Thursday, June 14, 2018

Lucasfilm's SOLO: A Star Wars Story

Right, so let's just put this out there: I didn't go see SOLO: A Star Wars Story right away because I thought it would suck. One of the writers came out and talked about Lando Calrissian being a pansexual. Now, don't get me wrong. I'm not against people being paansexual if that's what's natural for them. I'm not against pansexuals being portrayed in movies or books or on TV, whatever. What freaked me out was that they were bragging about it. Whenever I'm lectured about diversity and inclusivity I assume that I'm being told that I have to see a shitty movie because I'll be some kind of -ist or -phobe if I don't. Don't think I'm right? Two words: Ghostbusters reboot. 'Nuff said.

That much being said, I kind of wish I had gone sooner. This was a good movie. I'm going to make a comparison here. Some of you are going to be turned off by it, but it's valid, I think. Think about the Star Wars prequels. Okay, I'll wait while you stop swearing. Ready?

Listen, we all hated The Phantom Menace. Anakin Skywalker/Darth Vader is not supposed to be a little goofball. Jar Jar Binks was annoying. The plot meandered and in a lot of ways the movie was more about cool stunts by Industrial Light and Magic than the story. Attack of the Clones was a love story. Actually, it was a creepy love story. Padme was so much older than Anakin that it shouldn't have worked. Star Wars is about wars, not lovers. And again, special effects were more important than the plot. If you remember the beginning and the car chase through Coruscant, it was sweet looking. What it didn't do was a whole lot to move things forward. But let's stop for a second and talk about Revenge of the Sith. What were the complaints about that? I don't remember tany. People weren't up in arms about that one.

Revenge of the Sith did what it set out to do. It was the true origin story of Darth Vader. The first two movies were pretty much fluff and filler, but ROTS was a good flick. Yes, it was a special effects extravaganza. Star Wars always has been. The thing was, it was a good story. We found out what happened to Luke and Leia's mother. We saw why Darth Vader ended up in a bionic body and couldn't breathe right. We watched the Jedi fall and Yoda exile himself to Dagobah. We found out why Obi Wan Kenobi lived near Luke. It wasn't perfect. Nothing made by a human ever is. It was pretty close, though.

SOLO: A Star Wars Story is like that, only better. This movie harkens back to A New Hope. SOLO is probably the best SW movie since Return of the Jedi. There is so much in this movie. I don't want to spoil too much, but pretty much everything you wanted to know about Han Solo is in this movie. He meets Chewie. He meets Lando Calrissian and gets the Millenium Falcon. He becomes an outlaw. We even find out how it makes sense that the Falcon made the Kessel Run in twelve parsecs. I mean, it's a bit goofy, but it makes sense and it's Han Freaking Solo. This is Mr. "Never tell me the odds." In context it really does work. OH, and we get to see who shot first in another context. I like it.

For the record, I can't seem to think of a better word for Lando than pansexual. It makes sense. It moves the plot forward. I don't want to get into exactly why I say this, because it's too big of a spoiler, but it works. It also makes Lando even more interested in keeping his ship. In a way, it makes what happens in Cloud City make sense. Emotion often clouds human judgment. I can't think of a better way to hurt a man and make him angry.

Alden Ehrenreich makes a good Han Solo. Look, he's not Harrison Ford. No one _is_ Harrison Ford, except Harrison Ford. But Harrison Ford isn't quite as young as he was in nineteen seventy-seven. They needed someone new and they found him. Ehrenreich did a damn good job of portraying the Solo character. He didn't have all of Ford's mannerisms but he's not Ford. It works.
Donald Glover actually plays a better Lando Calrissian than Billy Dee Williams did. He's just got this awesome vibe. He's so relaxed in his element and he's an awesome pilot/owner of the Falcon. His love affair is believable when it probably shouldn't be. I really got into his character. Let's be honest here. Lando was really a minor character in the original trilogy. In SOLO he takes second place only to Han himself. He gets a lot of screen time. He earns it. I'd hate to say that he steals the show at times, but well, he does. is a hell of an actor. I want to see more of him. I know that SOLO is a standalone but maybe we could see him starring in something else. I'd pay to see it. I'm just sayin'. A quick look at IMDB shows Glover in a lot of movies, but I'd like to see him in a starring role.

Of course, it's not a perfect movie. Han seems to be a bit more naive than I thought he would be. Granted, he fell for Leia pretty quick in the original trilogy but the way effects him in this movie is crazy. He follows her into a situation that quite frankly doesn't make any sense. This guy's name is Solo because he's a loner. This is the guy that rescued Leia for money to pay off his debts. Han Solo is not Mister Nice Guy. I don't know if I like that part of the plot. Also, we had never heard of fuel in Star Wars until The Last Jedi. This film centers around it. The Kessel Run turns out to be about getting unrefined fuel. The whole thing is centered on a substance that no one knew existed through the first four decades of the franchise. I find that to be a bit annoying, even if I didn't have a problem believing it. All in all though, the film was a good time. It's a popcorn flick and it delivers that feeling of fun.

Bottom Line: 4.5 out of 5 Blaster Bolts

SOLO: A Star Wars Story
Lucasfilm, 2018

Some SOLO: A Star Wars Story related merchandise is available at the links below.

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