It seems like it was just five months ago that I was writing up some non-spoilery thoughts on Star Wars: The Last Jedi. Apparently this is because it was just five months ago.
Is it too soon for more Star Wars? A couple years ago I remarked to a friend that I was worried Star Wars was going to reach Marvel levels of over-saturation. His response was, "But what if they keep making good ones?"
So, is the latest entry into the Star Wars cinematic universe, Solo: A Star Wars Story, any good?
I can honestly say I really enjoyed it! By way of elaboration, I present my non-spoilery reactions to Solo: A Star Wars Story!
- The big question for many fans is, "Who the hell does this Alden Ehrenreich guy think he is playing Han Solo?" I think he did a great job. Is he exactly like Harrison Ford? No, but would you really want him to try? Instead, he channels a younger, more inexperienced Han, which is just what the role calls for.
- And what about Donald Glover as Lando? The real question: is there anything Donald Glover can't do? But seriously, he's awesome. Not to mention the capes!
- Chewie! As a large, hairy humanoid myself, I've gotta love Chewie. And he's here in all his glory.
- I purposively didn't read much about this movie, but I basically expected it to be a fun prequel. It's not anything Earth- or other planet- shattering, but not every movie has to be. That's okay. You're allowed to have fun at a movie.
- I have a strong curmudgeonly streak when it comes to Hollywood's mania for reboots, remakes, and prequels with their attendant drive toward mindless nostalgia. But Solo didn't awaken my curmudgeonly streak at all. How could I be curmudgeonly when I had a big smile on my face for 80% of the movie? Seeing the story of how Han, Chewie, and Lando came to be pals filled my Star Wars loving heart with glee. Especially after the events of The Force Awakens, seeing Han and Chewie together made me happier than a movie has made me in awhile. This is nostalgia done right. (Or maybe I was duped? I'll have to see it again to be sure.)
- I liked the new characters. Emilia Clarke, Thandie Newton, and Woody Harrelson are nice additions to the Star Wars universe. I especially loved the new droid who ... okay, no spoilers.
- There's a lot of cool-looking stuff, but you expected that from a Star Wars movie, didn't you? The film looks great. The thousands of people who worked hard on it deserve a lot of credit.
- We learn a little bit more about the Empire and a lot more about some crime syndicates.
- This is probably the most light-hearted Star Wars movie yet, which is odd considering the somewhat grim subject matter. Yet somehow it worked for me. Whereas Rogue One was the Star Wars version of a war movie, this is the Star Wars version of a heist/caper movie.
- There are plenty of little references and in-jokes for Star Wars fans, many of which I am trying really hard not to spoil right now. Thankfully, you don't have to get them all to enjoy the movie, unlike all those obnoxious call-backs in Marvel movies that expect the audience to have seen the previous 19 films (or maybe it's that I'm a far bigger fan of Star Wars than Marvel).
- While Solo is mostly a fun time at the movies, there are some deeper philosophical questions to be found. Should you try to go, well, solo, or do you need people you can love and trust in your life? What is the value of friendship? How do you know if someone is a true friend? Should you be open to friendships when and where you might not expect them? Are some people good despite their best efforts to be bad, or vice versa? Why don't they recognize droids' rights already? (This last question has bothered me for a long time and finally gets some treatment in a Star Wars film). You aren't required to think about these questions to enjoy the movie. It works as pure popcorn entertainment. But like the little references, the questions are there if you notice them.
- Above all, Solo is a lot fun! I recommend it.