For most of my adult life, I have tried to love Star Wars, but I have to now accept that it is a cultural phenom that I simply have no strong feelings for.
Now don’t get me wrong, I appreciate the craftsmanship of the original trilogy – they are good films. I also don’t hate the prequels, especially Revenge of the Sith. I also think Episode 7 is a fun, yet cynical film.
Which brings me to Rogue One.
In a nutshell, Rogue One is about how the Rebellion obtained the plans that helped to destroy the Death Star in A New Hope.
If there ever was a Star Wars film built from the ground up for me, this is it. Rogue One, at its heart, is a political film, mixed in with some action thriller elements. It is surprisingly dark and many of the film’s characters don’t fit well into the good guy/ bad guy category.
Every member of the cast was brilliant in this film, especially Felicity Jones. I simply cannot fault performances. I felt proud just at how many British actors were anchoring this film. I also loved the thing that most people hated – the CGI. I thought the way they animated Peter Cushing’s Tarkin was incredible. The only thing that gave it away for me was Tarkin’s eyes, but apart from that they damn well brought a dead man back to life.
Oh, and there is one moment at the end of this film which is as bad-ass as it gets.
The writing is really the star of the show. They manage to explain away some of the plot holes that have scarred the Star Wars franchise in very clever ways. The second half of the film was breathless, edge of your seat cinema.
This is a round-about-way for me to say that this should have been my film. This should have been the one that made it all click. Yet I walked out of the cinema and forgot about it within an hour. It is a weird thing to try and articulate but Rogue One cannot save Star Wars for me. And if this film fails at that job then I’m not sure it is possible.
Rogue One cannot stand on its own two feet, it stands with the rest of its Star Wars brothers and sisters and I think that is why it falls. Yes, the Empire has now been given a sense of scale, we understand the fragility of the Rebellion and the origins of the Death Star – but that is not enough to save Star Wars from feeling… shallow.
If these characters were somehow the entire Star Wars franchise and I had no idea what was coming next, I think it would have elevated the whole experience for me. But I know full well what is coming next.
Star Wars fans will universally love this film. And let me be clear, I really enjoyed this film. Maybe that is enough.