Solo: A Star Wars Story Review

Solo: A Star Wars Story

Solo: A Star Wars Story is the second stand-alone Star Wars film that has been produced. It focuses on one of the most beloved characters from the original episodic trilogy. We see Han Solo before he becomes the smuggler turned rebel general that we’ve come to know and love. How does our new Solo, Alden Ehrenreich compare with our classic Harrison Ford Han Solo? Let’s dive in and find out.

Likes:

Adam

  1. In this film, we get to see a different aspect of the Star Wars Universe. The central focus of Episodes 1-8 is the galactic conflict between the light and dark side of the force. We get hints of the larger galaxy but it is in the background. Rogue One is a war movie, which was a major facet of the episodic films. This film focuses on smugglers, gangsters and the criminals of the Star Wars universe. There is no mention of the force in this film.
  2. The characters are interesting. I felt like most of the characters didn’t fit a stereotypical mold. Due to this, most characters are not completely good or bad. They were a complex mix in the middle, which is far more interesting and realistic. It honestly kept me guessing what was going to happen more often.
  3. The effects are beautifully done. This was a pleasure to watch and I can’t think of anything that took me out of the movie. It was well done.
  4. I like the character arc that Han went through. The way his character developed worked well and I think gets us to where we meet him in the original trilogy.
  5. I thoroughly enjoyed the new Lando and feel like Donald Glover nailed him.

Dislikes:

Adam

  1. There is a bit of a twist at the end that I’m not sure I’m 100% on board with. There are two parts of it and one has to do with a character’s motivation that doesn’t make a lot of sense to me. The second part has to do with a reveal that I don’t know how I feel about yet.

Awkward Walk-in Meter: 2/5

Adam

There are normal Star Wars blaster fighting, explosions, and a little hand to hand combat but is milder than most Marvel movies. There is also a little bit of kissing and gambling, but all are relatively mild.

Overall:

Adam

I really enjoyed this movie. It is not the next Empire Strikes Back but I feel we all need to stop expecting that and just let it be a good Star Wars movie. It’s fun, exciting and has good characters. I feel like Alden Ehrenreich embodies a good young Han Solo. He shows a good interpretation of where Han starts and what things could lead him to gain the attitudes and beliefs that he has when Star Wars: A New Hope starts. I definitely suggest that everyone go see Solo: A Star Wars Story in theaters.

 

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What does Luke’s statement in the The Last Jedi Teaser mean?

Personally I find it rather futile to guess and speculate the meaning behind a 1 minute teaser designed to market a movie. Ironically I find people who really hate spoilers are also ones trying to piece together a story out of the limited footage revealed in a trailer. I say, just wait for the movie to come out and you’ll find out. However, as the hypocrite that I am, I’m going to speculate on the new teaser for The Last Jedi with this article including a click-baity title. Why? Because this website needs more views and I’m going to indulge your need to speculate to get views. Firstly, if you haven’t seen the trailer already go watch it here:

I don’t know why these Star Wars teasers require a jump-scare at the very beginning. Anyways, the big thing that people are going on about is the statement Luke makes at the end of the teaser.

I only know one truth. It’s time for the Jedi to end.

People have been freaking out over the meaning of this statement. Did Luke turn to the dark side?! Has he become so defeated from the betrayal of Ben Solo that he’s giving everything up?! Is he Rey’s father?!

Well, lets take a step back and look at the Star Wars series as a whole. Some facts to be aware of before I give my educated guess as to the meaning of Luke’s statement. George Lucas was heavily influenced by Joseph Campbell when creating the Star Wars universe. Joseph Campbell is an anthropologist who studied mythology from all around the world. His studies were not to discover the differences between them but rather the values, meanings and purpose behind these myths that is shared by the whole world. He wrote several books but the one most important to this discussion is his book The Hero with a Thousand Faces.

In this book, Campbell discovered a structure that is shared by mythology all over the world. This is known by many as The Hero’s Journey or The Monomyth. This structure has been influential to storytellers all over the world and is used heavily by films, books, television and video games. A textbook example of the Hero’s Journey is actually the first Star Wars film. George Lucas was in fact one of Campbell’s students in school and was very familiar with the themes, meanings and structure found in mythology as outlined in Campbell’s book. Here’s s basic outline of the Hero’s Journey:

http://www.sfcenter.ku.edu/Workshop-stuff/Joseph-Campbell-Hero-Journey.htm

Several lectures can go into each step so I won’t attempt to go through the whole thing in detail. For the purposes of our discussion though, I wish to focus attention on Apotheosis (it’s misspelled on the diagram). Apotheosis is the process of a man (meaning the overall broad sense of humanity) becoming a God. In the context of the screen-writing, it’s a transformation that is made that allows him/her to reach beyond a stage of ignorance into a stage of knowledge, giving them power to achieve a goal that the hero has set out to do in the story.

So how does this have anything to do with the The Last Jedi teaser? Reading deeper into Campbell’s work helps you to understand the mythic context behind Apotheosis. A large portion of the text talks about the concept of the unity of opposites which can be summarized in the concept of the Yin Yang. If you don’t know, Yin Yang is a symbol of a eastern philosophy that two seemingly contradictory elements are actually two sides of one great whole. According to Campbell, apotheosis is a stage where both opposites come together to form a God using the example of the Male-Female Gods of mythology. God in many religions represent many contradictory sides, a God of creation and destruction, of time and eternity, light and darkness, justice and mercy and so forth.

So let’s bring it back to Star Wars, where the central conflict with the series has always been the light side versus the dark side of the force. In the prequel trilogy, the Jedi council speak about a chosen one destined to bring about the “balance of the force.” Because the prequel trilogy was poorly written, they do not explain what that actually means. Many in the series interpret that to mean the destruction of the dark side. But how does that bring balance?

Let’s go back earlier in the teaser when Rey talks about seeing the light and dark, the balance. Luke tells her that there’s more to it than that. Here’s where I start speculating on how Luke has changed over the years in exile. I believe he discovered that which one who was raised by the Jedi could not understand. That the force is not divided into light and darkness but is both all in one. Where Anakin failed to bring balance to the force, the reincarnation of the chosen one seen in Rey (they both are expert mechanics, pilots and force users) may in fact bring balance to the force. But in order to do that, the Jedi, who represents the light side of the force, can no longer exist. It doesn’t mean that Good needs to give into Evil, but rather the Jedi need to transcend the exclusive use and study of the light side and become one with the force as a whole, both light and dark. This would also mean the end of the Sith has to happen. Perhaps Anakin did fulfill his role as chosen one by ending the Sith by killing his master and himself. Leaving the end of the Jedi to his son and his reincarnation, Rey.

So worry not Skywalker fans, I do not believe that he has turned to the dark side. Rather I think he discovered a secret to the force that the Jedi and Sith have ignored for centuries. In fact, according to non-canon Star Wars history, both groups came from one group of force users who practiced in both light and dark sides of the force and sought true balance with the force named the Je’daii. So perhaps Rey will do what Anakin could not, which is to fully bring balance to the force and end the conflict between the light and dark sides for good.

Again, this is all speculation. But there is strong evidence that this is the direction they will be going. Unfortunately we’ll have to wait until December to find out for sure.

Rogue One is Here!

The Holiday season has come and gone and we have received our now annual Star Wars gift. Rogue One: A Star Wars Story was released on Friday December 16 (December 15 if you were able to catch an early screening). It is about the events that happen immediately before Star Wars Episode 4: A New Hope. It is a stand alone Star Wars movie that is not one of the episodes. Let’s take a look at our Likes and Dislikes.

 

Spoiler Alert! Spoiler Alert! 

DO NOT READ ON IF YOU DON’T WANT SPOILERS. 

Adam –

Likes

  1. I like that you weren’t hit head with an explanation for everything. In the Prequels I felt like there was so much exposition explaining everything. In A New Hope there are many things that are just mentioned but not explained like the Kessel Run and (initially) the Clone Wars. It left a lot to imagination. Jyn’s time with Saw growing up is not explained very much, and Mon Mothma and Bail Organa reference both Obi-Wan and Leia with out actually mentioning their name, to name a few examples.
  2. The more I think about it the more I like how they showed the darker side of the rebellion. Cassian killing an informant just to keep him quiet, General Draven ordering Jyn’s father killed, Cassian’s confession for the Rogue One strike team. It makes the rebellion just so much more realistic and believable.
  3. Darth Vader. I felt like this Vader was closer to the Empire Strikes Back Vader, not taking crap from anyone and more fully using his powers. I absolutely loved the scene when he appears in the rebel ship and starts taking on the the troopers.
  4. The space battle over Scarif. I loved the use of the classic X-wings and Y-wings, especially the use of the ion bombs to disable the Star Destroyer. I also loved the way they showed how desperate the situation way when they used a Blockade Runner to ram the Star Destroyer down into the shield generator.
  5. K-2SO. He was funny, sarcastic, full of personality, and ended up having a big heart.

Dislikes

  1. Saw Gerrara. I didn’t feel Saw was a well developed character and he seemed to out there. They could have gotten around using him.
  2. Saw’s mind/feeling reading beast, Bor Gullet. It was made out to be this menacing thing but is was short lived. Then the side effects of “going out of your mind” were overcome by 1-2 min of conversation.
  3. Princess Leia. I love the fact that she was in it but I didn’t like the lingering shot on her face. They did an amazing job. I was impressed with how close they were able get her face to the original Leia but it was still in uncanny valley and it bothered me. I would have been happier if they would have just shown her from the back.

My initial feeling for this movie was “Meh it was good. Not in my Star Wars tops but definitely not the worst either”. However as I have been thinking back on the movie, seeing it the second time and  playing parts of it back in my head, I have grown to like it more and more.