I take back everything I said last week about going into this film with the idea that it won’t be great; Solo is downright amazing. In fact, I’m having a hard time comprehending why it got such poor reviews in the first place. I have to wonder if other critics were watching the same film as me. Without going into too much detail, these are the biggest things that made Solo a hit.
There has been some talk about unnecessary explanations and storylines in the film, and I spent the entire two hours and 15 minutes trying to figure out where that critique was coming from. It is true that Solo is loaded with references and Easter eggs in addition to the overall plot, but if anything these elements added to the believability of both the characters and the universe the film tied into. And, yes, I really do believe that Solo tied in quite well with the rest of the Star Wars universe!
Every name drop and reference made elicited responses from the audience. It was like a switch was flipped and some sort of forgotten knowledge was brought back to the forefront of all our minds. Not only is it exciting to recognize these references, but the realization about how they connect to the plot of Solo is intoxicating.
Even the new characters brought a lot to the table in terms of connecting Han’s story to the rest of the Star Wars universe, which I know a lot of people were concerned wasn’t going to happen. But like…a lot happened before Leia and Luke came into the picture, guys. Simple things like how Han got his surname were trivial things that made fans squeal, but the bigger items like the Kessel run were 100 percent what we all needed to see and they connected the early films with modern ones. No matter how you feel about the film as fan service, you can’t deny that it’s amazing to see things come full circle like this!
Another fear that surrounded this movie was Alden Ehrenreich’s ability to portray a version of Han that resembled Harrison Ford closely enough. And I have to say that after watching the trailer for the first time, I was also a bit skeptical. But no trailer can do justice to Ehrenreich’s steadfast and cocky portrayal of a hero we all know and love. Ehrenreich’s character, though classically stubborn and rebellious, is malleable and susceptible to heartache, which is a far cry from the hardened pilot portrayed by Ford. The film does a phenomenal job showing how, and more importantly why, Han grew up to be the man we were introduced to A New Hope. If you compare Ehrenreich’s performance side-by-side with Ford’s, there will be some obvious discrepancies. It’s called character development.
Emilia Clarke also gave an admirable performance as Qi’ra. Her character held an air of mystery and power throughout the film, and although Qi’ra was a romantic interest she still held onto her own sense of identity and remained as independent as possible. I would not list Qi’ra’s character as being particularly memorable, but it’s undeniable that her presence was necessary in Han’s story.
I don’t think there was ever a doubt about Donald Glover’s rendition of Lando Calrissian – everyone just knew he was going to be a great Lando. What I was not expecting was to feel like I was actually hearing a young Billy Dee Williams in that theater. Glover’s character choices aligned with Williams’ down to the pronunciation of Han’s name, which was a small choice that had a huge impact on the believability of his character. Lando was, without a doubt, the most believable character in the film in terms of fitting in with the original acting and the Star Wars universe. I only hope that if we see him again he’ll be explicitly sexually fluid – that robot romance is where it’s at, y’all.
Overall, Solo: A Star Wars Story is a whole lot of fan service in the best way possible. The action sequences complement the overlaying plot of the film and aid the development of Han’s character by the end. If you’ve been waiting for the perfect movie to see in 4DX, your wait is over – this one goes above and beyond expectations! In terms of plot, there were no moments that left me unsatisfied, save for the ending that felt intentionally aloof. And I’m okay with that…if connections can be made from a 1977 film to present day, I have no doubt that there will be further explanation down the line.