The Mandalorian trailer

Oh, my freaking God. This is pushing all of my “Rogue One” buttons and keeping them pushed! After the hot mess that was The Last Jedi and the mediocre blahness of Solo, I’d pretty much given up on Disney Star Wars. Honestly, if the boss wasn’t likely taking the entire office to see EpIX, I’d probably have skipped it … but this looks freaking awesome.

Episode IX Teaser … Bores Me

 

I fricking hate that I am so utterly indifferent to this trailer. When I watched it, I literally shrugged and realized just how badly The Last Jedi burned me. A friend of mine commented (and it fits my thinking perfectly): “I don’t think there’s anything wrong with this trailer. I just don’t care.

Yeah. That’s perfect.

Note that this teaser is wholly without merit. The fact that it ends with Emperor Palpatine laughing at the end (plus the reveal that Ian McDiarmid is back for EpIX) makes me vaguely interested, but beyond that? I legitimately don’t care about this trilogy’s “big three” (MaRey Sue, Finn, Poe) and the OT cast are all gone or on the way out.

I expect the boss will still take the office out to see EpIX like he did with VII and VIII and Rogue One, but like TLJ, I expect that’ll be the only time I watch the movie.

Also? “The Rise of Skywalker”? Uh … the last actual Skywalker is dead as of TLJ … unless Rey is retconned somehow.

Maybe I’m just getting old and that’s why but this trailer just left me bored. And that makes me sad.

Solo and the Disney SW Franchise

So I finally got around to watching Solo – it popped up on Netflix and I realized that I, previously one of the greatest Star Wars fans of all time, had not bothered watching it yet. This is in the wake of me having watched The Last Jedi a single time in theaters, realizing that my prevarication afterwards about whether I liked it or not meant I actually didn’t, and having not bothered seeking out a repeat viewing … even when it popped up on Netflix as well. Which is just … sad.

Anyway, griping about TLJ isn’t why I’m posting this. Solo is. So I should review it.

I think I can sum up my feelings about Solo with one word: Meh. It wasn’t terrible, but neither was it very good, IMO. (Or necessary, but that’s beside the point.) The internet hubbub about the “SJW droid” was pretty much overdone – it was intended as comedy relief that seemed to work for the two friends of mine who watched it with me but mostly fell flat for me. That’s fine. The casting wasn’t terrible – I though Donald Glover was an excellent take on Lando and Alden Ehrenreich was … okay as Han. I didn’t hate him, so there’s that, and he did a decent job at carrying across Han’s smug arrogance and general “I have no idea what I’m doing and am making this up as I go” attitude. I didn’t really like that the movie essentially implied that Han Solo basically kickstarted the Rebellion with the money from the heist – I’d much rather that he’d intended on keeping the money, then got double-crossed by the pseudo-Rebellion types who took it from him. I’m also surprised that the Dryden Vos character – Paul Bettany’s character – wasn’t responsible for Solo’s chin scar … but then, that probably did seem like some low-hanging fruit they decided to avoid. Seeing Maul show back up was interesting … until he ignited the saber. Why, exactly? So the normies could go “Oh, right. That guy.” I guess. So ultimately, not terrible, not great, and very much not necessary.

As I discussed what I wanted to see in a future Star Wars movie with my friends, though, I realized that Valkryie could theoretically make a really interesting story concept. If you’re unfamiliar with that movie, it is “a dramatization of the July 20, 1944 assassination and political coup plot by desperate renegade German Army officers against Adolf Hitler during World War II.” Now imagine that in the Star Wars universe. Set it immediately post A New Hope so Alderaan has been destroyed by the Death Star and a group of Imperial officers are utterly appalled at what this New Order has just done. They signed up to help bring order to a chaotic galaxy, not obliterate a peaceful planet! So they start plotting and scheming, intent on assassinating the Emperor or Lord Vader (maybe both?) to topple the despotic regime that has gotten out of control. These officers are not Rebels – they legitimately believe the Rebellion is an illegal and immoral insurgency and based on what we saw in Rogue One at the beginning with Cassian Andor and how he murdered a contact just to maintain his cover, it seems probable that the Imperials have good reason to distrust believe them – but are instead actual patriots to the New Order who believe that the target of their assassination/coup is simply a problem. Ultimately, I think it probably makes more sense if Vader is the target of this coup with the conspirators believing that he’s responsible for the Emperor having lost his path. So they attempt to kill Vader but naturally fail … and he ends up killing them all. Hmm. Interesting thought here: have one of these plotters be General Madine who manages to escape Vader’s purge and ends up going full-on Rebellion at the end? If I did that, I’d not make him the main character, but maybe a secondary or tertiary one who keeps warning the protagonist that the plan isn’t going to work or something. I’d also be pretty tempted to have the protagonist survive Vader’s purge but be brought before the Emperor who personally executes him after revealing that this was all part of Palpatine’s plan to expose some traitors within the officer corps.

Unfortunately, casting Imperials as good guys for any reason probably wouldn’t fly for Disney, so I am doomed to never see the Star Wars: Empire movie that I would like to…

“The Last Jedi” follow-up

So, some time has passed since I saw this movie and, to my surprise, my opinion of it has steadily declined. Unlike previous SW movies where I promptly rushed out to see it again at earliest opportunity, I have been thoroughly uninterested in watching this movie again and have been left with the uncomfortable realization that, looked at everything objectively, I actually didn’t like the movie very much.

To be fair, it was not totally terrible or anything. The lightsaber fight with Rey and Kylo and Snoke’s guards was fricking amazing and the cinematography is excellent throughout, but … but …

But.

The decision they took with Luke Skywalker ruined this movie for me. Just the very notion that the guy who refused to give up on Darth Freaking Vader considered murdering his nephew … no. It doesn’t work for me at all. And even worse … Rey is, hands-down, superior with the Force and a lightsaber in this movie with no actual training than Luke was following his initial training with Yoda. And the notion that she’s just a nobody … it makes the accusations of “Mary Sue” even more appropriate.

So yeah. TLJ was kind of bad. Worth watching for the lightsaber fight, but beyond that? Beyond that, Rogue One was better IMNSHO.

Spoiler-Free Review of “The Last Jedi”

So, my (hopefully) spoiler-free review of “The Last Jedi” – I mostly liked it. The plot basically splits between the three new main characters (Finn, Poe, Rey) and while I mostly enjoyed two of these plotlines, the third not only basically went nowhere but ultimately made everything worse off for the Resistance. There was also a bit of unnecessary (IMO) political preaching thrown in there (during the unnecessary plotline) that made me roll my eyes.

If TFA felt like a rehashed ANH, this one felt like they took the high points of ESB and ROTJ, mixed them together, and added a just enough new ideas to make it feel like something new entirely. I don’t think it is a spoiler to say that there is a lightsaber fight about midway to 3/4 through it involving Kylo & Rey which most definitely ranks up there as one of my favorites.

This movie was a lot funnier than I expected and the humor didn’t rely on dumb fart jokes (e.g. “The Phantom Menace” which … ugh.) and the jokes land fairly well.

In the end, I think I actually liked Rogue One a little better than this one probably because that final space battle in R1 utterly destroyed all previous Star Wars space battles. I’m certainly curious as to where they go with the story in the next episode but knowing that J.J. Abrams is back in the director’s chair for it makes me wince a little bit. I actually think I’d rather the guy who did Rogue One to direct it because, if nothing else, he actually has a solid comprehension of scale, something Abrams absolutely does not.