Solo: A Star Wars Story ★★★★

After getting to the other side of an obligatorily expository and cliche-ridden first act, the roller coaster of a second act propels this into hyperdrive.  I really wasn’t sure about it at first, but once it got going, it really never let up, and I didn’t feel its 2 h 15 m runtime at all.  
       Impressively shot by Bradford Young (The Most Violent Year, Arrival) and well edited by longtime Ridley Scott collaborator Pietro Scalia (JFK, Good Will Hunting, Gladiator, Black Hawk Down, American Gangster, Prometheus, The Martian).  My only problem was that some of the early scenes were dimly lit and hard to see. 
        I’ve come to the decision that, after thinking about how atrociously shot In the Heart of the Sea and Inferno were, that Howard is at the mercy of his cinematographer, for better or worse, with no real visual style of his own.  He’s more of a storyteller, which is fine; it just makes for an inconsistent viewing experience with his films.  With a film like Rush, and more relevantly, Solo, the visuals shine and make for an entertaining and aesthetically pleasing ride.  
         Solid performances all around, with Woody Harrelson stealing the film, in my opinion.  I had really been looking forward to Donald Glover as Lando, and while he was good, he fluctuated between a brilliant capturing of Billy Dee Williams’ essence and what seemed like an attempt at a British accent, which just made his intentions very confusing.  
         What happens after Lando says, “Oh shit” was the most satisfying moment in the film for me.  
        Cool to see that Lawrence Kasdan collaborated with his son on the script.  
         Way better than I thought it was gonna be.   The aforementioned second act and a kick-ass ending are what elevated this to its four-star rating.

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