'Solo: A Star Wars Story' directed by Ron Howard
Solo is a home run in my book. There are some things to get over and there is some weirdness, and some messiness, But in a lot of very awesome (dope as fuck) ways, its the star wars movie I've been wanting to see since Uncle George sold Star Wars into white slavery. That's just me, my opinion.
What is Cannon? To me its the original Trilogy, the original cuts. That's it. Maybe you include the prequels, maybe you go by what Disney says it is this week. Maybe you include the old comics, the supplemental visual guides the decades of novels cartoons etc. I spent a lot of time with the various roleplaying game supplements growing up. This movie kind of feels like Ron Howard took a big glob of the best of all of that stuff, plopped it on a spinning wheel and caressed it into a an amazing artifact. Ron Howard is a competent director, and maybe not the best or most exciting director, but I think he understands story, and he understands what was great about the original Star Wars movies better than any other Star Wars director so far including George. At least he understands what I have been wanting, and almost getting, but not quite which is just a super fun space adventure about friends facing conflict on a galactic scale. Not necessarily a carbon copy of the original trilogy films like Force Awakens but something in the spirit of the original, unlike Rogue One which stuck with the ensemble, but was just kind of dour. I have liked parts of all the Disney Star Wars films so far Episode 8 being the best, but they all have issues. This movie does too, but it has something unique.
Ultimately, bottom line in watching the Disney Star Wars movies I just want to see a good movie. To me a super fun space adventure about friends facing galactic scale odds, that's the core of the original Trilogy story. You can add or subtract the Joseph Campbell as needed, if that's your bag, you can get as dark or as fluffy, or as mystical and mythical as you need. That core is where I am fully in with the sequels, the Star Wars story movies, video games, whatever, that's when I get that old Star Wars feeling, When the sequels get away from being a super fun space adventure about friends, that is where I start to check out, and I kind of feel like, either give me that or, give me something totally new. When they try to subvert that or take baby steps away from that, or in the case of the prequel trilogy forget that element completely its like, what is this? Why are you doing this? So far, sometimes there are good, valid, even great story reasons and sometimes its so we can look at computer animated wax figures of beloved deceased actors.
I do not need Star Wars movies to be Cannon anymore. I'm over it, and really I'm pretty much over it altogether. I mainly want to see what can be done with these movies and I want to be into where they are going next, and even though they have been going out of their way to let original fans know that the films after episode 7 are not intended for us, I like fun. And Solo is a lot of fun!
There is a huge leap in accepting an actor who is not Harrison Ford in this role. Alden Ehrenreich is given the unenviable task, and he's ok, its just not Harrison Ford's Han Solo. I'm ok with it. Maybe some people wont be able to get over it. and I get it. Beyond Han, the characters and acting in this movie are amazing. Emilia Clarke from Game of Thrones, Woody Harrelson, Thandie Newton, Jon Favreau, Chewbacca, and especially Paul Bettany they all brought it! They all chew up the scenery, bring personality and dynamics just by showing up as actors and altogether they just entertained the crap out of me, The sound design was immaculate and rich as can be, The effects actually blew my mind, and they kept the cg human beings offscreen. It was fucking great.
Donald Glover kills it as Lando. He embodies Billy Dee Williams the same way Ewan MacGregor embodied Sir Alec Guinness. Just full on nails it. And they wrote in some weirdness which I want to talk about with people who have seen it. And The Falcon is literally given character development. Its so dope.
I don't feel the need to hit any plot points, partly because I don't want to spoil, and partly because I need to see it again to make sure I understood exactly what was going on all the way through, when they were getting the thing. Not being entirely sure what was going on 100% of the time is not a great sign, there is a part in the middle that just came off a bit sketchy, but Macguffins don't matter, right? Also I felt quite strongly that I knew many of the plot points quite well from reading expanded universe lore, and as far as I can tell they did not stray from what I grew up with, and it wasn't just plot that was revered, They drew on all those years of expanded stories and just built on them for props, character traits, world building. I thought that was really amazing.
They definitely need to move star wars on and do new stuff, but they really laid the ground work for Han Solo adventures going forward if they wanted to, A TV Show, I mean fuck it keep recasting it like James Bond. I would watch a TV show about Clint Howard's character for sure, Ride that Donkey into the ground Disney! Ride it!
I have to see it a couple more times to be 100% but its in contention for number one favorite after the original trilogy.
Go see this one ASAP because I really want to talk about this movie with people that have seen it so leave comments that means spoiler warning for the blog comments, if anyone cares to engage.