Daniel Cruse’s review published on Letterboxd:
I still enjoyed this movie a lot on this rewatch. It’s definitely not as interesting to me as the episodic films and I prefer Rogue One to this if we’re comparing anthology stories but it’s a really entertaining space western.
I see lots of people saying they wish Lord and Miller had gotten to keep control of this project but I’m totally fine with Ron Howard’s vision for it as well as being impressed that he scrapped this together so quickly. Lord and Miller are great and I’d love to see what they would’ve done with it but I don’t think their absence ruined the film.
Solo does have its problems. The whole scene where we find out how his name came to be was eye roll inducing and they really could’ve just introduced him as Han Solo from the start with no questions asked. There are some weird characters introduced that serve no purpose to the story other than to die. And a valid complaint that applies to a large portion of the film is that the cinematography and lighting makes it very difficult to see things. I refuse to place the blame on Bradford Young cause he’s done some amazing work as a cinematographer and I feel like the issues with the film’s look were either done in post or out of his hands while shooting. The man shot Paraiah and Arrival so I have a hard time believing he would’ve made such major missteps.
I still really don’t get what they were going for with L337.
But now for what I like about the film. Alden Ehrenreich does a good job and I strongly disagree with the people I see saying that his performance is bad because he does really great working blending some of Harrison’s speech patterns and gestures (the classic Han point) while adding some spark of neivity that is believable for a younger and less jaded Han Solo. Donald Glover is great as Lando as well, the dude oozes charisma and he was a really inspired choice to play the character. I like the new additions to the cast as well. Woody Harrelson plays his usual relaxed and charming self, Emilia Clarke as Qi’ra is one of the more interesting characters in the movie and I wish she had more story but Lucasfilm understandably seems to be abandoning those plot threads. Paul Bettany kinda chews the scenery in a way I’ve never seen before from him and I like it a lot cause I’m not used to him playing villains.
The music from John Powell is really amazing, especially the chorally infused Maurauder’s Theme. I love Chewie’s introduction and I think their meeting scene is exactly what I’d hoped for after always being disappointed that the prequels are full of so many uninteresting first time meetings between major characters like Anakin and Obi-Wan. I love the card game scenes between Han and Lando as well.
The VFX are expectedly great because it’s a Star Wars movie and the space flight scenes are pretty exhilarating. This movie is very sequence based and so many of them are pretty memorable to me like the train heist or the Kessel Run. This isn’t a great film but it’s really fun and there’s nothing about it that I outright hate so it stands kinda in the middle of the pack as far as Star Wars is concerned.