It’s been a month since Rogue One has graced the big screen and wowed audiences around the world. In that time I have watched this new Star Wars film three times. I believe because it has been out so long this is the perfect chance to really see how it stacks up against The Force Awakens. Of course there will be spoilers so if you’re someone who still hasn’t seen Rogue One yet please do not read any further.
The Main Characters:
In the last two Star Wars movies there have been two female leads. In The Force Awakens there was Rey. In the movie we first find her as a scavenger living off of scraps. She’s been abandoned on Jakku but she never gives up hope that her family will come back for her. She quickly displays her toughness when she takes down Unkar Plott’s thugs within seconds. Then she grows in awesomeness when she flies the Millenium Falcon better than Han Solo himself which is saying something. She’s a mechanic. And most of important of all, she has the force! I remember watching The Force Awakens for the first time and being mind blown when I found out that she was basically the next Luke of the Star Wars franchise. I also love that she never depended on getting rescued but got herself out of sticky situations. And she’ll only become cooler considering that in the next movie we’ll finally find out who her parents are.
In Rogue One there was Jyn. From the commercials and trailers I thought she was going to be another awesome heroine. And she had the potential to be just as cool as Rey. She came off as tough when she took out those rebels in the very beginning on Wobani. She could take care of herself very well during the dispute on Jedha. After that however she never got to really show off her skills again. Cassian was always saving her, her story arc wasn’t that special, and yes, she became the leader of the small rebel group to retrieve the Death Star plans but not really. Cassian was the brains behind the whole operation.
I mean why couldn’t she have helped fight those Death Troopers and Krennic when they were climbing the data tower? If she had Cassian probably wouldn’t have gotten shot. And why couldn’t she and Krennic have gone head to head at the end? I would’ve loved seeing her, after a fierce fight, push Krennic off of the top of the tower and watch him fall as if to say, “That’s for my parents.” That of course didn’t happen and she instead got saved by Cassian again! Yes she transmitted the plans but besides that the only reason why she was important is because she was Galen Erso’s daughter. Rey is clearly the better heroine of the two movies.
Now alongside Rey is Finn. Finn is a great character. He is the first stormtrooper in a Star Wars film to have gone good. That makes him such a different character than anyone in the Star Wars movies. He’s immediately lovable and is hilarious. I loved his growth in the movie. He went from being a man fleeing from the terrible evil of the First Order to co-leading a mission alongside Poe to destroy Starkiller Base. And he fearlessly fought Kylo Ren at the end and did a pretty good job against him. I can’t wait to see what he’ll be up to in the next Star Wars.
Then in Rogue One there was Cassian. He’s my favorite new addition to the Star Wars universe. To me his story arc in this new Star Wars film was way more heroic than Jyn’s was supposed to be. I mean when you first meet him he was a cold blooded rebel intelligence officer who was willing to do anything without question for the rebellion. Halfway through the movie he has the chance to kill Jyn’s father, Galen Erso, but his conscience finally prevails. It’s a crucial moment that eventually influences him to get that ragtag band of rebels together to aid Jyn on her mission to steal the Death Star plans.
Besides Chirrut his backstory is very interesting to me. I hope that sometime in the future he’ll appear in another movie so we’ll get to know a little more about the rebel captain. Yes I love Finn, he’s a great character, but Cassian is just better. He’s more interesting and I really, really wished he hadn’t died so we can see more movies with him.
This category has both movies tied when it comes to the main characters. Rogue One: 1 pt. The Force Awakens: 1 pt.
This category is pretty straightforward. In The Force Awakens there was Han, Chewbacca, and Poe barely. Han and Chewie were already well known from the original trilogy so they weren’t anything new in Star Wars. Poe wasn’t supposed to live when they first started making the movie so of course his story wasn’t thoroughly developed. In Rogue One there was K-2SO, Chirrut, Bodhi, and Baze. The co-stars in Rogue One were so much more dynamic and thoughtfully written. None of their stories were rushed and they all brought a different skill to the team.
Rogue One clearly wins this category. Rogue One: 2 pts. The Force Awakens: 1 pt.
Droids are a large part of Star Wars. Ever since The Phantom Menace which was the first Star Wars movie I saw I have loved C-3PO and R2-D2. Even though they’re robots they are just as important as Luke or Darth Vader. The last two Star Wars have introduced a couple of amazing new droids.
In The Force Awakens there was BB-8. I remember when I first saw BB-8 I was disappointed because I thought that he was just another R2 except he had a soccer ball body. BB-8 ended up being such a cute, wonderful droid that he is definitely one of the highlights of the film.
Now Rogue One had K-2SO. A droid like BB-8 or C-3PO would’ve been out of place. His cold personality and bluntness made him the perfect droid to be part of the group. He was also the only character in the movie that made me laugh which was needed to cut through the intense scenes.
For me BB-8 is a better droid because at the end of the day BB-8 is a tangible droid. K-2SO is not. The Force Awakens wins this category. Rogue One: 2 pts. The Force Awakens: 2 pts.
Star Wars is known for their iconic villians, presumably Darth Vader. The last two Star Wars films have presented a few new villains to the Star Wars Universe. This category has another clear winner.
Kylo Ren, besides Darth Vader, is my favorite villain in Star Wars. First of all his outfit is so cool. I love his short ragged, one shoulder cape, his silver lined mask, and his very awesome lightsaber. He also had one of the most surprising moments of The Force Awakens when he took his helmet off and instead of looking like some sort of evil, twisted being like Palpatine he actually looked human. Secondly his story is so interesting because unlike other villains in Star Wars he’s still developing. He killed Han Solo (which is still heartbreaking to this day) and, according to Supreme Leader Snoke, in the next movie he will be completing his training. That means he’ll only get scarier and more evil. I am very excited for this next Star Wars film.
Hux is cool because even as powerful as Kylo Ren is he’s the general of the First Order. It’s terrible because he was the one to come up with the idea to destroy the New Republic. One of my favorite planets in Star Wars is Coruscant so the part where Starkiller Base blows it up is very sad. I’m afraid to see what terrible new ideas he’ll concoct in the next movie.
Captain Phasma is so awesome! First of all she’s the first and only female villain to be in a Star Wars movie. And she is so cool. I love her cape that only goes over one shoulder and her chromium armor is just beautiful. Unfortunately she didn’t have much of a role in The Force Awakens but thankfully she did live so I can’t wait to see her again.
Director Orson Krennic
In Rogue One there was Director Krennic. He was okay. He’s not very diabolical. He is ruthless but I wouldn’t call him truly evil. He’s just a tool of the Empire and Tarkin, who to me was the real villain of the movie, showed him that by taking command of the nearly completed Death Star. He’s not very memorable in the list of villains in Star Wars. The only thing that makes him cool is his squad of Death Troopers which were undoubtedly scarier than him and his beautiful white cape. If he didn’t have those two things he just might be the worst villain in Star Wars.
The Force Awakens definitely wins this category. Rogue One: 3 pts. The Force Awakens: 3 pts
This category has another clear winner. The Force Awakens has a good story. It introduced us to great new characters and situations but this movie was basically a prologue. On top of that it relied heavily on plot points of A New Hope. Rogue One was original, did a superb job of tying the movie to A New Hope, and it was a complete story.
Rogue One clearly gets the point. Rogue One: 4 pts. The Force Awakens: 3 pts.
Music is a central piece of Star Wars. Without that beautiful score John Williams created for A New Hope back in 1977 Star Wars might not have become as legendary as it is now. Michael Giacchino did a great job picking up the essence of John Williams’ score while giving Rogue One a different feeling than other Star Wars movies. I still love The Force Awaken’s music more because as good a job Giacchino did John Williams is still the master.
The Force Awakens ties again. Rogue One: 4 pts. The Force Awakens: 4 pts.
This is the final category so after this there will be a winner. I loved The Force Awaken’s cinemotagraphy but it was rather basic and straightforward. The best shot in the entire movie to me was when Rey, Finn, and BB-8 are running across the sand on Jakku with those awesome explosions happening in the background and the tie fighter chasing after them. That was a special moment that stuck in my head since the first official trailer. Unfortunately that was the only mind blowing shot in the whole movie. Rogue One had multiple mind blowing shots that wowed me. Here are just three amazing shots that had me stunned in the movies.
There was the Death Star eclipsing the sun while blowing the city on Jedha into oblivion. That was a terrifying moment. The giant AT-ACT appearing out of the smoke was amazing because it showed how terrifying the Empire is in the rebel’s eyes. And then finally, when the Death Star appears at the end of the movie like a horrible planet. That was another beautiful shot that stuck with me since the trailer.
Rogue One clearly wins this category. Gareth Edwards did such a great job directing Rogue One I really hope he makes another Star Wars movie. Rogue One: 5 pts. The Force Awakens: 4 pts.
So the winner is…Rogue One!
The Force Awakens put up a good fight but Rogue One just managed to edge it out. I hope the next Star Wars is better than both of these films combined.