Which Was The Better Post-George Lucas Star Wars Movie?
The Force Awakens
40.2% (41)
40.2% (41)
Rogue One
45.1% (46)
45.1% (46)
They Both Sucked!
14.7% (15)
14.7% (15)
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Poll: Which Was The Better Post-George Lucas Star Wars Movie?

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Hm...tighter race than I thought it would be.

I like them both, but I enjoy Rogue One more. Perhaps if The Last Jedi completes The Force Awakens, then I'll change my mind, but as it stands, The Force Awakens has too many unanswered important questions, too much, "We're saving it for the sequel!" going on for me to choose it over Rogue one.

Plus the battle scenes in Rogue One were amazing. Just...whoo! Time to blow things up like only Star Wars can!!!

KissingSunlight:

Squilookle:
TFA- at least characters were 3 dimensional and underwent change in that movie.

I am going to disagree with you here. How did the characters change from the beginning of the movie to the end? Rey is still an overpowered know-it-all who missed her parents. Finn is still a stormtrooper with identity issues. Poe is a God of Pilots.

Look, you're not wrong. There are some deeply disappointing problems with the way the characters are written in TFA. Rey and Poe are indeed written as overpowerered nigh-flawless beings, which kind of sucks. But at the same time, they clearly care a lot about their goals, and you can sense it. When Rey bites into the food she traded for scrap, you can tell it's the moment she's worked so hard to get to. When Poe and Finn (who is now no longer a stormtrooper, so there's a change) hatch their plan to escape together, and blow up those ventral turbolasers and both yell in triumph in a thoroughly human way, we can't help but smile along with them. Finn pretending to be in the Resistance to avoid getting beaten up- human. Relatable. Kind of funny too considering how bad he is at pretending it. And you want complicated relationship with a father? Kylo has it in spades, across three generations no less.

But Rogue? Nobody new besides K-2SO survives the Qui Gon test.


(This excerpt is the Qui Gon test, by the way).

Jyn basically just feels abandoned by her dad. Much like Rey. Cassian does have some tragic backstory to explain why he's so involved with the Rebels now, but we never hear what it is. Outside that they're all basically stoic and want to fight for the cause. That's not character depth. If it was you could go ahead and call every pilot in the Death Star battles a main character. Also Cassian is given one job, to assassinate Galen, and he can't even pull that off. Not because an unforseen hurdle is put in his way or the enemy anticipates his move, but just... he decides he doesn't have the heart to do it. And THIS is the guy the Rebels send to do assassinations? Pathetic!

If they wanted him to avoid carrying out an assassination they could have done something... -anything- to make it worth watching. For instance there's a James Bond film where he's ordered to kill a high ranking Russian general for the deaths of British spies. But Bond has evidence to suggest the General may be innocent. He tries to persuade his boss, who threatens to give the assassination assignment to someone else. Bond then takes the job so that he can get to the general himself and find out the truth. It turns out his hunch was right, and the general is being played just as much as the British by someone else. Had he killed him nobody would have ever found the guilty party. Just imagine if Cassian had the depth to think up something like that!

Rogue One were for adult fans of Star Wars. The Force Awakens are just like J.J. Abrams's Star Trek. TFA is a Star Wars movie for people who don't like Star Wars. Specifically, the prequel trilogy.

Give me a break. The cameos alone in Rogue One were designed for kids to squeal at for recognising the character and nothing more. K-2SO lobbing a grenade over his shoulder to wipe out a squad of stormtroopers without looking is something out of a kids cartoon on the exact same level as Poe Rogue-Squadroning his way through those TIEs. Don't even get me started on Vader+lightsaber strolling up the corridor of the ISD Fanservice. The Rebels solving all their problems by straight up ramming two ships together could have been written by an 8 year old.

The rest of the Scarif space battle was pretty mint though, I'll give you that. But don't go pretending Rogue One was in any way more 'adult' just because of the body count. The way the two films deal with the struggles of parenting (despite both films having a golden opportunity to showcase it) are like night and day, for instance.

***
At the end of the day- there's more for people to rewatch throughout TFA. When people rewatch Rogue One they skip straight to the space battle because nobody matters anyway.
***

Rogue One was brill. Much lighter, more fun escapism there, and a glorious last battle sequence. Loved it.

Enjoyed The Force Awakens when I first watched it, but it's gone down a little in my estimations recently, and I don't like Kylo Ren as a villain.

The Force Awakens.

I may be the only guy who seems to think this film is fantastic and doesn't get enough credit it deserves. Its got wonderful characters with a lot of personality and great arcs, solid direction, genuinely subversive and heartfelt. Everyone just shrugs it off as just being derivative of ANH, but never give it a chance to look at it in-depth than the surface.

Rogue One was okay, but man, the characters are so boring and lacking any depth or development to them, the story is incredibly hollow, some of the pacing is inconsistent and just felt nothing when they died. Jyn and Cassian are dull characters, K-2SO is nice and funny I guess, Bodhi Rook is there for some reason, Chirrut is the closest to giving some idea of depth and Baze is cool, but not much else.

Squilookle:

KissingSunlight:

Squilookle:
TFA- at least characters were 3 dimensional and underwent change in that movie.

I am going to disagree with you here. How did the characters change from the beginning of the movie to the end? Rey is still an overpowered know-it-all who missed her parents. Finn is still a stormtrooper with identity issues. Poe is a God of Pilots.

Look, you're not wrong. There are some deeply disappointing problems with the way the characters are written in TFA. Rey and Poe are indeed written as overpowerered nigh-flawless beings, which kind of sucks. But at the same time, they clearly care a lot about their goals, and you can sense it. When Rey bites into the food she traded for scrap, you can tell it's the moment she's worked so hard to get to. When Poe and Finn (who is now no longer a stormtrooper, so there's a change) hatch their plan to escape together, and blow up those ventral turbolasers and both yell in triumph in a thoroughly human way, we can't help but smile along with them. Finn pretending to be in the Resistance to avoid getting beaten up- human. Relatable. Kind of funny too considering how bad he is at pretending it. And you want complicated relationship with a father? Kylo has it in spades, across three generations no less.

But Rogue? Nobody new besides K-2SO survives the Qui Gon test.


(This excerpt is the Qui Gon test, by the way.
I can't embed the timecode so skip to 6:46)

Jyn basically just feels abandoned by her dad. Much like Rey. Cassian does have some tragic backstory to explain why he's so involved with the Rebels now, but we never hear what it is. Outside that they're all basically stoic and want to fight for the cause. That's not character depth. If it was you could go ahead and call every pilot in the Death Star battles a main character. Also Cassian is given one job, to assassinate Galen, and he can't even pull that off. Not because an unforseen hurdle is put in his way or the enemy anticipates his move, but just... he decides he doesn't have the heart to do it. And THIS is the guy the Rebels send to do assassinations? Pathetic!

If they wanted him to avoid carrying out an assassination they could have done something... -anything- to make it worth watching. For instance there's a James Bond film where he's ordered to kill a high ranking Russian general for the deaths of British spies. But Bond has evidence to suggest the General may be innocent. He tries to persuade his boss, who threatens to give the assassination assignment to someone else. Bond then takes the job so that he can get to the general himself and find out the truth. It turns out his hunch was right, and the general is being played just as much as the British by someone else. Had he killed him nobody would have ever found the guilty party. Just imagine if Cassian had the depth to think up something like that!

Rogue One were for adult fans of Star Wars. The Force Awakens are just like J.J. Abrams's Star Trek. TFA is a Star Wars movie for people who don't like Star Wars. Specifically, the prequel trilogy.

Give me a break. The cameos alone in Rogue One were designed for kids to squeal at for recognising the character and nothing more. K-2SO lobbing a grenade over his shoulder to wipe out a squad of stormtroopers without looking is something out of a kids cartoon on the exact same level as Poe Rogue-Squadroning his way through those TIEs. Don't even get me started on Vader+lightsaber strolling up the corridor of the ISD Fanservice. The Rebels solving all their problems by straight up ramming two ships together could have been written by an 8 year old.

The rest of the Scarif space battle was pretty mint though, I'll give you that. But don't go pretending Rogue One was in any way more 'adult' just because of the body count. The way the two films deal with the struggles of parenting (despite both films having a golden opportunity to showcase it) are like night and day, for instance.

***
At the end of the day- there's more for people to rewatch throughout TFA. When people rewatch Rogue One they skip straight to the space battle because nobody matters anyway.
***

^ This

Squilookle:

People in that part of the video that you wanted me to see sucked. How often did they watched The Phantom Menace compared to The New Hope? I could have answered that question about TPM characters with just as much detail as TNH characters. Of course, I have seen both movie multiple times.

Rouge One, but only for the two following reasons:

1) I love commando movies
2) That escalating mess of a climactic battle would become a legendary story in any TTRPG group worthy of the name. Seriously, it shows just how fractured the Rebellion was pre-Yavin, they were losing hard. And they lose. They lose so hard that they've got zero capital ships and only a bare handful of starfighters available to defend Yavin.

It works out for them, because that's how Space Opera rolls (And why I love it), but by any realstic measure, that's where the Rebellion ends. If Tarkin held back the Death Star, the Rebellion ends after the Battle of Scarif.

KissingSunlight:

Squilookle:

People in that part of the video that you wanted me to see sucked. How often did they watched The Phantom Menace compared to The New Hope? I could have answered that question about TPM characters with just as much detail as TNH characters. Of course, I have seen both movie multiple times.

Well we can't all be as brilliant as yourself now can we. It's A New Hope by the way, not The New Hope.

Since you've ignored everything else I said and just focused on the people in the video- have a look at this one where the same people talk about Rogue One directly. I'm sure you'll just adore it.

Squilookle:

But Rogue? Nobody new besides K-2SO survives the Qui Gon test.


(This excerpt is the Qui Gon test, by the way.
I can't embed the timecode so skip to 6:46)

That "test" is such a load of crap. Trying to pass off what a cherry picked group of people remember about a movie as fact is utterly ridiculous.

Qui Gon: cool and collected. He held strongly to what he believed to be right, even going so far as to defy the Jedi Council. A risk taker.

He was one of the best things about The Phantom Menace and far more enjoyable than any of the characters in The Force Awakens.

Rey: Ummm.... hmmm... uhhh... mary sue?

Also to change start time of a video you need to put in start=(seconds) after the video code.

You can change the end time the same way by using "end".


OT: Can't answer the question since The Force Awakens made me give up on Star Wars so I haven't seen Rogue One.

Ah excellent- cheers for that. I was wondering why youtube's own start time wouldn't work within The Escapist's code- should've known it would have it's own version.

TheFinish:
They were both bad to mediocre. The Force Awakens was just a rehash of A New Hope with less interesting characters and a much less intimidating villain but the exact same overall plot. Except of course for the world building, which is still incredibly dumb for it being 30+ years after RoTJ.

Rogue One was a useless movie nobody asked for with badly developed characters and a meandering plot with no stakes (because we already know they succeeded, therefore there is no tension.

You know what the best SW stuff has been post Lucas? Rebels. Yeah, the kid's show.

Pretty much exactly what I was going to say. Force had so much potential to be different and show us something new after 30+ years in-universe have passed, and it just squandered all of that potential to do the exact same things as before, but in an even more convoluted and ridiculous way, and Rogue, whilst also potentially being able to give us something new and interesting, was already doomed from the start by virtue of being a prequel, and then hit every single obvious cliche trope along the way so that you saw every plot point coming a mile off. It was possibly the most predictable movie I've ever seen.

Rebels on the other hand, is pretty fucking great, even if it does pose some serious story headache problems with regards to why nobody in the rebellion ever told Luke that there were so many other friggin' Jedi running around just a few years before he joined up. But maybe that all makes sense by the end of this season, I dunno.

TheFinish:

Rogue One was a useless movie nobody asked for with badly developed characters and a meandering plot with no stakes (because we already know they succeeded, therefore there is no tension.

In Rogue One's defence, there's no reason why a story with a foregone conclusion doesn't have the potential to be gripping. Apollo 13 was brilliant for example. People love watching movies about real historic gangsters. I hear Halo Reach was well received. Hell, Titanic broke all kinds of records and we all knew what was going to happen in that one...

The first half of The Force Awakens and the second half of Rogue One put together make a good original Star Wars movie.

Force Awakens second half was a rehash of A New Hope and the first half of Rogue One was...boring.

If I were to choose one then it would definitely be Rogue One. It is better for a movie to get better as it goes on than to get worse ala TFA.

Force Awakens loses some points for much of a rehash it was, but taken alone it's pretty solid movie. Rogue One is just a shit show with some solid battle sequences at the end. Excellent for eye candy and fan service if you skip through the first half, but fuck is it a dumb movie.

Force Awakens by a mile. I was of the opposite opinion when Rogue One first came out, but it's initial appeal did not survive the test of time. When it comes to deciding on a rewatch in the present, Rogue One doesn't even make the cut unless we're talking "The Battle of Scarif" fan edit edition.

Squilookle:

Jyn basically just feels abandoned by her dad. Much like Rey. Cassian does have some tragic backstory to explain why he's so involved with the Rebels now, but we never hear what it is. Outside that they're all basically stoic and want to fight for the cause. That's not character depth. If it was you could go ahead and call every pilot in the Death Star battles a main character. Also Cassian is given one job, to assassinate Galen, and he can't even pull that off. Not because an unforseen hurdle is put in his way or the enemy anticipates his move, but just... he decides he doesn't have the heart to do it. And THIS is the guy the Rebels send to do assassinations? Pathetic!

If they wanted him to avoid carrying out an assassination they could have done something... -anything- to make it worth watching. For instance there's a James Bond film where he's ordered to kill a high ranking Russian general for the deaths of British spies. But Bond has evidence to suggest the General may be innocent. He tries to persuade his boss, who threatens to give the assassination assignment to someone else. Bond then takes the job so that he can get to the general himself and find out the truth. It turns out his hunch was right, and the general is being played just as much as the British by someone else. Had he killed him nobody would have ever found the guilty party. Just imagine if Cassian had the depth to think up something like that!

Let me go out on a limb here and defend Rogue One. I agree that the characterization is too rushed and that the attempt to show not tell us who the characters are only sort of half-works, because there isn't enough to show us in the already rushed set-up of the movie. However, there's characterization going on, it is just muddled and poorly handled, so let's get to it:

Jyn: Feels abandoned by her father. And Saw. And the Rebellion. Jyn's character is informed by this abandonment, she has learned to trust no one and nothing but herself. While she hates the Empire and is a driven individual, she's also deeply conflicted about her own involvement in the civil war. She doesn't believe the rebels will have her back and so she stays out of the way of both sides. She's also egocentrical failing to see the perspectives of anyone else, even as she's empathetic and will go out of her way to protect people (as seen with the child in the ambush). Her arc is her coming to terms with the fact that siding with the rebellion is about more then just her personal insecurities. Especially when she has knowledge that could save the rebellion. Her arc has its' two defining moments when she's telling Cassian off after Galen's death and he replies that she's not the only one who've suffered loss and when she sees the hologram of Galen revealing his motivations and plan. Both serves to move her perspective from herself onto other people, and make her realize the full scale of the conflict she's caught up in.

Cassian: Cassian is the loyal but doubting soldier. He's committed to the rebellion, even if he has to get his hands dirty and betray his own morals in the process. He doesn't question orders but he's deeply cynical about what he does, even as he believes in the why. He doesn't make emotional attachments because he's too scarred by his past. Cassian's arc is about him learning to make his own choices and question his orders, as well as learning to get close to people. The pivotal moments for him are when he refuses to shot Galen (out of respect for Jyn and because he sees that Galen was not the threat the rebels had told him) and later when he sides with Jyn to go to Scarif against orders.

As I said, these arcs are rushed and largely buried in the frantic pacing to hit all the plot points of the Death Star story, but they are there and they require no extrapolation to function. Rogue One has a problem with the fact that it tries to do too much too fast and in trying to set up all the plot points and characters, it stumbles in making their characterization seen. But we should not pretend that they aren't there, even if they are lackluster and fall short of their intended goal.

Rogue One ...

Gethsemani:

Let me go out on a limb here and defend Rogue One. I agree that the characterization is too rushed and that the attempt to show not tell us who the characters are only sort of half-works, because there isn't enough to show us in the already rushed set-up of the movie. However, there's characterization going on, it is just muddled and poorly handled, so let's get to it:

I don't get this opinion. Why exactly is the idea of character backstory more important than just covering their actions and letting their actions speak for themselves?

The original trilogy? Luke has near-zero backstory given. Neither does Han. You get the idea he fucked over some gangster, and given the lack of information you actually get the sense that he's not as talented as he says he is... which actually makes his evolution and shining as a pilot speak for itself.

You actually share Luke's incredulity and distrust when he effectively tells the audience just what they were demanding actually means in terms of value (Oh ... that doesn't sound like a lot -- wait, you can almost buy your own starship with that money!?), and why it looks like such a bum deal. Particularly when Han meets with Greedo, and basically you have a minute of exposition about how Han might actually be a murderous scumlord who is perhaps not the pilot he claims to be.

You get all that worldbuilding, all that incredulity, all that sense of inflated ego and deception, all that sense of inherent distrust and desperation of a penniless fugitive in 3 minutes ... and it was golden...

Sure I get the idea that this was expanded in latter movies ... but then again Rogue One ain't getting three movie treatment. If anything, I thought Rogue One gave too much backstory for how little it was actually going to be a focus.

The Dirty Dozen didn't need some epic backstory of the yarn to tell a fantastic story of savage brutality of the commandos, and high-fatality hijinks in wartorn Europe.

Just how awesome some of the combat scene footage and space battles were, it actually makes me sad that they spent half the movie trying to provide some form of backstory, when 3 minutes would have sufficed, and just let these jostling, unglamourous rebels, exiles, and goofballs actually fighting, surviving, and then gloriously dying.

Just a handful of names to add to a growing list of people dying for the cause, and otherwise lost to history save for one moment of making a difference in a galactic-sized civil conflict.

Addendum_Forthcoming:

I don't get this opinion. Why exactly is the idea of character backstory more important than just covering their actions and letting their actions speak for themselves?
[...]
If anything, I though Rogue One gave too much backstory for how little it was actually going to be a focus.

I think you misunderstand me. I believe Rogue One provides enough backstory and characterization for Jyn and Cassian (and to some extent Chirrut and Baze, Bodhi being the only one who's pretty blank slate), its' problem is that it isn't delivered effectively enough. This is a recurring problem with Rogue One, not just its' characterization, though and ties back into how it tries to juggle too much too soon. My first impression of Rogue One was "what the hell is going on?" because the movie was jumping to all these different planets with different people that did things that weren't at all connected. The first half of Rogue One is pretty much that drawn out, characters do things and plot points are hit but we don't really understand how it all ties together. Once Galen dies and Jyn's purposes crystallizes the movie gets really good. Which is why everyone fawns over the Scarif sequence, because that's when the movie finally gets a clarity and purpose the first half lacks.

I think the first half of Rogue One is fundamentally broken and you'd need a re-write to really make it work. Jyn and Luke both get similar amounts of time establishing their character (about 10-15 minutes), but we get more out of Luke's because ANH is well-scripted and well-edited. Similarly, Han gets as much establishing as Cassian, but once again we get more out of Han's because ANH is tighter then Rogue One. Rogue One's problem is not that there's too much or too little, it is just not very well written, executed or edited. The end result is that some people feels all the establishing is a waste of time (like you), others feel that these characters aren't established at all (like squilookle) and some people just think the entire first half is a general mess (like me).

This is one of the reasons I am intrigued by Rogue One. I think it is a good movie, but there's a sharp contrast in quality between the disjointed and stumbling first half and the flawless execution of the second half that somehow manages to get a pay-off from a set-up that the first half doesn't deliver on.

Gethsemani:

I think you misunderstand me. I believe Rogue One provides enough backstory and characterization for Jyn and Cassian (and to some extent Chirrut and Baze, Bodhi being the only one who's pretty blank slate), its' problem is that it isn't delivered effectively enough. This is a recurring problem with Rogue One, not just its' characterization, though and ties back into how it tries to juggle too much too soon. My first impression of Rogue One was "what the hell is going on?" because the movie was jumping to all these different planets with different people that did things that weren't at all connected. The first half of Rogue One is pretty much that drawn out, characters do things and plot points are hit but we don't really understand how it all ties together. Once Galen dies and Jyn's purposes crystallizes the movie gets really good. Which is why everyone fawns over the Scarif sequence, because that's when the movie finally gets a clarity and purpose the first half lacks.

I think the first half of Rogue One is fundamentally broken and you'd need a re-write to really make it work. Jyn and Luke both get similar amounts of time establishing their character (about 10-15 minutes), but we get more out of Luke's because ANH is well-scripted and well-edited. Similarly, Han gets as much establishing as Cassian, but once again we get more out of Han's because ANH is tighter then Rogue One. Rogue One's problem is not that there's too much or too little, it is just not very well written, executed or edited. The end result is that some people feels all the establishing is a waste of time (like you), others feel that these characters aren't established at all (like squilookle) and some people just think the entire first half is a general mess (like me).

This is one of the reasons I am intrigued by Rogue One. I think it is a good movie, but there's a sharp contrast in quality between the disjointed and stumbling first half and the flawless execution of the second half that somehow manages to get a pay-off from a set-up that the first half doesn't deliver on.

Ohhh, I get you now. Sorry. A lot of the critique I've seen is effectively; "There isn't enough shown about the various people involved..." andI always thought that there was way too much for characters that should effectively just be props around a central pair or trio of characters that should be fleshed out conclusively through examining their presence on screen. I think the movie had way too many people involved. I think it would have been great if the movie hammered home precisely why we shouldn't really give a fuck about these characters, only to actually make a name for themselves and turn the tide at the cost of their own lives.

For the life of me I felt that they were trying to make the rebels seem grittier and more reactionary to the times we, as an audience, actually live in. What with high profile cases of 'rebels' in places like Syria and Libya being religious fundamentalists, and all-around murderous fuckwits. ANH was ten years before the high profile nature of the Taliban was properly exposed, and two decades after the Cuban revolution.

But then they tried to make them likable and inspirational?

I mean, why?

I was kind of digging the darker interpretations of the Rebellion, about taking the gloss off it. Give it a real The Dirty Dozen treatment ... but then trying to make the characters sympathetic felt like a cop-out to me. Why not make them criminals, opportunists, and people whose only redemption comes in the form of the purely act-utilitarianism of their actions? Which might actually make for a cerebrally interesting (if overdone) concept.

Star Wars has always been about really childish notions of barebones morality, giving it additional moral complexity would be a welcome thing.

Take for instance the prequel trilogy ... if I was Palpatine, I'd just cut funding to the Jedi Temple. Force them to pay taxes. Take away their weapons permit. Force them to join the 'Senate Police Force' with high transparency if they wish to run around being a galactic police with licences to kill. If the Jedi resist, well what happens to people if they resist arrest? And it's not as though the Jedi would have an excuse to murder a politician simply saying; "Maybe we shouldn't have highly secretive religious police with licences to kill?"

What are they going to do? Kill me for telling them to pay their taxes or that they shouldn't be training children lethal martial arts and using them as soldiers?

Hell, not only that it might even better sell the idea of how desperate the Rebel cause really is by this point, if you did constrain its principally shown agents as being less than noble, desperate people.

And most of this 'misunderstood' nonsense characterization ... you cut that all the way back to simply find organic reasons why these people fight and die.

I get the jumbled planetary jaunts and the whole 'ragtag band of heroes' angle, but I feel as if this would have been better served if the first half of the movie just involved, say ... a planet being fought over by guerrilla rebel fighters, and an Imperial invasion force ... and you could draw mutual connections from that as the team is organised ... and then that sells the idea that as one of the few surviving outfits of resistance left are tasked with an important mission that for a variety of reasons they might elect to do.

Like say, the Rebellion offering money for the plans, or perhaps to clear their names, or regain honour, or vengeance for their fallen world, or because a turncoat imperial officer made a bargain that the Rebellion would help smuggle their family off-world, or religious persecution, or simply because it's the only way to get off a lost world ...

And that would have sold the whole "Rebels are desperately fucked..." angle even better, cut down production costs to increase screen time, or fill it with more action scenes, and better visualized the scale of Imperial oppression.

You know, showing their aggression on one world helping weave a narrative that this was happening everywhere.

Like that phenomenal final scene. Imagine if there were more scenes just like that at the start of the film as the team is collected?

TFA, because I'm pretty sure most of it's trailer was actually in the movie.

also because despite being a blatant copy of a previous Star Wars movie, it was still less predictable than Rogue One was.

Leg End:
*snipped by the power of the force*
Also this.

That moment.
Oh yes indeed.

I liked the film anyway, but in that scene Vader was an elemental force.
You finally got to see part of the reasons he was spoken about with dread.
The guys on the Tantive IV were probably relieved when that breach opened and they saw stormtroopers pouring through given what they'd just heard happened.

I clicky'd TFA because it's overall more cohesive, but the more I view them the more I admire and enjoy Rogue One. The prequels are write-off's, so really we're only comparing them to ANH - which really isn't a very good film when all's said and done, so neither JJ or Abram's are up against much.

PsychedelicDiamond:
Rogue One ends with everyone dying and it left me completely cold which means somewhere along the line you failed.

It managed to squeeze tears out of me, so despite all of its structural and character narrative--- er, 'minimalism' it certainly made me care by the time they all started dying.

I think TFA's the better film in almost every possible way (which isn't me saying one's good and the other's bad, btw), but I did love Rogue One's grit and gloom; from Cassian murdering fellow rebels, Jyn's father living a lie within the belly of the beast, and then the incredibly ignominious deaths of the squad themselves.

I never thought I'd see something like that in 'proper' SW, where it truly counts. Despite the film's aforementioned lack of character narrative screentime, there's a great depth of humanity throughout the film. The dissidents feel desperate, Galen's speech to Jyn is incredibly moving (at least to me) and certainly paints a more profound and engagingly complex picture of parents and progeny than anything else in the series (the Skywalker stuff's all just full on mythic), and Cassian's own speech before the battle/s feels earnt. These aren't heroes marked by destiny deciding the fate of a galaxy, these are small players driven to extremes who get a glimmer of a kind of personal redemption through inglorious sacrifices.

Just as the rebels are seen in a new, unflattering light, so is the Empire demythologised; after a couple of watches Krennic's become one of my favourite characters performances in the entire series (I'm generally only counting the original trilogy plus TFA). Arguably the whole film should've been closer to just being a drama between he and Galen, but I can kinda understand why they didn't go that route... Still, whilst TFA shows off the Empire in all its most bland, vapidly iconoclastic and gesturing fascistic pomp (Ren's a superb antagonist, but the depiction of the First Order is a joke), Rogue One shows the true enabling face of repressive tyrannies; the "banal evil" of middle and upper management.

He is self-serving, bitter, prideful, but also oddly sympathetic at times. He is incredibly, tangibly human, which makes the actions of the 'instruments of the Empire' (the legions of faceless troopers) all the nastier. Arguably all of that works because Mendelsohn's a fucking awesome actor, but the dialogue seems perfect for him and his character (bar one or two clumsy lines), and so kudos goes to the writers as well. The true evils of the Empire has never been better represented in the films before.

I love the originals, but they are just epic myth mongering. Rogue One felt incredibly real, giving uncomfortable complexity to this often boringly depicted battle between 'good' guys and 'bad' guys. War, rebellion, and tyranny are not fertile grounds for clear moral divisions, and Rogue One - if not truly exploring it - at least depicted it with real grit and texture. Sadly it decided to mostly have a blank slate as a 'lead'. Jyn is the least engaging/charismatic character on the entire team. Her story could've been great, and Jones is a fine actor, but Cassian would've arguably been a much better fit for lead. Or, extend the film's runtime and try to make a true ensemble piece.

So yeah... I find myself enjoying and admiring it more each time I see it, despite the final result of the risk being obscured in fairly substantial structuring and narrative issues.

On top of all that it's without a doubt one of the most beautifully and artfully shot SW films. Set/production design can't fill in for AWOL character narrative scenes, sure, but damn, some of Rogue One's interior set design is just staggeringly detailed and vividly realised. And whilst Krennic landing so far away doesn't seem to make any kind of logical sense... that opening scene looks phenomenal. SW, oddly enough, has had very little real directorial verve. I think, visually, Edwards is a better director than Lucas, JJ, and Kershner, who are all, for the most part, just incredibly functional.

Rogue One is, ultimately, a fascinating mess. A creative risk that wasn't taken as far as it truly needed. But for me it still stands as one of the most intriguing and vivid SW films of them all, and I'm glad we at least got a taste of a grittier, more complex SW 'verse.

The last third was an action sequence that never seems to end and maybe I'm getting old but at some point I find that sort of thing exhausting.

If you weren't engaged with the characters, then I can understand why you might feel that way. For me, given I was caring and engaged, it was an excellently paced finale. Better than TFA's, I feel - and an absolute world away from, for example, Michael Bay's hyperactive chaos.

/edit - oh, worth mentioning that I kinda hate its very end. Not only is Leia's CG distractingly poor, but the entire tone is jarring. That creepy smile and then the music tonally contradicts the loss of life of Rogue One followed by the horror of Vader's corridor scene. It exists only to try to lift the mood in A Star Wars Film. It also makes Leia out to be a bit of an uncaring arse, frankly.

undeadsuitor:
TFA. Because at least I cared about Finn, rey, and kylo.

Meanwhile I can't name a single character from rogue one except maybe the gay bounty hunter/Jedi couple.

And in what was designed to be a character driven heist movie that's a problem.

Since when were ?mwe and Baze a gay couple? I know of the speculation, but nothing in the film really states that.

Other than beating up Stormtroopers with a stick (seriously, what the fuck's up with the Empire's regulation trooper armour - it evidently completely sucks... they'd clearly be much better off with no armour and improve visibility and movement), I really enjoyed those two characters. Great casting, but as with most of the film's characters they needed more development.

Darth Rosenberg:
Since when were ?mwe and Baze a gay couple? I know of the speculation, but nothing in the film really states that.

what would be proof enough that they were gay? anal sex on camera?

i mean they were introduced at the same time, together. spend 100% of their screentime with eachother. converse like a married couple. and when one of them dies the other commits suicide.

dudes are gay I'm sorry

I said RO was the better movie...

So much of TFA was contrived, boring and just... "Wannabe" for lack of a better term...
TFA just wanted to be ANH, and that's it... Except it doesn't do a lot to explain itself...
Just ctrl+c, ctrl+v from ANH, but rub out any interesting character moments...

Sure, RO isn't much better in this regard... And the first 40 minutes or so are like watching a 12 yr old's handi-cam footage. (Read: all over the place)
Sure, we all know how it ends... But what it does to get there gives you once again the scale of what the Empire is running... "They've gone to this planet to get all these crystals..."
"What do they want *them* for?"
etc, etc...

And to the argument that says the flaws built in to the death star weren't reasonable...
Sure, we didn't get full context-

No, nevermind, I'm trying to make a point on the internet... I should know better...

Rogue One hands down. It should have been its own trilogy. TFA is a squeaky clean broad market appeal nostalgia wank, and I don't expect the next two to be any different.

undeadsuitor:
what would be proof enough that they were gay? anal sex on camera?

i mean they were introduced at the same time, together. spend 100% of their screentime with eachother. converse like a married couple. and when one of them dies the other commits suicide.

dudes are gay I'm sorry

No, I don't see their bond as being explicitly romantic because it's never stated or explored. There are various forms of intense bonds and love of comradeship, which is pretty much what I saw.

And if they are supposed to be romantically entangled, then it's little more than queerbaiting, given a straight version of those two would've had no need for coyness. Speaking 'in code' to the non-hetero in the space-year 2017 is bullshit - they work well as a closely bonded pair of world-weary warriors, and work terribly as a supposedly gay couple.

TFA made something ok that wasn't that great to begin with. Prequels were senseless wank, so best ignored. Have yet to see Rogue one though.

Rogue One managed to be almost as panderwanky as TFA, but without any of the latter's charm.

The best that can be said about this movie is "I applaud it for being different!".

TFA was a disappointingly derivative virtual remake of the original movie. But it was competently put together and has potential going forward.

Rogue One was just a thoroughly lackluster movie on every level, but wearing a Star Wars mask.

Darth Rosenberg:
And if they are supposed to be romantically entangled, then it's little more than queerbaiting, given a straight version of those two would've had no need for coyness. Speaking 'in code' to the non-hetero in the space-year 2017 is bullshit - they work well as a closely bonded pair of world-weary warriors, and work terribly as a supposedly gay couple.

Pretty much how I saw it too. If they were designed to be seen as a progressive onscreen gay couple, the movie did a terrible job of it. Then again, since those characters were specifically inserted to court a bigger Chinese viewing market, it seems unlikely Disney would give them any personality traits whatsoever that might appear controversial in China.

The Force Awakens was a good movie that borrowed too much from A New Hope, but is still the best Star Wars movie since Return of the Jedi and set up the stakes for Episodes VIII and IX whilst setting up new characters to develop in future installments.

Rogue One was, by contrast, boring tedious filler capped off with a great fight sequence. The characters aren't particularly likeable or memorable, the main villain (dude in the white outfit) is a joke (even Grevious is more memorable, and that's saying something) the story is predictable and the entire thing just seems like a colossal waste of time. That and CGI-ing Peter Cushing and young Carrie Fisher into the movie just feels...wrong.

Rogue One was, I think, the more original of the two. Even though I am still salty they basically steamrolled over all that Jan Ors and Kyle Katarn stuff (two of the few SW video games characters I can still remember from my youth and mildly give a shit about).

We'll see with The Last Jedi. I like Rian Johnson generally, so I have high hopes.

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