Solo: A Star Wars Story

Every successive viewing of this cements it in my mind as the pinnacle of Disney's achievements with this franchise. Last Jedi tells the most essential story, but Solo just meshes with Lucas's world like none other while expanding what the series can do visually and structurally.

My favorite thing about Solo is that we don't end on a climactic battle between good and evil for the soul of the universe. Our big finale is a group of blaster-toting scumbags shouting each other down in a space yacht over a shipment of valuable hyperfuel. Solo's conflicts aren't ideological, the characters aren't driven by a desire for vengeance or justice, their aims and their roadblocks are all practical. Learning to adapt to a world that will give you nothing unless you take it for yourself.

I think it's a nice touch that Han's parents don't have some tragic backstory. They weren't murdered by thugs. The most we learn is that Han's dad had a job at a construction company before getting laid off, and that's the most the film ever bothers to tell us. This, in a microcosm, is the essence of what makes Solo work. Unlike Rogue One which traded mainly in aesthetic grittiness, Solo actually explores the world through the eyes of someone who was born into the galaxy's gutter, whose life and history up to the moment we meet him are genuinely unremarkable. A total nobody born to nobodies, which means he has everything to prove to himself and to the galaxy.

Solo lives in the bowels of Star Wars. Deep in the guts of this massive and wonderful universe George invented all those years ago. It belongs to that vision and incorporates itself organically in a way that no live-action media post-Lucas has done before or since. It's funny and thrilling, filled with character, life and a delicious attention to detail.

Bradford Young ate this shit for breakfast. The best Star Wars has ever looked.