WARNING: The following review contains obnoxious opinions and strong language
When it was announced, I said no. When they revealed the cast, I said no. When they showed the first preview, I said absolutely not. When the second preview came out, I said “Whoa hold up, this is doesn’t look so bad.”, but it was too late. Solo’s development has been among the rockiest in the history of cinema. A sinking ship being tossed about a maelstrom of divided Star Wars fans, fighting each other or Lucasfilm, sometimes both. In the midst of this cinematic shitstorm, the directors were fired when the film was virtually finished. Ron Howard had to reshoot more than half of this film and completely re-edit it. It became on of the most expensive movies of all time, and has almost no chance of making back that money. As I’m writing this, it will be out of theaters any day now, only passing its budget by 70 million, which means its not a flop, but it had some serious losses. Part of that is because of the internal disputes at Lucasfilm right now, part of that is Last Jedi was majorly disliked by fans, some so toxic I wanna hit them with a shovel covered in ticks. Regardless, Solo was a major risk. A beloved character whose backstory was retconned by the studio and now being retold completely differently. Some saw that as an insult to the franchises rich expanded history, while others saw it as an exciting new way to look at their favorite character. I was apprehensive going into the theater myself. I love Han Solo’s character, and I didn’t think his story needed a complex backstory to boost his original screen presence. As it turns out, I was wrong (You know it’s serious if I gotta say that)
SPOILERS AHEAD PEOPLE
-Oh how I mocked Alden Ehrenreich when I saw his casting. I told everyone how he looked nothing like Harrison Ford and in the preview footage he wasn’t pulling off the character at all. I WAS VERY VERY WRONG! This guy was EXCELLENT! He had the smirk, the swagger, the deadly overconfidence and the comedy needed for you to believe he was Han Solo. He also played off of the other characters in fantastic fashion. I want more of this version of the character, in any movie they can put him in.
-The retelling of this story was totally working for me. How he meets Chewie is sensational, how he gets his gun was a great little moment and everything with Lando and the Falcon just fell together like puzzle pieces. I’m glad they re-wrote it. This is better, so much better.
-Star Wars filmmakers still rocking practical effects and robotics whenever they can and its great. I truly hope they keep that trend going. Technology has evolved to a point where we don’t always need the crutch of CGI to pull off something, and the craft is better off this way.
-Donald Glover as Lando Calrissian was the deciding factor that got me in the theater seat. I am a colossal fan of his work across the various mediums he has traveled through. I knew he was the only person who could bring that character back into the light, and he absolutely crushed it. Perfect casting leads to perfect results. I hope his talents in this universe are not wasted in one film. I expect his return sooner rather than later.
-The finale was a series of 5 or 6 double-crosses that occur one after the other in less than 5 minutes. I actually really liked that because they tried to do something different. In a Star Wars film with no jedi, and no lightsabers, its tough to make a strong finale. This was uniquely fun to me.
-DARTH MAUL IS IN THIS?! WHAT?! I nearly wet myself when I saw him. REALLY hope this brief glimpse was a sign of his return to the films, because he was completely wasted in Episode 1. He has a rich story in the tv shows, but not a lot of people wanna watch those. This is the time. Make it happen Lucasfilm!!!
-Fair is fair, and I gotta be fair. The pace of this film is quite wonky. Too many characters vying for screen-time, too many places to go and too little time. Takes awhile to establish the villain as well. Didn’t bother me at all but it will bother many, and I respect that.
-The finale was a series of 5 or 6 double-crosses that occur one after the other in less than 5 minutes. Many people will despise this and see it as cartoonishly stupid.
-Again with the half-ass addition of vehicles and/or characters for 5 seconds just for selling stupid ass toys. I get that merchandising funds these films, but if you wanna put it in the film, give it time enough to establish purpose for it. It’s so lazy at this point...
-Script Armor is strong with this one. Characters of the past are invincible so I can’t get invested in their perilous situations. The exact opposite happens with any new characters that are introduced. Not unlike Rogue One, the new characters in this drop like flies, sometimes right after you started to get to know them. This isn't the only movie with this problem. I just wish somebody could crack this code so things weren’t so predictable.
I loved this movie, more than Last Jedi, more than Return of the Jedi and almost more than Force Awakens. Everything was working for me here, despite the issues discussed above. As a Star Wars fan I was smiling throughout this entire movie. An excellent balance of nostalgia and fresh ideas. It won’t win over everyone. I get that. I just hope fans can take it easy on the Last Jedi hate and give this film some kinda chance.
This film and Rogue One have proven to me beyond all doubt that Lucasfilms needs to chill on its Episodic Saga storytelling and make more of these spinoff films. Star Wars is rich universe, a broad universe, with thousands of potential stories to be told, and plenty of character options to guide you through the stories. It’s hard to tell what will happen next with all of the turmoil in their house right now, but when the dust settles, they need to see past dollar signs and not miss the quality we got from this film. Never tell us the odds.
4 out of 5
May not look like much but it's got it where it counts...