Casting the next Superman

So, there’s word that Henry Cavill might be out as the Superman of the DCEU (DC comics extended universe, pretty much their “cinematic” universe but maybe they didn’t want to add an extra C to the acronym). Cavill of course took up the role in 2013’s “Man of Steel”, the first entry in that universe, which now features Batman V Superman, Wonder Woman, Justice League and Suicide Squad, along with the upcoming Wonder Woman 1984, Shazam and Aquaman. However, despite Wonder Woman becoming a big hit, the other films haven’t quite had the same level of success, with films such as a solo Ben Affleck Batman film and a Flash movie suffering production setbacks and rumors of recasting. While the Nolan Batman films were of course a huge success, DC has since fallen badly behind Marvel filmwise, especially with pretty much every Marvel film these days becoming a huge hit.

Amidst this is the rumor that Henry Cavill might be departing the role. (Cavill himself replaced Brandon Routh, although 2005’s “Superman Returns” was intended as a sequel of sorts to the Christopher Reeve movies and not part of any cinematic universe, not even connected to then running Nolan Batman films). It’s a bit unclear why at this point, although Cavill was recently cast in the Witcher Netflix TV show, and reportedly declined an appearance in the upcoming Shazam.

 

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As for me, while Cavill’s a capable enough actor, I never really warmed to his Superman. Maybe it’s because the films he’s been in were in general kind of angsty/dark at times, with his Superman overall seeming moody, if still, for the most part, aligned to Superman’s values. I kind of preferred the charisma and optimism of Reeve’s Superman (Sure, he had one or two moments of angst here and there, such as when Lois “died” or his power loss in the second film, but overall he seemed like a cool guy). This is kind of reflected for the most part in the comics too (Although the “New 52” Superman wasn’t exactly my cup of tea-or DC’s really, as in 2016 they scrapped/merged the character with his 1986-2011 counterpart, who was married to Lois and had a son). Although parts of “Justice League” did attempt to soften him up  towards the end (and even gave him Reeve’s classic John Williams theme), still not a big fan.

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The weird mustache-covering CGI didn’t help either.

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But with Cavill’s potential exit, who could pick up the cape?

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Jon Hamm-famous from Mad Men-has often been a  fan favorite, although at 47 he’s somewhat much older than Cavill. He’s also rumored to be up for the role of Batman, which would probably actually suit his acting talents a bit better (as well as his age-he’s only one year older than Ben Affleck).

Daniel Bruhl perhaps? He sort of bears a slight resemblance to both Cavill and a big resemblance to Christopher Reeve IMO. Doesn’t quite have the lantern jaw look though. Although he was Zemo in Civil War, it’s important to remember that starring in the competitions film doesn’t exactly disqualify you from a role. Laurence Fishburne, for example, who plays Lois and Clark Kent’s boss at the Daily Planet, Perry White, in the DCEU, and also Bill Foster in the recent Ant-Man and the Wasp. Also, JK Simmons from the Sony Spider-Man series became Justice League’s commissioner Gordon.

 

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There’s also Tyler Koechin, who plays Superman in the Supergirl TV show (and by extension, it’s connected shows). However, although TV-to-movie/vise versa castings are not uncommon-Reeve, Kidder, and O’ Teele were all part of Smallville for instance-it would probably confuse audiences, especially with a show running at the same time.

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Zachary Quinto’s a name that’s come up a few times, although with the current issues the Star Trek movie series is experiencing (Perhaps, in part to the DCEU itself-as Chris Pine is mysteriously back in Wonder Woman 1984), it probably won’t happen.

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Joseph Gordon Levitt’s also a name that’s popped up a few times. DC fans of course know him from Dark Knight Rises as John “Robin” Blake.

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John Krakinski’s largely reinvented himself as an action star these days, and seems to have the right build and look for the role IMO. Although I think he’d be better as Marvel’s Mr. Fantastic.

Anyway, I hope they make a decent choice, if indeed it’s official that Cavill is stepping away. Hopefully we don’t end up with something like this….which we almost did. (I don’t mind Cage, but as Superman? Just…no).

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Walking Dead Comic/TV show differences-Carol

 

THE SHOW

 

Carol is perhaps one of the strongest and yet most tragic characters in the Walking Dead series. Starting out as a troubled housewife at the Atlanta camp, after the death of her husband after Walkers attacked the camp (Which also led to the death of Andrea’s sister Amy) Carol and Rick’s group left the camp, initially heading back to Atlanta to consult the CDC (Which doesn’t really work that well) and eventually facing a zombie herd on the Atlanta highway, an incident which results in Carol’s daughter, Sophia, on the run. She also began a close friendship with Daryl Dixon.

 

 

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Gaining sanctuary at the Greene family farm during the search (and Carl getting badly injured by an accidental gunshot from farmhand Otis), she soon learned of Sophia’s fate. Hershel Greene had been keeping Walkers in his barn in order to attempt to hold them there until a cure was found. Among them: Sophia, who Rick put down.

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Fleeing the barn after another zombie herd, Carol and others eventually settled at a prison, and Carol began to learn critical self-defense skills. When a vengeful inmate messed things up big time for the group (Leading to the death of Lori and T-Dogg), Carol-although presumed dead for a short time-managed to survive on her own.

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After the showdown with the Governor, Carol however was exiled when she killed two former Woodbury residents who had contracted an airborne flu-like virus(Although not the almost certain death sentence of the zombie bites….Despite Carol’s actions the virus still spread, however)

 

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However, being on the ‘outside’ managed to work to Carol’s advantage. Catching up with Tyreese-a fairly new member of the group-she was able to take care of Rick’s daughter Judith, although she also had to contend with Lizzie and Mika, two sisters…and one was psychotic. After Lizzie killed Mika, and nearly killed Judith, Carol was forced to kill Lizzie, which brought back some of the pain of Sophia’s death.

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However, she managed to save just about everybody at Terminus with the help of Zombie camo and a sniper rifle.

 

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Later, she tried to help rescue Beth from a hospital back in Atlanta but wound up getting badly hurt herself. While Carol eventually was let go, the rescue mission ultimately was all for naught, with Beth shot at the last minute.

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When the group eventually settled down in Alexandria, Carol put on a sort of facade of a happy housewife persona to serve as sort of Rick’s spy in case things went south again. She also formed a brief relationship with a resident, Tobin.

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When Rick became leader of Alexandria, Carol let more of her real personality surface, although she still used the meekness to fool her enemies, especially after one incident in which she and Maggie were captured by a group of Saviors.

After the incident, she briefly self-exiled herself, but ran afoul of more Saviors, leaving her wounded. However, she was saved by Morgan (Who also was trying to reconcile the two halfs of his personality) and the Kingdom, where she formed a friendship with King Ezekiel…and his tiger, Shiva. She also became a resident outside the Kingdom, but after the death of Glenn and Abraham, she took up arms once again, and proved quite capable during the All-out-war with Negan.

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She dealt mainly, in part, with Morgan, as well as the demoralized King Ezekiel, and helped rescue Henry, a young boy who wanted vengeance against the Saviors for the death of his brother. Carol was also, unfortunately, forced to kill her ex-boyfriend, Tobin, when he was turned into a Walker by a bullet covered in Walker guts.

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THE COMIC

Carol’s arc in the comic is quite different. There’s no sign of Ed, for one. Carol also appears to be a bit younger.

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She still had her daughter, Sophia, although unlike in the TV show, Sophia doesn’t wind up being turned into a Walker. Carol starts developing a relationship with Tyreese, who, in the comics, appears far earlier than the prison arc.

 

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Quite a bit different than the TV show, in which Carol and Tyreese had a platonic and uneasy relationship, in particular when Tyreese learned that Carol had killed his girlfriend, Karen, to keep the virus from spreading earlier on.

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However, comics-wise,when the group gets to the Prison, Tyreese takes a liking to Michionne.

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This affair drives Carol pretty nuts. She attempts suicide, and also attempts to form romantic relationships with Rick and Lori(!). She’s sucessful with Maggie’s brother, Billy Greene, but only for a brief while before she does something shocking, pretty much giving herself to a Walker’s bite.

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However, comics-wise, Sophia is still around and now much older. Then again, there’s quite a few TV series characters no longer with us who are still among the living in the comic series….in particular Carl Grimes himself.

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Video Games in Review: Far Cry 5

The “Far Cry” series are first-person shooters, often set in a beautiful open world. However,  it often stands out by also incorporating hunting or taming of animals into it’s series, and is also known for it’s colorful villains.  The games are often self-contained, with a few supporting characters occasionally crossing over, but that’s pretty much it.

Whereas previous entries in the series have focused on fictional countries and Islands in Asia and Africa, FC 5 takes place in the united states; specifically Montana, in the fictional Hope Country. Over the past few years, an apocalyptic cult-Project Eden’s gate-has taken control of much of the county.

 

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The cult is led by the charismatic, messiah figure Joseph Seed, and the various areas of cult-controlled land are controlled by his three siblings: John, Jacob and Faith.

Each has their own characteristic: John is sort of a motivational speaker/indoctrination guy, but actually often tortures people; Faith, although seemingly the most ‘peaceful’ of the group, also heads the manufacture of the cult’s drug, a powerful hallucinogenic called “Bliss”. Jacob is an expert in brainwashing and sort of has a “Survival of the fittest” attitude about him. Also, as with Far Cry 4, things might be as clear-cut as they seem at first glance (Although the resistance in Hope County is far more sympathetic and far less shady than 4’s Golden Path leaders) and there are multiple endings than can result from some of your actions.

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Of course, many of the non-cult members of Hope County have resisted, and of course the situation has become volatile. That’s where the player comes in; you’re part of a group of deputies charged with taking Joseph into custody. You can also customize your character; however, this avatar will not show up in-game, but in the game’s “photo mode” or in multiplayer.

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The arrest doesn’t go too well, and although you escape, the other deputies are not so lucky and are held captive by the family. Eventually, you help the resistance and fight back against the family/cult. Like in other Far Cry 5 games, in addition to ‘story missions’ this includes liberating outposts, destroying supplies and key cult members. Each helps raise “resistance points”, which, where, at certain levels, they force a confrontation with the local cult leaders.

 

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Missions are usually handed out by key members of the resistance, along with other, more optional missions along the way here and there. The game also features the concept of “guns for hire”, including random resistance members, or a group of specialists, who function in the same way many other video game companions do, somewhat similar to “Fallout 4″‘s companions. Several also have their own independent quests. Two of the characters, Nick and Adelaide, are airborne (although Adelaide can also fight on land). Jess is a hunter, and good for stealth and hunting wildlife. Grace is a former army sniper. Hank and Sharky tend to use heavy weapons. I’ll be covering the animal companions down a bit.

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The game also features an assortment of vehicles which can be unlocked, such as the “Widowmaker”, a powerful truck. The game seems to be somewhat more focused on vehicle combat than it’s predecessor, with a far easier control system as well.

 

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There’s also been some major changes from Far Cry 4 (I haven’t played any of the earlier games). The tower climbing present in 4-needed to uncover much of the map-is largely done away with here, although a bit of climbing does come into play at times.  The “Junk” system is also not that present this time.

Hunting however, is still a big feature of the game, and of course the bow and arrow is recommended for a clean kill.

 

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Thankfully, the annoying eagles of Far Cry 4 are gone, although there are quite a few animals that can do a lot of damage.

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However, not every animal can be hunted or want to hunt you. There’s a few animal companions. There’s the dog, Boomer, because pretty much every game these days with some sort of companion system has to always have a dog.

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Somewhat more unusual is Cheeseburger the Bear, once the star of a local zoo/refuge.

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Finally, there’s Peaches, the Mountain Lion.

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Overall, although I’ve only played 4 and 5 of this series so far, I think that 5 is a great follow-up to 4, eliminating some of 4’s more annoying elements and crafting a rich-looking open world, although one that, to some, may not quite as exotic as the previous games (Still looks fantastic of course)….and of course it has the usual Far Cry mix of colorful villains, hunting, and a bit of dark comedy mixed in.

 

Review: Tomb Raider (2018) *spoilers*

While some of my reviews are a bit multi-part, I’m starting to do smaller “Capsule reviews” of films I’m not quite wanting to do a big essay on.

 

As I’ve written before, I’ve been a fan of the last two Tomb Raider games, although admittingly, I have not played the earlier incarnations of the character. The games mixed the climbing and gunning of the other archaeological adventure game series, “Uncharted” (although of course the older TRs had a bit of this as well), with the skill trees of various other games, and also a sort of gritty and gory nature.

Lara, in particular, is portrayed as more vulnerable than in past versions, starting out kind of bookish but eventually honing her survival skills on an island not only full of cultists and mercenaries, but also the undead spirit of an evil queen.

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On the surface, this was what the basic plot of the Tomb Raider film reboot is about. The movie even re-creates some sequences from the game, such as Lara’s struggle holding onto a rusted World War II plane…

 

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, and like the game, Lara’s uses arrows and pickaxes for a good chunk of time, only getting her dual pistols at the end (although the dual pistols aren’t really used in “Rise of the Tomb Raider”. Her outfit is pretty much the same basic look too. No sunglases or shorts here.

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However, whereas Lara, as I mentioned before that game Lara was more archaeologist than hero at first, the movie kind of reverses it by having Lara be a sort of sporty, slightly rebellious woman who has little interest in her father’s profession until it offers clues to where he might’ve vanished to (The mysterious Yamatai, also the setting of the game, of course). Alicia does okay I suppose, although she seems a bit stiff, but I haven’t really seen her in any other films to really judge her acting.

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Likewise, the Endurance Crew-the nifty supporting cast (and unfortunately, part victims) are cut out/reduced….

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to just one guy, Lu Ren, whose father has also vanished while searching for the mysterious island of Yamatai. Apart from rallying up some fellow prisoners on the island, he really doesn’t get that much to do.

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Like the game, the villain is once again Matthias, although instead of the cult leader, he’s just a mercenary leader for “Trinity” (Introduced in Rise of the Tomb Raider) who’s only stuck on the island because his employer won’t send for extraction until he finds the tomb of Himiko. Although Walter Goggins does his best, the character just comes off a somewhat generic villain.

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Speaking of Himiko, she’s pretty much downgraded here. There’s no super-storms keeping everybody stuck on the island, and apart from the two planes there’s really no sign of the heavy wreckage-or really any other sign of civilization apart from the tomb-on the island itself. Although a supernatural threat is implied, turns out that she’s no ghost creature trying to possess a new body and create storms. Likewise, there’s no real gore or any of the major violence of the 2013 game. Not that it really needed the somewhat excessive gore and violence, but in making this movie PG-13, they sort of ‘sanitized’ the game maybe a bit too much. It’s really a major contrast there.

 

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…..but actually a nice Queen who unfortunately carried some sort of bizarre virus which seems to make those who get it into crazed people with strange skin and nerve blemishes.

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Which, oddly enough, is pretty much exactly what happens in the conclusion the first “Uncharted” game!

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The Tomb itself seemed kind of unspectacular and cheap-looking, with just a bunch of generic booby taps and puzzles. No giant Samurai here!

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Dominic West appears as Lord Kroft, and somewhat diminishes from Lara, as he’s revealed to actually be alive, although a bit nuts-on the island.Image result for Lord croft

 

Nick Frost, Derek Jacobi and Kristin Scott Thomas have supporting roles, with Nick as a sort of comic relief pawn shop owner, but it’s really just a tiny role. Same with the legendary Derek Jacobi who does the money stuff at Croft’s estate. Most interesting is Kristin Scott Thomas as Ana, who, like in “Rise of the Tomb Raider”-is actually the secret head of Trinity. However, unlike in ROTT-where she formed the organization in part to try to gain immortality as a disease (presumably cancer) was killing her, what exactly this version of Ana has to gain from it is unknown, or if she had anything to do with Lord Croft’s expedition to Yamatai in the first place.

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Although I’ll admit some of my criticisms of the movie might be a little biased because I played the games first, and have largely been comparing them, I think the film on it’s own is kind of weak as well, just kind of a generic story and lacking bite despite a fairly strong cast, which unfortunately is a weakness of almost every video game adaptation these days.

Solo Part VI-Double double cross *Spoilers*

The group lands on the ‘refining’ planet Savareen, and Lando is pretty much upset by the cost of the trip-his droid co-pilot, and the damage to his ship. “I hate you” he says to Han, to which Han replies “I know”.

 

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The scene is of course a callback to the classic Empire Strikes Back moment…

 

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Which of course was also given another inverse callback in “Return of the Jedi”.

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Shortly thereafter, the Cloud Riders show up, and Lando gets the hell out of dodge.

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However, it turns out that the Cloud Riders are in fact a Rebel cell, and Enfys is actually a teen girl, played by Erin Kellyman.

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Not only that, but one of her lieutenants is Teazel, one of Warwick Davis’s many Star Wars characters, making this the first of Davis’s characters that he’s reprised since Wicket. Weazel was one of Watto’s buddies at the Pod Race, but apparently he fell on some hard times once the Empire took control of everything and decided to join the Rebels.Also he played a different character in “Rogue One”, which was also part of a Rebel cell, although a somewhat more messed up one (Saw’s faction).

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The concept of Han having an early, if small, role in the formation of the Rebellion is something that’s also used in AC Crispin’s trilogy, which had Han’s former girlfriend ultimately become one of the first leaders of the alliance, and killed while stealing-you guessed it-the Death Star plans. (The comic series Underworld, which I covered a few weeks ago, also dealt with that).

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Basically Han agrees to help the Rebels by giving them the Coaxium, and fool Vos with a fake shipment. However, Vos already knows that it’s bogus, thanks to Beckett.  However, Han already anticipates the betrayal, and the Cloud Riders are able to ambush Vos’s men on the group. A fight then breaks out while Beckett flees with Chewbacca, and Vos has these interesting red daggers, another case of the not-quite-lightsabers the film uses. Although the red color not only invokes the name “Crimson Dawn” but also might be a small hint as to who runs Crimson Dawn….

 

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Qi’ra eventually saves Han by killing Vos, and Han leaves while she says she’ll catch up.

However, she decides to make a holographic call to the real leader of Crimson Dawn-none other than Darth Maul, in a scene that perhaps was the most confusing to casual moviegoers. Film-wise, Maul is seen cut in half in “The Phantom Menace”.

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However, the Clone Wars series brought him back, revealing that he wound up with some robot legs, and that he also had a brother (Savage opress). After going nuts for a bit, he was mentally healed by his mother on Dathomir, and then set about doing various organized crime things during the Clone Wars, (and has a few rematches with Kenobi)one of which brought him to the attention of his former master, whose plans had evolved beyond Maul at this point.

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After this, Maul continues his organized crime activities, and that’s the point where we are in “Solo”. The rest of Maul’s story is pretty much already been told, in “Rebels”-he winds up on the planet Malachor. After escaping, he eventually winds up on Tatooine again, once again facing his enemy, Obi-Wan, who kills him before he can reach Luke.

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Qira just decides to leave with Vos’s ship/fortress, probably realizing that with her duties with the Crimson Dawn revealed Han would never love her again, or perhaps knowing that crossing Maul-who orders her to Dathomir-would be a very bad mistake. It’s kind of unclear what happens to her. It’s possible there will be “Solo” sequels but it’s not looking good with the Box office of this film. Maybe a novel or comic down the line will deal with her fate, if the movies can’t.

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Han, in the meantime, confronts Beckett….and of course shoots first. The two have a short conversation, but Han shoots him (first!), although Han seems  somewhat agonized by the decision and holds him as he dies…

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Something he definitely wasn’t later on in the timeline with Greedo. (Then again Greedo was pretty much fried anyway). Although whether Han shot first or not depends on what version of Star Wars you’re watching.

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After declining Enfy’s plea to help with her rebellion, (something which he’ll of course, eventually reverse-makes you wonder if they ever met again?) he decides to have a rematch with Lando on a sort of jungle planet (Lando here is trying to charm someone with another anecdote that uses terms from the old Lando novels, again). Here we get a callback to ESB, with Han hugging Lando, although in this case, Han uses the opportunity to take Lando’s cheating device literally off his hands….and he’s able to win the Falcon.

 

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BTW Lando’s outfit here is even more loud than his other one, with a kind of tacky pattern on it showing what appears to be some sort of glider underneath two suns. (Couldn’t find any in-film pics so I settled for this).

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Now taking their rightful place as pilots of the Falcon, the two set upon a job that Beckett hinted at, with a gangster on Tatooine.

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Of course it doesn’t take much thought to know who the gangster is….

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So that’s Solo. Unfortunately, it’s probably one of the weaker Disney Star Wars efforts. While it’s got a decent cast, some nice additions to Star Wars lore and nicely incorporates elements from the “Expanded Universe” into it, but Alden Emmerich doesn’t quite have the charisma of Harrison Ford or the presence, which I think unfortunately hurts the film. Also, although it doesn’t really incorporate much of the Jedi/Sith/force aspects of the larger saga, it still does feel a bit ‘recycled’ in some aspects, a criticism often applied to Disney’s films-the Kessel Run sequence in particular seemed to be a bit of a “Greatest hits” thing. It’s a bit unclear if any of these problems were due to the film’s director drama, or some other aspects. Unfortunately, SOLO wasn’t a huge hit, and Disney seems to be recessing their Star Wars release strategy at this point, although Episode 9 is still on track for a 2019 release and there are other projects in the pipeline apart from the “Story” films.

 

Solo Part V-Kessel run!

 

Although they manage to clear Kessel, the Empire has decided to pop up and block the Maelstrom with a Star Destroyer. It’s a pretty cool image that appeared in the trailers. Say what you will about Disney’s handling of the franchise, but they’ve really managed to get some cool Star destroyer imagery in these films. The Empire’s arrival is signaled by an ominous DUN, DUN DUN DUNNNN!!!! music, used in Star Wars and Rogue One at the beginning of most Death Star scenes.

 

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And they’re definitely not letting Han and co. through, as they release TIE fighters. Among these is the TIE brute, a new model of TIE fighter that doesn’t particularly look as different as Rogue One’s Striker and Last Jedi’s silencer, seeming more like a downgraded version of the the TIE bomber from ESB and (briefly) ROTJ.

 

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Han decides to go around the Destroyer, launching on the fabled Kessel run. Unfortunately, to me, this scene sort of plays a lot like a sort of greatest hits kind of thing for the films. First, you’ve got Beckett using the Falcon’s manual cannons, which of course we “later” see in A new Hope, Force Awakens and Last Jedi. It even uses the same “Here they come!” music, although with a bit more drums….and the cannon is somewhat not quite a ‘quad’ yet, but a single and mostly useless one.

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Then we get the Falcon trying to evade the TIEs in an asteroid field; naturally, of course, playing the Asteroid chase music! It’s a great piece of music of course, and it’s nice to hear it again in a Star Wars film (While “Here they come” shows up in ROTJ and TLJ again, ESB was the only other film to use this theme)….but still, couldn’t come up with something more original?

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It’s here that Chewie takes his rightful place as Han’s co-pilot as well, set to the triumphant Star Wars theme. We also learn that Chewie’s 190 years old, which sticks with most non-film sources saying he’s about 200 at the time of the OT.

Lando plugs what’s left of L3 into the Falcon’s computer to help them navigate, allowing for her to pretty much become the ‘brains’ of the Falcon, so we know who Threepio was ‘talking’ to in ESB.

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Finally, we get to the big finale-which involves a giant space monster. While monsters-including ones out in space-have been a sort of Star Wars trope for a long time, it still feels a bit ‘greatest hits’, especially after the last two parts of the chase.

 

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Although “Solo” does add something new, or rather, something reworked from the novels; the Maw, a massive black hole that soon snares both the monster and the Falcon. I’m pretty sure this is the first time we see or have a black hole mentioned in a Star Wars film, although they’ve been around quite a bit in the EU-especially this one, the Maw. In the Jedi Academy novels (now non-canon) it’s revealed that the Maw is host to an isolated Imperial weapons factory, which had a prototype version of the Death Star (something obviously completely retconned by “Rogue One” and even further back, “Revenge of the Sith”) and also a super-powerful “Sun crusher” which has torpedoes that create supernovas. (One such torpedo destroys Carida in the trilogy; Carida is actually mentioned earlier in this film as one of the Imperial academies).

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The Maw pretty much ‘eats’ the giant space monster, and almost the Falcon, but by ejecting some of it’s extra weight and a little coaxium, manages to escape the Maw….in 12 parsecs. Sort of. Of course, all this wear and tear pretty much gives the exterior of the Falcon it’s “classic look”. Sort of.

 

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Solo Part IV

Kessel! We first see our characters go through the Akkadese maelstrom, a sort of big gas tunnel. Funny thing is, it almost sounds a lot like the “Antares Maelstrom” the way it’s pronounced, which puts me in the mind of a quote from another “Star” franchise.

 

 

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Here’s some sort of character downtime, where we get a look at the much cleaner interior of the Lando-era Falcon. We also learn why the holo-chess is a bit flickery later on-Chewbacca hits it, thinking the “pieces” are in fact, solid.

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We also get Qi’ra and Han reminisce on old times-and share a kiss-in Lando’s closet, which of course is full of many capes and outfits. She also states that she’s reluctant to restart her relationship with Han because she’s done terrible things for the Crimson Dawn syndicate (Not really elaborated on, but it’s a criminal organization so probably some bad stuff).

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I wonder if the Cloud City outfit is in there?

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The white interior of the Falcon and the clothes put me in mind of yet another sci-fi franchise; the Doctor Who series, where the Doctor keeps a closet of multiple outfits handy in the TARDIS, which comes in helpfully when the regeneration alters his personality-and fashion sense-sometimes, not for the better.

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I also wonder if this is the same area where Han and Leia first kiss later on. I’m not about to dig out a technical manual or anything to look that up. Kind of makes sense though, that Han would scuttle the closet once he gets the ship. Han basically has two main looks in the OT-the vest and jacket (The jacket also made a comeback in The Force Awakens), so he probably has little need for a fancy closet.

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We also learn that Han is familiar with the YT-1300 design because his father worked on the docks. That’s pretty much all we learn about Han’s father (Who is of course Kylo Ren’s paternal grandfather, and probably didn’t end up anything like his maternal grandfather)…..that would be an awkward family visit.

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We also learn Lando was raised by a single mother as well, a slight detail from the old Lando novels (not the only mention they’ll get). We also get a bit of an awkward conversation between L3 and Qi’ra, and how L3 and Lando seem to have feelings for each other.

Finally, we come to Kessell, where the group pose as slavers selling Han and Chewie to the mines. The mines actually look fairly cheap for a Star Wars film, just kind of a regular mine.  Sorry to bring Star Trek into this yet again, but they don’t look all that different from the Rura Penthe mines in “Star Trek VI” (although with out snow).

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Here we get a little bit of an easter egg-Becket’s disguise here is pretty close to the one Lando wears to infiltrate Jabba’s palace in ROTJ.

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Chewbacca briefly splits to help out another Wookie, a sort of more hairless one (possibly from being in the mines so long)….who is played by none other than Anthony Daniels, AKA C-3PO! When Daniels was cast, everybody naturally assumed he’s be playing 3PO in a cameo similar to his “Rogue One” appearance. Nope! This is the second time we see Chewie among others of his own kind, after “Revenge of the Sith”. Of course, The Holiday special set the precedent (and some assumed from the trailers that the other Wookie was a member of Chewie’s family, as seen in that special)….but that’s best forgotten.

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L3 causes the droids in the control room to revolt while Becket and the others steal the “Coaxium”. While some have been mixed on L3 as a character, I really liked that the droids in this had a sort of  boxy ‘retro’ look, like they could’ve walked out of the 1977 film…

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or even one of the knockoffs, such as “The Black Hole”.

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Chewie also rips a guard’s arm off, the first time we really see him do such a thing, although JJ Abrams did intend for him to do that to Unkar Platt in a scene deleted from Force Awakens.

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So all hell breaks loose, and the group are soon shooting for their lives. Lando, meanwhile, talks about the chronicles of Lando Calrissian to a holographic recorder, I think talking about the Mindharp of Sharu. Pretty much puts the old Lando novel ‘more or less’ back into canon, I guess, if you substitute L3 for Vuffi Raa.

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Unfortunately, during the escape, L3 is fatally shot down, one of the saddest droid ‘deaths’ in the series along with K-S20 (R2 and 3PO were frequently damaged in the series, but ‘got better’ for the most part). While K-S20 sort of had a brave sacrifice and his ‘light’ went out, L3’s is far more shocking, as she starts talking in ‘malfunctioning’ language and seems to be in great ‘pain’ as she ‘dies’.  Lando is also injured as well….which of course now means it’s up to Han to take his rightful place…..

 

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Next: Kessel Run