It’s difficult to be surprised when you’ve become risk adverse with how you spend your time. Like I spoke about before I started my game of the year lists, my approach to consuming media has changed. I value my time more than I used to, and while movies aren’t quite the same time investment that video games are, the same rule has applied to them in 2018, maybe even more so.
I still found myself surprised by a few of the movies I saw, and pleasantly so. Which is always a good thing. But really, the most surprising thing about all of this was that I had low expectations for a Star Wars movie at all. I hope it isn’t a sign of the mass push back against the franchise isn’t having an effect on me… nah.
Solo: A Star Wars Story
I really wasn’t looking forward to the Han Solo movie leading up to its release. It felt like a movie that was leaning into the safer territory that annoyed me about The Force Awakens. I loved Rogue One and The Last Jedi because they were so different and willing to take risks.
Not only was I uninterested in learning Han Solo’s past, but nothing about the trailers managed to get me excited either. Putting the task of portraying one of the most iconic characters in cinematic history on Alden Ehrenreich’s shoulders seemed like a dicey move. One I don’t think ends up paying off.
I ended up seeing the movie because I am a huge Star Wars fan and couldn’t afford to miss one of these movies, no matter how little I was looking forward to it. But in the end, I got a huge kick out of it. It was a hugely enjoyable film for me, if a little popcorny compared to the heavier tone of Rogue One.
All of my enjoyment came in spite of the titular character. I loved the new new insight into the Empire from the view of an outsider, I loved seeing the new locations, including Corellia for the first time in the movies. I loved Woody Harrelson as the unreliable mentor figure, Donald Glover was pitch perfect as Lando. I loved seeing Darth Maul again and in the end the general Star Warsiness of it all won me over.
I said it before and I’ll say it again. If the movie had been based around an entirely original character, was called “Scum and Villainy” and didn’t act like a history of Han Solo checklist, I would have loved it a hell of a lot more. Both Alden Ehrenreich and Emilia Clarke are the weakest aspects of the movie. As well as L3-37 who felt tonally inconsistent with the rest of the franchise in a way that really took me out of it.
Overall though, I enjoyed the movie a lot. Despite any problems I did have, it still felt like a Star Wars movie. In the end, I love this franchise so much that you have to drop the ball a hell of a lot harder than this to turn me off. I am a little worried about the state of the Star Wars movies going forward. I do think that one a year might be a little much, but I hope the (undeserved) backlash against The Last Jedi hasn’t spooked Disney away from doing what they’ve been doing.