First Star Wars standalone movie: Rogue One


Finally, somebody gets it. This is not a good movie.

In Star Wars and RotJ they explain the big battles and the actions the characters are taking. In this it was just a giant mess. Plus, I still challenge you to name a character from this movie without Google. Darth Vader doesn’t count.


We’ve played this game, and I can do so easily.

As for the tactics, I have to feel like this criticism ignores much of what occurs. What is spelled out.

Yes the plan was incomplete, but let’s face it, it should be. It was two dozen people going rogue. There is a plan though, and that plan is never really one of escape once they get caught. It is create a rolling series of distractions to draw attention away from the mission. There are reasons for that spelled out too, namely that they needed to draw guards away from the archives.

Look if people don’t like the movie, whatever. But the ending was he best part, and claiming it makes no sense just means you weren’t paying attention.


Jyn Erso. What do I win?


Sure I was! The movie makes it explicitly clear that the only way to transmit the plans is if the shield is down/open. So regardless of whether they plan on surviving, the only way to succeed is to fly their shuttle back out again with the plans, because the Rebels explicitly turned down the mission, and a giant task force able to take on two star destroyers, destroy the shield, and receive the data was not on the table. So, creating a diversion to pull troopers away from the data storage is dumb, because being alerted, obviously the imperials will lock the shield: game over. Obviously the second thought any competent garrison commander will have after lockdown is: rebels here? How? Oh, the one shuttle next to where the rebels are blowing thing s up! Game over. Like I said, good thing it was new year’s eve the night before, or something.


Yes. The Imperials have otherwise had great military responses to the rebels.


The thing that saves Rogue One for me is when they use the Death Star it feels like a tragedy. After coming off The Force Awakens this was a huge relief.

They used the Starkiller destroyed nearly entire Republic government, military, and most populated planets, you don’t feel it at all in the film. Instead it feels like the end of A New Hope! This is was so insanely jarring it launched me right out of episode 8.

A New Hope featured the destruction of a single planet, Alderaan, and its destruction was marked and mourned by Obi-wan, who felt a disturbance in the Force “as if millions of voices suddenly cried out in terror and were suddenly silenced.” Nobody, by contrast, seemed to mourn or feel much besides “that’s a shame” when nine planets were destroyed in The Force Awakens . It’s not a pretty portrait of how far we’ve come: In 2015, Star Wars explosions were bigger, the death count was astronomically greater, and we cared a great deal less.

That’s why Rogue One is such an important and welcome corrective. Edwards respects death more than he respects spectacle. He makes it count. He wanted to tell a story about the grunts on the ground — about the little people who live on these planets. Thanks to him, the horrors of the Death Star feel real instead of merely narrative or worse, cool. (I’m almost tempted to read a scene where Tarkin and Krennic admire the Death Star at work as a winking critique of The Force Awakens, which chose to show the equivalent of several holocausts at a similarly cold and beautiful remove. We don’t even learn the names of all the annihilated planets.)


I can name several characters from Phantom Menace, besides Darth Vader/Anakin, Obi-Wan, Yoda, etc. So I guess it’s the better movie?


I remember a couple of character names: Diego Luna, Robot Alan Tudyk… you know, just like I remember some of the characters’ names in The Great Escape (Steve McQueen with the bouncy ball!), The Dirty Dozen (Creepy Telly Savalas!), and Stalag 17 (Col. Hoooooogaaaaan!).

If I forget some details like character names, I do remember their characterizations. And I also thought it was interesting that as their Final Fight became ever more dire and their chances of survival shrank to zero, the theme of sacrifice was increased. Their names became irrelevant, and the importance of saving the MacGuffin Death Star Plans exploded in value. The characters – the Captain, the Sassy Robot, the Sadsack Traitor, The Blind Monk, His Boyfriend, and the Woman Who Made It All Happen, became Forgotten Soldiers, worthy of a memorial, even if their names weren’t etched in it.

(The exception to the lack of named memorials, of course, was Admiral Raddus, sometimes known as the Ackbar ripoff. His name graced the Resistance flagship in Episode VIII, and in that movie again the name Raddus was tied to potentially wasting a mighty starship to risk the potential greater good.)


Cassian Andor
Galen Erso
Director Krennic
Bodhi Rook
Saw Gerrera
Heff Tober
Chirrut Imwe
Blaze Malbus

Really now, this is a dumb argument. And I realize I have contributed.


Wow, that guy really gets around.



Lord Vader!
Donnie Yen!!!

Ha! I named two (2!).


Actually, they did. The empire let the Millenium Falcon escape, and it led them to the Rebel base. They engineered the capture of Han Solo and enticed Luke to Bespin; they baited the Alliance into the attack of the second Death Star and sprung their trap. Lousy stormtrooper aim aside, they’ve always stayed one step ahead of the heroes in the original movies, if it hadn’t for Luke & Co rolling twelves every time.

Look, Rogue 1 could have done some obvious things to make the imperials less stupid. The shuttle could have landed in a massive hangar with hundreds of other shuttles, logically confusing a search; the imperial commander then could have looked both badass and ruthless when he ordered the entire hangar be obliterated by a Tie bomber strike to ensure the Rebel ride be taken out of commission.

The Rebels also could have been less inept if they had had three Hammerhead Corvettes ordered to destroy the shield, and a grueling gauntlet leaves only one to penetrate the imperial defences to crash through and destroy it. As it was, the rebels didn’t even have a thought to take the shield down until the star destroyer randomly gets disabled in just the right unlikely spot (other than impotent ywing strikes).

But then, we wouldn’t have had the star destroyer trade off that makes the destruction of the Rebel fleet at the end palatable; okay, how about, for once, we see a star destroyer actually destroyed as the end result of another capital ships’ guns? Its like the only way they can die is being pushed into things or colliding with themselves. Two Calamari Cruisers mauling a star destroyer until the superstructure is gutted and glowing? Yes please! But no, it’s always some fancy David and Goliath trick.

Which is fine for an adventure flick, but people billed this as a war movie and I guess I disagree, it was just a depressing action movie.


Ugh I just typed out a huge post about how the prequels are better than this new shit, and the prequels are bad too, but who cares.

I will continue to vote with my wallet. I’m glad Solo failed, and I’m proud to have contributed to its failure.


How’s that shitting on other people’s enjoyment for no reason working out?


I mean… you’re wrong. Like damned-near objectively. Rogue One wasn’t anything amazing, it had a ton of issues, but… yeah… no.


I mean, if you want to do a Cinema Sins* style listing of every ‘flaw’ then, yeah. It’s got issues. So does every single other movie, including the original.

The question is, does it do other things right, and does it do enough right things. To which I answer: absolutely!

The problem with the prequels isn’t that they do timings poorly, it’s that there isn’t enough core things they do well to compensate.

Rogue One, at bare minimum, gets the emotional core right, especially the end. It is a movie ultimately about sacrifice, and that it gets. It also shows the difference between the Empire and the Rebels, and that difference is why the Rebels succeed in the end. The Empire is every man out for themselves. The rivalry between Tarkin, Krennic, Vader etc is a weakness that leads to their setback. The Rebels are willing to sacrifice for each other. And it carries a high cost, but it carries the day.

That is what makes Rogue One a good movie in my book. What flaws it has are secondary to that.

Also it has a damn cool space battle that they use to create tension with the main plot. It doesn’t exist to look cool, but the developments on both battles play a role, and that feedback really helps up the stakes for the space fight.

Now Spiffy listed his reasons for why it didn’t work for him. I disagree with what he gave, but it was at least a thoughtful critique. I could rewatch the movie and provide a counterpoint to what he brings up (I could do so without, but would possibly miss some details by doing so). But in the end even if I were to agree to his points, it would not make me turn on the movie since it does not impact the important emotional core element.

*for the record I really, really hate the banal ‘list a bunch of plot holes (that may not be plot holes, but overly pedantic asshole commentary)’ style ‘criticism’. Cinema Sins is the worst


I agree, but the characters needed more… something so I cared more about them.

That said I liked it. It just had it’s issues. RLM roasted it a bit and I mostly agree with their criticisms, other than the “remember this” stuff they harped on a bit. I don’t mind seeing Star Destroyers and AT-ATs in my Star Wars movies, call me crazy.


Fair. I’m particularly disappointed with how they ‘used’ Saw. Particularly because it’s an already established character from Clone Wars and Rebels that they did better, so that core absolutely could be there.

Honestly I just wanted more Chirrut (Donnie Yen). The relationship between him, Jeddah, and Baze was one of the most potentially interesting things that didn’t go nearly deep enough.


Agreed. They also mostly wasted Forrest Whittaker which annoys me.


Basically this.

I actually find myself agreeing with a lot of the point Spiffy makes there in the sense that I think it would have been a better movie to have included (some) of that stuff, but at the end of the day, Rogue One was a movie that gets what Star Wars is about better than any film since the original trilogy.

Read an interesting piece recently about the future of Star Wars after episode IX, and how it would/could survive when the Skywalker/Solo saga wraps up (which is what they claim) and what a huge challenge that would be. And I couldn’t disagree more. Sure - it’s nostalgic to see Solo and the Skywalkers on the screen again, and characters you can believe in/root for are important, but - IMO - the thing that sets Star Wars apart from every other Scifi universe (especially at the time it came out) is the feeling of place - i.e., the world building. This is immediately obvious if you look at SW next to its contemporaries - the Star Wars universe feels “lived in” and real - nothing else from that period even comes close.

A good deal of that quality is lost in the prequels, where Lucas had become obsessed with computer graphics and SFX (also why his touch-ups of the originals actually lessens those films, rather than improving them). TFA is actually not bad in this respect, IMO, except for its compulsive need to ape and one-up every single little thing from the original trilogy. It’s one reason I think The Last Jedi is a terrible Star Wars film - absent a few sequences on the casino planet (does anyone remember its name?) there is no sense of place or reality. The First Order and the Resistance might as well have been alone in the Universe - and essentially, that is what the film makes them out to be since apparently nobody cared that Starkiller Base blew up 9 planets and the entire Republic Fleet or can be bothered to respond to the Resistance’s distress call (some diplomat, Leia turns out to be). There’s literally nothing about TLJ that suggests this could be happening in a real place.

Edwards understands this point about Star Wars, and because of that - IMO - he is able to make Rogue One work as a Star Wars movie, despite the plot holes and other issues (shared with pretty much every other title in the franchise).