Before I am going to start for real with this post, let me just point out to you that I am huge Star Wars fan. I have lost count of the number of times that I have seen the original movies, and own a lot of novels and other merchandise. When the news first arrived about Disney taking over the franchise from Lucas I was filled with fear. And yes I do know that may lead to the Dark Side. My fears pretty much disappeared last year with the release of Episode 7. I loved it from start to finish, and felt it really did justice to the galaxy from far, far away. One thing I did remain skeptical about were the plans for the stand alone movies. The first one has now been unleashed upon us with Force. Today I saw the film for the first time, and the question is, was I worried about nothing?

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Rogue One might best be described as Star Wars episode three point five, just to give you a point of reference. The Empire is planning to build a terror weapon to rule the galaxy, and for that they turn to a scientist called Galen Erso. Galen has no love for the Empire, but has no choice but to assist in building the weapon, as his wife and young daughter Jyn are both threatened to be killed. Years later, Jyn has grown up, and has now become a bit of a rebel but is also pretty much a loner. By pure chance however she meets up with a member of the real Rebel Alliance who has been searching for her. Things have become very dire indeed, as the Empire has almost finished building their planet killer. When Jyn finds out that her father might be the one who has pretty much designed the weapon, she is determined to find her father at all cost. With a group of like minded individuals she sets out on a path that will take her to her father, and which might bring a new hope to the galaxy…

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So there we have it, the first ever standalone movie of Star Wars. Was it a worthy addition to the Star Wars legacy? I would have to say yes. There are many things in this movie that worked, but it also has it’s flaws. One thing is for sure: this movie is very dark. It is basically a warmovie set in the Star Wars universe. As such, there is some light comedy in the film, but it mostly has a very serious tone to it. The fun things that were truly enjoyable in this film, were the many easter eggs that the movie contained. Any Star Wars fan, will really get a kick out of discovering those. And I am pretty sure that I even might have missed a few.

We get introduced to a whole new cast of characters, and most of these were very enjoyable. Felicity Jones did a fine job in her portrayal of Jyn Erso, and it was also very nice to see Hong Kong legend Donnie Yen having so much fun in his role of the blind Chirrut Imwe. Ben Mendelsohn was also superb as the villain, the evil Director Krennic, a character you are definitely going to hate. The best character however was the robot K-2SO, who produced some much needed comic relief.

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The pacing of the film however, was the thing that I felt was not handled very well. The first part of the film felt slow. At those times it also felt that for a reason I could not quite put my finger on, that I wasn’t watching a Star Wars movie. The last 45 minutes of the film though, were absolutely fantastic, and contained one of the best battlescenes of the entire Star Wars franchise. It also shows how desperate things really were for the Rebellion.

At the end of the film there was a question that popped up in my mind though: do we really need these stand alone movies? Even though I liked the movie, it just is not as good as the original trilogy films. As I said this one is a worthy addition to the Star Wars franchise, but with these movies now being released every other year, one has to wonder if this won’t simply become a question of quick cash in films. We will have to wait and see I guess. I do have to admit that the film was truly better than I had expected, and I did enjoy it for the most part. If you are a fan of the Star Wars universe I definitely recommend seeing it. And now all that’s left to do is wait for episode VIII and ofcourse see Rogue One for a second time. May the force be with you…..

I give Rogue One a Star Wars story a 8 out of 10 score.

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