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Fresh off of my movie theatre experience of seeing this movie, this usually cynical and unenthused writer must admit that Rogue One: A Star Wars Story is perhaps the best in the series since The Empire Strikes Back. Last Christmas we obviously got the present of The Force Awakens, which turned out to be, in my opinion, a regurgitated mess of A New Hope all over again. However, this was an all new story put to the screen, and it certainly lived up to the hype. I'll be breaking down the (mildly non-spoiler) ups and downs of the new movie, and I hope that this review will influence your opinion on the movie as well.
Desperate times call for desperate characters.
In all other Star Wars films, you understand that there is a rebellion, and the fate of the universe lies in the hands of these characters. However, in this particular film, you actually get to see what the effects of war does to certain characters. Saw Guerrera, for instance, created his own military force because he didn't trust the Rebels or the Empire. He has been at war for so long that he only knows that he has to look out for himself, and has no remorse after killing anybody on either side of the war. We see this desperation in different characters throughout the film, and it helps humanize these characters that seem otherwise superhuman and unrelatable.
Lights, Camera, Action!
One aspect that this film never lacks is pure, unadulterated action. In some films, you see action for absolutely no reason (i.e. blowing up raptors with rocket launchers, looking at you Jurassic World), and in others the director focused purely on action and not the plot of the movie (get it together David Ayer). Rogue One perfectly blends in every action scene to where it goes hand and hand with the plot, and is explained completely. There are major battle sequences all throughout the movie, and it's perfect for any fan of explosions and shootouts.
CGI at Its Worst
The worst part of this movie is the horrible CGI abomination that is supposedly Grand Moff Tarkin. I understand that he is a huge part of this story, and that the original actor is obviously dead, but if we can believably make the Incredible Hulk and an entire planet of apes appear on screen, why can't we do that with just one person? Or, perhaps, use a different actor. Either way, every time Tarkin was on screen, I couldn't think of anything but Jim Carrey's A Christmas Carol. This should show Hollywood that anything's possible, but that doesn't mean it'll look good.
Darth Vader is actually scary.
If you've grown up watching Star Wars like I have, then chances are Darth Vader was never actually frightening to you in the original trilogy. The Emperor was the big bad, and Vader was just an iconic face of the movies. In Revenge of the Sith, many agree that Sith Anakin was just whiney, and certainly didn't strike fear into the hearts of his foes. However, every time you see Darth Vader in this movie, you feel fear for your life. Even though you know it's just a movie, and you know what happens eventually in the original trilogy, Vader will put you on the edge of your seat in fear.
K-2S0 is my spirit droid.
C-3P0 who? K-2 will capture your heart instantly with his snarky comments and sarcastic demeanor, and you will laugh every time he's on screen. Alan Tudyk and K-2 make for the perfect comic relief for this film, and this new (well, old I guess) droid will capture your love the first time you see him.
In conclusion, Rogue One is perhaps the best movie of the year, and one of the best Star Wars films to date, certainly outclassing The Force Awakens. It doesn't matter what kind of movies you like, if you want to see a film before Christmas, make it Rogue One: A Star Wars Story, which I give a solid 8 stars at the very least.