So, I know I’m a bit late to the party but I finally got around to watching “Star Wars: Rogue One”, the only standalone film in the Star Wars franchise. This means that you can watch this movie without completely watching all of the other seven installments and you would be completely okay. I must say that while it may not have the familiar characters so beloved to the fandom, it managed to establish its own and create its own niche in the franchise.
Synopsis: “Star Wars: Rogue One” revolves around reluctant Imperial Science Officer Galen Erso (Mds Mikkelsen) who creates the ultimate weapon for the Empire, a planet killer called the Death Star. However, unknown to the Empire, he has embedded a weakness in the weapon and risks his life in sending a message to his daughter Jyn (Felicity Jones) to arm the Rebel Alliance with the information that could take down the Empire once and for all. While Galen is able to tell his daughter how to destroy the Death Star, the Rebellion will still need to get their hands on the blueprint for the Death Star to find out where to strike. The problem is they would need to infiltrate a super secure Imperial compound and the super dangerous mission threatens to become a suicidal trip with no hope for return.
Even if I had never watched a Star Wars movie in my life, I would have been drawn to “Star Wars: Rogue One”. It was the ultimate underdog story. It seemed that from the beginning, Jyn, Cassian (Diego Luna), Chirrut Îmwe (Donnnie Yen), Baze Malbus (Jiang Wen), Bodhi Rook (Riz Ahmed) and reprogrammed Imperial Droid K-2SO (Alan Tudyk) were already fighting an uphill battle. My personal favorites are Chirrut and K-2SO. I loved Chirrut’s badass handling of his staff (very IP Man) and the fact that when the rebels tried to cover his face with a sack, he said: “Seriously? I’m blind”. Way to state the obvious.
As a whole, I liked the fire and banter that this group had going from the beginning. I liked how this band of misfits came together no matter how formulaic this group started out. While there were misunderstandings and bickering at the beginning, there was genuine chemistry that made their partnership so rootable. This, aside from the fact that they were facing the entire Imperial army with only a handful of brave volunteers on a doomed mission — it was the perfect recipe for a movie.
I loved the rapport that was going on in “Star Wars: Rogue One” — Chirrut and Malbus’s bromance, Rook’s loyalty to Galen, Galen’s unconditional love for his daughter, Jyn and Cassian’s relationship and thrown into this mix is the dry witted K-2SO, who really reminded of The Big Bang Theory’s Sheldon Cooper — but with quicker reflexes. These characters are certainly new to the franchise but they very much defined the term unsung heroes. Rogue One represented the sacrifices that helped Luke Skywalker, Han Solo, Chewbacca, and Princess Leia finally put an end to the Empire rule. At its end, it was confirmed that without these heroes, A New Hope would not even be jumpstarted. I liked that even if they always ended up with short end of the stick, this just group never quit. For me, thats the very definition of a winning team every single time.
I appreciated the fact that the franchise took time out to develop a movie like “Star Wars: Rogue One”, with characters who willingly risked their life to get one chance to achieve freedom. Sure, there are still politics at play for some parts but audiences really get the feel of affinity for the crew of Rogue One, who never batted an eye at any threat just to achieve their mission. I really felt connected to these characters and while I would have liked to have more movies to feature them, it may not be a feasible idea. Star Wars meant it when it said “Star Wars: Rogue One” was a standalone.
Of course, a nod to the special effects team for the great visuals and the consistency of the artwork to the original franchise. There were also cameos from R2D2 and C3PO as well as Princess Leia circa 1977 which fans of Star Wars will surely appreciate. Personally , I geeked out when the Rebel Alliance pilots mobilized with the signature Star Wars theme music. But I doubt if there was any fan of the franchise who sat still at this segment.
All in all, “Star Wars: Rogue One” was an ultimate underdog movie. It set about to tell the story of the unsung heroes of the alliance and it did so without sugarcoating or mercy. And that was why it was so important to the franchise. With the original trilogy, and even the extended franchise, a happy ending was expected but what does it really take to get to that happy end? Rogue One holds the answer. And this very same thing was what set it apart from any part of the franchise.