So today I finally went to go see Solo a Star Wars story. A lot of people have come out to say that its great, while others are bashing it pretty hard, with yet others not seeing it at all, either to support a boycott, or out of simple dis interest. If you haven’t seen it yet, I’m warning now, there are spoilers in this review, so I’ll just say before hand that I think its…decent. Not as good as the fan boys are saying, but not as bad as the haters are saying.
If you haven’t seen it yet because you’re still on the fence, a brief summary would be that the pros of the movie are the action, banter between characters, nods to the greater universe, and the Western style sci-fi feel similar to what you’d see in Firefly. The cons are the cliche plot points, over abundance of minor characters leading to a lack of investment or development in many of them, and that it seemed to put all of Han’s backstory into a period of 2-3 days. So now that we’ve got that out of the way, if you’ve already seen the movie, or just don’t care, feel free to continue reading.
Plot (main spoilers are here)
The plot overall is pretty simple. Han (Alden Ehrenreich) escapes his life of forced crime, but is unable to bring his…I want to say…girlfriend Qi’ra (Emilia Clarke), but promises he’ll come back for her. It features some fun action and chase type scenes, and some mildly funny (but not forced) jokes, but is pretty cliche. Needing to hide as those who were keeping him are still on his tail, he joins the Empire, but hesitates when asked for a last name. Given that he identifies as being independent, the Imperial Officer improvises and calls him ‘Solo’, which I felt to be contrived. I personally would’ve preferred his last name having just been Solo all along, and feel it was an attempt at a joke that didn’t land, but it wasn’t as bad as it could have been, as it was never pushed too hard.
The next few scenes show that Han is a pretty bad fit for the Empire to say the least, and is facing punishment of being fed to a “beast”. Predictably, this is Chewie, and Han, knowing how to speak Wookiee (somehow) is able to communicate with him, and the two escape with a crew lead by Tobias Beckett (Woody Harrelson). The crew then explain that they have a job, and let Han and Chewie in for a portion of the payment. This leads to a well shot, clever scene where the job starts out going well, but then another crew interferes, and the job ends up going South, with all the supporting crew members dying leaving just Beckett, Han and Chewie.
Becket them brings them back to see the man who hired him, Dryden Vos (Paul Bettany) who also employs Qi-ra. The four convince Vos that they can take a replacement job, and Vos agrees, stating that he’ll kill them if they don’t succeed. So they meet up with Qi-Ra’s connection, Lando (Donald Glover), and the five of them complete the job with some difficulty, with Lando’s droid L3-37 being destroyed, and the Falcon being damaged. Overall, I don’t remember very many details from this job, due to how fast paced it was, but every character was given something to do, and it ended with Han piloting the Falcon away from a Star Destroyer and Tie Fighters, similar to Empire Strikes Back (with the asteroid field music even playing in the background at points).
Before the hand the cargo over to Vos, they are met with the crew that interfered with the first job, and Lando leaves in the Falcon, presumably not wanting to deal with them. Han, Chewie and Qi-Ra then completes the delivery, only to be betrayed by Becket, who escapes with the Cargo and Chewie. Vos then tries to kill Han, but Han and Qi-Ra work together to kill Vos. Qi-Ra then tells Han to go after Becket, while she contacts her actual boss, Darth Maul. She then leaves to meet with him, as Han kills Becket, escaping with Chewie and the cargo, who they sell to the other crew. They offer to Han and Chewie the chance to join them, saying they have tied to the rebellion, but Han says no, instead choosing to track down Lando, and win the Falcon from him via gambling. Han and Chewie then fly the Falcon to Tatooine to make a deal with a Hutt, implied to be Jabba.
Characters and acting
Han felt more of a cross between Han and Luke, often not knowing if he wanted to be the kid looking to the future, or the arrogant guy, and seemed to trusting and too much of a ‘good guy’ at several points. At first I didn’t like Alden, but he grew on me a little.
Beckett was the cliche traitor mentor, in that saying his most important piece of advice was not to trust anyone. That said Harrelson did a respectable job with what he was given.
Qi-Ra also felt like the cliche will-she won’t-she romantic interest although I liked how she ended up not getting together with Han. Clarke had an admirable performance.
Lando felt near perfect to me, as his character was very consistent with what it was in V and VI. Donald Glover was certainly perfect for the role, and to be honest, I actually would have preferred a Lando movie specifically for those reasons.
I have very few thoughts on the rest, due to a lack of screen time for many of them, sadly.
Other thoughts (no spoilers)
I like how it dropped several Easter Eggs that added to the experience for more devoted fans, but wouldn’t ruin it for the more casual ones. Characters like Bossk and Aura Sing are mentioned, so are things like the Kessel Run, the Falcon being a YT-1300, Han being from Corellia, Sabacc is featured, and more. However, these references aren’t force fed like they were in TFA.
Overall this one depends on what you’re looking for. If you’re looking for something that can match the original trilogy, you’re going to be disappointed. If you’re expecting nothing, you’ll be pleasantly surprised. For me served as a fun, self contained heist movie with a Star Wars skin, but it doesn’t challenge anything you think. Its better than Episode VIII and the prequels, but not original trilogy good.
Anyway, those are just my thoughts. May the force be with you.