*warning, spoilers abound, turn back if you don’t want to know!
Considering I went in with absolutely zero expectations, Solo: A Star Wars Story was much better than I thought it would be. As expected from the previews, the film explains how Han Solo first met Chewbacca, Lando Calrissian and how he came into possession of the Millennium Falcon.
The bulk of the story revolves around Han making the famous “Kessel Run” in order to help smuggler and thief Tobias Beckett pay a debt to the fearsome crime syndicate Crimson Dawn. The situation becomes slightly complicated when he finds out his some-time girlfriend Qi’ra is now a top lieutenant in the organization.
Let’s start this review off by getting the parts I didn’t like out of the way:
-Lady Proxima: As cool as it was to see Corellia onscreen for the first time, the more I thought about the opening sequence, the more I realized it was completely unnecessary. Han’s entire escape from the planet could have been easily narrated in an opening crawl and we could’ve jumped straight into that mud planet scene where Han meets Beckett and his crew. Not only that, but why bother introducing a character like Lady Proxima (who DID look pretty cool in a gruesome way) if she’s only going to be onscreen for less than five minutes and then never be seen or heard from for the rest of the film?
-Han running his mouth: the film pulls this stunt one time too many. If you’ve seen any of the original trilogy then you already know Han is in the habit of making boasts or promises he can’t possibly keep. The film practically beats the audience over the head with this concept and it really wasn’t necessary.
-Rio and Val: Does anyone else think we didn’t get to know these characters nearly well enough before they met their respective ends? I mean Rio’s death was hard to watch but at the same time we’d just barely gotten to know him.
Now for what I liked:
Lando Calrissian: Oh my goodness, they weren’t kidding when they said Donald Glover stole the show with his performance. From his first scene to his last, any time Lando is onscreen you can’t help but notice him. If Disney wants to do a stand-alone film about Lando then I am now perfectly okay with it (so long as Glover keeps the role). It also thrilled me to see Han and Lando playing sabaac, as that is a scene that’s played out several times in the old EU books.
THAT scene with Lando and L3: This is one of the best scenes in the entire film and you will not be able to change my mind. L3 may have just been a droid that drove Lando crazy most of the time, but he really did care about her. Also, what happened afterward was a perfect explanation for why the Falcon’s computer is so….colorful with its language choices.
Han speaks “Wookie”: I actually liked the scene where Han speaks Wookie to Chewbacca in order to convince him that he’s a friend. I’d honestly never thought about whether he could speak it or not, but it makes sense that Han would have at least a small grasp of the language. That being said…he looked so funny speaking the language!
Dryden Vos: Vos is one of my favorite types of villain: he’s kind, courteous, the perfect gentleman right up until he stabs you in the back. At the same time he also reeks of charisma that can easily trick you into forgetting how dangerous he is. I really enjoyed Paul Bettany’s performance, I wish we’d gotten more of it (though who knows, he could always reappear in another anthology film set before this one).
THAT cameo at the end (warning, if you don’t want to know who it is stop reading NOW!!):
Going in to the film, I was positive I’d narrowed the cameo down to two people: Boba Fett and/or Jabba the Hutt. It made sense to me that young Han would run into one of these two characters. And while the Hutt crime lord is heavily alluded to at the end of the film (there’s no other reason for going to Tatooine), he doesn’t actually appear. After Qi’ra kills Vos and assumes command of Crimson Dawn, she uses a ring to speak with Dryden’s boss who appears in a hologram. The moment this character started speaking, I perked up in my seat because I KNEW that voice and it only belonged to one character. And sure enough, the hood was eventually lifted back to reveal Maul, formerly Darth Maul (embodied by Ray Park, voiced by Sam Witwer), he who got bisected at the end of The Phantom Menace all the way back in 1999.
Now, if you’ve only seen the films, I know this cameo was very confusing for you. Here’s how Darth Maul is alive and well: George Lucas almost immediately regretted killing Maul and kept looking for a way to bring him back. During the Clone Wars animated series (2008-2013) he finally got his chance. Maul reappears in the 4th season where it is revealed that he didn’t die on Naboo but instead clung to life through the Dark Side of the Force and was eventually rescued by his brother (yes Maul had a brother) where he was given mechanical legs. There’s a lot more but that’s the gist of it. Bringing Maul back to the films is HUGE: now the door is wide open for a stand alone film about the former Sith apprentice and I couldn’t be more excited.
While there are several hooks left for a direct sequel, I don’t see it happening anytime soon. Thus far Solo isn’t turning a huge profit so Disney may not see it as worth their while to follow up on this story. I do hope though that Maul’s cameo means that a standalone Maul film is in the works. Only time will tell.
What did you think about Solo: A Star Wars Story? Let me know your thoughts in the comments below and have a great day!
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