Solo: A Star Wars Story Review
Posted on May 26, 2018 Posted by Athena Scalzi 32 Comments
Yesterday I went with my mom and grandma to the movies and saw Solo: A Star Wars Story. Personally, I have always felt very disconnected from Star Wars as a whole. Even though I grew up in and still am part of the science fiction community, I have never seen the original six Star Wars movies, only the new ones (The Force Awakens, Rogue One, The Last Jedi, and Solo). I also never watched any of the animated series or played any of the games, except for the very beginning of LEGO Star Wars for the Wii when I was like twelve.
Given all this information, you can see I’m not the biggest Star Wars fan. However, I have thoroughly enjoyed the four that I have seen, and today I’m going to tell you about the most recent one, Solo.
Solo is a film you can watch without having seen any of the others, because it takes place before all of them. So if you’ve never seen Star Wars but think this one looks kind of good, go ahead and see it, you won’t be lost.
This movie is seriously jam-packed with action. Chase scenes, battle scenes, more chase scenes, gun fights, high stakes heists, etc. It is like 90% action and 10% talking scenes. This is not a bad thing, in my opinion. In regard to the fights, I think everything was choreographed amazingly; the camera work was really on point. If there’s one thing I hate, it’s a fight scene where I can’t even tell what’s going on because the camera is shaking around wildly.
I loved this cast, everyone did such an amazing job. I have only seen Donald Glover, Woody Harrelson, and Paul Bettany in other films before, and I really like all three of them, I think they’re great and were really good choices for the characters they played.
Visually, this movie was so awesome. All the aliens look cool as heck, all the landscape looks totally real, and everything is just so beautiful and seamless.
I think this was probably the best origin story movie I’ve ever seen, and I highly recommend it! It’s a lot of fun, very exciting, and I think it’s really well done. I hope you all enjoy it as much as I did!
Absolutely! I’m a hardcore Star Wars fan and Solo rings all the bells for me.
“the original six Star Wars movies”
I’m only 30 but I think this truly expresses the difference between our generations.
@Athena, I could ask how you haven’t seen the original / middle three (IV, V, VI), but then, there are plenty of books and movies I somehow have never read / watched and don’t know why I haven’t, so that would be an unfair question. :)
But those three, you really should see. They’re the best and the originals. Like your mom and dad, I saw those three as a kid and teen up through college age, so I am somewhat partial to them. But those three are the foundation for the mythos and the great love Star Wars fans have for them. — I really didn’t care much for the prequel trilogy, (I, II, III). I was disappointed by one major event in VII; bummer. But that’s just me.
Give the middle trilogy a watch. Have plenty of popcorn and some friends and/or your parents, and possibly the double cinnamon roll / giant headphones hairdo thing going on. A bedsheet cape and lightsaber would not necessarily go amiss for an aspiring college student doing a movie binge-watch party, but hey, they’re not absolutely required.
Star Wars is, medieval fairy tale meets science fiction meets a then-new idea of editing, effects, model making, and creature / alien design.
Also, I’m old-school. I can’t quite help but think of Athena from the classic 70’s BSG when I hear the name, aside from the very amazing Greco-Roman goddess. Both of these are good things, though.
I’ll likely see Solo when it gets to iTunes / Amazon / Netflix rentals. :) — Currently super pleased that The Expanse has been saved for a season 4 by Amazon, and sort of assuming Netflix will pick up international rights as before. Word is, Amazon and Alcon sealed the deal on Friday the 25th, late. So I am a happy space-camper in that regard. I consider that a win for SF&F fans as a whole.
Also — Han shot first. Just saying.
But will you see it again with your father and listen to his critique?
You have to see all the previous Star Wars movies… so you can complete your knowledge 😉
A question for those who have not seen the ‘original six’ (including our brand-spanking-new-intern): having seen Disney’s newer Star Wars movies, would you find yourself more inclined to see the ‘originals?’
I find it so weird to find people over the age of 15 who haven’t seen the original three films.
I mean, I haven’t seen any of the Harry potter movies, Lord of the Rings movies, or almost any of the Marvel movies, so I suppose I should be more understanding.
I know a few who have not, but that’s deliberate choice for them.
This is an excellent review that greatly encapsulates virtues of Solo. I also appreciated your point of view as a casual Star Wars fan. I’m glad you enjoyed the film.
I think that Solo: A Star Wars Story is a fascinating inversion of the burgeoning adolescence theme of the saga. Unfortunately, in execution, the theme has no emotional resonance due to a deficient central performance.
You can find out more by reading my review below.
If you find the piece to your liking, then please comment and follow.
There is an original three, then there are those other films we don’t talk about and try to pretend don’t exist.
As for Solo, it was ok. Not great.
But you really need to see the original three films and then avoid the other three.
I saw the movie on Friday, and while it was good in some ways (first female-coded droid!) it was not-so-good in one other: (female-coded droid killed, then plunked into the Millennium Falcoln’s navigation computer, so even more enslaved than when she began the movie.
Thanks for the review. We’re seeing it tomorrow, so it’s good to know you liked it.
Also, I’m shocked you haven’t seen the original three movies. I didn’t realize John Scalzi was a bad father.
I saw it Thursday morning here in the UK – worth getting up for a 9AM showing! Loved it. I plan on seeing it again once the kids go back to school (they are off this week and the cinema will probably be crowded).
John thanks for the review, really looking forward to seeing it. As for the original six, don’t bother the new Star Wars is far superior, Rey is already the best Jedi ever. That and seeing the alt-right tears, makes me look forward to the next installment.
Great review. I’m not a fan of the recent Star Wars movies, but I’ll watch Solo just for Bettany and Harrelson.
Paul Bettany because Master and Commander is one of my favorite films, and Woody Harrelson because I enjoy just about everything he does. True Detective, Zombieland — he even made Hunger Games almost watchable.
(Re-) watch Rogue One and then segue right into the original Star Wars aka ‘A New Hope’.
(And ignore those cretins, Jar Jar was *cool* ;-) )
Dorothy A. Winsor:
In fact, Athena has seen the original Star Wars movie, even if she doesn’t remember it. I remember because I showed to her when she was eight, and then when it was done, she wanted ice cream. I said no, because it was her bed time. She said “fine” and then did a Jedi hand wave. “You will give me ice cream,” she said.
She got her ice cream.
Athena wrote it, not me!
Star Wars 4,5,6 were pretty good because they cribbed most of its content from two award-winning movies: Hidden Fortress and the Searchers. Also, the best episode of all, Episode 5, Empire Strikes Back, was neither written nor directed by Lucas.
Ep 1,2,3 were basically a vanity project. Lucas financed the whole thing so he didnt have to answer to anyone for a terrible script. And he didnt have any movies to crib from, so the plot is crap. Also, lucas appears to have no experience with actual relationships with women as reflected by the someone-please-kill-me dialogue between anakin and padme.
The actors in ep 4 complained to Lucas that he could write the dialogue but no one could speak it. Ep 1 was a dialogue nightmare.
Ep 7 has major mary sue problems. The commander of the knights of Ren is a whiney emo brat. Ep 8 has a brat take out the boss level like a punk. And again Mary Sue with no training is holding her own against a powerful sith lord.
Rogue One was pretty good. Decent plot and dialogue. Only complaint was I didnt feel very connected to the characters.
Havent seen Solo yet. Previews show some promise. Hope to see it soon.
Athena, I hope you write more reviews like this. It’s well-written, informative and interesting. The charm of good fan writing is that it is personal and subjective. Maybe someday you will absorb so much trivia you will become insufferable like the rest of us, but take as long as you want.
Child, your father has done you wrong, not showing you the original trilogy when you were small. Very, very wrong. Shame on him.
Saw Solo today and thought it was entertaining but am not sure how it is supposed to fit into the shape of the whole. I am also a bigger fan of 4, 5 and 6 than 1, 2, or 3 and have enjoyed the Disney episodes. I was also planning to comment that you should look back in the Whatever archives because I’m pretty sure there’s a story about you seeing it (looks like your dad commented on that already). Possibly one of the downsides of growing up in (even a controlled version of) the limelight is that readers of the blog my remember things about your life that you don’t :)
Not seeing Emilia Clarke means no Game of thrones and that is strânge for your generation.
Not seeing Emilia Clarke means no Game of thrones and that is strange for your generation.
Great review, Athena. Telling us what sort of Star Wars fan you are grounds it, and lets us position ourselves by our own fandom (which runs on a spectrum from “I am currently wearing Star Wars clothing because it is a day with a ‘y’ in it,” right the way down to “what are an Wookiee?”). I’m also glad you liked the movie–although it’s worrisome that you have forgotten watching the first one … from a certain point of view.
I’m a Star Wars Tragic, and I found the constant Easter eggs and references in it really distracting; I felt like I had whiplash by the time it had all played out.
I am yet to see this and am now doubly looking forward to it. Thanks for the review.
Honestly Athena, all of the movies since Disney took over have been disconnected from the original six films that Lucas made. It’s pretty sad, really.
Thanks for the review, Athena. Agree with you on the action scenes – it’s no fun when you can’t tell what’s going on.
I was interested in your review especially as you disclaim knowledge of the originals (though I note you father’s correction). My (quite young) son loves all of the new ones, as well as Episodes I and IV, and he loved “Solo”. It is currently tied with “Rogue One” for his favorite Star Wars film. Watching the Star Wars films through his eyes has been enlightening. Your review is a further proof to a postulate I have that many of us who grew up with the series, who came of age in the 70s, cannot separate a youthful crush from true love. (While I have been a Star Wars fan from almost the beginning, my first love was Star Trek, the original series.) The giveaway is that reviewers of a certain age almost always list “Star Wars” and “The Empire Strikes Back” as their favorite films in the franchise, when the first of those is an extremely flawed film, especially when its narrative is considered as a part of the whole series; and while “Empire” is probably the best film of the first 6, it struggles to hold its own against the more recent films. I’ve a notion that in the coming decades, the balance of opinion will shift away from the first 6, and towards the new installments.
““Star Wars” … an extremely flawed film”
Cinema Sins has a list of complaints about New Hope, but they also say no movie is without sin. Not sure “extremely flawed” is accurate.
My son (age 16) hasn’t seen the original trilogy either. I sat down with him to watch the first Star Wars when he was ten, but he was bored and walked out during the final dogfight.
I went to see Solo because I liked Alden Ehrenreich so much in Hail Caesar! and I was hoping this would be a breakout success for him. If you haven’t seen that one, it’s funny as hell and he really shines in a supporting role.
For what it’s worth, I can’t understand the lack of positive reviews (other than Athena’s) for ‘Solo’. I think it is the best of the post ‘Star Wars’ (by that I mean what is now termed Episode 4, 5 and 6) movies. I enjoyed the movie.
I’m an old fart who saw the original “Star Wars” during it’s original theater run. I loved it, and “Empire”, but they lost me at “Jedi”. I loved the Ewoks, and all the “real” Star Wars fans hated them, so I just picked up my ball and went back to my Trek fandom.
My son was the perfect age when the prequels came out. Everyone was whining about how “they ruined my childhood”, but they ARE is childhood, so he loves them. He did get to see the originals on the big screen, too, when they were released after being digitally remastered. Which the “real” fans bitched about, too.
So, I’m not the biggest fan of Star Wars, either, even having seen them all. The new ones? LOVE THEM. All of them. I like the call-backs, I love the new stuff … not so much digitally plastering dead actor’s faces on new bodies, but that was just one movie, so I’ll live. I think Young Luke is a whiney jerk, but I enjoy Old Luke. I cheered when he tossed his light saber over his shoulder. Worship of the symbols over the ideals was the whole problem with the Jedi by that point.
I do have to thank your dad for the idea that Star Wars is mythology, not science fiction. It made dealing with Magic Space Leia … easier, anyway. I know that there’s precident for it in SW canon, but didn’t we dump the EU for a reason? (another thing I cheered, incidentally. I mean, wyrwulves. Ye ghods)
tl;dr … Not all old farts hate new things