Solo ticked off a lot of points I wanted to see in a Star Wars movie since Disney took over, like a self-contained interesting story that wasn’t about a FUCKING DEATH STAR or who is the next chosen one Jedi. It also avoided the things I’ve been sick of in all the other Disney Star Wars movies, like having to end with space battles and laser sword fights. Instead it ended with genuine and surprising human character moments, not based on turning to the dark side or being evil, but just making their way in a desperate world.
In fact, I think that’s what I liked most about it. Because it isn’t about chosen people who are at the head of armies or royalty, it feels like the most grounded movie since the original. Desperate people thrust together, just trying to get by. I think that makes the story (which didn’t keep cutting away to action scenes and battles elsewhere) focus down onto a single interesting thread, and makes it the most satisfying story in Star Wars for a long time.
However, it was let down by some very clunky moments which, as far as I can tell, come from script rewrites and reshoots. There’s a lot of evidence of whole sections being left over from the original directors (Lord and Miller) before other parts were shot (or reshot) by Ron Howard. Most of those came from the fan service moments, things rammed in to the story that don’t make sense, and only survive because they reference something in the original trilogy.
For me the worst, which will come as no surprise, is the word choices in some parts of the movie. Words you would never say in that situation, because they don’t MEAN anything in that situation. Like in Rogue One, it was “hope”, “trap”, “hope”, “trap” and all can think was “THIS IS NOT A TRAP, IT’S NOT EVEN A THING YOU COULD CALL A TRAP” and “Nobody keeps saying the word hope that much!” I think I counted “hope” seven times in The Last Jedi.
One example in Solo is the line “This is a rebellion!” Sounds okay, but “rebellion” is what the people in power call a resistance or revolution. Revolutionaries don’t call themselves rebels, it’s what they are called. It’s like calling yourself terrorists… no, you are freedom fighters. But because “rebel” is now a Star Warsy word, it’s inserted into these new movies. “Rebellion” now joins “trap” and “hope” as a word without even a real meaning any more in Star Wars, it’s purely a signifier of “you have seen another movie”.
I kinda want to see a Star Wars movie written and directed by people who had never watched a Star Wars movie with any audible dialogue. Some words and phrases should just be banned, at least, just to keep the language making sense.
So mostly a good film, but uneven, and annoying in ways I wish these movies weren’t.