I feel the conflict. It is much as Luke was conflicted about the good and dark sides of the force. Not really. It’s nothing like that. I’m not really sure, though. I do know that Rogue One was better than episodes 1-3. I do know I didn’t like it quite as much as episodes 4-6. My conflict comes in weighing it with episode 7, The Force Awakens. For the purposes of this article I had the help of thoughts from a group of like-minded friends, without whom I would have never heard of things everyone really, really needs to know about like the phrase “totes adorb” or the miracle product, Unicorn Gold.
On the one hand, there is good reason to consider RO better than FA. RO saw a more realistic, inspirational, and original plot. It also works superbly as an introduction to episode 4 and gives it the added twist of acknowledging that the rebel-sympathizing builder purposely placed the strategic flaw in the Death Star. The fact about the flaw in the Death Star being added on purpose by the designer will surely effect our viewings of A New Hope forevermore. I won’t spoil it for those who haven’t seen it yet by revealing that RO ends with what I view as two amazing grand finales. There is a final, huge, and extremely well-constructed battle scene both on the ground and in the air. So great is it that it rivals every other battle scene in the entire pantheon of classic Star Wars battle scenes. And I won’t say that the very end is truly epic with He-Who-Must-Not-Be-Named singlehandedly and easily blazing through a hallway filled with terrified rebel soldiers. I would never give spoilers like that. Never!
On the other hand, there is good reason to consider FA the better of the twain. FA definitely had amazing heart, depth of the characters, and seamless plotting going for it. Unfortunately, RO was somewhat lacking in heart and depth of characters with its emphasis almost entirely on the action. The constant jumping around from event to event in the earlier half of the movie meant that there was little character development and thus much less connection to them as might have been. RO was about two hours and 14 minutes. This seems long, yet it still felt like some crucial character development and dialogue were cut out. I would hate for them to have taken out anything in favor of replacing it with character moments. Instead they should have added 30 to 45 minutes to the movie to make us care about the characters, make us cry and laugh and get angry with them. As it was, the emotional impact on the audience was not as great when one of our heroes died.
But like I said, I’m conflicted. I can say for sure, though, that RO was an excellent addition to the franchise and does the legacy of Star Wars great honor.