Now, I don't have to tell you this is a prequel to the original Star Wars trilogy, examining the story of how Han Solo first got into the pub next to a dumpster of anti-sober tyrano-cyborgs. Well, it also examines his old hopes and dreams and meeting people familiar and new. The opening monologue gives us the familiar "A long time ago, in a galaxy far far away..." but doesn't (kind of sadly) cut to the legendary golden opening word carpet. Instead, it discusses the planet of Corellia, a planet ruled in the books by someone other than Lady Proxima but in the cold ground is run by her, everyone stealing for her to survive. Han (Alden Ehrenreich) manages to steal a special codebreaker that could be more than enough to bribe officials to get him and his partner Qi'ra (Emilia Clarke) off of the planet and to a new life. When things go out of hand, Han realizes he needs to find a way to take a turn back, and to do that, he needs the money and the resources. With that, we have our Han Solo film.
The new Star Wars movies remind me time and time again that every "job" in the galaxy, far far away, will involve at least one, and usually at least four, major catastrophes. Perhaps everything you've ever worked for and all your dreams will perish because someone from the enemy's side had a good rest the night before with a long-range pistol. These protagonists get themselves in some pretty deep shit while retaining their smug smiles. And some of these deaths are overly passive. If they weren't, the movie would've been probably ten minutes longer but it's something I still would've added in. And I'll say that one main flaw as a result is sometimes the movies ticks off events too fast, not allowing us full digestion of what the future holds before the next new background change. We learn something about Qi'ra kind of at the snap of a finger, and there's a "Three Years Later" reveal that didn't feel welcome. With that suddenness, plus only seeing the end of a heist Han pulls as the visuals open up, and the three-year-transition, I couldn't help but feel for a film that was all about explaining ambiguous story points the original trilogy left behind, there were a lot of brand new unanswered story points here. There was also an ending that didn't feel quite...as jubilant and fitting as I was hoping.
But I still had an excellent time. A movie that never has a dull moment and makes an effort to surprise us with new revelations about the actual goal without refusing to deliver what we were originally hoping for tends to be a movie I'll give some fine applause to.
I enjoyed how this wasn't just one heist they were altogether planning, but there were several. Just one main one. There's also a scene that took away something entirely new for me in any sort of movie; the feeling of trying to do something and not just completely failing but losing something that means a lot to you. Come to think of it, Infinity War had it to but not as final as in this case. I also really REALLY enjoyed seeing how Han met Chewbacca, watching him see the Millenium Falcon for the first time ever and especially when a conflict between paying off a debt and doing what's right for the rest of the world go hand in hand in the world of thieves. Other than a kiss scene that I felt should've been shouldered out for a different one, the heist preparation didn't bore me. It only happened for about five minutes, but still.
Ehrenreich I only know from Hail, Caesar!, a movie I found so disastrous even a toddler could depict its massive flaws, but his cowboy character was nice and hillbilly. Here he was probably under the most pressure out of his entire career, and he gives a great balance between fright and likeable arrogance that Ford first brought to the table in 78. Almost all the movie focuses mainly on him, and he doesn't crash it to the ground.
I'll end by saying since The Last Jedi had some story decisions people loathed, mixed with some Kathleen Kennedy quotes and the apparently rogue story of replacing the directors as this film was being made, some Star Wars fans are so outraged they want Solo to flop at the box office. I enjoyed The Last Jedi and this film, so I'll say if you're not going to pay money to see this movie, fine. But I still think you'll find yourself liking a movie solely about the galaxy's most infamously lady-wooing thief (Starlord in second). And this time I don't think there's any taut twists (that will make any devout fans boo at the screen, anyway) to make you question your experience. Like The Last Jedi, there are some things I would have definitely changed, but also like The Last Jedi, I got reminded a good fourth time that the Star Wars universe is not a joke, while I also liked this one more than The Last Jedi and certainly Rogue One. I can't wait for Episode IX.