How do you solve a problem like Solo?
For the record and for those that didn’t read any of last week’s Solo-related posts on It’s A Stampede!, I really enjoyed Solo: A Star Wars Story. The following is not a Solo-bashing post.
The following is instead a post looking to address the lacklustre response to the movie, as well as the frustration/anger that is emerging from some fans who have decided to boycott the film. I am of course interested in other peoples’ opinions, so feel free to sound off in the comments section below.
The Solo boycotting
Let’s address the boycotting first. If you don’t want to watch Solo because you have no genuine interest in the movie or you can’t afford to go and see it then that’s understandable – don’t go and see it. Personally I have no interest in the Transformers movies so no matter how many more of those films hit the big screen it’s doubtful I’ll ever be swayed to go see them.
If, on the other hand, you’re boycotting Solo in order to send a message to Lucasfilm/Disney that you’re not happy with the current run of Star Wars movies, then I’m afraid you’re not likely to achieve anything. Kathleen Kennedy, Lucasfilm and Disney have clearly laid out their plans for taking the Star Wars franchise forward and you deciding to boycott Solo isn’t likely to change this.
Did George Lucas worry too much that some fans hated the prequels? Nope.
Is Kathleen Kennedy worried that you think Solo is an abomination? Probably not.
I’m not saying you’re wrong to have this opinion, if that’s genuinely how you feel, but at least watch the movie first. Boycotting a film doesn’t stop it from existing. It also doesn’t stop Lucasfilm/Disney bringing out another Star Wars movie you might not like.
Some people didn’t like The Last Jedi – I get that. I truly get that. I myself am a bit indifferent about the film, so I understand both sides of the argument as to why some like it and others don’t.
I understand that some fans are concerned that the Star Wars films are heading in a direction that they don’t like. But Solo isn’t The Last Jedi.
Solo isn’t a movie that is trying to reinvent the wheel. Solo is just a straight forward action adventure movie – nothing more.
Is Solo necessary in the grand scheme of things? Possibly not, although it does create foundations for future stories.
What Solo is, is a two-hour jaunt into a world you are very familiar with. Yes, there is new territory and a few new facets to a well-worn story, but it’s mostly just an adventure film, with explosions and a few gags here and there.
If you watch it, don’t like it and feel very strongly about this, then articulate these opinions accordingly. Open a dialogue with the creative teams at Lucasfilm/Disney to explain the reasons behind your dislike for the movie and maybe they will take some of these opinions on board for future films.
The changing face of Star Wars
What is important to realise is the fact that Star Wars and the way we perceive Star Wars is changing. It has to, otherwise it will remain a thing of the past.
We’re all used to seeing one new Star Wars movie every three years, with three new movies per decade. It happened with the original trilogy and then again with the prequel trilogy, so we have become accustomed to this release pattern.
Times have changed. Films live and die in such a quick space of time now that release patterns are much faster than ever before.
Is this a good thing? Not always, but on some occasions it can be helpful as we can see actors stick with a film series a lot longer than they may have done under the old way of producing movies.
Take Robert Downey Jr for example, who has played Iron Man/Tony Stark across eight different Marvel Studios movies in the space of the past ten years. If those eight movies had been made on a traditional production schedule (i.e. one film every two-to-three years) then he probably would have moved on after three movies.
My point is, the film industry has changed. Star Wars is changing with it and this means we all need to be prepared to see Star Wars continue to evolve and change with more movies dotted around the timeline.
Not every movie is going to be great. Not everyone is going to like all of the Star Wars movies that are going to be released. It doesn’t make you any more or less of a fan to sit out some of the films if you don’t want to see them, but you do need to get used to the fact that Star Wars is going to go in new directions that aren’t always for you.
How do you solve a problem like Solo?
So, this brings me back to the main problem, how does Lucasfilm solve the Solo problem? Answer: It doesn’t.
The movie is in theatres and those that want to see it will see it. Those that don’t won’t.
Sure, the movie won’t make as much money as previous Star Wars films but was it ever likely to anyway? Really?
Using Marvel movies as an example again, some of the films produced by Marvel Studios do exceptionally well – others not so much. Do Marvel Studios sweat over this? Nope.
If a character doesn’t perform as well as others, the studio either works on a way to bolster the character’s popularity (personality adjustments etc) or the studio teams up the character with other heroes. And yes, I am referring to the Hulk on both occasions.
My point is, if Solo seriously under performs then it might just mean that the next film isn’t a solo Solo film – instead it might be an ensemble piece featuring Han Solo. It’s very unlikely that this film won’t connect to other movies in the future and it’s even more doubtful that we won’t see this version of Han Solo again.
At the end of the day, Lucasfilm/Disney want to please audiences. They want people to go and watch their movies.
If things aren’t working then they will be tweaked, but Star Wars is too big a property to just come grinding to a halt over one movie. One movie that some people just simply refuse to watch.
Again, if you don’t want to watch the movie, that’s fine. But don’t expect the film or future Star Wars films to go away simply because it doesn’t meet your expectations, even though you haven’t seen it.
During the wilderness years – aka the late ’80s/early ’90s – when Star Wars films were not being released, some fans moaned about the lack of Star Wars movies. During the release of the prequels, others moaned that the films were not what they wanted.
In 2015/2016, The Force Awakens was blasted for being too much of a rehash of A New Hope, while more recently The Last Jedi was denounced for being too different. Now Solo is getting the flack.
This will always happen and that’s fine – film criticism is healthy and debate is encouraged. But if you’re going to sound off about the movie, then watch it first and then unleash constructively.