He did it all for the wookie…the wookie…so you can take that cookie…and stick it up your…
Sorry. BQB here with a review of “Solo: A Star Wars Story.”
I don’t know why I expected this movie to suck bantha dookie. Probably because “The Last Jedi” sucked so much of it, that I lost faith in the Force completely. This film renewed it though. My official opinion is that it doesn’t suck at all. In fact, it’s quite good.
Should I spoil the plot? Probably not. Suffice to say, it’s an origin story, and somehow director Ron Howard, without even casting Tom Hanks as he does in many of his other movies, gives us something that feels original and yet, it satisfies all of us long suffering nerds who know “Star Wars” inside out and have a checklist of things we want to see in a Han Solo biopic.
How did Han (Alden Ehrenreich) get that infamous blaster? How did he become a great pilot? How did win a card game against Lando Calrissian (Donald Glover) to get his mitts on the Millenium Falcon? How did he complete the Kessel Run in 12 parsecs? And, most importantly, how did he meet his big, furry, BFF, the one and only Chewbacca?
All these questions and more are answered and they’re answered thoughtfully – like, not just a nod to all of us old geeks who want to see the pop culture of our youth remain intact in today’s films. But it’s not done in such a stodgy manner that (I assume) the youngsters who may not get all the references won’t still enjoy it.
Ehrenreich plays Han well as an anti-hero who is in it for himself, yet when given the chance to do good over bad, picks the former. As Han always has, he makes it up as he goes along, often infuriating his colleagues with his imperfection and fly by the seat of his pants style, even though few ever realize that when the chips are down, sometimes you just have to punch it and hope for the best.
Donald Glover is the living, breathing reincarnation of a young Billy Dee Williams, part homage and part parody of everyone’s favorite self-absorbed, duplicitous space gambler. From his closet filled with way too many capes to his attempts to narrate his own biography into a hologram recorder, Glover manages to make us laugh, though there are some scenes where we see his softer side and he makes us cry. It’s almost enough to make us wonder when will Disney make a Lando standalone?
Emilia Clarke thrills as Han’s love interest, Qi’ra. I’d been worried about her. While she’s always a delight as the Khaleesi on “Game of Thrones,” her movie career got off to a bad start with the godawful “Terminator: Genisys.” I never thought the problem in that movie was her so much as a) the script sucked and b) she was miscast, recruited to play the ultra butch lady soldier Sarah Connor even though she’s the very definition of femininity.
Here, she excels as the stuck up priss, the hot babe Han is happy to be bossed around by, hoping that one day by doing so, he’ll get to complete her Kessel run in 12 parsecs. Thankfully, she does so well that the Terminator film has been terminated from my memory.
Woody Harrelson, Thandie Newton and Jon Favreau’s voice round out the cast as a troop of ne’er-do-wells who give Han his introduction to the criminal underworld of space, with Woody’s Beckett serving as Han’s impromptu father figure.
For awhile, I did wonder if Paul Bettany, known to us as Jarvis and later, the Vision in “The Avengers” was miscast. Could the proper Brit play a sinister mob boss? Turns out, he can and he does.
Overall, it’s great, and I do think its success proves one thing – the best films in this franchise are set during the Vader/Palpatine Empire years. Perhaps one day, some great writing team will come up with a fantastic premise for a future for “Star Wars,” but they haven’t done it yet, and should probably keep the tales set during the Empire’s reign until they do.