Solo: A Star Wars Story

May 30, 2018

I really, really liked it. Probably unreasonably and inordinately. But it made me really happy and was fully in the spirit of all the books and novels and games and fanfic and spinoffs and everything that has kept Star Wars alive for the last forty years. I never thought I would hear the words “Corellian YT1300 freighter” spoken in a line of dialog in a Star Wars movie and yet here we are. There’s a point in the big second-act action set piece, Han is piloting the Falcon for the first time, and the soundtrack has the Death Star escape battle music from A New Hope that rolls straight into the Asteroid Field music from Empire, which are two of my favorite bits from all the movie soundtracks, and it was totally manipulative and I loved it and I knew I was the ideal, perfect audience for this movie. So much fan service — a lot of it more subtle than you’d think. There’s a single throwaway line of dialog in Empire that gets set up in this film.

It’s a classic heist film, and it’s also a character study of this kid who grew up in really terrible circumstances but he’s got some really big plans. The plans always go awry, but that’s okay — he’ll just make bigger plans next time. He’s learning along the way. When to run. When to shoot. Who to trust. Han’s intentions are always bigger than his abilities. This film shows him learning not to adjust his intentions, but rather to bluff harder, talk faster, and force his abilities to catch up. It’s great.

The trailers won me over with the moment Qi’ra tells Han “I may be the only person in the galaxy who knows what you really are,” and Han gets that flicker of doubt in his expression. That flash of uncertainty, when he’s trying to be cool but he realizes he isn’t sure what she’s going to say — he isn’t sure what he really is by this point. Nailed the character in one scene, so I thought the movie knew what it was doing.

In the film, Qi’ra actually follows up with what she thinks Han really is. And it’s the right answer, the one that means that in ten years or so he will end up at the Battle of Yavin, trying to decide what to do.



3 Responses to “Solo: A Star Wars Story”

  1. I had very low expectations for this film. Even though I have embraced Zachary Quinto as my alternate universe Spock, how could anyone but Harrison Ford be Han Solo?
    Well this young actor whose name I haven’t learned yet knocked my socks off. He IS Han Solo, he nailed it. I loved the film, and as you say, it made me very happy.

  2. A.M. Lynn Says:

    I scheduled a tweet with a tiny review for tonight and have been regretting that the past two days of seeing negative reviews, because I loved SOLO in the theater, too!

    The movie is solid Star Wars. It brings together that goofy, philosophical, gritty, romantic, and… well, anyway, it was better than my expectations could rise to after THE LAST JEDI.

    One thing I haven’t seen mentioned were the Easter eggs for 80s sci-fi fans. Did I imagine those? “My friend Needles” who was killed in a speeder crash felt like a nod to Back to the Future. Loved that.

  3. Tim Says:

    I’ve been thinking about stringing some of the Star Wars movies into the Han Solo story. Solo, then episodes 4, 5 & 6 ending with his death in 7. This, I think, captures the most of the best of the Star Wars movies.
    I’ll likely throw in Rogue 1 even though he’s not in it.

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