RATING: 3.5 outta 5!
Solo, Wookies, & the Dragon Queen playing female lead? Where can this filet mignon of characters go wrong? Something tasted a lil’ bland. I mean, better than a burger, for sure- but, still - I wanted more. Too much of a good thing, possibly?
I think I should start off every nerdy pop culture movie with this mini rant- growing up in the 90s, there was a horrible nerd stereotype that you’d always see on television and in the movies- hell, we had Revenge of the Nerds a decade before, ya know? Being a nerd was taboo. Nerd things: comics, sci fi in general, vinyl toys (“its a collectible!” ← #clicheNerdLines) all were taboo. Fast forward to 2018- and we have all the comic movies, all the sci fi and collectible toys that are suddenly super cool - being a nerd IS cool now. All nerd things are cool now - and the problem with that is just that- they are ALL cool. Hollywood has noticed it can make a decent buck from stuff that we’ve been devoted to since BEFORE everyone gave us permission to like these things- and now everyone wants said things.
I think it comes down to that whole Plato thing - the more we derive from the source, the less it feels like the original, special thing we all cherished. Nothing will ever be as good as the original- and everyone needs to try harder, damnit!
And I think therein lies the conflict. Especially with us nerds. We want more, but we have set such a bar- perhaps we look for the unattainable. And perhaps Hollywood just needs to come up with newer ideas and let alone those things we found so precious for so long.
As Star Wars has joined the Disney Hive Mind Collective, we are set to see every adventure in every infinite universe until movies as we know them end, and/or the end of the world comes into play (thanks Trump! #politicalSideEye #Shade) - as any good fan boy, I want this..and then I don’t. And for whatever I do get on the screen...I should be grateful….to an extent.
Let’s dive into this now, shall we?
We start out right in the action- Solo riding some type of land speeder - being chased and shot out. Solo is introduced as an orphan who works for a local crime boss on the planet Corellia where him and his romantic interest Qi’ra (played by the lovely Emilia Clarke) must steal to survive.
Solo and Qi’ra make a plan to escape - they are half successful, as Qi’ra is caught and Solo sneaks away via enlisting with the Imperial Navy, where the enlisting officer nicknames Han his iconic last name, “Solo”.
Flash forward 3 years, Solo is fighting soldiers on a battlefield, and accidentally discovers a group of smugglers/thieves posing as Imperials. The group, led by the smug Tobias Beckett (good ol’ Woody Harrelson) initially attempt to get rid of Solo, who vehemently argues he would be a great addition to their criminal collective. The ensuing riddance of Solo leads to Chewbacca’s intro (Wookies are ALWAYS appreciated), and segues into the main plot of the movie.
Let me start out by saying - I did enjoy this film. Solo: A Star Wars Story, has everything you would want in a Han Solo movie...but only skin deep. I personally always feel a lil’ cheated when literally every single *basic* question you have about someone’s origin, played out in an origins film, is just laid out for you.
How did Han Solo get his nickname? Check. When did Han Solo meet Chewbacca? Check. That one story about that card game that ever Star Wars fan knows about and is always mentioned…..when did it happen? In this movie, check.
Everyone knows who Luke Skywalker is. But we get to know all about who he is through 3 movies. Everyone knows who Darth Vader is. But we get to know all *we need* to know about him through 3 movies. Well, 3 and a half. Yes, I am only half recognizing “Revenge of the Sith”. Screw the other two prequels.
Solo, on surface level, plays like a well-tuned instrument- it has action, adventure- romance, the whole 9 yards for what a blockbuster should be. I love the initial interactions between Solo and Chewbacca. I love Donald Glover’s Lando Calrissian and his charming, sassy robot L3-37 (L3’s gossipy chat with Qi’ra about romance is corny but wonderful humor). The double crosses in that lead up to the finale were pretty great, and Solo “quick draw” shooting Beckett is probably one of my most favorite film moments (“who shot first” - SOLO DID. THIS PROVES IT GUYS #semiSarcastic #StillAwesomeTho )
All that being said, halfway through the movie everyone seems too comfortable in their established Star Wars Universe roles, wherein they should still be settling. Meaning? Chewbacca warms up to Solo too quickly - Solo talks about being an ace pilot, but that’s taken 0 to 60 in only 3 vehicle chases that he pilots (2 only being semi successful). The lessons that Lando, Qi’ra and Beckett offer Solo through example and actual testament about survival, deception and the shady in between are great- but in a movie where we show how Solo was molded into that fast talking grumpy smuggler we all love - shouldn’t have been the only examples given..I mean, we’re first introduced to Solo in that dirty lil’ cantina on Tatooine - if “Solo” exists to explain that guy who held a gun under the table to shoot Greedo, then it needs to play as THAT movie, first a neatly tied up present with a bow on top.
I know I know, this is why I included that rant beforehand. I should be happy with this. I will say I was happy with Rogue One - THAT movie played how this movie should’ve played. Espionage, double crosses, a plot not involving Jedi or Sith - Rogue One set a bar for “Non-Jedi” Star Wars movies that I hope will be met with future Star Wars movies.
Solo: A Star Wars Story overall is a fun film. As an obvious Star Wars nerd and film lover, Id still encourage seeing this in the theater- but take everything with a grain of salt. This is “Disney Star Wars” and for better or for worse, we’ve got Star Wars movies coming outta the wazoo. Personally, I feel just as we’ve seen with “Disney Marvel”, we’ll have some good ones, and some bad ones. Outta the 3 we’ve gotten so far, this is right under Rogue One for me. So see it when you can.
If for anyone, do it for Chewbacca. Let the Wookiee win.