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SOLO Review: A Fun, If Shallow, Ride Through Star Wars History

This film is very yellow. I hesitate to tell that to would-be moviegoers, but they’ll find it out for themselves in due time. I understand that the Star Wars logo is yellow, and the movie’s title card is also yellow, but the amount of yellow-lit scenes starts to get exhausting by the end of the first hour.  Luckily, though, that’s the worst thing I can say for the film’s aesthetic design, because aside from that sole (ha) gripe, it looks and sounds fantastic.

This is something that has become par for the course as far as Star Wars films go, and something that definitely needs more attention. Attention it won’t be getting here, but I must say: If you decide to lean back in your theater chair, let the story slip by, and subscribe solely to the film’s colorful shower of sci-fi vibes, you’re in for a real treat.

Loreheads are in for a real treat as well, as this movie answers all those questions about Solo that you never thought to ask, like: “Why is his last name Solo?”, “How did he get the Millenium Falcon”, or “What is the kessel run – and how’d he do it in twelve parsecs?”

This movie will answer all of those questions and more, bringing a fair bit of twists along with them, which are all fun and fair game if you can get over its few, but sizable, flaws.

When a Han Solo-centric film was announced, I was very excited to see their take on Solo’s character. I was hopeful that with the right amount of focus, this film could take Han from being the fairly one-dimensional jokester that we all know and love, and turn him into a more complex and relatable human character. But this movie didn’t do that. Solo starts fairly one-sided, as do many other characters in the film, and they all end fairly one-sided as well. The plot moves leaps and bounds while the characters struggle to build up any interaction at all.

The other thing is the film’s central narrative. The stakes are very low here, surprisingly low for a Star Wars film especially. To some extent, this was refreshing, but the tropes that this movie follows and twists it attempts aren’t anything that will knock moviegoers out of their seats. The themes, in particular, are almost overwhelmingly familiar: Solo is a youngster who rebels. That’s about all we’ve got here. Nothing this franchise hasn’t seen before.

So let this be a warning. Don’t go in expecting the world. Don’t go in expecting viciously deep characters, complex political plots, or twists that will leave you thinking about the film for weeks. Do go in, though. It’s very good at what it does, and what it does is fun, lighthearted, and entertaining. It’s an enjoyable, crowd-pleasing kind of ride through the Star Wars universe. Maybe not a funny one – the film’s attempt at humor certainly didn’t garner any laughs from myself or my theater – but the film has enough neat plot elements, killer lines and refreshing visuals to justify its entry price. So don’t think too hard; just sit back, relax, and enjoy the ride.

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