Rogue One? Struggling One

I just watched Rogue One, and here are my unfiltered first impressions. There will be spoilers, tread carefully!


Rogue One is a deeply flawed movie, because it doesn't manage to present the motivation of its characters in a comprehensible way. I have no idea who Jyn Erso is or why she does anything in the movie. Felicity Jones is doing her best, but the script just doesn't offer her anything to hold on to. This might be related to the reshoots. According to this article on Slashfilm, Jyn was supposed to be less likable and more of a badass. I would've preferred that. It would've also made a lot more sense, given her (limited) backstory. They basically neutered a potentially interesting character to appeal to more people. I don't like when that happens, but that's the way of the mega movie business. The story felt more like a string of events, held together solely by the premise: A group of rebels capture the plans for the Death Star. The third act is the strongest, and actually enhances A New Hope, which makes up for a lot of its flaws. There's no other way to say it: Vader is wasted. I've seen people go on about how badass he is in this one, and I just don't see it. The lines are weak, the delivery is sloppy, and his presence has never felt so lacking. He is closer to the A New Hope Vader, which I just can't go back to after seeing (not all, but) enough Clone Wars and reading Gillen & Larroca's Darth Vader comic series. He can be interesting and layered, if you don't ignore the Ani of it all. CG-Tarkin is lost in the uncanny valley. It's a commendable effort, but it's just not there yet. I had fun spotting all the easter eggs. I love the fact that CG + Practical Effects is what Star Wars is about now. What the hell was Forrest Whittaker's character supposed to achieve in this movie? Seriously. What was he doing there? The droid was the most human character in the whole thing, ironically enough. I could go on and on. I think the most frustrating realization is that the movie is so close to being good. The set pieces are in place, the chemistry between the actors is there, the stakes are sufficiently raised, and it's very pretty to look at. Too bad it doesn't deliver in the way I hoped it would. It's death by a thousand cuts and I hope Disney learns the right lessons from this one and that the next non-saga film is better.