these characters and others, at the end of the movie it really doesn't matter. Why... because in a bold move all of the characters they want audiences to like die. That was not something I expected, but give them credit for going that route. It does make sense, and truly makes this a stand alone movie.
As for the action, it's pretty awesome in the typical "Star Wars" way. The last 20-30 minutes or so ends in a huge battle scene. There's plenty of action and drama on the ground and in the air. Watching an AT-AT walking across the beach is something I never thought I would see, but it was terrific. Of course, the Rebels going head to head with Tie Fighters and Star Destroyers is something I can never get enough of. Again, in shocking fashion, the day is saved just before the Death Star blows the beach up, and all of the heroes the audience spent 2 plus hours watching.
While he didn't get much screen time, one of the best scenes of the movie belongs to Darth Vader. He boards a Rebel ship, and makes quick work of everyone in his way. It definitely reminds audiences that he belongs with the dark side. However, when he makes his appearance earlier in the movie, there just seems like there's something different about him. I'm not sure if it's the costume, or how the scene is shot, but there's something about him that just didn't seem right.
Besides that, the only other true complaint is that there's a lack of Jedi. Vader's scene is the only one with a lightsaber in it, and it's weird not seeing a good lightsaber fight or two. They kind of make up for it with Chirrut Imwe (Donnie Yen), a true believer in the Force. Maybe he even has a little Jedi in him somewhere, but no lightsaber in sight. Although he does carry a stick, and has some great ninja moves for a blind man. He certainly won audiences over, and is probably one of the hardest characters to see go.
Funny how some fans are simply happy that "Rogue One" answers that one question to why the Empire leaves such a weak spot in the Death Star. However, this movie proves more then just an answer to that question. Surprise appearances here and there of popular characters (yes chills seeing a young Princess Leia) is great, but they take some big risks here, and it pays off. Killing all of your major characters at one time is crazy for "Star Wars." Putting on a story with no Jedis seems insane, but actually it proves that there's more going on in the "Star Wars" universe then just lightsaber fights. While I look forward to the next episode, I would fully support another stand alone movie. With that, I give this “Star Wars” story 4.5 stars!