The Rollicking Fun of Solo: A Star Wars Story

I went to see Solo: A Star Wars Story, and loved every second of it. Don’t worry, this isn’t a Solo review, and there are no spoilers, although I do wanna talk about the movie and how cool it was, because it was cool in a way that no Star Wars story has been in 40 years.

Ignore the Star Wars branding and connections. Imagine you don’t know the names Han Solo, Chewbacca, Lando Calrissian. If you did all that, Solo would still be a cool movie, because at its core it isn’t a Star Wars movie, at least not like we’ve come to know them. The familiar trappings of the Star Wars mythos—the Empire, the Rebellion, the Jedi, the Sith, the Force—all exist in the periphery, and although they do dictate some circumstances in the characters’ lives, they pretty much are ignored for most of the film. And that is great!

I love the Star Wars mythos, but it’s extremely refreshing to not have that be the focus of the story. Solo is far more a hot rod/street hustlers/heist movie than anything, and a darn good one at that, something like Corellian Graffiti meets Beckett’s Eleven (or Six, as the case may be). It’s space opera that has fun and doesn’t apologize for it.

I’m a sucker for sci-fi stories of a ship with its crew, and I almost wish that Solo had not been a Star Wars movie so that we didn’t have to drive the story towards that inevitable moment when these young characters become the icons we already know them to be, keeping them instead as the rag-tag band of hustlers looking for one more score (the last one, I swear) in that galaxy far, far away.

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