Jan. 9th, 2019

defrog: (Default)
I meant to post this ages ago, and I’m obviously late to this discussion, but with a Top 10 Films list about to be published, I figured I could post this for posterity to fulfil my obligations as both a blogger and a Star Wars fan.

So anyway, back in October I finally saw Solo: A Star Wars Story, which was a flop by Star Wars standards. My not so hot take:

1. I went in with low expectations – and it probably helped. As a straight-up big-budget space-adventure film, it’s actually pretty good on its own merits, especially if you can forget that the main character is supposed to be the Han Solo of the original Star Wars trilogy – which surprisingly isn’t all that hard, since Aldren Ehrenreich plays Solo his own way rather than try to do an Harrison Ford impression, which very likely would not have worked even if it was a good impersonation.

2. However, it IS part of the Star Wars canon, and the three main problems for me were (1) the Kasdans tried too hard to reference the original films (did we really need another scene of TIE fighters chasing the Millennium Falcon through a field of space debris?), (2) it’s often predictable as far as the established characters are concerned (Solo, Chewbacca and Lando), and (3) it doesn't really add much to the characters that we didn’t already know. Also, I’m one of those fans who feels that Han Solo didn’t need an origin story – part of Solo’s appeal has always been his braggadocio and exaggerating his own accomplishments, and the references to the Kessel Run work better when you don’t know how he did it.

3. On the other hand, Solo is a fun movie. It’s been criticized for being lightweight compared to The Last Jedi and even Rogue One, but since the original film succeeded as a fun space adventure, I can’t be too hard on Solo for attempting the same – surely there’s room in the SW canon for different kinds of films.

Maybe you can say Solo plays it too safe and doesn’t take chances compared to TLJ and R1, and that's true. But that’s how it is with prequels featuring established and beloved characters – yr beholden to the future to the point that you can't monkey around with it too much. Which is why I’d really rather that future standalones introduce new characters (as Rogue One did) and tell new stories that don’t simply fill in the blanks (as Rogue One also did, ultimately).

Indeed, the biggest problem with Solo isn’t that it’s fun, but that it doesn’t contribute anything to the canon apart from character backstory that, as I say, we arguably didn’t need. The original Expanded Universe that Disney eventually scrapped proved that there’s plenty of room in the Star Wars universe for innovation and new ideas – the new batch of post-Lucas Star Wars films have also proven that. By comparison, sticking with established characters feels like a step backwards to me.

4. I don’t think that’s why it flopped – I think that’s ultimately down to Disney’s overambitious decision to release it just six months after TLJ, and at a time when it had to compete with other major Disney franchise tentpoles. But I also think releasing a film featuring a younger version of such an iconic set of characters was always going to set the film up for disappointment.

So overall: I think it’s a fun film, and the second best prequel film, but of the Star Wars films to date, I would rank it pretty much below everything that isn’t the Lucas prequel trilogy.

Punch it,

This is dF

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