I went to go see Rogue One: A Star Wars Story on Friday. I was pretty excited about it because I’d heard good things and I was excited to see it on a big screen. (These days I watch movies on my 13-inch macbook pro and it’s not that exciting sometimes.)

Verdict: Rogue One is basically fan-service. I really enjoyed it and I was pretty excited after the movie (ready to re-watch all the Star Wars movies). However, if the movie had been a stand-alone, with no Star Wars franchise to have on its back it wouldn’t have been anything but an OK sci-fi movie. I liked it, but it was just a one-time deal.

Here’s a fuller analysis (spoilers ahead):

Things I didn’t like:

The main characters weren’t super memorable. I’m a sentimental person so I can have empathy for them and get emotional, but nothing was fleshed out. They didn’t really grow throughout the story and were pretty boring.

The story was super rushed in the beginning which I didn’t like. It would have been a lot better if they had just slowed down and fully fleshed out a certain setting or a certain set of characters more. Instead we were hopping all over the place, before things slowed down.

CGI Tarkin was in such poor taste. Especially next to human actors. I can respect that they wished to set up for A New Hope and had to lead up to where A New Hope picks up but that CGI Tarkin though…..

Things I liked:

The supporting characters were probably the more memorable ones, including K-2SO (the rebel re-programmed imperial droid), Chirrut Imwe (a blind monk, who is a Force believer), and Baze Malbus (a mercenary who is friends with Chirrut). They were the breath of humor and likability in the movie. However, there were some characters that were tossed in but never explored and they had a lot of potential. For example, Saw Gerrera (Forest Whitaker) had a lot of potential but was killed off super early on in the story.

I was one of the few who preferred that the main set of characters all got killed off by the end of the story. Character development was sacrificed for the overall Star Wars story; it would have left a bad taste in my mouth if there characters were somehow tied to characters in the futures episodes (episodes IV and onwards). Their deaths made Rogue One truly a one-off story.

I really loved the retro Star Wars feel, especially with how the starship destroyers looked (literally legos that someone zoomed in on), as well as the battle scenes. Gold leader, Blue leader…brought back fond memories of A New Hope and effectively fueled my fan-service excitement while watching Rogue One.

I really liked that the movie brought us to the doorstep of A New Hope. It kind of incited that exciting feeling of pieces of a puzzle falling into place and it was why I wanted to immediately watch A New Hope after. And, I know a lot of people were off-put by CGI Princess Leia, I actually thought that her appearance was so brief that it only added to the
“New Hope Hype.” (Granted had she been CGI for a longer duration of the movie, it would have been as uncomfortable as Tarkin…).

Rogue One is basically a two-hour advertisement of Star Wars, which was perfectly fine for me. I liked experiencing more of the universe, getting the occasional fan service with clips of Darth Vader and R2D2, and some good-ol Star Wars combat. It was fun to watch, but a one-time deal.