Star Wars is at this point a factor of culture and a defining element of fandom within those who identify as geeks and nerds. The story, of hope, of good versus evil is something that almost everyone can identify with.
Star Wars: Rogue One (Or is it Rogue One: Star Wars?) is very much a Star Wars Story, as it markets itself. It is set at the height of the Empire’s power, just before the events of Star Wars: A New Hope.
It’s a story about people in that time. This isn’t Luke Skywalker’s story, this is the story of a band of rebel misfits who have lost everything to the Empire. It’s a story about faith and hope and a refusal to give in.
It’s also a dark story. These are not happy times and the Empire is far too willing to go to any length to seize more and more power. There are some very subtle things woven into this story, elements of tragedy and ambition that stand starkly against the hope and sacrifice.
The beauty of this movie is not just that it is a good Star Wars movie, but that it could easily be a military movie set anywhere, from Nazi Germany to the fall of China to the Communists. It’s a story about a handful standing against many because its the right thing to do.
For the military junkies, there’s plenty of it, with space and ground combat that’s both dazzling and has you on the edge of the seat. Every bit of the combat has a purpose… and you can see the cost in lives in a very real fashion. People are fighting and dying to stop the Empire, and they’re struggling against insane odds because to do otherwise would be unthinkable.
The movie isn’t perfect, though. There’s things that they could have tweaked a bit, parts at the beginning could have flowed a bit smoother and parts at the end felt a little too smooth. But the theme, the overall story, is exactly what Star Wars has always been about. I’ve seen it once and I plan to see it a second and third time. There’s a lot of things going on and its a movie I spent several hours mulling over afterwards.
Go see it. It’s a fantastic movie and no matter your politics or outlook on life, there’s something in it for you.