My husband and I went to see Rogue One on opening night, and I'm afraid I was less than thrilled. When we went to see The Force Awakens, I had low expectations. I hated Episodes I, II, and III, and Disney has never been high on my list of good movie makers. To my surprise, I thoroughly enjoyed the movie. Yes, it was derivative of The New Hope, but it had great characters. I loved seeing Hann and Leia again. (I was shocked and saddened by Carrie Fisher's death this past week.) I cried when Hann was killed. The new characters Rey and Finn I also loved and look forward to seeing more of them in Episode 8.
Because of The Force Awakens, I approached Rogue One with higher expectations, and I was disappointed. Yes, the special effects were pretty great, but I have never cared very much about special effects. To me the most important element of any story is characters. If I don't care about the characters, I don't care about anything, and Rogue One did not make me care about any of the characters beyond the most superficial emotions. When they all die in the end, which should be a poignant moment, I shrugged and didn't feel a thing. I cry very easily in movies, and as I said, I wept when Hann died. Not even the slightest moisture in the eyes for Jyn, Cassian, or any of the others.
This was regrettable. Many of the characters had the potential to be truly great characters, but the movie spent too much time of special effect and not enough developing any of them. We never really understand why Jyn was in prison or why her life took such a disastrous turn after she was rescued as a child. We never really understand the relationship between Jyn and her foster father. Her mother's death was simply dumb. The father was sacrificing himself to give them time to get away, and instead of making sure her child was safe (which is what any mother would actually do), she does something suicidal stupid with no chance of success to try to rescue him. There are hints of Cassian having committed bad acts in the name of the cause, which could add a lot of depth to his character, but it was never developed. The minor characters weren't any better developed.
Because I cared about none of them, their success in getting the plans meant next to nothing to me, and their deaths even less.
Overall, I think this was a missed opportunity for the franchise. The movie had a lot of potential, and it simply fell flat.
If you've seen Rogue One, share your thoughts in the comments. If you agree with me, let me know. If not, why am I wrong?