‘Rogue One: A Star Wars Story’ Movie Review

Following the success of last year’s “Star Wars: The Force Awakens,” Disney and Lucasfilm return with their first anthology film set in the Star Wars universe that brings back classic visuals and characters from 1977’s “Star Wars: Episode IV – A New Hope.”

“Rogue One: A Star Wars Story” tells the story of how a group of revolutionists stole the plans to the Empire’s Death Star. In a time of galactic war between the Rebel Alliance and the Empire, a small faction of unlikely heroes (led by Felicity Jones’s Jyn Erso and Diego Luna’s Cassian Andor) come together in a dangerous operation to steal the design schematics of the Empire’s latest and most powerful super weapon, the Death Star.

This crucial event in the Star Wars universe brings together everyday individuals who choose to stand up against impossible odds and do astonishing things. In fighting against Darth Vader and the Empire, this small band of soldiers from the Rebellion start a revolution and become something bigger than themselves.

A few days prior to its release, I had the opportunity to see the film. Director Gareth Edwards had the difficult task of taking a well-known time period in the Star Wars saga and once again making it unique, interesting and fresh for audiences. “Rogue One” is a successful look at how the Rebel Alliance retrieved the plans to the Death Star. Knowing the ending to the film and its relation to “A New Hope” will not cause you to lose interest in the story and characters. The film isn’t about the end result, but rather how the characters came to that point.

Thanks to the wise and up-close direction from Edwards (there are some fantastic POV shots), the film is the first in the Star Wars universe to really put audiences in the nitty-gritty of the battles. Amid these intergalactic battles, fans of the Star Wars franchise will be satisfied with the numerous references and the return of classic characters (Darth Vader still remains cinema’s greatest supervillain). While it may not match the excitement of last year’s “The Force Awakens,” “Rogue One” should satisfy audiences and garner hype for the next few films that Lucasfilm and Disney have planned for the juggernaut franchise.

Here are some reactions from audience members who attended screenings on Monday morning:

Thanks to Moroch and Coog Radio for the chance to see the film early. “Rogue One: A Star Wars Story” fires into U.S. theaters this Friday.

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