Thoughts on Solo (spoiler free)

soloFirst, I just want to say that some people seem to believe that if they boycott a certain movie in a franchise, the studio will apologize to them and start making films they want when in fact if franchise films stops making money the studio will stop making the films.

That out of the way, I went to see Solo: A Star Wars Story last night. It was a Sunday night, yes, but on a three-day opening weekend. I was one of thirteen people in the theater.

I was never thrilled about this movie. Re-casting Harrison Ford just seemed dumb. And, yeah, Ehrenreich is good. And in a certain light, from a certain angle, you can forget – for about half a second – that he looks and sounds nothing like Ford. OK, OK, that’s not fair. His performance was good. (But then, just occasionally, his strutting strayed into absurdity)

Donald Glover, though.

Nailed it.


Knocked it out of the park. Owned it. Any number of other phrases that mean the same thing. You cannot imagine how perfect Glover’s performance was. And that (this is still unfair, and I know this) makes Ehrenreich look even worse by comparison.

Close your eyes when Lando is talking and you will  hear Billy Dee Williams.

All right, so I wanted the movie to be good. And it was. It was a good movie.

Except… the first act is rushed. You know what? This would have made a great eight-to-ten episode series. And while I’m thinking that, I think about the upcoming live-action series and how I don’t really want to see that story, and maybe if they did an anthology series where each season is a different story, and this had been the first season, that would be so much better, and I’m starting to sound like one of those negative people who shits all over something they purport to love, but … wait.

The movie’s still going. I got distracted. This is bad.

Because things are happening fast. We were on Corellia, no we were on some war-torn planet I immediately forgot the name of and now I don’t know what Woody is doing there and I’m not sure if that’s because I got distracted or because Woody and crew never had a legitimate reason for being there other than “this is where Han Solo meets Woody and crew, so…”

And then the awesome thing happens except it happens really fast and then its over and never spoken of again.

And then we’re somewhere else and now this is happening and my god, the movie’s not half over yet, what the hell is … oh, OK, now we’re elsewhere and are we on the same planet still or what the fuck is – okay, is this still on the same planet and now the REALLY AWESOME THING IS HAPPENING AND IT IS PERFECT but do not stop to appreciate it because we’re going over here now.

And there’s still a lot of movie left, folks. I’ll say this for Solo: it ain’t slow. And maybe it’s like Last Jedi, where I’ll watch it again and realize I love it. But I don’t think so.

I liked it. I honestly did. But I’ll never love it.

And that’s OK. Ron Howard’s out there tweeting about how it’s the lowest Star Wars opening ever, but the biggest Ron Howard opening ever.

And this is Ron Howard. He gave us Apollo 13A Beautiful MindThe Da Vinci Code. He also made some movies that were neither Oscar bait nor ready-made popcorn blockbusters.

Remember WillowOr … Jesus, I forgot about Backdraft. Anyway.

It’s OK that Solo isn’t destroying box office records (other than Ron Howard’s). It’s OK that it’s not bigger and better than everything that came before. That kind of thinking is unsustainable.

Solo is a good film that never manages to be great, a fun story that despite moving way too fast still works because we already know the most important stuff (and yeah, the script leans a little heavy on the audience’s familiarity, but it also subverts some of those expectations, seriously that one scene is perfect), and there’s that one bit at the end that makes you sit there a second thinking, wait… no. No! I must know more, when is the next movie???

One thing, though: why did the other Wookies’ faces look like that? Not a complaint, exactly, I’m just … what?

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