To be fair, we’ve had decades of 2nd films in trilogies being described as “the Empire Strikes Back of the series” so criticizing SW for that now strikes me as a bit silly.
An Empire Strike Back movies is your basic second act structure, where the heroes appear to be at their lowest ebb before the upswing of the third arc.
Empire Strikes Back movies typically don’t feature:
- The training of a new Jedi
- AT-AT’s fighting on a white planet
- A lightsaber fight where the bad guy asks the good guy to join him in ruling the galaxy
- A scene with a scary Jedi cave
- A bit of trench warfare
- Going to a new planet to enlist the help of a shady criminal type
- Who ultimately betrays the rebellion
- The rebels escaping on the Falcon as it jumps to hyperdrive just in the nick of time
Empire Strikes Back was very well written
TLJ was decidedly NOT.
Kenny Baker beat her to it.
Peter Cushing did his best.
The irony I find though is the things all the fans that didn’t like it complained about were the bits that didn’t emulate previous stories. They loved most of that stuff and hated the things like Rey’s parentage not being important, the ‘Emperor’ dies early, the plan to disable the shield seen 3 times already in Star Wars films doesn’t work in ‘McGyver 3-2-1-0 style’ as my wife wonderfully terms it.
Maybe the appeal is purely nostalgia and to get $2bn you need to tell the same story again with even less variation like The Force Awakens.
But they should all have those things.
The problem with that is two fold though, first it fails because they’re betrayed by a character that they had absolutely no reason to trust or rely on and secondly, it renders an entire storyline pointless. If they didn’t want to successfully disable the shield then they should have just found Finn something else to do, no one forced them to include disabling a shield.
They relied on him out of necessity, and failed because that was part of the theme of the film.
Which is a fair argument, I liked the subversion of the trope but in the end it’s a detail.
The overall point is that for all Jim’s comparison is accurate it’s not what people who dislike TLJ have been moaning about. There’s probably a thousand posts there and nobody is talking about AT-ATs on a white planet, the Falcon escape, speeders (even if there’s a slight salt/snow diference). In fact most were very positive about the Yoda cameo.
To be fair though, those things are mainly window dressing whereas some complaints are about the plot.
Sure but in the main they are also the plot elements that diverge from the Star Wars norm, not the ones that conform. So in the ‘box office’ thread my interest is not so much the detail of that, we’ve gone over it endlessly in the dedicated film thread.
(As an aside: While I liked a lot of the directions the film took, I was praying Rey would not be Luke’s daughter when 90% seemed to be hoping she would be in the most obvious plot twist ever, I didn’t love it overall, I felt something missing emotionally.)
On the theory they preyed too much on nostalgia though, I don’t think it adds up because the previous film traded on almost being a remake and the complaints about TLJ have never really been about that familiarity. (Not exclusively, Millar mentioned it and Christian too but almost nobody else).
I think people don’t complain so much about it now because it’s just such a given at this point. TFA, Rogue One and TLJ have all traded very heavily on nostalgic back references to the original trilogy (I haven’t seen Solo but I gather that’s the same too). Clearly that’s the model for these films and people are choosing to see them on that basis.
I’ve liked R1 more each time I watch it, largely because of where it’s so different from the standard Star Wars film - not just the ending, but how the main characters are less idealized archetypes and instead feel like people suffering under the Empire, and damaged by the choices they’ve had to make. It’s very SW in the plot details, but works because of the characters and tone (which is probably why I’m at best neutral on Solo).
I unabashedly love that film. I’ve never been a huge SW fan; I enjoy the films but I haven’t seen the cartoons, read the comics and novels*, etc. But a think Rogue One is a great addition to the franchise, and I really appreciate the creativity of building an entire film from one line of dialogue in the original Star Wars film.
Come to think of it, Solo did something similar with the “Kessel run” line.
*I confess I did buy the original Star Wars paperback credited to George Lucas, and the Alan Dean Foster sequel A Splinter in the Mind’s Eye, but my excuse is “it was the 70s”.
I can’t say I agree. I don’t think they complained and just got used to it. I think they want it and don’t like it when it differs.
I think Solo’s problem has always been apparent. It’s taking a character that’s very aligned to a particular actor and seemed like a bad idea, anti nostalgia in some strange way. Almost nobody here has been excited about this film, I wasn’t, I quite enjoyed it for what it was but it’s the least interested I have ever been in seeing a Star Wars film. If my weekend had been busy it would probably have been a DVD watch.
I am still really interested in what Abrams does for episode 9 and Rian Johnson’s off the main thread trilogy. Which maybe even haters of TLJ may like when he isn’t given the chance to shit on their youthful dreams
My first response was that the characters seemed too one-dimensional and we didn’t really get a chance to know or understand them. I’ve done almost a complete 180 on that (with the exception of Jyn, who I think is criminally underdeveloped), loving how much we get from characters like Cassian, Chirrut and Baze, and even Bodhi. And Krennic’s sort of middle-manager villain is a fantastic counter to the bigger bads like Vader, Ren, the Emperor, and Tarkin.
It’s worth bearing in mind that Disney aren’t trying to create an extended universe with ‘Star Wars’, they bought a universe that had already been extended.
Shifting gears before Star Wars devours the entire board, how do people think Incredibles and Jurassic World will do?
I have a weird feeling they will underperform what the studios are hoping. I don’t think the Incredibles are as big as a board like this makes it seem, and Jurassic should have a drop similar to Force Awakens to Last Jedi. In my opinion.
No idea, to be honest.
I’m far more interested in ‘The Incredibles 2’ but ‘Jurassic World 2’ looks fun.
I assume they’ll both do fine, but big budget dinosaurs are hard to beat.