IndieWire critics try to understand the purpose of these Star Wars stories.
With "Solo: A Star Wars" theatrically opening this week and generating a series of reactions, several IndieWire writers share emails to discuss whether the film achieves its goals or not.
DAVID HONEST: "Solo" A Star Wars Story, "released just six months after the release of" The Last Jedi ", is the second of the interstitial spin-off films that Disney stars as Part of his plan has made to ensure that we never go one year without a new rate of the galaxy's most lucrative space opera. "It's also the second of the interstitial films that have emerged from a public-difficult production. could be too generous a term for what happened, considering that "Rogue One" director Gareth Edwards was thrown off the set for massive re-shots, while "solo" directors Chris Miller and Phil Lord bluntly fired in favor of Ron Howard
But all this hot Goss is finally getting to old news, as this chimera of a new Star Wars story circulates in multiplexes across the planet and begins f to speak for themselves. It's amazing how quickly you forget all the Hollywood Scuttlebutt as soon as the Lucasfilm logo appears on the screen ̵
I had a bad feeling from the opening scene when a snippet of Han Solo's lucky cubes made me blink for two hours – a context that does not enrich the Star Wars universe, but only all of it fills empty spaces with banal data. So Han got his last name. And here he has his blaster. And here's how he met Chewbacca.
These spin-off films seem to be determined to override our imagination by loading whatever else they have left into the canon. It is not really important who is behind the camera when we are forced to look at things that should be better left unseen.
For me, that's a big reason why "Solo" only really shows up after hits Lando after Han. The swiveling Snowpiercer train is a powerful action set, but it's hard to invest in the stakes of a scene that somehow feels like a mere pretext for Han and Chewie's first ride (and wow is fast Forget the characters that are dying in. Even in the most exciting moments of this film, there is a superficial mood, and most seem to be powerless to shake them.
Alden Ehrenreich is a charming Han Solo (he manages to pin it) between imitation and reinvention), but there just is not going to be anywhere with this character, and filling him with such a serious love interest feels like a total waste of time, considering we're already in that big romance of his Similarly, Donald Glover is obviously a phenomenal Lando, but he really can not do anything with the part before he is e macro-obligation to lose the Millennium Falcon is fulfilled. It was not until Phoebe Waller-Bridge emerged as the quirky and sarcastic droid L3-37 that I felt like the bumpers were going, and "Solo" was finally ready to be as funny and ruthless as the rogue who gives it to him  Kate, I know that you were generally more excited about the movie. Do you still agree that Star Wars needs to explore new quadrants as soon as possible, or did "Solo" make you feel that these spin-off movies should continue to connect the dots?
KATE ERBLAND: I admit it at once: I was not wild even to learn the idea about Hans's early days as a teenage street rat or his crashed youth in the Imperial Navy, but found it shocking when "solo" just … jumped over them. The first act of "Solo" is not great, it's as chaotic and disjointed as Star Wars ever was, a combination of rushing beats and jamming in the breaks as soon as it comes to the introductions that will help both the History as well as the eponymous character. I do not think it starts when Lando shows up, I think it's Chewbacca who releases it, if only because the great Wookiee takes off with the most unexpected entrance to the film: he's a monster! He recently killed someone! He will tear your arms off! If you're doing a Han Solo movie, you have to bring in Chewie, but that was a damn good way to do it.
Not that there are no more rocky chunks after that – as David remarks, a A strong action element on the train makes way for a few annoying deaths that are largely ignored by the people who should take care of them – but at least it's on the way to delivering a clearer story. Is it even necessary or necessary? No. But this is not a feature reserved only for "Star Wars," but every prequel. It turns out that if you develop and create a character that is so exciting that you deserve an early career, you've probably created a character that excels and stands alone. None of this is required, but money is, it exists.
In this sense, "solo" gamely takes on the necessary point connection – the Falcon, the Cube, the best friend – and also manages to incorporate some exciting new characters (L3-37, yes) as it expands the galaxy. We've always known that this particular universe is full of evil people, but "Solo" is the first "Star Wars" movie that memorizes a benevolent rebellion without the compensatory power (apology).
There for a while, it's exciting. Only with whom has Han allied himself, and how deep will he go before he is sent? That's meat enough for all sorts of explorations, a chance to get to know big new spaces in the universe. And it leaves much room for explanation, even if it's a head-clapping cameo that ties this disconnected universe together. It's exciting to think that this galaxy can be even bigger.
MICHAEL NORDINE: I was not particularly excited either, as my relationship The biggest franchise of the galaxy exists in the main between obsession and Fatigue, but David is right: It's hard not to get excited when you're in a movie theater and a new Star Wars movie is about to start. Precisely because I did not pay too much attention to I enjoyed "Solo" as much as I did (especially after being one of the dreaded "Last Jedi" haters). I found "The Lego Movie" paralyzed and did not care when Lord and Miller were fired; I loved Alden Ehrenreich in "Hail, Caesar!" And still quoted the line "Would that be so easy".
Part of it is that these Star Wars stories have more scope to introduce (and just as often kill) new characters than their new trilogy brothers. L3-37 is indeed great, which anyone who has seen Waller Bridge could literally have guessed everything; Eventually, she makes a hilarious woman orgasm joke that few seemed to catch in my performance. My favorite moment of the movie is a bit more spoofing, so I'll just say: If this character takes off the mask and we see face I was really baffled. Once the majority of the fan service and throat are cleared, the film carves out a niche that I found pleasantly surprising.
"Star Wars" did not need "solo", but it was a bit better with it than it was without it.
Lucasfilm / Screenshot
ERIC KOHN: I find it fascinating that we have different reactions to the film. They start on this chain all skeptical about the existence of "solo" in the first place. For me, this nagging problem persisted for the duration of the film. As David said, "Solo" was constructed in a blatant, almost mechanical way to fill gaps that did not have to be filled. We lived for decades with the lore that Han won the Millennium Falcon, his friendship with Chewie, and his bizarre Bromance with Lando, while no one loudly demanded all the details. Now we know why: These details are not very convincing, at least not as they were created here, and it is particularly annoying because it feels like a rejection to someone who has seized the opportunity to fill in the blanks themselves , 19659020] I did not care that Han had a romance with a woman who was not in the stories that solidified his appeal – she's irresistible on her own terms, so why Shoahorn in Hans's timeline? – I was also not affected by the coincidence with which he befriends Chewbacca. Many of her interactions felt like a movie cosplay event with really good make-up and costume design – cute but underdeveloped. (Incidentally, if the guy talks "a little bit" to Wookiee, why does he do that only once?) Also: ridiculous.)
The action was similarly imitative: many expensive CG footage of the hawk wriggled through narrow spaces I know it It will not be clear and all sound effects will arrive directly on the cue (it's almost as if you could hear Ron Howard and his companion "Pew-Pew-Pew" out of the screen). Like a minor version of J.J. Abrams & # 39; The Force Awakens is essentially an expensive fan movie that is spiced up with first-rate special effects, but otherwise mostly forgotten. George Lucas was the original "Star Wars" author, but lately I think that role has shifted to ILM.
Of course, the fans had been enjoying the mythology of "Star Wars" for decades. In this new chapter of the DisneyFiction on Star Wars, I took Henry Jenkin's Convergence Culture off my shelf. The book finds the transmedial scholar exploring many ways in which fan culture and mainstream media interact. In a long chapter titled "Quentin Tarantino's Star Wars" (named after an amazing proto-mashup from the early viral video days), Jenkins writes about how the authorized and fan-driven aspects of "Star Wars" last a long time ongoing collision reflect popular culture and mass media. Amateur filmmakers often used official Star Wars "toys and trinkets" – action figures, music samples, etc. – in their playful interpretations of the "Star Wars" universe. "Solo" feels like a variant of it, for the Wooden Honorary Empire is little more than a living action figure, designed to realize a fan-driven fantasy of seeing young Han do his thing.
Except it is not a form of popular culture; it is a corporatization of fandom that flattens its attractiveness. I admit that the story of the robbery in the middle of the movie has a certain amount of charm, but would much rather have seen it playing in a distant galaxy never before visited by us.
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