Recently for Aggressive Negotiations, my fellow Jedi Master Matt Rushing and I had it out (yet again) about a Star Wars movie I like but don’t love. He does love it, and so our negotiations were, indeed, aggressive.
My Review of Rogue One: A Star Wars Story
Rogue One: A Star Wars Story has a lot of elements that work well. Delightful scene-stealing characters, solid art direction, bold effects work, and slick plot contrivances make you forgiving of a very uneven start. The third act is indisputably a well-constructed battle scene, full of the type of visual dynamism that keeps you invested.
It also has a lot of things to like, and I think that’s part of the issue. The things to like wind up making you wonder if they were inserted at the cost of things that work. There are obvious inserts that feel far less organic than they should, and work to pull you out of the film. There are a couple of “for the fans” moments that end up being head scratchers because they’re so inorganic as to interrupt the narrative.
The first thirty minutes or so are far choppier than they need to be. After a terrific opening, the movie basically has a fluttering series of introductions and re-introductions that make me wonder how much of the reported restructuring had to do with the producers worried about treating the audiences as intelligent enough to keep up with things. While far from as egregious as the first reels of some of the recent franchise fare in this regard (here’s looking at you, Suicide Squad), it takes the film a bit to find its rhythm and really start progressing.
I’m certainly aware that there are Star Wars fans who really, really like this movie. And I like it, too! This is likely my second-favorite Disney-era Star Wars film.
I think it’s got enough red meat to satisfy the fans, I just wish it could’ve been cooked better.
So There You Go
I wound up giving it 3 1/2 stars this time around, but I struggle a bit with that. That last 1/2 star is very much on the merit of its final space battle.
But none of the other Disney®™© Era movies released so far will ever have as warm a place in my heart as Solo: A Star Wars Story.