Rogue One: A Star Wars Story: Fanboy Apologetics



I can already tell that I made you mad just by the title.

But hear me out on this, please. This is because I think that Rogue One: A Star Wars Story is one of the most important films that easily demonstrates just how delusional fans of Star Wars can really be. However, I think it would be best for me to give a short review of what I thought of the movie overall.

In one sentence: “Rogue One: A Star Wars Story is a movie that exists, has some cool action stuff, and has something to do with Star Wars.”

I didn’t love nor hate this movie. What I saw was a 2 hour long series of images that were mildly entertaining to me at certain points. That’s pretty much it. That isn’t to say that I don’t have praises or criticisms of the film itself. But, I don’t think the movie is even remotely worthy of having a deep, intellectual conversation over.

So why am I talking about it at all?

Because people like these assholes ruined it.

Yes. The die hard fans of Rogue One have attacked any sort of criticism of this movie with the fervor of an army making their last, heroic stand against the villainous tide washing over them. It’s almost like they are defending a religion, having an answer to any sort of point someone brings up where something doesn’t make sense in the movie, doesn’t work, or is just dumb or boring. These die hards use some amazing apologetics to justify why they like the movie and why everyone else should too, even though no one cares.

But, I’m making a post about this because the fact that so many people have to come and vigorously defend the media fortress from anyone not deemed “one of the tribe.” This is something so baffling to me. I just don’t understand why someone MUST correct someone else for their lack of enjoyment and enthusiasm for something they enjoy of not enjoy. Once you think about it, it sort of does seem like a religion, tied to a certain movie or franchise. I’ve discussed this at length on the audience versus critic divide. But now, this seems to extend to fans of the exact same thing, like two squabbling factions over who can roll faster down a hill. It just seems stupid.

Back to Rogue One. Honestly, never before have I seen such defending of a movie from its fans than I have seen from this one. It seems they have a point to refute you for every single point you make, even if it makes no sense at all. To see a perfect example, go to film critics Redlettermedia and check out their videos on Rogue One as well as read the comments. But now, I’m going to list some of these arguments and try to show you how little sense they make (at least to me).

1. “You just don’t understand. Rogue One is a war movie. Of course you can’t connect to the characters.”

This argument is one of the worst that I have heard in defense of Rogue One. That’s right, the reason why you like that war movie is not because of the characters and how you emotionally connect to them. It’s about the sacrifice of life, duty, heroic acts of altruism, brotherhood, etc.

Here is an argument of this type from a commenter Redlettermedia’s Facebook page:

I feel like RLM missed an important point about the characters in “Rogue One” and the main theme in the movie, which is that, in war, individualism gives way to collective action and sacrifice. Individuals are disposable in the long run. We know just enough about the characters in order for us to like them and the movie hints that they all have deeper, more mysterious issues in their pasts, but it doesn’t focus on those issues, because the characters (unlike the usual Messianic heroes in Star Wars) are normal, flawed, morally ambiguous people who are engaged in a struggle against fascism. We all remember FDR and Hitler and Patton from WWII but, how many of us can name even the major soldiers in the Battle of Bulge for example, let alone any of the grunts?

SPOILER: That’s why the end minute long scene of Vader cutting down all those Rebels while they essentially play “pass the baton” with the Death Star plans is so effective. It sums up the entire theme of the film, at least for me.

I think the context argument is BS, if you read or watch any series out of order you run the risk of not understanding what’s happening. Empire wouldn’t make any sense w/o Hope.

I loved “Rogue One”. I’d rank it behind Empire and A New Hope as the third best Star Wars film.

Yeah, right on man! That’s why we love war movies. We don’t need to have emotional investment in the characters. We need to see these normal, flawed people engaged in this struggle between good vs. evil, right and wrong. We know enough just to like them and we go from there. Any war movie that does this is on the path to success!

Oh. Wait. No….Scratch that!

This is essentially a non-argument. What is a “war movie”? When most people hear that, they think of a movie about a war. Sure, there may be some existential themes but there are none that a specific requirement for being a “war movie”.

You can’t connect to Rogue One‘s characters because they aren’t written well. They have no depth, are uninteresting and, ultimately boring. Off the top of my head right now without looking, besides Jyn Urso and Mads Mikkelsen (whose character’s name is Galen (?) Urso), I don’t know the name of any other character besides ones we are very familiar with. I don’t even remember the name of the robot, and he was my favorite character!

The whole “war movie” thing is just an excuse to dismiss the bad and/or lack of writing for their characters. They don’t develop, they don’t grow, and they have nothing memorable about them. They only exist to serve the purpose of the plot. That’s it. Sure, YOU may like that, but that doesn’t make Rogue One this gritty masterpiece on par with Letters from Iwo Jima.

2. “Of course Rogue One has to be connected to the Star Wars franchise to make sense. Would you have liked Empire Strikes Back if they was no Star Wars movie before it?”

Yes. The Empire Strikes Back is a great movie in and of itself. Sure, something things may not have made sense without the original Star Wars. However, the characters in and of themselves have personality, likability, and depth to them. Also, the plot itself has its own beginning, middle, and end. Things happen in the classic climatic structure. This doesn’t happen with Rogue One. It just doesn’t stand on its own merits. Let’s look at some examples:

Do you have to see the movie before this one to enjoy it?


Or this one?


I think you are getting my point.

Yes, things need to be in context when part of a greater franchise but, for its OWN likability, it has to stand on its own. Rogue One, to me, doesn’t do that. I can watch Empire without having to see Star Wars to enjoy it.

3. “Rogue One is such a better movie than The Force Awakens. It’s much more real and visceral while The Force Awakens is childish and dumb.”

Rogue One was a much better Star Wars movie than The Force Awakens. Rogue One was meant for grown ups, while TFA was meant for kids. You can see this in the rating of each movie, the level of violence and espeically the leading lady of each flick. The leading lady of TFA is a childhood fantasy: being born pefect, and with super-talent. She can fly better than most experienced pilots and she is a better lightsaber fighter than a guy with skywalker DNA and years of dark side and jedi training. The leading lady of Rogue One is a real person: she has flaws and a troubled familiy history. She isnt perfect, in fact she has to work together with her fellow rebels on equal terms, and thereby defeat the empire in that battle. Rogue One was the better movie, since it was original (in terms of story) and meant for grown ups. TFA was a kids movie, a rehash of Episode 4, meant for restarting the franchise and getting LOTS of money.


I can understand not enjoying R1… but it took an orbital shit on TFA.


… for the same reason they both kind-of liked the VaJayJay Abrams’ Star Trek reboot: when you’ve gone a long time without something, and someone gives you at least a semblance of that thing, you go easy on it. This also explains how the Hershey corporation continues to make ‘chocolate’.
TFA is indefensible. If they’d released these two awful, forgettable movies in reverse order they’d have probably approached them the same way.
Basically, they hated the first movie too, but they didn’t realize it. Only their brains did.


Stop making finger paintings with shit. TFA is trash. If you like it you are shit for brains.

Yeah, I really bet you were thinking that when you saw the movie.

Again, whether or not The Force Awakens is good or not is beside the point. Rogue One just doesn’t have what it takes to be a good movie (nor a bad movie). It’s not contingent upon another movie’s likability.

4. “It fills an important plot hole in A New Hope.”

So important to make a whole movie out of it?


Sure, it could be an interesting story to tell, but was it something that needed to be told? Well, no. It’s like saying “Did we need to know who the Scorpion King was in Brendan Fraser’s The Mummy?” And the answer to that was no as well!

But then we wouldn’t have The Rock!

Again, this was something that Rogue One needed to overcome. It had a steep hill to climb to prove that it was a story worthy of being part of the cinematic universe. But, sadly, it couldn’t make it up that hill. This is why I’m more neutrally disappointed more than anything about this movie. It just didn’t bring enough to the table to justify its existence and relevancy to me. So, that’s why I find it bizarre that was so fervently defended.

I’ll Let You Decide

So, again, your view and interpretation is up to you. If you love this movie: great. If you think the arguments made by fans are actually compelling and work for you: great. But please, don’t be the missionary and have to convert people to your side on how much you love Rogue One or how good you think it is. Some people out there in the world will not like the things you do, and you have to accept that. Try not to engage in apologetics. For all of us to become better critics, we need to become more open-minded so we can engage intellectually and debate. When you have nothing but dogmatic passion driving you to fight against the other side just because they are the other side, it only breeds resentment. So, for everyone, try not completely lose your shit if someone likes or dislikes something you like. Discuss, debate, but there is no reason for near-borderline religious arguments over a movie.

The Verdict

I give Rogue One: A Star Wars Story a 6 AT-ATs fighting a small stealth force on tropical islands out of 10. It has some fun and amazing action sequences, beautiful design work, nice dark tone and atmosphere, and (with the exception of Donnie Yen’s character and the AT-ATs) used previous imagery and ideas to suit its needs in a sensible fashion. However, its serious lack of character development, boring plot, and uninteresting dialogue and progression really hamper this movie down for me. I really wanted to like this movie but I just couldn’t. But, I didn’t dislike it or hate it. I saw it. That’s all I really have to say. And that’s disappointing for a Star Wars movie.


Why are giant AT-ATs sent after to fight only like 15 people?!

Critics vs. Audience: Two Sides of a Pointless and Dangerous War

As the saying goes: “First the Artist. Then, the Critic.”

Oh God…what have you done???!!!

Okay, that may not be exactly how the saying goes (and I probably butchered that line from Mel Brooks’ History of the World: Part 1) but I’m pretty sure you understand the sentiment. As long as there has been art, there has always been some debbie-downer to come and criticize it.

After being prompted by the absurdity that is the debate between audiences and critics over something as trivial as Suicide Squad, I figured I would make post about this issue. I have noticed a recent trend going on within the entertain industries, particularly the movies industry.

And that is: Audiences really, REALLY hate critics. They hate them so much that there are some people that going to the lengths of wanting shut down review websites just because film critics didn’t like a movie.

Need I say more?

You often hear the terms: “Fuck the critics!” or “Who cares what the critics say?!” or whatever dismissing one-liner someone wants to make.

So why is this the case?

Why Do Critics Exist?

As I mentioned prior, criticism has existed as long as art has existed. Hell, not even just art but criticism has also existed as long as science, philosophy, and even human thought has existed. Throughout the pages of history, whenever an idea was presented or a piece of art showcased (whether that’d be music or theatre and later film), there would always be someone, somewhere out there that would say: “That’s a really dumb idea.” or “That seriously looks (or sounds) like shit.” In that regard, everyone is a critic. And while being a professional critic or someone who is a critic as their job is set to slightly different standards, the reasoning for their criticism sprouts from the same thought: either something was awesome and noteworthy or it was terrible. No difference at all.

BUT there is a distinction that is important to make in regards to film criticism. Very important. Not to sound snobbish but professional critics are different from audience members in that they are educated in a way to observe film in ways that audience members are not made to. Film critics are taught to look at aspects of a film that most people take for granted or totally disregard. They are told to observe how the lighting sets the tone of the film. They are told to see the progression of the plot and see if it makes sense with the given information that the movie provides. They are told to look at the motivations of the characters and if they are relatable to normal human beings in some way. And these are just some of the few (and basic things) that film critics are supposed to look at when seeing a movie. While, of course, they want to be entertained and enjoy watching the movie, the main element of being a film critic is this: they ask “Why should we care about this movie?” An obvious question but one that many people surprising don’t ask.

As someone in the audience, you are made to consume film like you would consume food, it’s just through your eyes. Usually one of three feelings come about after seeing a movie. And those are:

“Man, that sucked!”

“Eh. It was alright.”


That’s the extent that the movie industry wants its audiences to feel (except the “Man, that sucked!” part) as long as they are getting money.

“Bro, don’t think about it! Just shell out your ten bucks so I can show you how fast it can burn.”

Movie studios don’t want you to think too critically about movies, unless it’s to their advantage. If you are just a normal movie-goer, then you are viewed like animals, made to consume what those feeding you want you to consume and to not think way too much about it. This is because if you think critically about what you saw, you are going to tell your family, your friends, and anybody else interested in the movie. And, you will either praise the movie, or warn them not to see it.

This is the role that film critics serve today. When film became a humongous industry, critics filled the role of being the person telling you to go and see a movie because it is worth seeing or for you not to waste your hard earned money and time off your life. Film critics can be the darlings of a movie studio or its bane. Film critics can help increase or decrease sales just by giving their opinion. Most people like to spend their money wisely and not waste on something not worth it. Film critics serve as the spokesman of the public to a movie studio, which can be a good or bad thing depending on the film.

This is pretty much common sense. So what’s the problem? Why are people bashing film critics like this.

The answer is easy.

The fucking Internet.

Echo Chambers. Echo Chambers Everywhere!

You said it brother.

This might come as a shock to you but most people don’t like being told that something they like sucks. With the help of the ever-so-lovely Internet, people can now find spaces where their opinions and ideas are constantly reaffirmed and unchallenged. It’s rather ironic because the Internet literally holds infinite knowledge and information for one to learn things they never knew about or to learn and understand things outside of their own perspective.

As human beings, we like to connect to people with like ideas and sentiments because it gives us a sense of community. It makes us feel accepted and, most of all, it makes us feel right. Nobody likes being wrong. Sadly though, the Internet allows people to hide away from others with differing ideas and, instead, has allowed people to become coddled by this clique-ish communities who just keep reaffirming everything they believe. It’s almost similar to enabling.

Most of the time when I discuss a movie with someone (usually on the Internet) and it’s a movie I didn’t like, a lot of these people freak the fuck out like I’m attacking them personally. It totally confused me for the longest time. And then, I realized it’s just because these people have been told they are right for so long that when someone comes around and says “Hey, I don’t agree with you.”, then I assume it’s a reactionary response criticizing their intelligence or something. I can’t say the exact thought process but when logically thinking about it, that’s the conclusion I have come to.

And all of that arguing and insult-throwing came about…over a movie? Wow. But when you think about it, you can understand where it all comes from.

The Big Issue

Now, everyone is entitled to their own opinion of course. Opinions are like assholes: everyone’s got one. You can scream to high heaven about how someone else’s opinion is wrong and yadda-yadda-yadda. That’s great. More power to ya.

My problem comes when you start to censor people. That is where you cross the line.

This whole thing with Rotten Tomatoes just shows how much these echo chambers have gotten so much out of hand. The Internet has become a breeding pool for people to react in rage to anything, but most of all, things different from them and different from their own thoughts. People are literally wanting to silence anyone who dissents to their ideas and opinions just because it’s different from theirs. Now, I know that this an issue that extends across so many things, but in the context of criticism of film, censorship is the most pathetic and unproductive thing you can do. It’s just inexcusable. Everyone has a right to say what they think not matter how dumb or different it is. To censor that totally defeats the right to the freedom of speech. This shit that was going on with Rotten Tomatoes is totally inexcusable and downright dangerous. Art is a major component of designing the structure of our culture. It weaves in and out all ideas, beliefs, and traditions that we as a society hold and value. Art is a reflection of that, and film is the most widespread and consumable way for that reflection to be seen. When you censor something you don’t like, you take away a part of that structure until it all falls apart. Eventually, only a few ideas (or just one) is considered right. And if you have a different thought from that, it can lead to this:


Now, I don’t want to argue that censoring film critics leads to this kind of slippery slope. But as a nation with the right to the freedom of speech, when you censor certain things, whose to say that your thoughts or ideas or opinions wouldn’t be next on the chopping block?

So all in all, here’s what I want to say.

You have a right to an opinion. Everyone has a right to think differently than you. Don’t start fucking petitions to try and censor people because you don’t like their ideas. Learn to live and deal with it. Otherwise, eventually, YOUR opinion might be censored next.


Suicide Squad: No, It Didn’t ‘Kill’ Its Chances. It Was Born Bad.


So, I just returned from seeing Suicide Squad, the critical ugly stepchild of movies this year. This movie showed just how much contempt and internalized rage that audiences have for critics. On the popular reviewing website, Rotten Tomatoes, Suicide Squad received very poor reviews and critical reaction, with a current 26% Rotten rating from critics. Audiences, however, have received the movie more favorably. Right now as of August 9th, 2016, Suicide Squad sits at a 71% Fresh rating from audiences.The thing that interests me the most about this though is the absolute vitriol being flung from fans of DC movies or whoever the hell has beef with Rotten Tomatoes over their ratings of the DC Cinematic Universe. And please note that all of this was BEFORE the movie was released to the public. It got so bad and so ridiculous that someone actually made a petition to take down Rotten Tomatoes for the poor response from critics.

I’m seriously not kidding.


Yeah. Utterly ridiculous. But that’s a discussion for another day.

Alright, so what did I think of the movie? Was it as awful as the critics say? Is it truly a gem like the whiners crying foul and conspiracy say it really is?

Well my answer for to that question is this:

Suicide Squad is average.

Yup. Just average. Now to get into the meat and potatoes.

The Characters

For the most part, I liked the movie. Each actor portrayed their character with enough depth and personality that they kept my interest throughout it all, which is a pretty difficult task since there is a plethora of characters in this movie. The main standouts in this movie to me are Captain Boomerang (Jai Courtney) and Diablo (Jay Hernandez) (thought I’d say Harley Quinn or The Joker, did’ja?)

Courtney as Boomerang was absolutely hilarious in this movie. He was definitely the comic relief and he was just a joy to watch. And this is something I never thought I would say about a performance from Jai Courtney. I used to think he sucks as an actor, being pushed as a lead role that is cookie-cutter and that nobody at all wants (a-la Sam Worthington). However, his performance as Captain Boomerang shattered that notion from me. Now, I just think he needs to be cast in the right part and one where he can experiment and have fun. And it seemed he really had that in this movie. Jay Hernandez reinvigorated his career with the character of Diablo, a man wielding extraordinary power that completely destroys his entire life and family. Hernandez really brings out the feels acting as the former gangbanger with powers of pyrokinesis, showcasing his exploitation of that power and how it led him to lose everything, including him killing his own family from his rage. It was really touching and pretty sad. I very much empathized with the man because he literally had nothing left and he did not want to cause any more pain from his power. Stellar performance in my view.

Everybody else did what they needed to do. Will Smith was Will Smith as always, playing the dad with the troubled past just doing what he needed to do for his family. Yeah, yeah we have all seen that shit before nothing new to see. Margot Robbie as Harley Quinn was what we came to expect anyone who was trying to play the deranged girlfriend of the Clown Prince of Crime. Fun performance with a lot of dynamics going on, but it wasn’t anything shocking. Killer Croc was there and he did stuff. Rick Flag served to drive the plot. And there was a ninja, a guy who got his head blown up when he tried to escape, and Scott Eastwood. Yeah, and those people did stuff. Another standout performance was from Viola Davis as Amanda Waller. She played a cold, hard bitch who didn’t take no for an answer and would kick your ass if you crossed her the wrong way. She was such a badass and she is someone that I would not want to fuck with. Overall, most of the characters served their purpose and nothing more. Nothing wrong with it at all and they were enjoyable to watch.

You may hurt me real bad, but ya ain’t cool.

Their were two performances in particular thought that really irked me. And yes, one of them is Leto’s Joker. I don’t know what it is about his portrayal. I just didn’t like it. A lot of the things he did seemed way too forced. For instance, a lot of the growling noises he made like he was some kind of marmot was just bizarre and rather uninteresting. I think it was a way for him to seem cool or something but it just fell flat and was just weird. He also seemed to be a bit too much like a godfather of a mafia family rather than an insane psychopath who has zero regard for human life. I know that is a quality to his character to an extent but it just didn’t feel right to me. Luckily, he was in the movie for only about 15 minutes (with half of it in flashbacks) so it wasn’t too much of a distraction. But his performance wasn’t that great. Was it horrible? Nah. Was it good? Nah.

The worst portrayal though was the Enchantress. Most of it because the character is the main plot point and main villain. But with a character with such an intriguing aspect such as being a witch (an ancient Mayan or Aztec one…I think?), it boggles my mind as to how you make that character as boring and one-dimensional as possible. I felt like there was literally a golden opportunity here for the movie to have a really cool villain and possibly bring them into future DC movies. But nope, let’s just have bad guy (or lady in this case) do bad stuff cuz they bad! Cross off about 50 tropes right there.

In short, the characters are what make this movie, but a couple of performances bring it down a bit.

The Plot

Alright, let me try to explain this plot. There isn’t much to it but it’s rather nonsensical:

So, in order to have a contingency plan to fight against a being that is as strong or stronger than Superman and isn’t friendly, a section of the American government under Amanda Waller decides that it’s a good idea to gather a group of bad guys to fight against said being. Not sure how that would ever work out but that’s the plan. To demonstrate this plan, Waller brings with her to the Pentagon the most powerful bad guy of the group, Enchantress. Thinking that she can control Enchantress because she inhabits the body of a human being (forgot the name) and she controls her actual heart (some legend thing about controlling the heart controls the witch or whatever), Waller shows just how whole plan will work. Bad thing is: the plan didn’t work because, turns out, she couldn’t fully control Enchantress. Enchantress escapes from Flag, gets her the cremated remains of her brother (Oh yeah, and apparently Enchantress knows where everything is located in the world. She even got the plans for the Iranian weapons program.) and begins to try and take over the world because EVVVVVIILLLLL!!!!

Shhhhhh…don’t tell anyone that I’m only here to do bad guy stuff.

So the Squad now has to the take out Enchantress and save the world without killing anyone that doesn’t need to be killed or escape. That’s pretty much it.

While I understand that Waller planted like a bomb in their neck and threatened to kill them, the reasons why the Squad goes through with this plan doesn’t make much sense to me. All of a sudden, they just decide that they are friends and it’s good to save the world? Yeah…not buying it. They could have made this a little more interesting other than just threatening to kill them. How about kidnapping Deadshot’s daughter? How about threatening Harley Quinn with Joker’s execution (this is for if they had imprisoned him) since that’s all she seems to care about? How about forcing Captain Boomerang to get a job and not rob banks? Reason why I say this is that Waller says that she is forcing them to act against their own self-interests. How about actually giving weight to that rather than just simple threats of death? That’s just my view of it though. Also, these villains seemed to be pretty cohesive from the start. They didn’t attack each other or try to hurt each other in some way. “But they’re bad guys! That’s what Harley Quinn said!” If I was a villain, just because my commonality with someone else is that they are a bad guy too would not make me give more of a shit. But without that, I guess there’s no plot. This along with the barebones plot is what really hinders the movie. It’s just full of shit we have already seen before. Yeah, you have interesting personalities intermingled with it, but that doesn’t make the elements of storytelling any better. The plot was just dumb and boring. Nothing more.

The Technical Aspects

The score to this movie was ab-so-lute-ly fucking terrible. I don’t care what anyone says. Sure, it’s got a lot of songs that I like but I’m getting pretty sick and fucking tired of movies nowadays just putting popular songs in their movies as the actual score and calling it a day. And, somehow, they think this makes the movie cooler.

No, no it fucking doesn’t. This obnoxious bullshit needs to stop in movies. If it makes sense to the movie, then yes go for it (Star Trek Beyond did this perfectly.) Otherwise, limit it to one or two songs or none at all. I swear this movie’s score is just someone’s mixed CD they found underneath a bunch of boxes of old CDs in their basement. But hey, the artists who made those songs aren’t complaining.

Cha-ching bitches!

The lighting was really good. This was actually a good way for DC to do dark and gritty. The lighting worked so well with the environments and brought out a lot of colors that contrasted with the darkness. Great work there. See DC? This is the way to do it.

Cinematography was standard stuff, nothing special. Nothing more to say there.

Overall, the technical side of this movie was what you would come to expect from seeing a big-budget summer movie. Time to move along.

The Verdict

I give this movie 5 Joker Laughs out of 10. I think that this movie hit the ceiling of average really hard. There are some good elements to the movie and I had a good time overall watching it. But the good elements are not enough to save it from the mediocrity that the plot and the technical aspects brought to the movie. This is one of the those movies meant to draw audiences by its cast and characters rather than bringing the whole package. I would recommend it for a moderately enjoyable movie to watch. But if you are looking for a high-brow film, it ain’t here. It’s not as horrible as many critics say it is but it isn’t as amazing as a lot of mouth-foaming, raging fanboys want you to believe.