Rogue One: A Disappointing Story

It should probably go without saying, but yes there are spoilers below, so continue at your own risk.

Still here? Ok, lets get into it.

The news of Disney exploring some of the non-Skywalker centric aspects of the Star Wars universe lead to an overwhelming level of excitement.

The news of Rogue One being a war/heist film set in the universe I spent countless hours exploring in my head was just the icing on top.

And then I actually saw Rogue One.

And Rogue One was fine.

Let me preface this little review with saying that I loved The Force Awakens, goosebumps city from start to finish and as visually stunning as it was emotionally satisfying. And even with that experience, nearly a year ago to the day, my expectations for the on-screen iteration of the theft of the Death Star plans were set that much higher.

This can be blamed on the initial teaser trailer:

My goodness, what 2-minute ride that was.

The somber tone working its way into the blaring sirens towards the end was an inspiring glimpse into the darker side of a franchise seemingly always so full of hope.

The suicide mission that set the events in motion for the most important films of my youth was finally going to be played out before our eyes.

I sat down in the theater at Crossgates Mall on a Thursday night, anticipating an Inside Man meets Saving Private Ryan type of experience. My own selfish desires for this movie completely took over, I admit, but I just so desperately wanted to see a smart heist movie with the emotion that a top notch war movie can bring out set within this universe.

Instead, I left only remotely caring about the death of the smart mouthed, Alan Tudyk played droid, K-2SO.

I wanted to care, I so badly wanted to feel invested in these characters, to embrace this side of the story was just a “yada, yada” brush over in the original trilogy. And while my prior fears that this was going to be too much a “daddy issues” centered story weren’t exactly true, it was clear the tone had been lightened to a damning degree.

The cast was bloated and failed to let adequate development occur as the quantity over quality approach was taken.

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We got a significant look at Felicity Jone’s Jyn Erso, but only snippets here and there, if anything at all, of the rest. I wanted more from Diego Luna and Ben Mendelsohn, but instead got weighed down by more extraneous characters.

By the film’s conclusion when there should have been at least a semblance of a sense of devastation, I was left unmoved by the sacrifice and suspected demise of our heroes.

So, while it was another visually gorgeous addition to the Star Wars franchise and gave fans just enough exposure to old faces (including two tremendous Vader cameos), overall this installment missed the mark.

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And that is not to say it’s a bad movie by any means, I really did enjoy my time with it, it was… fine, Rogue One was fine.

It appeared the change in tone that took place between the first trailer and opening night not only sucked the grit out of the movie, but the emotion of it as well.

Disney had a chance to take a risk and instead elected to make a movie that no one would love, but more importantly that no one would hate instead of taking the opportunity to make something riskier than could have been truly great.

And if you really want to get bummed out about what Rogue One could have been, check out the 13 stills The Independent pulled from the trailers that failed to make it in the final cut.