The 490th film I have seen in theaters…
Lando Solo: A Star Wars Story
Han and Qi’ra plot to escape their “scrumrat” existence on Corellia. In their attempt Qi’ra is captured but Han gets away by enlisting in the Imperial Navy. Flash forward 3 years and he has been booted from the academy and busted down to general infantry.
As he fights in the battle of Mimban, he comes across Tobias Beckett and his crew of thieves. He, and his new friend Chewbacca, join up with Beckett to steal some hyperfuel from the Spice Mines of Kessel for the Crimson Dawn crime syndicate. Along the way they are attacked by Marauders, come across Qi’ra, and meet up with a card player named Lando Calrissian and his ship: The Millenium Falcon.
Alden Ehrenreich is not Harrison Ford. No one is Harrison Ford but Ford himself. Alden does manage to make the role his own, no small feat. The spirit of Solo was captured, and that was his main job.
Woody Harrelson fits this world perfectly. I 100% buy this guy as a smuggler/scoundrel in the Star Wars universe.
Emilia Clarke, Mother of Dragons, is Qi’ra. Clarke goes against her nature and actually turns in an excellent performance. lol. Her character arc, while predictable, was well executed. She is also proficient in Teras Kasi, a fact that made me squee. I am not sure how much of the audience got that, but I did.
Donald “Childish Gambino” Glover is Lando Calrissian. The final performance is everything that sentence promises and more. He nails Billy Dee’s voice, and the swagger. A high point of the film.
Thandie Newton is Val, a member of Beckett’s crew. She has a few good scenes but leaves the film early.
Pheobe Waller-Bridge is L3-37, Lando’s droid. Yes, that name cracks me up. She also happens to be one of the more entertaining droids in the series.
Joonas Suotamo returns as Chewbacca. He continues his good work. Mayhew left the role in good hands.
Paul Bettany steps in, quite literally at the last minute, as Dryden Voss, leader of the Crimson Dawn syndicate. He is your typical evil crime lord, but it is alluded that he answers to someone higher…
Every indication was that this film was going to be a hot mess. The original Directors were unceremoniously fired and Ron Howard was brought in to reshoot 70-80% of the movie. The result… fantastic. This is a film that almost serves as a counterbalance to The Last Jedi, and that is wonderful.
TLJ was a film that wanted to move Star Wars past the Skywalker saga, While important to allowing the series to grow, it is no reason to hide from the past. Wanting the series to move forward does not necessarily mean that we cannot revel in the warm fuzzy blanket of nostalgia. This film is that warm fuzzy blanket, and it felt good. There is obviously no intention to stop making Star Wars films for the rest of my life, so there is no reason we can’t have our cake and eat it too. They can make new, challenging, Star Wars films alongside these trips down memory lane.
I saw the Kessel Run in 12 parsecs! I witnessed Han freeing Chewie! We get to see Han win the Falcon! These are legendary moments which we are finally able to see thanks to this movie. Besides the expected, this film also gives us some unexpected things. Those things all seem to be from one Star Wars film in particular…
The Phantom Menace
We know the fate of Aurra Sing! The sort-of important, ultimately replaced in AOTC, bounty hunter watching the Pod Race.
Warwick Davis reprises his role as Weazel, also from the Pod Race. No, really. It’s the same character!
Most of all…
Yes. Ray Park returns as Darth Fucking Maul, the secret leader of the Crimson Dawn. He is voiced by Sam Witwer, who performed Maul on The Clone Wars and Rebels. It was goddamn incredible to see this on screen. Maul survived. 100%, ON SCREEN, Hard Canon.
The next “Anthology” film will be Boba Fett. It will undoubtedly be set in the same time period as Solo. The groundwork laid in this film, Crimson Dawn in particular, will no doubt be a part of the series going forward.
This was an outstanding entry into the Star Wars Universe. Better than Rogue One, but no where near ESB, TLJ, and ANH. Ranking these are tough, always changing my opinion is. Despite this, my hot take is the following:
- The Empire Strikes Back
- The Last Jedi
- Star Wars
- The Force Awakens
- Return of the Jedi
- Rogue One
- Revenge of the Sith
- The Phantom Menace
- Attack of the Clones
- Clone Wars (animated)
- The Ewok Adventure
- Battle for Endor
This is pretty damn close to ROTJ, and it may have made me retroactively enjoy TPM a bit more than I previously did, causing yet another swap with Attack of the Clones for the last spot among feature films.