The highly anticipated Star Wars Anthology prequel, Rogue One: A Star Wars Story was released in theaters on December 16th. Early reviews were positive, and remained when the film was given a wide release, scoring a 84% critics rating and a 90% audience rating on Rotten Tomatoes, which is a review aggregator website for film and television. It was also given a 8.2 out of 10 on IMDB, another popular media review site.

The story takes place in between Revenge of the Sith and A New Hope, the third film and forth film in the Star Wars series. Jyn Erso, a strong female character played by talented actress Felicity Jones, is the daughter of Galen Erso, a scientist played by Mads Mikkelson. When Jyn was young, Galen was taken by Orson Krennic, a director of the Galactic Empire, played by Ben Mendelsohn, to build the Death Star. Now, with Jyn grown up, she joins the Rebel Alliance after much hesitation, after she finds information that Galen intentionally kept a flaw in the Death Star. Other important characters in the film are Cassian Andor, a Rebel Alliance officer, Chirrut Îmwe, a blind warrior in touch with the Force, Bodhi Rook, a former Imperial officer who joins the Rebels, Baze Malbus, a Rebel warrior, and K-2SO, a droid who formerly belonged to the Empire whose memory was wiped by the Rebels. These characters are portrayed by Diego Luna, Donnie Yen, Riz Ahmed, Jiang Wen and Alan Tudyk. The minor characters in Rogue One are iconic characters from previous films, such as Grand Moff Tarkin, whose appearance required CGI since Peter Cushing died in 1994, Darth Vader, with James Earl Jones reprising his role with his legendary voice, and Princess Leia, who appears in a cameo in the end of the movie, and also required CGI for the character to look like Carrie Fisher in 1977.

Logo of "Rogue One: A Star Wars Story." Photo from Wikimedia.

This movie, in my opinion, put the “wars” in Star Wars. This film started out as quite uplifting, however, it slowly faded into a dark masterpiece. This was the second darkest Star Wars film (the first being Empire Strikes Back, of course). Although the mission succeeded and the Rebel Alliance acquired the Death Star’s plans, (spoiler alert!) everyone virtually dies in this movie. Many Rebel soldiers and members of the Empire were killed in battle, and even the heroes. The bittersweet ending of the movie gave it a new taste to the trilogy. I was hoping desperately that Rogue One was going to have a darker tone, and when I was viewing the movie on opening night, I was not disappointed. Sure, I was crying all through the last 45 minutes, with the image of Jyn and Cassian embracing as the shock wave of the blast from the Death Star kills them both haunting me the most, nevertheless, it’s what I wanted.

The characters were also a positive element to the film. All the characters in the film were well written and complex. To be honest, I found Orson Krennic a better villain than Kylo Ren from The Force Awakens, because Orson’s character was pure evil, power hungry and had a terrifying presence, unlike Kylo. Another small part of the movie I enjoyed greatly is the diversity. The rebels were played by actors of different races, like Diego Luna, who is Hispanic, Donnie Yen and Jiang Wen, who are both Chinese, and Riz Ahmed, who is Pakistani. I connected mostly to Riz Ahmed, being from similar backgrounds, and I admired how his character was not a “terrorist” like most Muslim/Middle Eastern characters were portrayed. He was a hero who fought for a good cause, which made me extremely happy.

If I had to give this film a rating, it would be a 9 out of 10, a nearly perfect score. The film was brilliantly directed, props to director Gareth Edwards, wonderfully acted, accompanied with a amazing, well written plot and fantastic characters. This is a spectacular movie that die hard Star Wars fans will love, and new fans of the series. I definitely would be recommending this film to anyone, as long as you bring a box of tissues.

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