The Second Best Star Wars Movie…

The worst thing about the movie is this poster

Finally saw it, and I have to say Rogue One is pretty much the best Star Wars movie to hit the screen since the credits rolled on Empire Strikes Back.  It manages to prove that it is possible to do several things that have evaded the film franchise since the introduction of ewoks:

  • Apparently you can make a Star Wars prequel that doesn’t suck or introduce gaping plot holes.
  • You can do homage to the 1977 Star Wars without cannibalizing the plot.
  • The protagonist doesn’t have to be a superhero in training.
  • The Jedi don’t have to be all that.
  • You can write a Star Wars film for adults.
  • Aliens don’t have to be CGI Muppets.

So, good film, go see it. However, it does continue another Star Wars tradition. Just as in the prior films, Rogue One carries its own weight of questionable politics. From an article by Ilya Somin:

But while we see what the rebels are fighting against, we have almost no sense what they are fighting for. What kind of regime does the Rebel Alliance intend to establish if it wins? […] It is almost as if the rebels simply assume that, if the Empire is bad, virtually any alternative government is likely to be better. Such thinking has often proven dangerous in the real world. The Russian, Chinese, Cuban, and Iranian revolutions are among the many revolts against oppressive governments that ended up installing regimes even worse than those they supplanted.

Realistic, but troubling. Perhaps more troubling:

Droids are at least as intelligent as humans, and clearly feel emotions, such as hope, fear, and pain. K-2, the main droid character in Rogue One, has personality, free will, and a mind of his own to an even greater extent than C-3PO and R2-D2. Yet neither rebels nor imperials see anything wrong with treating sentient droids as essentially the slaves of biological beings.

Much like many of the American Founding Fathers, the rebels are simultaneously freedom fighters and slave owners. Unlike George Washington and Thomas Jefferson, the rebels don’t even seem to realize that there is a contradiction between these two roles.

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