It’s hard to know what to expect when you go into a Star Wars film for the first time. Expect too much, and you’re disappointed. Have low expectations, and you’re usually pleasantly surprised.
At the risk of generating a lot of internet hate, I preferred Rogue One to The Force Awakens. I struggled with a story that I didn’t know, a Star Wars future I wasn’t aware of, and I’ll be honest, Kylo Ren did not do it for me. I didn’t feel threatened or fearful as I had done with Vadar.
Rogue One delves into a very important part of Star Wars history. We know what’s going to happen, but it doesn’t stop us from investing. Perhaps, it’s because it’s a story we know too well: ordinary people coming together to make extraordinary things happen. It’s often these ordinary people who are left out of the textbooks and the newspapers when history is written. It’s no different here.
It’s the ordinary people who make this film, the ones who don’t have any powers and aren’t destined for great things. They’re not trying to fulfil a prewritten destiny, or avenge a death, or fight for true love. They’re just caught up in the middle, and yet through thick and thin, strive to do what they believe is right.
Galen Erso (Mads Mikkelsen) is a well-respected research scientist who has gone into hiding with his wife and daughter after refusing to complete the Death Star, a weapon that we all know has an unstoppable capability to destroy planets. After he and his family are found and his wife is killed, Erso has little choice but to go along with it, holding onto the hope that his daughter Jyn has escaped.
Fifteen years later, Jyn (Felicity Banks) is rescued from a prison by the Rebel Alliance. They want her help finding her father, who has sent a warning message with an Imperial pilot who has defected. It seems there’s a way to stop the Death Star, but time is running out.
Rogue One works well as a stand-alone contained film; however, there is a lot going on and lots of characters that you have to get to know. I wasn’t particularly affected by any one character; it’s the look and feel of the film that drew me in and kept me engaged for the whole two-hour running time. Director Gareth Edwards has even incorporated old Star Wars film footage to get the tone right! Whether you’re a die-hard Star Wars fan or not, celebrate the ordinary people who can make a difference.