Love it or hate it, it has been an eventful few years for fans of the Star Wars franchise.
Since Disney purchased Lucasfilm back in 2012, Luke, Leia and company have been joined by a myriad of new characters and source material, including books, comics, a television show currently airing its third season on Disney Channel, and, of course, a slew of new movies.
The newest movie to hit theaters, "Rogue One: A Star Wars Story," released late last week to eagerly anticipating fans and skeptics alike.
While some may feel like Rogue One may be the next epic chapter (sub-chapter?) in the saga to be told cinematically, many others feel that this film could be just another shameless Disney money grab.
Both sides have a valid point.
The entire film takes place sometime between the events of the ongoing Star Wars Rebels TV show and the beginning of Episode IV. In laymen’s terms, the entire movie takes place in the first two paragraphs of A New Hope’s opening crawl.
This brings me to my first point: Rogue One may be in the Star Wars continuity, but it is not a Star Wars “Episode.” And that’s okay.
The film does a miraculously good job of holding the audience’s attention and keeping suspense while functioning as a prequel to the original saga.
No surprises here folks; the events of Rogue one lead to the destruction of the Death Star.
Yet while the outcome of the film may be obvious, Rogue One’s nonstop action keeps the viewer with a feeling of urgency and suspense.
This brings about one of the films other great qualities: Rogue One puts the “War” in Star Wars.
You won’t find any Jedi or highflying light saber duels in Rogue One; those are more elegant elements for a more civilized movie.
What you will find in Rogue was is fast paced, gritty, boots-on-ground and X-Wing-in-the-sky battles.
Rogue One easily provides my personal favorite battle sequence in the entire franchise.
However, while Rogue was does provide tons of great action and storytelling, it does fall flat in some aspects.
Rogue One’s character development is more than lacking for most of the cast. With the exception of main character Jyn Erso and hilarious new droid K-2SO, I found it extremely hard to connect or care for any of Rogue One’s characters.
Erso, played by Felicity Jones, is the only character to receive any real kind of backstory or motive.
Even her counterpart, Captain Cassian Andor played by Diego Luna, seemed like little more than cannon fodder with a “Rebels good, Empire bad,” mindset; an attribute that was particularly painful during what I can only assume was supposed to be a heartfelt, mid-movie monologue for the character.
Rogue One also overdoes its fan service, with many Easter eggs and cameos that seem to be included for the sole purpose of a cheap pop at the movie theaters.
Even Darth Vader, who was revealed to be in the movie during one of the original teaser trailers, seems as if he was placed into the film more for his draw power and less for his relevancy to the action, and could easily be removed without affecting the story whatsoever.
That being said, some of the aforementioned nods to the previous material is welcomed, and does in fact enrich certain scenes.
Rogue One is a good movie. While this part of the saga could easily have been left to a few brief sentences on a scrolling space background, many fans (myself included) will be and are happy to see this part of the story being told.
Rogue One is a nice addition to the franchise, and is worth a theater viewing by diehard fanatics and casual fans alike.