Rogue One: A Star Wars Story ★★★★

1st act : We’ll get there
2nd act: Oooh nearly there
3rd act : HOLY F-CK!!!!! That’s the most epic space battle in Star Wars! And the last shot! Whoa…

Ok. Sorry. But I didn’t expect myself to get so worked up over this movie!! I was one of those people that weren’t convinced by Disney’s plan to make anthology films because they’re blatantly milking the Star Wars cash cow. But when you’re making a cash grab disguised as a spinoff, you know you’d better make it good.

And Rogue One is good, guys. In fact, it’s an awesome movie that resonates and succeeds on so many levels! Disney, Garret Edwards, Tony Gilroy, and everyone involved put a lot of thoughts and efforts into making this film.

My thoughts on the film are all scattered at this point and I’m gonna try my best to organize them.

1. I really couldn’t have asked for a better DARTH VADER's entrance in this film. In a very wide shot, we see the enormous shadow of the cloaked figure that we’ve come to recognize so well cast against a massive wall. It looms large over a tiny figure of Commander Krennic (Ben Mendelsohn). Then it cuts to Vader swaggering his way out of the mist, his cape flying behind him. Then we hear the familiar voice of James Earl Jones that taps into your visceral fear as he utters the first words.

2. This chilling scene is emblematic of the whole situation at that point in the Star Wars universe. The most iconic villain has emerged and his shadow has spread all over the galaxy. And Gareth Edwards knows that Vader’s presence in Rogue One should always be felt, not necessarily seen. Vader has three scenes, but really. Less is more.

3. No, I’m not done with the awesomeness of Darth Vader. He gets to wield his lightsaber and showcase his frightening power here. And oh boy, did I become a ten-year old boy again. It's one of the most spine-chilling moments in the Star Wars franchise (I felt pretty bad for the rebel troopers too). This scene just beat the “Would That It Were So Simple” scene from Hail Caesar! as my favorite scene of 2016. It might very well be the best scene of the year for me.

4. So thank you Gareth Edwards for not ruining Darth Vader. Fans can rest assured that the Darth Vader we see in Rogue One is still the Darth Vader we knew in the original trilogy.

5. My issue with the first two acts is the pacing. The first scene with the young Jyn and her parents throws us into an emotional ride, but then the film gets somewhat dry from that point on. The first act is mostly spent on introducing characters and planets and the whole point of the story. Compelling action set pieces are interspersed here and there to keep your mind from wandering off.

6. Edwards reinvigorates the film with an action-packed, emotional third act. The subdued tension explodes into high-adrenaline thrills that I didn't see coming. Those thirty minutes of pure entertainment breathe life into an otherwise slow-burning film. The whole aerial battle between the Tie Fighters and X-Wings intercut with the Battle on Scarif where the rebels steal the plans is so well-executed, compelling, and jaw-dropping it makes you want to see the movie again just for those scenes. The

7. K-2SO (Alan Tudyk) and Chirrut Imwe (Donnie Yen) are easily the best characters in the movie. The humor is peppered throughout the movie, thanks to K2SO. This is a comic relief that never fails to make you giggle. Tudyk delivers all the punch lines effortlessly. Donnie Yen is a force believer who kicks ass!!

8. Felicity Jones was great overall, even though she didn’t hit all the right dramatic notes. But when it came to displaying staunch defiance, she was good and I totally bought her as a rebel leader.

9. A few familiar faces from the original trilogy make cameo appearances. The last shot had me in awe of the special effects. I just couldn’t believe they had the guts to do that.

10. Even though Michael Giacchino's score is nowhere near the magnificence of John Williams' s, it complements the film nicely. His subtle renditions of some of Williams's themes are lovely as well.

Rogue One is a triumphant story celebrating unsung heroes that a lot of fans are going to embrace. I can’t speak for you. Even though I think the first act could’ve been improved, this is a Star Wars anthology film that’s done right. It feels right and justified.

In short, Rogue Oneis truly awesome and I’m finally relieved that Disney didn’t fuck it up. It successfully bridged the gap between the ending of Revenge of the Sith and the opening of A New Hope. This is a film that caters to fans, but it also has something fresh to offer.

Rogue One, the force is with you.

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