If you’ve been paying any attention these past few months, you would have noticed that Rogue One: A Star Wars Story has come out in theaters and has obliterated it’s competition. The newest film in the Star Wars universe, being set in between episode 3 and 4, came in with a goal in mind: to show us what the empire’s effort was in building the Death Star, and how a farm boy flew a little fighter and blew this gargantuan space station to smithereens with 2 torpedoes. It delivers on that promise, but goes one step further. WARNING: Contains spoilers for everything in the film.
The first scene in the movie is about a little girl named Jyn Erso with her mom and dad on a remote planet, just hanging about, when an Imperial shuttle appears, and they scramble. The parents send Jyn into hiding, with the mom with her, while the dad, Galen, goes to confront the Imperial officer, who turns out to be a former colleague, whose name is Orson Krennic, and he’s building a super-battle station that is destined to be called the Death Star. He is accompanied by a squad of new stormtrooper variants called Death Troopers. Jyn hides in a cave while her parents confront Krennic, and the mother gets killed while Galen is taken away, due to us finding out that he is a master architect and formerly worked for the Empire. Jyn is found by a friend called Saw Gerrera, and then it cuts into the future, where Jyn is in a prison, and is rescued by a team of rebels, which includes one of my two favourite characters in the entire film: K-2SO, a reprogrammed Imperial droid. Jyn is taken back to rebel HQ, where she meets Cassian Andor, the leader of an operation to retrieve plans for a rumored Imperial superweapon, that unknown to Jyn, is designed by her dad, and the rebels are tasked with his assassination. She, Cassian, and K-2SO go to Jeddah to find a message from Galen delivered by an Imperial defector, a cargo pilot named Bodhi Rook. Along the way, they pick up the other 2 main characters, worshipers of the force named Chirrut Îmwe, and Baze Malbus. They meet Saw, and Jyn is listening to the message when the Death Star appears to test it’s firepower on the moon. When it fires, it destroys everything, killing Saw and barely letting our heroes escape. Then the rebels find out that Galen is on an Imperial testing facility, and Cassian goes there, seeing his chance to kill Galen, and calls in a rebel X-Wing squadron to assist, should he fail. Once he gets there, he tries to snipe Galen, but changes his mind at the last second, and tells HQ to call off the X-Wings, but they’ve already begun their attack, and during the assault, Galen is killed. The gang gets back to Yavin IV to the alliance council and participate in the debate on what to do with the recently discovered plans to the death star, with some leaders choosing to attack Scariff base to steal the plans, but others choosing not to go in fear of being annihilated. Since about half of the council decided against it, the alliance wouldnt go for the plans, so our heroes took matters into their own hands and recruit about 60 rebels and go to Scariff themselves and land there. They sabotage and infiltrate and eventually get discovered by the Imperials, who deploy their garrison to stop the team. At that moment, the rebel base gets a message from Scariff saying that it’s being assaulted. Realizing that some guys went to steal the plans anyways, thus the beloved rebel fleet mobilizes and speeds off to Scariff, and gets there, panicking the Imperial fleet stationed up there. Now the battle on the ground gets more desperate, since AT-ACT’s, or All Terrain – Armoured Cargo Transports show up to fight our heroes, but the rebel fleet dispatches a squadron of X-Wings which destroy most of the AT-ACTs.
Back in space, we see our old friends from the first film, Red and Gold squadrons, doing serious damage to the enemy ships and shield generator present over the planet, which regulates the ships that come in and out of the planet. The rebels do get the plans, but they need to be transmitted to the command ship of the rebel fleet, and to do that, there is a certain switch on the beach that needs to be turned on, in addition to the main radio being tuned upwards to transmit the plans, but the shield covering the planet also needs to be taken out. The admiral in charge of the rebel fleet, Admiral Raddus, orders a Hammerhead corvette to ram a disabled Star Destroyer into another Star Destroyer, splitting it in half, and then crashing into the shield. It was definitely my favourite scene in the movie. While this was all happening, all our heroes began dying. Baze, Chirrut, Bodhi, and K2SO had died, while Jyn and Cassian were at the top of the base, facing off Krennic, and winning. Now that the plans were transmitted, the rebels wanted to start pulling back, since they were losing many ships on screen, but then the Devastator, the first Star Destroyer used by Darth Vader jumps out of hyperspace to the battle right into a few rebel ships trying to jump out, destroying them. The Death Star also jumps into the system and bears down on the base, with Tarkin telling his gunners to target the base and ordering them to fire when ready, all the while Krennic is watching as his very own weapon is firing up, aimed right at him. The battle station fires and hits about 100 km away from the base, still dooming it since the blast would be like the asteroid that killed the dinosaurs. There comes a sort-of emotional scene where Jyn and cassian hug each other as the blast slowly approaches and consumes them.
Back in space, Darth Vader orders a boarding party to go on the enemy flagship, and on the ship, Darth Vader goes in a dark hallway filled with smoke, with a bunch of rebel soldiers inside, and he illuminates the hallway with his red lightsaber, and proceeds to slaughter the rebels there, providing us with a good minute and a half of: “Holy Crap”ness. The rebels manage to get the plans on the Tantive IV, the ship princess Leia was in the first film, and we see her for about 10 seconds, and says that these plans were a their hope. This ends Rogue One and ties into the beginning of Episode 4.
Now my final thoughts. Firstly, I wish that the characters were better built, since I cared more for the side heroes than Cassian and Jyn, making their death not very emotional, I mean, I barely knew them. The battle was incredible, constantly putting me at the edge of my seat, and getting me pumped for whatever was next. I also enjoyed that are no Jedi in this movie, since they have all these super incredible powers making this task much easier. These are ordinary people doing an extraordinary thing, people that could be just like you and me. The Darth vader scene had me smiling all the way through as Darth vader cut down the helpless rebels as they desperately looked for a way to kill him, which was in vain. This film is probably my second or third favourite, after Empire Strikes Back, and either being tied with or slightly ahead of Return of the Jedi. I’m giving this film an 8/10, for it just being a joy to watch the climax, and the set up towards it being interesting and filled with lore.
By Amar Ramic