Friday, May 25, 2018
"Solo: A Star Wars Story" (2018) -- Initial Thoughts
If you are avoiding spoilage for this movie, stop reading this. I mean it. Just stop. Go see the movie, then come back.
DKoren, I'm serious! Close the browser window now. You will not be happy with me or yourself if you don't. I don't want you mad at me. I don't want you mad at you. Come back and read this after you've seen it.
Look, Han and I are really serious about this. We warned you. Don't scroll down past this pretty picture of Han's blaster. If you do, it's on you. I'm serious now.
Actually, by "spoilers" I really mean "lots and lots of fangirling, with a few small tidbits some people might find spoily."
Cuz I flibbertigibbeting LOVED THIS MOVIE.
GaaaaaaAAAAAAAAaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaah. I am consumed with bouncy, giddy happiness over how much fun it is. But serious too, cuz you know, Han Solo has some really good weight to his character; he's got his dark past and secrets and that little mysterious aura of "I'm not as happy-go-lucky as I want you to think I am." That's why I fell in love with the scoundrel twenty-some years ago, and why I've never fallen out of love with him. He's not just another bad boy/joker/hot-shot. He's got a heart as big as his swagger. How I want to hug him.
So, the more trailers I saw for this, the less I worried about how well Alden Ehrenreich was going to fill Harrison Ford's boots. I admit it, I was worried when they first talked about making this movie. But then I saw Ehrenreich in Hail, Ceasar! (2016) and thought he did really well there. He seemed to have the requisite moxie, but... I've loved Han Solo since I was a teenager. For like 20 years, Harrison Ford was second only to John Wayne for me. (He's still my #4 favorite. Just love him so much.) I knew it was gonna be really hard for me to accept someone else in the role UNLESS he just understood the character inside and out.
Yeah, no worries there. Ehrenreich had me convinced he was Han Solo by the end of his first scene. I wasn't feeling like I was watching someone play Han Solo, I was watching Han, that's all. Full stop. No more questions or doubts or worries. I was ready to sit back and enjoy the ride.
And what a ride! I admit it, I love heist movies. This one has multiple heists. There are cons and double-crosses and triple-crosses galore, and did I mention it's also a buddy movie? Totally a buddy movie. Han and Chewie, together again for the first time. If it hadn't been like midnight when that film ended, I would've just stayed in my seat and watched all over again. But... I have kids to parent and other boring adult things like that which require sleep, so I came home instead. But wow, I really need to see this again. Like all good heist movies, I want to see the puzzle pieces after I know how they fit together so I can see how they all slot into place.
Oh, and while this didn't have a ton of laugh-out-loud moments, I was grinning through just about the whole thing. Nice thing about driving home after midnight is most of the lights are green and there aren't a lot of cars on the road anymore, so I can actually go the speed limit for once instead of like twenty miles under it, and so I very much just let myself be Han Solo driving home cuz... it's been a while since I pretended I was Han Solo, but that's not something you forget how to do.
Did you hear Ehrenreich has a three-movie deal? YAHOO! I hope all three are as fist-pumpingly fun as this one. I could go on and on about how muchly he nailed this role. I mentioned Harrison Ford has been a major favorite of mine for decades, and that means I've studied him in a ton of movies. He's one of those people that I know how he'll move, what gestures he'll use, what expressions and vocal inflections he'll have. What beats he'll put in his dialog. And Ehrenreich used just enough of all of those to flavor the character, but not so many that it looked like he was doing an impression. You could see he could become the Han Solo we meet in A New Hope. A smirk here, a shrug there, a hand-twitch or an eye-roll or a cocky little half-grin -- so much goodness. He done good.
Everyone else is fun too! I liked Donald Glover's over-confident Lando. I liked Woody Harrelson's robber dude, and Paul Bettany made a good baddie as always. Chewie was delightful -- Joonas Suotamo did a great job of moving like a younger version of the Chewie we first met so long ago. Emilia Clarke was interesting -- I didn't get hugely invested in her character, but Han liked her, so I liked her. I think she pulled off a good blend of sweet and untrustworthy.
As for the story, it felt like a western to me in so many ways. The first Star Wars trilogy always had that cowboys-in-space vibe, maybe not as blatantly as Firefly did, but it was there, especially when it came to Han. But the prequels and the new movies have tried to be more, I don't know, serious or something, and many of those movies (The Force Awakens being the exception) have failed to keep the fun, can-do pioneer feel of the originals. This one has that in spades.
Yeah, it's a cowboy caper buddy movie in space. That's what it is. MAN, I want to go see it again.
Is this movie family friendly? More cussing than I expect from a Star Wars movie, to be honest -- I think 9 or 10 bad words. Low-level, for the most part. Things you'd expect Han to say. There's also a teeny bit of innuendo that most kids will miss, plus quite a bit of smooching. And lots of fights and blasters and stuff, but nowhere near as intense as Rogue One: A Star Wars Story as far as danger and stuff.