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Solo: A Star Wars Story First Impression

The Solo movie will have midnight showings in the USA later tonight. In other parts of the world the movie was shown one day earlier. I saw the movie earlier this afternoon here in Germany. Is the movie any good? Will you enjoy the movie? I don’t know, but I can tell you what my first impression is. This will be mostly spoiler-free, if you know the trailers, you won’t be spoiled at all. A spoiler article will follow later tonight. Click through for my first impressions!

Solo: A Star Wars Story

 

People in Europe and elsewhere got to see the movie one day earlier than fans in the USA. I saw the movie earlier today in my local English language cinema. Around 50 other fans were with me in the theater.

Before I proceed let me tell you where I come from: I like all Star Wars movies, I hate none of them, but TLJ is, at the time being, my least favorite Star Wars movie. A quick ranking for all the movies:

  1. ANH
  2. ESB
  3. ROTS
  4. AOTC
  5. ROTJ
  6. RO
  7. TPM
  8. TFA
  9. TLJ

I would rate ANH a 10/10 and TLJ a 5.5/10.

So what is my impression of Solo?

Alden Ehrenreich is good, I liked his performance, he’s really ok! No, he’s good! He may not be Harrison Ford but the character in the movie comes across as a younger version of Han Solo. I had zero issues with him.
Also, make no mistake, this is absolutely Han’s movie, no one else’s. No one steals the show, all the other characters have less screen time.

Some of the supporting players, Val and Rio, have rather small parts. And the one you might have thought played a big part, does not at all: Lando. I would say he has about as much screentime as in ESB. He’s actually not that much involved with anything. I think Glover nails the performance mostly, but he has very, very, VERY little to do in the movie. The first time you hear him speak you could think it’s Billy Dee Williams.

All the important characters are ok, they are good. Qi’Ra is a complex character, she’s believable, you can understand where she comes from. Beckett is all about himself, and Harrelson plays the part well. Paul Bettany has lots of fun as Dryden Vos but has not much to do. This movie is mostly about Han, Qi’Ra, Beckett, Chewie and to some degree L3-37.

The supporting characters are ok too. Enfys Nest, to my relief, may not be the most fleshed out character but is not Phasma, she has something to do in the movie, she does it, she plays a somewhat important role too. She’s not used for cheap jokes. She’s not the best character, but serviceable.

Chewie, while an important character, is not really a scene stealer, he has a few fun bits (you know the trailers, you know the fun bits), but as I said earlier, this is Han’s movie, through and through.
L3 is supposed to provide some comic relief, I didn’t like the droid that much. The droid has an agenda, let’s put it like that. And while I understand where the character is coming from it comes across as somewhat grating after some time.
Oh, and that controversial revelation about Lando? None of that is really in the movie. And no one could really say Lando is this or that after seeing the movie.

Character interaction is fun, there are jokes in the movie but the movie is not “ha ha” funny and doesn’t try to be, no The Last Jedi level of comedy here fortunately.

All in all I can say this about the movie: it’s really fun, it’s entertaining, it’s not divisive at all, it’s something a Star Wars fan can like, if you can get behind the fact that Alden Ehrenreich is Han Solo.

The movie has one problem though: it’s utterly forgettable. Don’t get me wrong, it’s fun, it’s never boring. But the stakes are so little, the villains almost non-existant and the whole movie is the least epic Star Wars movie ever. Seeing Han’s origins is interesting, kind of, but it’s nothing you absolutely had to tell.

So ultimately, Solo is a fun two hours, but it’s a movie that was not needed, not with the kind of story it told. But it has great characters and should there be a second Solo movie down the line they deserve a somewhat more engaging and more epic story.

However, Solo has one big plus: it’s not divisive, not in the least. It’s a movie virtually any Star Wars fan can enjoy (if you accept Alden Ehrenreich, who does a great job!), it’s a fun ride for 2 hours but has no really lingering effect.

At least that’s what I feel right now. Maybe things will change once I have seen the movie a second time next week.

As of now I would say Solo is the 2nd best Disney Star Wars movie. Sure, TFA and TLJ are much more epic, but TFA is too derivative and TLJ is too divisive and has serious problems with quite a few of its characters and subplots. Solo has none of these issues, it has fun characters, good characters and the plot, while not really essential or epic, is at least entertaining.

In my opinion the main characters in Solo are better than any of the new characters created for the sequel trilogy. Especially Qi’Ra is a much more compelling character than Rey. She is really well played and believable, she has actual depth. It also helps that Emilia Clarke is very likeable.

If you’re on the fence about the movie, give it a chance. If you don’t expect this big epic Star Wars story but instead are prepared for a plot revolving around space ship fuel and a race against time with some really good characters and a few fun bits, you won’t be disappointed.

Oh: and fan service is in the movie, but the movie is much less obvious about it than RO. Some names are dropped, there’s one huge unexpected cameo that opens up a lot of possibilities for a sequel, but for the most part the movie doesn’t stop in its track to point at that one thing so you can smile to yourself, unlike RO.

The spoiler article will follow later tonight. A thorough review of the movie by Mike will follow soon!

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