Solo: A Star Wars Story – Some Thoughts

I’d like to start with the important point, Solo is far and away the best of the Disney Star Wars movie so far. I want to get that out first because I’m afraid of sounding negative in what’s to come. But, basically, the movie was successful as a movie. It entertained me for two hours. It had a coherent story, likable characters, some exciting action and a beginning, a middle and an end. And I suppose I should mention that there are spoilers to follow. Of course, unlike Force Awakens and Last Jedi, Solo isn’t all about the twists and reveals so there’s actually something to enjoy even if you hear a few spoilers.

The movie wasn’t perfect, of course. From a storytelling point of view, it was a bit long and the Enfys Nest twist didn’t really add anything to this story. From a Star Wars point of view, it was a mistake to give Han a love of his life that isn’t Leia and in this story, he should have joined the rebellion at the end, but couldn’t because he doesn’t join the rebellion until A New Hope. These flaws certainly aren’t enough to sink Solo.

The thing that really stood out about this movie, though, was just how competent it was. I know that sounds like faint praise, but it has become rather uncommon. The Force Awakens, The Last Jedi and Rogue One were thoroughly incompetent films. Maybe they had lowered my expectations (although my expectations couldn’t have been lower for The Last Jedi and I still hated it), but Solo was much better than I had any right to expect.

One completely irrational thing that took me out of the action a little bit was that Han was too short. I noticed it enough to look it up after seeing the movie and, according to the internet, Harrison Ford is about 6’1″ and Alden Ehrenreich is only about 5’8″. I don’t know why I found the difference so noticeable, but I did.

The music was well done. The score wasn’t nearly as memorable as the original John Williams compositions, but John Powell used the original themes very well. They pushed all the right buttons at the right times.

When I first saw Star Wars in the theater as a kid, Chewbacca was my favorite. I was happy to see him still being awesome.

Donald Glover was cast perfectly as Lando. Unlike Han, it didn’t bother me in the slightest that Glover doesn’t look anything like Billy D. Williams. He had the swagger and the charm and it was everything that I needed.

The Maul reveal at the end didn’t phase me in the least. But, I guess it’s causing quite the stir. It must be because I watched both The Clone Wars and Rebels, so I knew Maul was still out there at this point in the timeline. It did bug me a little bit when they brought him back in Clone Wars, but I got used to it. The only real reaction I had to the scene was acknowledging that they apparently want a sequel to this movie. I think it would be a bad idea to make the sequel about Han Solo again, but if they decided to make it about Qi’ra, I could get behind that.

One of the common complaints I’m hearing about Solo is that it was unnecessary, that it didn’t need to be made. I don’t understand that complaint. Is there any movie that needs to be made? Maybe, in some limited sense, Return of the Jedi needed to be made or a whole lot of people would have been very upset. But, I can’t think of any other movie that needed to be made. The original Star Wars (or A New Hope) didn’t need to be made. Citizen Kane was unnecessary. I’m glad they make movies, write books, perform plays and paint pictures that don’t need to be made.

I don’t exactly know what to think of the droid, L3. I thought she worked in this specific movie. I found her entertaining. But she is completely incompatible with everything I know about droids from all of my Star Wars experience. In all of the Lucas made Star Wars, R2 and 3PO are different from all the other droids due to their connection with Anakin. There’s not even a whiff of droids being an exploited class of sentient beings. They’re just robots that are programmed to do a job. Obi-wan even says something to the effect of, “If droids could think, there’d be none of us here.” I liked R2 and 3PO being special. Chopper, BB-8 and L3 dilute that specialness.

I think that’s all the thoughts I have, at least for now. Solo is actually pretty good. If you’ve been scared off by all the negativity surrounding it, give it a chance.

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