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deltaKshatriya

The Han Solo Movie and the Star Wars Franchise's Direction

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This came up in the other thread, and I figured this would be an interesting discussion, more lightweight than Battlefield V's controversy. I recently saw the Han Solo movie actually and I enjoyed the movie, with my only major complaint being that the actor who plays Han Solo could've been better cast. But it was still a fun film, and I actually thought it was better than Episode 8 (which I also liked).

Surprisingly enough, the movie itself has not done very well at the box office and will barely break even. It's also the least successful Star Wars movie ever. 

Now there can be many reasons for this. The more popular reasons stated have been that there were a ton of releases at the same time and that franchise fatigue was in effect, since the last Star Wars movie released just 6 months ago.

Some have also stated that it's simply the poor decisions of Disney being reflected in ticket sales. 

In general this has made for an interesting debate on the 'new' Star Wars franchise and creative decisions made, etc.

So what did people think of the Solo movie? What about the new franchise in general?

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I thought Solo was .... fine. It was a perfectly serviceable, competent sci-fi adventure with likeable characters and some good set pieces.

It didn't feel like Star Wars at all, and every time they tried to remind me it was Star Wars, it took me out of the movie and generally didn't work.

The big spoiler reveal (are we talking about that?) was kinda fun, but would have made no sense to anyone who hadn't watched Clone Wars or Rebels. 

I thought the cast was good; Alden Ehrenreich didn't feel like Harrison Ford or Han Solo at all, but charming and likeable nonetheless. I kept thinking of him as a different character

Donald Glover: highlight of the movie... give us a Lando movie!

I wasn't keen on the sassy droid, which is a shame because I love Phoebe Waller-Bridge and Fleabag is a work of darkly comic genius.

Overall, it felt safe. The Last Jedi had its flaws, mostly around pacing, but at least it tried to do something interesting. 

As for the Solo box office, well, this was a movie people didn't really want. No one outside of Disney thought a Solo movie would be a good idea. It's hardly surprising that people didn't go see it. 

The franchise in general? 
Well, apparently we're getting an Obi-wan movie, a Boba Fett movie and a tv show. In addition to episode 9, and another 2(?) trilogies. And that's too much Star Wars. Star Wars movies should feel rare and special and now they're like MCU movies. I think they should take a 5 year break once ep.9 is finished. 

 

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I really didn't like Episode 7 and Episode 8.

I thought they have very poorly made characters, and poorly written scripts.

After I came out of episode 7 disappointed, I saw "the Last Jedi" halfheartedly to see if it was a one time fluke.

Since that movie's production seemed very lazy to me. Mainly: Lack of continuity in the script. I lost faith in the franchise. 

In the past when a new Star Wars movie came out I would think to myself: Oh cool! This is going to be a high quality sci-fi opera.

But after the last 2 movies my brain says: Hmmm.. Another Star Wars movie... This is going to be another low quality money-grab. ( Sort of like the reason I didn't see the last Hobbit movie despite my previous respect for Peter Jackson's brand )

To me, the Star Wars prequels were about continuity. It was amazing to see how they took a light hearted space opera ("a new hope"), and carefully crafted a backstory around it. (I really liked the prequels). The recent movies lost me when they threw all that out the window. For example: What value was there in killing Snoke so quickly. Do you think it had a great plot/character reason? I just get the feeling that the writers didn't know what to do with the character, and said "meh... let's kill him for shock value". It wasn't artistic like Ned Stark because they never let us develop feelings (positive or negative) towards Snoke. I really like the way they started building Kylo-Ren as a Darth Vader wannabe teenager. Then in the 8th movie, it wasn't convenient. So he just changed without explanation. They didn't show the character grow (like with Anakin Skywalker). He just changed because it was convenient for the script. And the examples go on and on.

It just seems like the writers of the lore got lazy. It's genuinely hard to take such an established universe and keep building it. It's the writing equivalent of playing "Jenga". But that was the appeal of Star Wars for me.

So when Solo came out my expectations were like: Here's another cheap money-grab ins the spirit of "Transformers 12" movie or "Fast & Furious 25". I might see it some time as an in flight movie. But I'm not really curious about it (same way I wouldn't eat a Big Mac unless it's already there [free food tastes better 🙂 ] ).

 

 

 

 

 

 

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I thought Star Wars 7 and 8 sucked so bad I didn't bother seeing Solo. This is from someone that stood in long lines to see the original Star Wars 4 times way back when it was first released.

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On 6/18/2018 at 5:14 PM, ChaosEngine said:

The big spoiler reveal (are we talking about that?) was kinda fun, but would have made no sense to anyone who hadn't watched Clone Wars or Rebels. 

That reveal made me think that they're setting up for an Obi Wan Kenobi movie. That was a genuinely cool part of the movie though.

On 6/18/2018 at 5:14 PM, ChaosEngine said:

Donald Glover: highlight of the movie... give us a Lando movie!

Donald Glover was amazing. He definitely did carry the movie a lot more than the guy who played Solo did.

On 6/18/2018 at 5:14 PM, ChaosEngine said:

As for the Solo box office, well, this was a movie people didn't really want. No one outside of Disney thought a Solo movie would be a good idea. It's hardly surprising that people didn't go see it. 

This seems to be the most pointed out aspect: a Han Solo movie never made much sense. His background didn't really matter that much. He was a smuggler in the original trilogy. That's all that mattered. Contrasted with something like a Boba Fett movie (or even a Jango Fett movie for that matter), and there's a ton to be explored there, especially given his background after Mace Windu decapitated his dad. 

That being said though, it's still somewhat surprising, since I actually thought it was a fun film. 

On 6/18/2018 at 5:14 PM, ChaosEngine said:

The franchise in general? 
Well, apparently we're getting an Obi-wan movie, a Boba Fett movie and a tv show. In addition to episode 9, and another 2(?) trilogies. And that's too much Star Wars. Star Wars movies should feel rare and special and now they're like MCU movies. I think they should take a 5 year break once ep.9 is finished. 

Yes, according to this, there's at least two new trilogies in the work, and that 5 year break looks unlikely. There's a lot they could potentially explore, and I'm curious to see which routes they take. Star Wars, unlike MCU, is way bigger in terms of its universe. If they can make genuinely good stuff, I say go for it. Of course, it may lead to franchise fatigue.

On 6/19/2018 at 5:47 AM, SillyCow said:

After I came out of episode 7 disappointed, I saw "the Last Jedi" halfheartedly to see if it was a one time fluke.

Episode 7 was fun in my opinion, but played it relatively safe. It went for a familiar set up to the first Star Wars movie. Episode 8 is where I thought that they finally decided to take some risks, of which admittedly, not all of them paid off, but much of it did. As @ChaosEngine said, it had its flaws, but it tried a lot of new things. 

On 6/19/2018 at 5:47 AM, SillyCow said:

Since that movie's production seemed very lazy to me. Mainly: Lack of continuity in the script. I lost faith in the franchise.

I'm very curious what you mean by this. What do you mean by lack of continuity and lazy production?

On 6/19/2018 at 5:47 AM, SillyCow said:

In the past when a new Star Wars movie came out I would think to myself: Oh cool! This is going to be a high quality sci-fi opera.

And I think that this is the major difference between me and many others who 'grew up' with Star Wars. I technically grew up with Star Wars, but those were the prequels when they came out. To me, the perceived flaws of the new movies are not so different from those the original trilogy if I tried to get really nitpicky. 

On 6/19/2018 at 5:47 AM, SillyCow said:

To me, the Star Wars prequels were about continuity. It was amazing to see how they took a light hearted space opera ("a new hope"), and carefully crafted a backstory around it. (I really liked the prequels).

I absolutely hated the prequels, except for Episode 3. Episode 3 was a good movie that would've been great if Episodes 1 and 2 weren't such a mess. At minimum I thought that the new trilogy seemed far better than the prequels, except maybe Episode 3.

On 6/19/2018 at 5:47 AM, SillyCow said:

The recent movies lost me when they threw all that out the window. For example: What value was there in killing Snoke so quickly. Do you think it had a great plot/character reason? I just get the feeling that the writers didn't know what to do with the character, and said "meh... let's kill him for shock value". It wasn't artistic like Ned Stark because they never let us develop feelings (positive or negative) towards Snoke. I really like the way they started building Kylo-Ren as a Darth Vader wannabe teenager. Then in the 8th movie, it wasn't convenient. So he just changed without explanation. They didn't show the character grow (like with Anakin Skywalker). He just changed because it was convenient for the script.

On the contrary, I thought that killing off Snoke served to build Kylo Ren as a potentially irredeemable character. I thought it sets up a potentially great Episode 9. That and I never really saw Snoke as much more different than the Emperor in the original trilogy, in the sense that he wasn't particularly central to the plot. We knew next to nothing about the Emperor as well in the Original trilogy. 

Again, I should reiterate, that while I did certainly like watching the original trilogy, I don't have nearly as strong a connection with it as many who grew up with it do. That and from my perspective, the original trilogy isn't THAT amazing as it may be for others.

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Posted (edited)

Continuity meaning you set something up and it pays off later:

Obi one tells Luke about his powerful Jedi father --> Darth Vader is his father in the next movie.

Darth Vader is an all powerful being --> Turns out he was just an corrupted romantic (corrupted through unjustified arrogance). 

Now compare that with:

Kylo Ren is the strongest badass in the jedi galaxy (we haven't met Snoke yet) --> Ray beats him the first time she holds a light saber ( but she never shows any godlike powers before or after).

Compare that with the fact that Obi-One beat the more naturally talented Vader in "Revenge of the Sith", simply because Anakin developed to be an annoying arrogant !@#$% who refused develop his jedi mastery.

Do you think Ray's instant road to skill was there because they wanted to tell a complex story about character development or because they were lazy, and "She is the good guy, so she needs to win and we don't have time to explain it".

That scene is self contained within itself. With no relation to anything that happens before or after. 

Let's examine what happens later: If Ray was so powerful that she could crush Kylo Ren in the first movie without any training: Why was she overwhelmed by Snoke *after* she was trained by Luke Skywalker. If Snoke is so much more powerful then her, why was Kylo Ren (who was beat by untrained Ray) able to dispatch him so trivially? And then: Who are those elite red guards, and why would they be any match for the people that just killed Snoke ( the 2 of them fighting them together! )? 

It looks like there is no internal logic here. More like: Let's have a cool sword fight with some red color coding.

 

Edited by SillyCow

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Ok, I'll take a crack at this:

1 hour ago, SillyCow said:

Kylo Ren is the strongest badass in the jedi galaxy (we haven't met Snoke yet) --> Ray beats him the first time she holds a light saber ( but she never shows any godlike powers before or after).

I'm not sure Kylo Ren qualifies as the strongest badass in the Jedi galaxy in Episode 7. It's not the impression I got, unless I missed something somewhere.

Kylo Ren was wounded pretty badly before that fight started. Certainly Rey seems to some 'innate talent', which I've thought just meant that she's particularly strong with the Force. That and lightsaber battle doesn't seem too different from using the stick that she had before, with which she seems fairly proficient in. It seems no more odd to me than the fact that Luke Skywalker, a farm boy from a backwater in Episode 4 is able to pilot a combat starfighter in a pitched space dogfight without any actual prior experience either. I'm not trying to knock Episode 4 with this example, but there are lots of examples of this sort of stuff in the previous movies.

1 hour ago, SillyCow said:

Compare that with the fact that Obi-One beat the more naturally talented Vader in "Revenge of the Sith", simply because Anakin developed to be an annoying arrogant !@#$% who refused develop his jedi mastery.

"It's over Anakin, I have the high ground."

As much as I do think Episode 3 is not a bad movie, this part was far from consistent. A pitched lightsaber battle ensues without any clear victor, but Obi Wan gets onto a slightly elevated mound of ground and that's enough to defeat Anakin? Sure we can fill it in as arrogance, but that seems lazy and more of an excuse to end the battle than anything else.

Let's not forget that we have no idea why Yoda is unable to kill Palpatine. It's extremely unclear, more so than the above example and it's an even worse excuse to end the battle.

1 hour ago, SillyCow said:

That scene is self contained within itself. With no relation to anything that happens before or after. 

I'm gonna refer you to the above point: Kylo Ren was already wounded going into that fight.

1 hour ago, SillyCow said:

Let's examine what happens later: If Ray was so powerful that she could crush Kylo Ren in the first movie without any training: Why was she overwhelmed by Snoke *after* she was trained by Luke Skywalker. If Snoke is so much more powerful then her, why was Kylo Ren (who was beat by untrained Ray) able to dispatch him so trivially? And then: Who are those elite red guards, and why would they be any match for the people that just killed Snoke ( the 2 of them fighting them together! )?

I think we have two really different perceptions here: I'm not sure where you got the idea that Kylo Ren is portrayed as extremely powerful. He's certainly got more training in the force than Rey does I'll give you that, but I never got the perception that he was a 'badass super powerful Sith'. I've already made some points on this as well anyways. 

In that regards, Snoke can easily overwhelm the relatively untrained Rey. Even if we assume that Ren is extremely powerful, Snoke is generally shown as more powerful than Ren. Snoke has already fooled Rey once earlier in the movie, so continuing to do so doesn't seem that difficult.

How did Ren beat Snoke? I'm not sure beat is the right term here. He basically fooled Snoke and took advantage of arrogance on Snoke's part. I can see that working.

2 hours ago, SillyCow said:

It looks like there is no internal logic here. More like: Let's have a cool sword fight with some red color coding.

And here's another fundamental difference in my perception of Star Wars: I've never thought Star Wars had very strong internal logic. The movies themselves didn't I thought. The Expanded Universe tried to impose some on top of that, but the EU is now a moot point anyways since Disney effectively threw out the EU pretty quickly.

2 hours ago, SillyCow said:

Do you think Ray's instant road to skill was there because they wanted to tell a complex story about character development or because they were lazy, and "She is the good guy, so she needs to win and we don't have time to explain it".

One other thing I do want to state is that we do still have one more movie. Yea that may sound weak, but I think there's still quite a bit that can happen in another film. That and we already have some pretty fundamental differences of opinion already.

 

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1 hour ago, deltaKshatriya said:

: I'm not sure where you got the idea that Kylo Ren is portrayed as extremely powerful

I thought he was a total badass when I saw this. Noone has done that before. Not even Palpatine or Yoda. If I'm not mistaken, this was the first scene.

 

1 hour ago, deltaKshatriya said:

I've never thought Star Wars had very strong internal logic

I partially agree here. "A new hope" episode was a fun trashy experience. If I remember correctly, Lucas didn't yet plan for Darth Vader to be Luke's father. But that exactly what made the rest of the movies so fun: They took a trashy fun film, and treated it seriously buy adding alot of lore and facts which were pretty much consistent with each-other. That looks like good writing craftsmanship to me. (even if Jar Jar Binks is cheesy [and my god is he ever! {But so were the E-woks} ] ).

1 hour ago, deltaKshatriya said:

One other thing I do want to state is that we do still have one more movie. Yea that may sound weak, but I think there's still quite a bit that can happen in another film

I hope you are right. I really want it to be a good movie. But i guess that this is where my expectations diverge from your own (and why I didn't go to see the Solo movies [see the original thread title] ). I don't see these last 2 movies as a sign of the production team trying to do something interesting. I just see them trying to milk a franchise for all it's worth. Which is ok (they paid 4bn$ for this IP).

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Setting aside the episodes for the moment -

As far as Star Wars goes... I'm just so damn bored at this point. It's instructive to look at the Marvel crew next door, who are pushing out even more movies and have been for some time with great success. If you consider Avengers analogous to the SW Episodes, they're not actually the best of the MCA despite being the motivating force behind them. Each movie revolves around its own characters and does its own thing, much like Solo. Except, MCA is wildly successful and Solo seems pointless. Why is that?

It comes down to the reason for any given movie to be made, in my view. The MCA movies all function together, building a story in pieces that are related and connected and serve to move an overarching plot and universe forward. The SW movies, on the other hand, have so far been looking backwards and add nothing to the Episodes or the rest of the universe. Rogue One teetered on the edge and was mostly saved by being a movie that uniquely rests on names and faces we don't recognize. Solo feels cynical in comparison - it's a cheap cash-in on a central character but adds nothing to his identity and nothing to the universe of Star Wars as a whole.

Give me films that fill in actual gaps in the story, or serve to better explain what's happening now, and they'd at least have my attention. But I'm not going to go see a movie because "well it's Star Wars and it's decent". Lucas, for all his faults, was a universe builder and everything he did was part of a unified global theme. In contrast I'm not sure what the hell Disney-Lucas is trying to accomplish, where it's going, or who is important in that universe. I'm not even sure they know where the Episodes are going.

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6 hours ago, deltaKshatriya said:

That reveal made me think that they're setting up for an Obi Wan Kenobi movie. That was a genuinely cool part of the movie though.

Have you seen Rebels? If not, go watch it. Most of it is pretty average, but there are points that are genuinely the most Star Warsy things outside of the OT. 

6 hours ago, deltaKshatriya said:

Star Wars, unlike MCU, is way bigger in terms of its universe.

Completely disagree. Whatever your feelings on the two IPs, Marvel content is larger by an order of magnitude.

6 hours ago, deltaKshatriya said:

That and I never really saw Snoke as much more different than the Emperor in the original trilogy, in the sense that he wasn't particularly central to the plot. We knew next to nothing about the Emperor as well in the Original trilogy. 

Exactly. I hate JJ Abrams "mystery box" bullshit. Killing Snoke and explaining that Rey's parents weren't Luke/Obi-wan/Chewie/whatever was the best part of TLJ. Vaders reveal to Luke was so fantastic because it comes out of nowhere. Lucas doesn't spend two movies setting up a mysterious backstory of Lukes father. Right up to that point, we're pretty sure we know who he was.... some jedi starfighter dude that Vader killed. 

5 hours ago, SillyCow said:

If Snoke is so much more powerful then her, why was Kylo Ren (who was beat by untrained Ray) able to dispatch him so trivially?

Because Ren got the drop on him. Snoke's arrogance and belief he had subjugated Ren blinded him to the danger. This is literally spelt out, not even the in the subtext, but in the actual text of the movie. 

 

56 minutes ago, Promit said:

The MCA movies all function together, building a story in pieces that are related and connected and serve to move an overarching plot and universe forward.

Agreed, but to be fair, the MCU movies were planned out that way from the beginning. Star Wars has never really had that kind of overarching direction (apart from the prequels and that was a failure of execution).

58 minutes ago, Promit said:

The SW movies, on the other hand, have so far been looking backwards and add nothing to the Episodes or the rest of the universe.

Agreed, except for TLJ. At the very least, it broke away from the existing formula of redeeming the bad guy. Was it enough? Arguably no, but at least it wasn't as cynical as Solo or Rogue One. And Solo's not even bad ... it's a fun movie, but it could easily be set in another sci-fi IP and it would lose almost nothing. 

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