Solo: A Star Wars Story ★★★½

Immediately stands out as the most "forced" of Disney's expansion of the Star Wars universe; but still a breezy, propulsive and hugely enjoyable romp through a galaxy far, far away. But even as a diehard, starry-eyed fan of the franchise, I can see the issues littered throughout this with some ease. First and most unfortunate; the writing is kind of bad. The actual dialogue is tolerable, but the film is supported by so many narrative shortcuts you can't help but roll your eyes occasionally. Stakes are almost non-existent because of this, as answers to the movie's most difficult narrative hurdles generally just fall into our protagonists' laps. It's unnecessarily convoluted at points and spends a bit too little time on an interesting first act. I must mention too, while I don't like dumping on performers who seem nice in the real world, Emilia Clarke was a horrible choice for a legitimately interesting part. She's such a bland, boring actress. She works in GoT because she's been able to grow into the role of Khaleesi, but she's really bad here. Would've loved a more engaging actress in the role of Q'ra.

But the standard of quality we've come to expect (or I have, at least) from Disney and particularly this burgeoning franchise is still very much achieved here. Though its issues are too serious to be called mere nitpicks, I'm still willing and able to enjoy this. I loved Alden as Han. Much more than an impersonation, he shines as the much younger, much more innocent and naive space cowboy we all love. Glover is fun as Lando, if a tiny bit overplayed. World-building and creature design are stellar; the seedy underbelly of the Star Wars universe is loads of fun in this. And honestly? Ron Howard and the special effects crew kill it with the action in this. The train sequence and Millennium Falcon sequence are *loads* of fun. Just superb stuff.

Should mention too that I'm generally a sucker for fan-service. I understand it's not the most prestigious, respectable way to engage fans, but damn it works on me. Solo is packed with it, and I had a blast with most of it. The cameos were delightful in completely different ways, Chewie and Han's blossoming relationship was adorable and watching Han step into the Falcon for the first time was just a little magical. In this vein, the movie gets one thing very right, in my opinion, and that would be Han's character. It skillfully taps into Han's pilot's instinct, so to speak, and conveys effectively the sort of intangible connection he has to the infamous spaceship. This, coupled with his famously cowboy-esque attitude in it's infant stages, makes the movie a worthy venture. It's not a profound or staggering entry into the franchise; more of an enriching, expositionary expansion to one of cinema's most beloved action heroes. A fun movie, which is something I don't care to scoff at.

Star Wars Marathon
2018 Ranked

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