Rogue One: A Star Wars Story

Movie review by
Sandie Angulo Chen, Common Sense Media
Rogue One: A Star Wars Story Movie Poster Image
Epic but violent adventure offers diversity, role models.
  • PG-13
  • 2016
  • 133 minutes
 Popular with kidsParents recommend

Parents say

age 12+
Based on 40 reviews

Kids say

age 10+
Based on 98 reviews

We think this movie stands out for:

A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this movie.

Positive messages

Ongoing struggle between the forces of good and evil, light and dark. Also a nuanced message about how both sides can have immoral, unreasonable rules that people shouldn't blindly follow. Jyn's parents' story makes it clear that not everyone rebels in the same way. The importance of trust, friendship, courage, teamwork, loyalty, and doing the right thing are demonstrated again and again.

Positive role models & representations

Jyn is brave, tough, and more capable than most of the men around her. Cassian is a courageous rebel fighter who makes difficult choices to disobey orders when necessary. Two Imperial soldiers (one an officer, the other a pilot) choose to subvert the fascistic Empire's rules/orders. A warrior monk is blind, but that doesn't keep him from being a superb fighter. This is the most diverse Star Wars cast to date, with rebel fighters from various cultures. Like other Star Wars films, this one follows a person (in this case Jyn) with an extraordinary ability to unite and fight for a cause.

Violence

The movie has a high body count that includes both major and minor characters. Not a lot of blood or gore, but many to-the-death battles and shoot-outs, and a couple of uses of the Death Star's "planet killer" force that causes mass destruction. Quick glimpses of both dead stormtroopers and rebels, as well as dead civilians lying around. In one scene, a character narrowly saves a crying young child from certain death. In another, a young girl sees one parent get killed and the other taken; she ends up hiding for her life in an underground hiding space. A character uses mind control to hurt someone. A character is tortured with a huge creature that invades his mind to see whether he's telling the truth.

Sex

Two characters are obviously attracted to each other (they stare at one another longingly and speak in close quarters); they finally embrace in a climactic scene.

Language

"Traitor," "thief," "criminal."

Consumerism

On camera, nothing; but the Star Wars universe has tons of merchandise -- including branded/themed apparel, games, accessories, housewares, action figures, toys, and just about anything else you can imagine.

Drinking, drugs & smoking

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that Rogue One: A Star Wars Story is set just before the events of Star Wars: Episode IV: A New Hope, focusing on the rebel spies who managed to steal the plans for the original Death Star. Although the Star Wars franchise is popular with fans of all ages, this installment gets quite violent (somewhat more so than 2015's A Force Awakens), with scenes that make painfully clear the sacrifices and casualties necessary in a war against tyrannical evil. There's a high body count, as well as violence that's both large-scale (even the Death Star's early, limited attacks cause mass destruction) and up close and personal. On the other hand, the cast is very diverse, and there are many admirable role models, particularly brave, tough, capable Jyn Erso (Felicity Jones). And the movie's story repeatedly demonstrates the importance of trust, friendship, courage, teamwork, loyalty, and doing the right thing.

User Reviews

Adult Written bysarge123 December 14, 2016

Much more violent and upsetting than the other films.

Rogue One is an impressive film, but decidedly darker and grittier than the other entries in the Star Wars franchise. If people thought that The Empire Strikes...
Parent Written bybartc December 16, 2016

Great Movie - Too Violent For Kids

Definitely a step up in violence from the previous Star Wars movies. Great movie but would not recommend it for kids. I have to say that the previous Star Wars...
Teen, 14 years old Written byLunargirl December 18, 2016

Incredible, breathtaking movie

This review contains spoilers. You have been warned. When I stepped into the theater, I knew that Rogue One was supposed to be a war-ish movie. That movie genre...
Teen, 13 years old Written byrogerraccoon December 14, 2016
no language, and positive role models. If you have a mature 7-8 year old then they can probably see it.

What's the story?

Set shortly before Star Wars: Episode IV: A New Hope, ROGUE ONE: A STAR WARS STORY fills in an important bit of backstory from the original trilogy. The movie follows the Rebel Alliance's plot to steal the plans for the Empire's in-development weapon of mass destruction known as the Death Star. For the risky mission, veteran Rebel pilot Cassian Andor (Diego Luna) and his trusty sidekick K-2SO (voiced by Alan Tudyk), a reprogrammed Imperial droid, are commanded to take along a former prisoner. Jyn Erso (Felicity Jones) is the estranged daughter of the Empire's head engineer (Mads Mikkelsen), and the idea is that her presence on the mission will help draw him out and force him to give up the sought-after schematics. But things don't go as planned as the Death Star's mastermind, Commander Krennic (Ben Mendelsohn), begins to show off its destructive potential in order to impress both the Emperor and Lord Vader.

Is it any good?

This is the Star Wars story you were looking for but may not have even known it. For decades, devoted fans have wondered why the Death Star had a design flaw that the Rebel Alliance could even think about exploiting. Rogue One answers that question. While there have been plenty of rumors about the characters and events in this stand-alone "bridge" between Episode III and Episode IV, the reality is that this story is very much in keeping with that you'd expect from that precarious moment when the Empire was basically at its most powerful. Jones and Luna are wonderful as Jyn and Cassian, both of whom have complicated pasts. In some ways, they're the opposite of Leia and Han, with Jyn the roguish heroine with a spotty reputation and Cassian the tried-and-true Rebel with a Cause. Their banter isn't quite as funny as Leia and Han's, but for that there's K-2SO , who drily states the probability of success in any given situation -- or why he thinks partnering with Jyn is a bad idea.

The supporting characters in Rogue One are a refreshingly diverse ensemble, with Chinese martial artists Donnie Yen and Wen Jiang playing blind warrior monk Chirrut Imwe and his assassin bestie, Baze Malbus. They're a fierce but comedic pair of old friends who have each other's backs. The Night Of breakout star Riz Ahmed plays an Imperial pilot who wants to help the Rebellion, and veteran actors Mendelsohn, Mikkelsen, and Forest Whitaker have pivotal roles on both sides of Dark and Light. The odds are against this lot of revolutionaries from the start, and the movie's epic battle sequences are the most violent of any Star Wars installment, sometimes bringing to mind the final Hunger Games films. The violence may be too much (and the Shakespearean-level of deaths too sad) for the youngest moviegoers, but otherwise this is a well-executed piece of Star Wars lore.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about how the amount of violence in Rogue One compares to what you've seen in other Star Wars movies. Do scenes of explosions and space battles affect you differently than those of close-up deaths? Why do you think that is? What makes more of an impact -- violence or loss?

  • Who are the movie's heroes? What makes them heroes? Are Jyn and Cassian role models? How does the diversity in this movie compare to what you've seen in other Star Wars movies? Why is that something worth paying attention to?

  • How do the characters demonstrate courage and teamwork? Why are those important character strengths?

  • Talk about the Star Wars series' ongoing themes of trust, loneliness, good vs. evil, and father-child relationships. Why are they so integral to this series? How do they play out in this particular movie?

  • How well does Rogue One address unanswered questions from the original trilogy?

Movie details

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