An Initial Look at Rogue One with No Spoilers

My first viewing experience of Rogue One: A Star Wars Story occurred earlier this week. With family in tow, we arrived early enough to be the first viewers let in the theater. Hey, I like my choice of seats!

First Viewing

For most of its fandom, the reactions related to the entire Star Wars saga on film has been an evolutionary process. After all, multiple viewings are often needed to fully comprehend the merits of each movie. And its shortcomings. Sometimes, delving in to those hit or misses, takes time.

Overall opinions and perceptions of each Star Wars film may also go through several transformations. I can personally attest to that. And although that can be said for any film in the history of cinema, Star Wars remains unique. Arguably, the Star Wars film saga might be considered the first in cinema history that created an environment necessitating multiple viewings across time for its devoted fan base.

Therefore, it is impossible for me to provide a comprehensive review a few short days after first experiencing Rogue One. I think many will agree that multiple viewings of the Star Wars films is a strongly reinforcing stimulus — personally and socially.

First Thoughts on Rogue One

Rogue One is an excellent addition to the Star Wars film saga. Of course, I must admit that my strong bias towards the Star Wars universe would make it difficult to find any movie on this topic less than satisfying or enjoyable. Furthermore, the year-long anticipation of this stand-alone film, along with the repeated viewings of trailers and featurettes, definitely pushes me toward a positive response.

That being said, it really is an extremely well-made and exciting movie.

Gareth Edwards and the Disney/Lucasfilm team have created a Star Wars story that can stand on its own as a wartime science-fiction adventure. It also is a stunningly effective piece that fits snugly into the other chapters of the saga. Being able to successfully deliver a film whose initial storyline began as the brief preamble to Star Wars: Episode IV A New Hope forty (40!!) years ago is impressive.

It is certainly a film that has a more “adult” tone to it, but in reality that isn’t necessarily a revolutionary aspect to a Star Wars film. Since the more adolescent representations of the Star Wars story seen in Episode VI: Return of the Jedi and Episode I: The Phantom Menace, the Star Wars film universe has decidedly become more “adult” in tone and presentation.

Rogue One

©Disney

Rogue One introduces a new set of characters that are solid supplements to the saga. Other than Jyn Erso, and similar to the prequel films, the exploration of their individual attributes, histories, and motives are somewhat thin. This doesn’t detract from the film as a whole, since the objective of the storyline does not require extensive storytelling in this way. It does more than a satisfactory job at explaining what is motivating Jyn and that’s what matters.

A great new droid character, K-2SO, makes his appearance in Rogue One. His presence and his “personality” is a significant addition to the sagas trio of established droid characters.

Trying hard not to sound redundant or utilizing clichéd adjectives, it is difficult to not describe the visual effects and the cinematography of this film as being outstanding. As the weeks go by, I will expound further upon these subjects.

The film is somewhat long on exposition at the start, but once it shifts into the middle act, Rogue One is an exhilarating experience. Similar to what I stated shortly after my first experience of The Force Awakens, Rogue One has met my expectations and exceeded them on several levels.

I will be seeing Rogue One again within the next week to experience it from a perspective that differs from the excitement of the initial viewing. This will allow me to develop additional responses that I will periodically provide in this forum.

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Michael's travels to Disneyland and Walt Disney World sparked his interest in Walt Disney. He’s also a lifelong fan of Star Wars. Michael is a Board Certified Behavior Analyst (BCBA) with 25 years in the behavioral mental health field and special education. One of Michael’s passions is teaching graduate level courses for Lipscomb University in Nashville.