Solo: A Star Wars Story ★★★★

Flawed, certainly. But, also good fun. That's better than most movies!

So, the second time confirmed some things, and illuminated new ones. I think the weak part of the movie is the beginning. It's fun because it's Han, and we're learning where he came from, but it felt a little clunky in some ways. We all kind of know what happened behind the scenes, but I'm really curious what scenes Ron Howard first started filming. I notice a certain comfort develops as the movie finds its original voice. For one thing, Howard seems to rarely tilt or pan the camera in the first hour. That's just bonkers to me. Oddly enough, it happens more frequently (but still not much) in the second half. (Speilberg is a master of tying everything together this way.) It really helps the action. Howard is a great nuts and bolts director -- and maybe that term does him a disservice. I dunno, I just like a bit more quirky, creative risk-taking in my films. But, he does such a good job managing a project that had a lot of problems. And, there's creativity here, but not really any visual risk.

Since I'm critiquing Howard, I do have to say the action sequences really shine most of the time. I really enjoy the train sequence, and I thought the Kessle run was quite an adventure.

I'm still way on board with the casting, but the romance left something to be desired. Its more like we know they're involved rather than feeling the chemistry. Truthfully, they have big shoes to fill. Han and Lea must be one of the greatest, most electric film romances ever.

As usual, Chewbacca is the ruler. Howard got an amazing performance out of him. But, then, he's a natural to begin with. Even his feet in the shower scene show real emotion. His Oscar snub is a real tragedy.

Otherwise, I appreciated Donald Glover as Lando a little more. I think he nailed the cockiness, but left some charm and charisma back at community college. To make a cocky character lovable takes more than we see in Solo.

In the end, I'm overthinking all of this. I really like this movie. It's no Rogue One (which I like more than most), but I want more Star Wars movies like this.

I praised the script in my first review, and I liked it better a second time. It is really good. I was inspired by much of it, and that's my highest praise. Besides it's invisible, pitch-perfect structure, what I really like is that it's imbued with callbacks to the first series, but it isn't bogged down by references and connections to "The Star Wars Universe." It appears effortless. In the era of cinematic sequels and on and on, we need more tasteful executions (that stand on their own as a *cough* solo movie) like this.

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