Thursday, May 24, 2018
Solo: A Star Wars Story (Review)
I'm sitting in a hotel in Los Alamos as I write this, enjoying day three or four of what started as a work trip but then turned in to a sort of family road trip vacation. Along the way we decided, in our meanderings, to stop in Los Alamos and tomorrow we're off to see Bandelier National Park (as well as a plethora of local museums, Los Alamos has lots of those). But there does happen to be a small local theater, and we managed to catch Solo there tonight.
Fun movie! I will be honest and admit I wasn't that enthusiastic about Rogue One, which was a perfectly good movie but outside of Jyn Erso and the robot I really hard a hard time keeping track of everyone and why I was supposed to feel bad when they died. Director Krennick (was that his name) was also distinctive, but the most I remember about that movie was "Cool CGI Tarkin, cool CGI Leia, and oh, that's why there wasn't much of a fleet when the Death Star approaches Yavin's fourth moon."
Solo, on the other hand, was loaded with interesting characters who either you want to see more of, or who die and you actually feel like you had some reason to miss them. "Gee, would have been cool if she'd survived," type moments. It also had a ton of fan service. This may have been the most fan serviced movie ever, and probably will benefit from this aspect hot on the heels of the anti-fan service film The Last Jedi.
There is one scene, in fact, which took me quite by surprised (my son was not surprised apparently and also loved it) when a character very much thought Dead with the capitol D shows up. This is something the new extended universe foreshadowed, I guess, but hell it surprised me that this happened in a feature film.
Anyway, the real question is: can two new actors spice up a young coming of criminal age tale featuring Han Solo and Lando Calrissian? Yes, the answer is absolutely. Both actors pull this off quite well (imo) and I left this movie eagerly hoping it does well enough to see a series of future solo films. There are more tales to tell for both Han and Lando, and I would love to see this happen at some point.
This is about as far as I can get without going hip deep in to spoiler territory, but let's just say that Star Wars' first stand-alone heist film was fun, worked well, and held the spirit of Star Wars perfectly. It would be hard for fans (and haters) of The Last Jedi to dispute that this film was a good Star Wars movie, and fans of any prior films ought to find something here to enjoy.*
*If you loved certain Han Solo tales from the Expanded Universe (i.e. Pre Disney) then you are going to be a little miffed, though. A lot of specific novels are now non-canon and completely irrelevant all of a sudden.