Rogue One: A Star Wars Story – A Movie Review (No Spoilers)

So, if you’ve been keeping up, you know getting to this movie was a bit of an odyssey for me.  Finally, though, Sunday night, I got to view it for the first time.  (And yes, there WILL be a second time … probably a third as well.)

I’m NOT going to spoil anything for you, so don’t be worried.  I’ll say this, through the first half of the movie I felt a bit … fidgety.  I’d heard great things from friends, people I trust completely, and the film simply wasn’t living up to their hype.  I started to wonder if I perhaps missed something vital that they appreciated.

And then the second half of the movie happened.

And it was perfect.

As a Star Wars fan, Rogue One’s finale did everything I hoped it would do and even more.  It exceeded my expectations.

You see, it did this funny little thing some stories do called “pacing.”  By the end of the movie, I realized it felt a bit slow in the beginning because they were establishing character, motive, plot … you know, the kind of stuff we’re not all that accustomed to experiencing from big budget movies anymore.  When the credits rolled, I realized I cared deeply for each and every one of the main characters from Rogue One because it took its time and gave each of those characters defining moments to make us relate to them, care about them, and appreciate them.

Rogue One also felt unique because, more than any other Star Wars movie, it really felt like an actual war unfolded before our eyes.  We saw the real repercussions of the battles, we witnessed atrocities committed by both sides, we watched as idealistic sacrifices unfolded.  From an emotional standpoint, I think Rogue One is perhaps the most potent of all Star Wars films.  I don’t know – I could still just be caught up in the moment.

I also want to say that there are so many GREAT moments in the last fifteen minutes of the movie – no Star Wars fan will go disappointed, I promise.  I wish I could go into more detail, but I don’t want to spoil anything.  Let’s just say this: Rogue One may be a standalone story, but it is far more relevant to the overall mythos than I ever expected.

I had a lot of issues with the prequels.  One such issue dealt with the fact that everything looked so sterile, glossy, and clean.  It did not match the griminess of A New Hope.  Well, let me tell you, Rogue One definitely “looks” like A New Hope.  It’s pretty amazing, in fact.  With even the smallest details, Rogue One absolutely fits A New Hope’s universe, more than the prequels ever did.

Though it feels a little slow in the beginning, Rogue One completely satisfies by story’s end and exceeded my already lofty expectations.  Though the action and special effects are mesmerizing, the real magic of this movie is the story and the characters.  This is a far more emotional tale than I thought possible.  Be patient as you watch it – it takes its time and it delivers.  Oh, man, do those last twenty minutes deliver.

 

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