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Ben X

Solo: A Star Wars Story

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Not sure if this film will generate enough discussion for an entire thread, seeing as apparently it's doing badly enough to lose Disney money (at the moment anyway; I guess they'll make it back eventually with blu-ray/VOD sales etc), but let's see...


I didn't enjoy it. It felt like an episode of a tv show where they take one episode to give a character's entire backstory up to that point so they cram in every important life event and use a ton of shorthand. I really don't care how the Millennium Falcon got dirty or what personal significance those golden dice have to Han (especially since I never even noticed them in the OT, even if the new films seem to have decided they're an iconic prop) or what the exact details of that Kessel Run/parsec boast are. It also meant there was no real narrative structure and that I didn't care about most of the characters because there was no time to get to know any of them. Apart from all that, it was rather gloomy throughout (mood and visuals) and the action sequences were generally not very well directed.


Merus said this:



Solo is basically a Star Wars film except nothing that's happening is as exciting as they think it is. It's not really a heist film in the way that Rogue One was a war film. It's like the prequel trilogy except with a decent script: you know where it's ending up, and it doesn't have the room to surprise with its characters or the inclination to tell its own story. (It also has this obsession with beating you over the head with call-forwards, so when they fuck with the continuity a little it's more of a bother than if they had been a little more independent.) I want these films to tell new stories and borrow Star Wars iconography, but Lucasfilm want to tell Star Wars stories that masquerade as something else and I think it's time I accept we want two very different things here.



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I went into it with no particular expectations and was surprised to find myself really loving it. I thought it was excellent. I agree that all the "let's explain Star Wars" stuff was stupid and worthless but I don't really give a fuck about that stuff one way or another, so it's not like it made the movie worse for me. I found the action sequences quite kinetic and exciting and I thought all the actors were absolutely fantastic - Ehrenreich and Glover do an excellent Solo and Lando and the other people are great. The only exception is Emilia Clarke, who did a fine job but who didn't really blow me away.


Some spoiler stuff:


A few more things I liked:



Han speaking Shyriiwook was fucking hilarious! Why is everyone not talking about this? I mean the noises he made, not the words. There was definitely some opportunity for some funny comedy with Han saying the wrong stuff, but mostly I just enjoyed the noises he made.

I honestly think the Darth Maul thing is kind of funny and I don't mind it a bit. Like sure, that guy would totally run a fucking crime syndicate. Who gives a fuck? He looks cool and he has a cool lightsaber, I don't mind if he's back.
I think the ship and vehicle designs were generally quite good. The Falcon is great, I liked those chunky speeders at the beginning, and the yacht or whatever is a nice mixture of weird and imposing.



Some stuff that wasn't so great - again, I loved the movie, so none of this bothered me, but I could imagine how it would bother other people:



The movie is more or less allergic to subtlety a lot of the time. People have to spell everything out. At the end when Han hugs Lando and takes the cheat card, we don't need the bit at the end where Han like, literally says "maybe you would've won with this card." I get it! And Han does not need to say to Chewbacca "wow that name is long, I'm going to come up with a nickname." I think it's clear that when he calls Chewbacca "Chewie," it's because he came up with a nickname. Nobody is going to miss that one. We don't need Woody Harrelson to say "I would've killed you" to Han at the very end. Etc.

A "liberate all droids" droid is an interesting idea but they go basically nowhere with it. That's some heavy shit to just toss in the dumpster halfway through the movie.

Holy fuck we did NOT need to learn how he got his last name. And even if we did, it could've at least been subtle. Like, the guy asks Han what his people are, and Han says "I have no people, I'm alone" or whatever, and the guy shrugs and types something into the computer. I can put 2 and 2 together, thanks.

That blue text after "a long time ago..." wasn't needed at all. All it says is that there are criminals and space fuel. I'm pretty sure we figure that out 10 seconds into the film. Although, a podcast I listen to (Blank Check with Griffin and David) suggested that maybe it was more to set the mood, and now that I think about it, maybe that's right. I guess it is sort of an interesting way to open.

I don't think Emilia Clarke did a bad job as Qi'ra, but I think they could've found someone better. I heard that she was up against people including Tessa Thompson, who frankly would've fucking killed it.

That space creature in the Maw was really cool when it was this huge freaky Cthulhu thing that we only saw parts of, but then that sense of scale and mystery was lost in the chase scene, where we get plenty of shots of it and it's just a big old squid monster, basically. It would've been much neater if that entire scene had kept the monster very mysterious. Maybe we don't even leave the Falcon for most of the scene! It would've been scarier that way.

Why was there a special kind of TIE Fighter that chased the Falcon into the Maw during the blockade? We don't need new kinds of TIE Fighters. Especially because it didn't do anything special. It just flew after them and shot lasers. Normal TIE Fighters can do that.

The movie should have been 8 hours long and the extra 6 hours should have been Lando. Give me more Lando.

Those Wookiees they freed had weird faces, right? Am I alone here? Wookiees don't have faces like that, do they? Do some of them? What's up there?

I was a little unclear about Woody Harrelson's plan at the end of the train heist. He didn't want Han to detach the cable, because I guess he was playing a game of chicken with the people on the speeders. But like, if they had detached, it seems like Han couldn't have swung the train car out of the way of the mountain in time anyways. I guess maybe we're just supposed to assume he could've.

Chewbacca was naked but we never got to see Alden Ehrenreich naked? Stupid.

I think a lot of the dialogue could have been, uh... better. I mean look, the people talking has never been a huge draw of Star Wars films, but there's no reason to continue the tradition if you don't have to...

I think during one of the poker games there was an alien that looked like a Gran but it had more eyes. Why not just use a Gran? Grans are cool.

I think "hell" was a bit overused. They said it twice at least. Make up some ridiculous Star Wars swear words! Here, I'll give you one: "blork." Like, "what the blork are you talking about?"

Warwick Davis needed more speaking lines. I love that guy!
Did we even ever get to see Ehrenreich shirtless?

We learned why his last name is Solo, but why didn't we learn how he got his first name? The first scene should have been his mom giving birth and then his dad saying "wow, his hands are so tiny... it's like he doesn't have full hands... just 'hans'... let's name him 'Han.'" And then the next scene should've been when he's 12 or something, his tiny hands got stuck in a hand-enlarging machine and that explains why now he has normal hands. Then the third scene should've been him at 16 when he gets injected with a chemical that makes you look like Harrison Ford when you grow up to explain why he looks like Harrison Ford later. And finally there should have been an end-credits zinger when he goes to a doctor and the doctor points to his abdomen and says "if you ever get stabbed here with a lightsaber, you're done for." Then another end-credits zinger when he's saying to Chewbacca "if I ever have a kid, I'm going to name him Ben and he's gonna look like Adam Driver." I don't understand why this stuff wasn't in the movie already.


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Oh yeah, all the actors were good, that's true. I got more of a Philip Seymour Hoffman vibe than a Harrison Ford one off young Han, but whatevs. I thought Clarke did a good job, can't really imagine another actor doing anything more with that role tbh.


I agree with most of your spoiler stuff.




I didn't mind Maul being involved, though it was total sequel-set-up, didn't need to be there and just reminded me how pointless Clarke's character was in general.

Yeah, those were some weird-faced wookies. I guess that's better than all wookies continuing to look like Chewie clones with different hair colours.


I read it as Han making the right choice at the end of the train heist, it's just that Crimson Dawn or whatever (made me think of Asian Dawn from Die Hard every single time) is so scary that Woody was willing to risk almost certain death rather than disappoint them/him.



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