Solo: A Star Wars Thingy (2018)

  • Gist: Space fantasy western heist movie marking a pivotal moment in the long life of a noble Kashyyyk warrior and, incidentally, serving as an origin story for his cocky little human sidekick.
  • Tone: “Y’all, Rogue One and Last Jedi used up our Disney Seriousness Allocation for three years, so this one has to stay Light and Fun, including the stuff about exploitation and slavery. If it doesn’t, I’ll fire you and hire Ron Howard. Love, Kat Kennedy.”
  • Main Cast: Naturally the top slots all go to humans, even one to a clone of Woody Harrelson. Childish Gambino, lamely credited as “Donald Glover,” is cool enough, but seems less likely to break into a night club routine that Billy Dee Williams always did.
  • Support cast: Good humans are heard, not seen. Jon Favreau as expendable funny alien sidekick, Phoebe Waller-Bridge as expendable funny robot sidekick, and Joonas Suotamo as under-appreciated Chewbacca steal more scenes than Han steals Magic Sparky Boom Rocks. And Thandie Newton! Yay!
  • SFX: Huge buildings, sunrises, bleakscapes, multi-eyed multi-tentacled giant horror…yes, it’s all here. But how did this cost the most of any Star Wars movie?
  • Chase scenes: Floating car chase, floating bike chase, spaceship chase…aw, no awkward alien biped animal race? Money back now!
  • Diversity: So human-centric I could believe these people would, like, pin a medal on Han and ignore Chewbacca, who had done all the same things. Or glorify a “Rebellion against tyranny” while keeping their own slave class in restraining bolts.
  • Cantina scenes: Oh, NOW you put lots of diversity in! NOW humans are suddenly the minority where there’s outlaws gambling and smoking and fighting and…stuff?!

Conclusion: It’s fun!