For Reel

Rogue One: A Star Wars Story (2016)
January 16, 2017, 9:10 pm
Filed under: Reviews | Tags: , ,

Director: Gareth Edwards
2 Stars
rogue-oneRogue One continues a disturbing Hollywood trend in which incompetent screenplays are overlooked by audiences due to the fact that the film’s inconsistencies are promised to be returned to in a later film. Case in point: Lucasfilm president Kathleen Kennedy has alluded to the fact that Forrest Whittaker’s Saw Gerrera is likely to appear in future Star Wars films. Perhaps it will be explained why Gerrera has an “extremist” reputation, or why exactly he chooses to make a certain pivotal decision that he does in Rogue One. Without this additional context, however, the character is incompetently written—his backstory is left vague, his motivations are unclear, and the relationship he has with the woman he was a surrogate father for is left unexplored. Nearly every character in Rogue One similarly falls apart in examination—Cassian Andor’s (Diego Luna) introduction characterizes him with traits that are barely alluded to again in the film. If the creation of filmic universes offers the movie industry a chance to challenge the suggestion that television shows offer richer characters, the continued obsession with fan service comes at the expense of creating convincing dramatic stakes. Rogue One, much like Ghostbusters, Suicide Squad, and Captain America: Civil War, is nearly incomprehensible on its own—the acclaimed “Darth Vader scene”, for example, contradicts the climax, taking away from a heroic sacrifice in order to glorify the opposition. If The Force Awakens was largely a successful reimagining of A New Hope, watching Rogue One is like slogging through the footnotes.

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