Be Warned: Spoilers be here…
Initially I was worried that a film that had Ben Mendelsohn aka Warren Murphy, one third of Neighbours‘ Warren-Charlene (Kylie Minogue)-Scott (Jason Donovan) love triangle as a villain might bow before the power of his mullet:
But the mullet is history and Mendelsohn has grown into a fine actor with credits including The Secret Life of Us, Tangle, The Dark Knight Rises, Starred Up, Exodus: Gods and Kings, Axe Cop and Blood Line.
As Orson Krennic, he quickly sets the tone for a very different Star Wars movie.
Now some have moaned about tone, some have taken Star Wars so seriously they forgot how old they were when they first watched it but it is safe to say that Rogue One links amazingly into Episode IV.
But I hear you whine… in Episode IV, Vader says they intercepted the transmissions and in Rogue One that had it on a disc… try watching the film, they sent a signal up that was intercepted by the Rebel Fleet. The signal was copied to disc which led to the coolest Vader scene ever and then the escape of the Blockade Runner.
As a film there were Easter Eggs a plenty, including some nice tie-ins to Star Wars: Rebels, as well as some faces and droids from the past. We even get to see what happened to the Red 5 predecessor.
The cost of war and the “one man’s freedom fighter is another man’s terrorist” ideals are explored and in today’s world ring as relevant as Lucas’ Vietnam nods did back in the day. The impacts of these actions on individuals is also explored, especially the costs of being an extreme revolutionary like Saw Gerrera (played by Forest Whitaker) or acting without question like Cassian Andor (Diego Luna).
Finally we get to see the underbelly of the Rebellion and its various fragments. Something I would be happy to see explored in more details. Mon Mothma being back and played once more by Genevieve O’Reilly (Episode III) helps show the political balance needed is keeping a Rebellion on course.
Rogue One uses CGI to bring back some major characters and some minor ones like Gold Leader and Red Leader, and also uses some footage not included in Episode VI to show the diversity of the Rebel fighters during the final space battle. Does it always work? Occasionally you could get picky, but the majority like Grand Moff Tarkin, which we were talking about back in August 2015 were good enough and made storyline sense, so we were finally happy to see it on the big screen.
Verdict: 9/10 Adds, explores and expands the Star Wars Universe as we know as well as tie it in to the Star Wars: The Clone Wars animated series and Star Wars: Rebels. What is supposed to be a stand alone story adds some much needed backbone that clears up some plot-holes left by Lucas.