Solo: A Star Wars Story is One of The Strongest in a Franchise That Keeps Getting Better (Review)

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2018 keeps delivering.  This week it was Solo: A Star Wars Story.  I had my doubts about whether Disney could deliver its promised one Star Wars movie per year.  I thought maybe the quality might start to slip or something but it feels like the opposite is true.  The Star Wars movies keep getting better; the actions scenes keep getting more dramatic, the cantinas keep getting more alien-y and the droids keep getting sassier.   It amazes me how well they can establish the mythology of the franchise while still making it a fresh new story. Needless to say, I loved Solo: ASWS.

During an adventure into the criminal underworld, Han Solo meets his future copilot Chewbacca and encounters Lando Calrissian years before joining the Rebellion.


It’s funny how people will say ‘it wasn’t what I expected’ because they don’t actually want to say they didn’t like it.  Well Solo: ASWS was exactly what I was expecting even though I didn’t know it. I went into the movie saddled with all kinds of vague subliminal expectations; I think subconsciously I knew what the Star Wars criminal underground should look and feel like and then there it all was, on the big screen, exactly right.  That’s some straight up voodoo shit right there. The level of skill it takes consistently match the unspoken expectations of an Unpleasable Fanbase isn’t something I can easily understand.

Maybe one controversial thing – I don’t think Alden Ehrenreich looks like Han Solo.   I could be the only one; I’ve certainly heard people say the exact opposite. Don’t get me wrong, he fit the role perfectly but he just doesn’t look like a younger version of Harrison Ford.   I know I’m being unfair – Donald Glover doesn’t look like a young Billy Dee Williams either but I apparently had no trouble with that. Maybe it’s because it felt like the Solo: ASWS gave us the definitive Lando but the definitive Han was in A New Hope.  Maybe it’s because I crush hard on both Donald Glover and Harrison Ford but I’m still undecided about Alden Ehrenreich because there wasn’t any fan service. I’m sorry, a shower scene doesn’t count if you’re only going to show ankles. I need to see more in order to make up my mind.  Though Alden Ehrenreich had some Crowning Moments of Awesome. I don’t want to give anything away but the first time he meets Chewbacca? Wonderful.

Solo: ASWS was two hours and 15 minutes long.  I know this because I just looked it up but you had asked me right after I watched it, I would have said less than 2 hours.  I would have argued the point too. It didn’t feel that long. Yes, the very beginning dragged a bit (I wasn’t entirely sold on Han’s love interest) but things picked up very quickly and stayed exciting.  I didn’t even notice the pacing; I couldn’t have told you where the mid-point was or the end of Act II because i was so wrapped up in the story. That’s a good thing. I love the writing throughout too, mostly for the same reason: I didn’t notice it.  Though I did notice how funny Solo: ASWS was throughout. There were constant little references and foreshadowing that were really funny but quick and understated, as though the writers would be scolded if they made it too obviously funny.

So was Solo: ASWS worth watching?  Yes of course it was. But you either already knew that or you’re one of the very few who hasn’t been avidly watching the Star Wars franchise.  This is definitely one of the stronger Star Wars movies. Especially for me because, right at the end, they brought in my very favorite character in the entire franchise, ever.  There’s probably going to be another installment of the Han Solo story, they left it open for that, and I can’t wait.

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