Rey develops her newly discovered abilities with the guidance of Luke Skywalker, who is unsettled by the strength of her powers. Meanwhile, the Resistance prepares to do battle with the First Order. – (Source)
Rotten Tomatoes Rating: 93% (Critics) / 56% (Audience)
MetaScore: 86 – Universal Acclaim
Directed By: Rian Johnson
Written By: Rian Johnson
Starring: Daisy Ridley, John Boyega, Mark Hamill, Adam Driver, Oscar Isaac and Carrie Fisher
Studio: Walt Disney Pictures
I love heroic characters in this film, both the old vets I loved as a kid and the new characters I have grown to love from THE FORCE AWAKENS. That joy at just seeing those characters on a big screen and interacting with one another is a major reason why, no matter how critical I might want to be, can’t ever say these films are failures. Everyone is just too darn likable.
And best of all we got to see an entire movie with Luke Skywalker. Mark Hammill slipped back into the role with ease while also bringing the world-weariness of an old warrior who has seen too much darkness and just wants to be left alone to live out the rest of his days. Hammill and Daisy Ridley play off of one another very well too. The over-eager student and reluctant mentor dynamic really hit all the right beats with those two.
I also liked the introduction of Finn’s new partner in adventuring, Rose. Kelly Marie Tran brought a delightful spunkiness to the role and she and Finn had a cute chemistry which should set up a (pretty conflicting for fans) triangle between Finn, Rose and Rey.
And I was misty eyed through much of the film watching Carrie Fisher as Leia and knowing that it would be the last time the actress would reprise the role. I have no clue what Disney is going to do about the character moving forward but I am sure its going to be heartbreaking for fans of this franchise.
Rian Johnson should be commended too for the energy he brought to the direction of the film. Things began with a bang and really never let up in the big face-off between the Rebels and the First Order and Johnson shot every scene really well. And Johnson showed a real penchant for shooting dynamic fight scenes with the major lightsaber action in this film being top notch.
Like with THE FORCE AWAKENS, this film is almost completely devoid of a plot that is interesting or makes much sense. It’s like Rian Johnson (who also wrote the script) came up with “busy work” for these characters solely to keep them separated for the majority of the film. The central plot of the big standoff between the rebel fleet and the First Order basically boiled down to a slow speed chase for nearly 2 hours. Finn’s subplot was silly and ultimately didn’t matter. That entire subplot could have been removed from the film and no one would have missed it.
Hopefully this doesn’t become the standard for these films set in the current Star Wars Universe because right now ROGUE ONE is an anamoly as far as a well done script of the 3 new movies.
I really wanted to like Kylo Ren but after a promising start the character has devolved into a gigantic whiny man-child that is not fearsome at all and is leaning pretty heavily into becoming a joke of a character. And the “connection” between Kylo Ren and Rey is veering a smidge too much into unrequited love territory for me which would be a horrible move on this franchise’s part.
All the fan theories and anticipation of seeing Supreme Leader Snoke as something more than just a disembodied holographic head were all for naught because this film cemented the character as being totally useless in the grand scheme of the new Star Wars Universe going forward. Everything about the character ended up being a huge disappointment in this film.
Final Verdict: A combination of nostalgia, wonderfully shot space opera set pieces, a winning cast and characters that fans love makes this an enjoyable viewing experience. Sure the plot is a meandering mess and there are some murky sequences that are not really clear on first watch, but overall this movie more than delivers the one thing that I look for in a STAR WARS film: fun.