Warning, this review of Solo is partly my ramblings on the new Star Wars content as a whole. Skip the first two paragraphs to get to the meat of this Solo review.
I am a huge Star Wars fan and have been for at least 25 years. While my fandom has calmed down a bit over the years, in my youth you could find me Star Wars books back when they were the only Star Wars content you could get. I know that I can get quite picky about what's happening with the new Star Wars content and how it is different to the books, now considered legends. Many of the changes that have been made to the new content, I’m totally ok with, but there are a few changes that I have a harder time accepting. Star Wars fans can discuss quality vs quantity in both new and old content until the cows come home, but this review is about Solo, not all the other stuff I can ramble on about for ages.
I went into Solo with low expectations, for various reasons, but mostly because I still haven't decided how I feel about The Last Jedi. With The Last Jedi, I had, and still have a hard time with how they portrayed Luke Skywalker, which is an argument (pro or con) for another day. Everything is just so different from what I grew up reading, and let's just say that I’m still working through and mourning the loss of the Star Wars I grew up with. I know I will get past it and reconcile my wants of this universe with how it is now being portrayed, and I suspect finding the time to read some of the new cannon will help facilitate the reconciliation. Really, a lot of the stories from the books I grew up with were pretty far fetched and a bunch of them were down right terrible, but there were some true gems in there and nostalgia aside, those books helped me a lot when I was young. I mention all of this so that you can understand why I went into Solo, with low expectations, expecting disappointment, but also with cautious hope that I would enjoy it.
I wasn't disappointed! I have to say that I was truly surprised that I liked Solo. It is an enjoyable and fun movie. While the details of Han Solo’s life were changed a little from the previously written legends, the structures are still basically the same. I am so glad that they kept the basics mostly intact. This is still the Han Solo you know and love, still hiding the fact that underneath the swagger he is a good guy. I also think that I would have enjoyed the movie even if I hadn't set my sights low.
At its heart, Solo is a heist movie. Taking place about 10 years before the events in A New Hope. Solo and friends need to steel a bunch of stuff to square up various past transgressions with some nefarious people. It's a pretty basic plot for a heist movie, but it's set in the Star Wars Universe, so that's an added extra cool feature. Solo has some new faces we haven't met before as well as a few familiar ones in Chewbacca and Lando. Donald Glover easily fills Billy Dee Williams shoes as Lando, and while Alden Ehrenreich may not look like Harrison Ford, he does an admirable job in the role. I have to admit, at first I was annoyed that Ehrenreich didn't look much like Harrison Ford, but after seeing Solo, I think this difference actually help me enjoy the movie more then if they found an actor who looked just like Harrison Ford in his younger days.
Is Solo the best movie of the franchise? No, I’d argue that Rogue One gets that trophy, but it is a lot better then some of them. Did Solo need to be made? Nope, not at all, but despite that, it is still a fun and easy movie to enjoy and I think a true Star Wars fan will enjoy Solo for what it is, a fun adventure.