Solo: A Star Wars Story Is Out Now.
The Corellian scoundrel has finally got his own backstory, but is it a story worth telling or should it have been left deep inside the spice mines of Kessel?
These days I have no high expectations with the Star Wars films, hey I'm just being honest. The first trilogy I have come to realise, had some sort of kismetical alignment, where ideas, actors, direction and production values came majestically together to create a grand space-opera, that may never be equalled ever again. With this in mind, there will be no more comparisons to the older siblings, new films will be squarely judged on their own merit...or lack of.
Solo: A Star Wars Story as an idea, was never going to be a hard sell, but its execution was definitely going to be a challenge. The personal legend of Han Solo, as created by George Lucas and further boosted by Harrison Ford's actual portrayal, created an iconic character of cinema, one that will last for all time. Any actor set to play the role, would definitely have a lot of pressure on his shoulders.
I first saw actor Alden Ehrenreich in Beautiful Creatures (2013) and even then he had a charisma. And so I am happy to report that Alden is pretty much the perfect casting for the role of Han and manages to give us a glimpse of who Han Solo will become, but also forges his own portrayal to let us know who Han is now. You will not see an actor give a bad performance of trying to be Harrison Ford, playing Han Solo. Alden makes this his own, with the necessary character distinctions that we can see belong to Solo, not Harrison Ford. Other performances in the main cast are wholly competent too, though Thandie Newton is wasted and Woody Harrelson proves he can be anyone, from any time, in any universe. Personally I really liked Chewbacca, but I had mixed feelings about the robot L3, why? Well it's obvious to see, that the production saw the popularity of Rogue One's humorous robot with an attitude (K2S0) and decided to feature another. But this time around it was hit and miss and you could see some of the 'funny' moments being forcibly injected into the proceedings. For the most part it pays off or is at least tolerable.
"Alden is pretty much the perfect casting for the role of Han and manages to give us a glimpse of who Han Solo will become, but also forges his own portrayal to let us know who Han is now."
Technically Disney and Marvel films are starting to suffer from one reoccurring annoyance - darkness! No not darkness in tone, I mean in lighting. For a lot of Solo, the lighting is dim and grey, yes I understand you want to show how dismal and grey the times are, but give me strength! The viewers still have to still see what is going on with some sort of retina comfort. Along side that, this is the first Star Wars film that doesn't really have moments. I mean yes, we see some of the important canon in Han Solo's life; where this incident takes place, how that situation happened is all laid out for us, but none of it overwhelms you or makes you think 'Oh so that's how it went down!' And that is the film in its entirety, it is a straight down the middle, mediocre-done-well of a movie, but it's still mediocre. I think with better lighting, a few more spaceship battles and something else that I can't quite put my finger on, Solo could have been a much better movie.
Solo: A Star Wars Story Is Out Now.
Rick Baker of Eastern Heroes Magazine gets the credit for the sub-genre title of 'Heroic Bloodshed' a sub-genre of the action-thriller that came straight outta Hong Kong. Here are a selection of the some of the best that ever did it.
And so finally, the mad titan has come down from high above, to collect the infinity gems himself. But is the foregone conclusion that this film will top all others in the MCU even in the ballpark?
If you think I'm going to recap what has led us to this moment, then you've got another thing coming! Iron Man and Incredible Hulk, kicked off this MCU 10 years ago, both deploying within a month of each other and that's all your getting. 10 years later, we have reached the third major summation, with a story arc set to trump all the others that came before it - the play to save the entire universe...well technically half of it.
Avengers: Infinity War starts off exactly where it needs to, which is about 30 minutes after Thor: Ragnarok. I for one, immediately appreciated the opening, as we are thrust straight into the seriousness of the situation, where already, the heavy hitters have not fared so well - and this is the beginning of the movie. Kudos to directors, the brothers Russo for understanding that all the previous films are all the prologue we needed and therefore they could bypass any further explanation of the events at hand. Ladies and Gentlemen, we are here to see the ultimate intergalactic rukus and this is what we are given from the get go.
What is quite apparent in A:IW, is that there is a concerted effort to allow all the characters to get their chance to shine, whether it be through action scenes, acting or comedy. I imagine that turning the initial draft of this script, into a finely tuned one, was a bit of a nightmare, but writers Christopher Markus and Stephen McFeeley pull off what I imagine to be, a hair-pulling and frustrating mission, having to remember where all the characters have been and what they have done, so they could get everybody in, where they fit in.
I enjoyed the film a lot, I want you to know this, but in my heart, as a piece of filmmaking, as a piece of cinema, I wouldn't say that this is Marvel's finest film. Yes, A:IW has the unique make-up, similar to Captain America: Civil War, in that it brings in a multitude of characters to have a string of epic battles. But the movie felt like a compilation summation of all the movies that led us here. Almost as if the film could have been called: Thanos: The Infinity Diaries. Sometimes, A:IW felt like a series of clips, detailing how each battle went down, but this is understandable, as with so many characters spread out and the nature of the story, how long and serious could the narratives be per scene? Personally, I think if they had gone that way, the film would have been 10 hours long. However, I would still put Civil War and The Winter Soldier above Infinity War.
In addition to what elements could be improved upon, there are a few issues that surround the technical production that need addressing. Firstly, I have noticed that Marvel film scenes, that are shot during the night are poorly lit. Yes, we understand that it is suppose to be dark, it's the night! But if you think of Keanu Reeves Vs Common in John Wick 2, the scene where they are having a fight in the street or the Purge films, well that is how you light a night scene. Secondly, Black Panther's fighting scenes are a let down. In Civil War, he was awesome, but since his own outing and now this, we are constantly given this CGI Black Panther, moving in a way that is not to my liking. Chadwick Boseman is a seasoned martial artist, let him fight for real anytime he can, in the same vein as Captain America. Thirdly, the ill-construction of a character's abilities and history through their earlier films, can now be seen as the mistake that it is. And so now that Drax The Destroyer has come face-to-face with Thanos, we see that his misrepresentation makes him look pitifully meagre in comparison. Drax was specifically created for the destruction of Thanos. Sidenote; When Drax's family were killed, his human spirit (as Arthur Douglas) was taken out of his human body by Kronos (Thanos' grandfather) and put into the formidable one he currently occupies. The sole purpose of becoming Drax was so that he could kill Thanos. His powers range from superhuman strength, high stamina, resistance to physical injury, energy blast projection, travelling in outer space and hyperspace at great speeds, survival without food, water & air and telepathic abilities...and there is more, but you get my point.
On a positive note, Thor really gets to show his might and power and there was one particular scene where I actually felt my body temperature rise because it was so badass. Iron Man wows us with his upgrades and dedication to the fight, Gamora brought in some great emotional angst and most surprisingly of all is Thanos, it's his film. The Thanos story has been created to have a proper emotional dimension and like many real life tyrants, he carries the delusion that his mass destructive behaviour is actually a benevolence. Josh Brolin excellently emoted his intelligence and psychology through every scene. We weren't given the archetypal, moustache twiddling villain, who would throw his head back in laughter as he defeated an enemy. If anything he was thoughtful and respectful. Admittedly, I was surprised at the ending, it was a major anti-climax, however, the one and only post-credit sequence (right at the frikken end of allllll the credits) made up for it big time.
Overall A:IW is a good watch. You won't have to worry about not getting an epic showdown, but I am prone to believe, that the 2nd instalment scheduled for May 2019 can actually do better.
Some of the most interesting characters in film and TV, appear in the shape of those who have not had an easy path. None more so, than the moralistic do gooder or hero, that through a twist of fate or has succumbed to external forces and become corrupted. Here are 7 good guys, gone bad.
TDD, RC & IK talk: