Face-Off: Indiana Jones vs. Han Solo

In last weeks Face-Off we put together a match up between two Steven Spielberg classics in Jurassic Park and Jaws. After much consideration and a re-visitation of both I leaned towards Jaws for the official verdict. Interestingly enough you lot seem to agree with the most part giving Jaws the victory on behalf of our readers as well, a well deserved victory to Spielberg's first foray into exploiting our fears.

This week, in anticipation of the release of the upcoming Jackie Robinson biopic 42, which Harrison Ford has lent his talents to I thought we'd put a match together featuring what many believe to be the highlights of his career. A match between Indiana Jones and Han Solo is interesting to me, part of me thinks people love their Indy so much the verdict will be a landslide...but Han Solo in the first two Star Wars films at least was no slouch in the kick ass character department. Pitching this idea to the head honcho JoBlo himself got him to divulge that he always preferred the scoundrel to the professor. Any chance you agree? Let's discuss.
To elaborate on this category, how is Indiana Jones in a fight? How good is he at getting out of a jam? Well let's see he's mastered countless booby traps and jumped out of a plane and survived with nothing but a lifeboat, then there's that while surviving a nuclear blast in nothing but a fridge gag. Indy's got bullwhips, brains, and ingenuity to last for days. Did I mention the man can maneuver in a vehicle chase like no other? I mean you'd think the confined spaces would vex somebody but nope not Indy, half the time he ends up outside said vehicles and still owns their asses.
Han Solo, great pilot and essentially a fearless bad ass. The mans focused on what he needs to do, hence being able to make it out of that...thing that wasn't a cave in one piece. Then you have him running at a gang of storm troopers like taking them all out would be just another day at the office, then being smart enough to gather he would have been f*cked. Solo can also sneak attack like nobodies business, seriously how did big bad Vader not see that sh*t coming? As far as resourcefulness goes...he knew what he had to do to keep Luke alive in the middle of a frozen over version of hell...good on ya.
Memorable Lines
"It's not the years, honey, it's the mileage."

"You want to talk to God? Let's go see him together, I've got nothing better to do."

"Mola Ram! Prepare to meet Kali... in Hell!"

"I suggest you give me what you owe me... or 'Anything Goes!'

"I'm like a bad penny, I always turn up."

"Nazis. I hate these guys."

"Sorry about the mess."

"Wonderful girl. Either I'm going to kill her or I'm beginning to like her."

"Laugh it up fuzzball."

"I know."

"This is no cave."

"A Jedi Knight? I'm out of it for a little while and everyone gets delusions of grandeur."

"Scoundrel? Scoundrel? I like the sound of that."
I love Indiana Jones' fascination with the artifacts he hunts down and his determination in preserving them and getting them where they belong, I mean his bluff was called by a villain that knew he couldn't destroy one of them. His way with women was a little shaky as he could clash with them pretty easily, but also had a soft side and had a habit of telling them how it is...admirable. I also loved how good he was with Short Round and to lesser extent his interactions with Shia when he found out the nature of their connection. I connected mostly with Indy in his struggle to gain the approval from his father he was so craving, it's something I related to in a big way and it added a lot of dimension to his character.
Han Solo had some great character development throughout the original trilogy, started out as a man all about the benjamins with only a Wookie and a ship as things he considered close to him. He showed us his mean streak in a New Hope that I dug (he f*cking shot first George). But like most great loner characters, he found something deeper to fight for and dedicate himself to, and never abandoned his new comrades when they needed it...although he almost did. He is also more stable when it comes to romance, he knows who he wants and he's a go getter...suave bastard. This is a tough category to judge because they both are stand up gentlemen...but to make this match more interesting I'll give Indy the edge here and nitpick because Han is pretty consistently a dick to C-3PO the whole time...leave the protocol droid alone man.
While Han Solo is a great character who really got to shine in Empire Strikes Back, the franchise wasn't really his. Indiana Jones puts Harrison Ford front and center and he fully embodied the character and made him great...yes even in Kingdom of the Crystal Skull. He's smart, he's good in a fight, he doesn't exactly have grace under pressure but still knows how to get out of tight situations, and you can relate to some human elements that his character was given such as his certain fears and his deep rooted family history. I always have fun revisiting his adventures, and most importantly bought the idea that he could still go in the 50's. Indy's time may be done, but he's definitely made a hell of a mark on cinematic history.
The original Star Wars is full of characters that grew and evolved as a result of the epic journey they found themselves on, and Han Solo was no exception. He made a hell of an impact when he was introduced and we were rooting for him to get his head out of his ass the whole time, then it was great to his new found sense of honor in ESB. He was a bit neutered in ROTJ and not as compelling to watch but that doesn't take away from how great the character is in the slightest. The best compliment I could give Han Solo is that if it was the norm back then to produce spin-off films, and Han Solo would have gotten the treatment I would have been all for it. He is one of Ford's best characters as loved as Indy is this can't be denied.
Indiana Jones
There you have it Schmoes, as much as I love Han Solo I think Indiana Jones just has to take this particular Face-Off. Ford carried a classic franchise on his back and made it one of the best to this day. While I'm confident this is going to be the general opinion from you our readers, I've been surprised before and some may prefer the scoundrel that is Han Solo. It's that time...strike back!

If you have an idea that you'd like to see in a future FACE OFF column, feel free to shoot an email to me at [email protected] with your ideas and some ideas for the critique to base your ideas off. Thank you and in the meantime...

Which Stephen Spielberg film is your favorite?



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