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Solo (a.k.a. The Kessel Run)

If I had to pick a story to tell in the background of Han Solo, it would certainly be how he did the Kessel Run in less than 12 parsecs (and why the fuck should we care). That being said, I hated The Last Jedi with every fiber of my brain, I hated it so much […]

If I had to pick a story to tell in the background of Han Solo, it would certainly be how he did the Kessel Run in less than 12 parsecs (and why the fuck should we care). That being said, I hated The Last Jedi with every fiber of my brain, I hated it so much I won’t be going to see Episode IX, and I was in sore need of a decent Star Wars movie.

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You can argue that Solo is not the movie we needed nor the one we wanted and I would admit your have a point. It’s a movie where basically they tell you everything: how Han won the Falcon from Lando at a Sabacc game, how he met Chewbacca, and indeed how he did the Kessel Run in a shorter route and why. They don’t give you a sense of how the character came to be what he was in the classic trilogy: it’s not an origin story in that way and it features no psychological depth. It’s also no Rogue One, which I liked a lot: it doesn’t have the same drama, the same disruptive storytelling (remember that it’s a Disney story beginning with one of the good guys who kills of an informer because he will be captured).

What it does have, is the same attention to detail, though here they push references a little too far and sometimes you can’t help but wondering if that is really the mandatory helmet for infiltrating bad guys’ liars. Anyway, it’s a decent story and a decent action movie, and I think it suffered at the box office because of the legacy of The Last Jedi. Of course I’m no analyst and if you want to read an informed different opinion read here.

As far as I’m concerned, just let me sum up why I kind of liked it.

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It’s an underground story and I don’t mind the fact that we see Han starting off basically as Stormtrooper. The war scenes are grand and I wouldn’t have minded to see that not everyone in the Empire is inept but still Beckett’s character is not bad and it’s the only one who gives Solo the opportunity to show some depth (shooting first but then running to hold him while he dies). I didn’t appreciate them killing off Thandie Newton because of a shitty plan, of course, and still the Snowpiercer scene was enjoyable enough. I didn’t particularly enjoy the Enfys Nest plot twist, but still she wasn’t too much of a Disney princess. Alden Ehrenreich is defintely not my favorite actor in the movie and honestly nobody was particularly impressive aside from Donald Glover who, I think, really did his homework in portraying a young, equally braggart Lando Carlissian. Billy Dee Williams has a right to say that nobody has his swagger (brief interview here), but still Glover came close enough.

I’m also not a Game of Thrones fan, but I don’t mind what they did with Emilia Clarke‘s Qi’ra. They basically had few choices: they could kill her off, use her as a tool to make Han grow a tougher skin, or they could make her a villain. They did something in between both things. It’s honestly a shame they took a chance to save one thing I wouldn’t have saved from canon. Don’t get me wrong, I think that Darth Maul was a cool character and I thought killing him was a mistake, like everybody else, but the whole coming back as a cyborg thing is really lame. I’m only glad they were decent enough to call Ray Park back. Other people you might have missed were the chance for Anthony Daniels to show us his face (he is and always has been C-3PO and here plays Tak, a former con man now slave in the Kessel mines), Warwick Davis (he was our ewok hero Wicket in the Return of the Jedi, as I hope you all know), Phoebe “Fleabag” Waller-Bridge starring as Lando’s romance L3-37, Jon Favreau giving voice to Rio Durant, Linda Hunt voicing Lady Proxima. I also loved the reference to Aurra Sing: she was another character from The Phantom Menace that I would have loved to see developed and I am both proud and scared by the fact that I remember who she is. She has like 2-3 seconds on screen during Anakin’s pod race.

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On a side note, a musician friend said that music was unimpressive and I have to admin it’s largely a quote to previous soundtracks. No original March of the Resistance, no original Jedi Steps nor Rey’s Theme, as if John William himself was in no mood to work after The Last Jedi. Still I enjoyed the references and particularly the direct quote from the asteroid field chase during a quite similar scene through the Maelstrom. Also, it’s not Star Wars if it doesn’t feature a weird singer and this is no exception.

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