Steve and Zack at the Movies: “Solo: A Star Wars Story”
With Solo: A Star Wars Story heading for a scanty $400 million dollar worldwide haul that may not cover its production and marketing cost, a residual campaign of outrage from a group of Star Wars fans still angry about SJW Porgs, and several scandals related to production including the firing of the film’s original directors, you might think the movie was an abject failure. Steve is here to set you straight and Zack is here to slightly disagree with your views.
Steve: Well, well, well… we meet again.
Zack: My old friend, Steve. It feels as if it has been many weeks.
Steve: IT HAS BEEN MANY WEEKS!
Steve: I went to see Solo opening weekend and then again last weekend and you still hadn’t seen it.
Zack: I have now seen it.
Steve: What, did you pirate it on the dark web?
Zack: No, I went to see it with exactly three other people in the theater.
Steve: Ugh. Yeah, right, my theater was almost empty the second time I saw it.
Zack: Star Wars has been brought low.
Steve: The crazy part is you loved The Last Jedi and I did not and I think this movie is great.
Steve: I like it almost as much as Rogue One which I loved.
Zack: Before we start reviewing Solo, let’s get into the recap. We can give our reviews at the end.
Steve: Alright, so it starts out and Han, just Han, is driving his speeder around the mean streets of Corellia.
Zack: We find out he stole a tube of glowing lipstick from some sort of lipstick deal and wants to run off with his space girlfriend Qi’ra.
Steve: Sarah Connor herself.
Steve: They try to run off but they get caught and hauled before the gang boss they ripped off.
Zack: Han is wrapped up in this group that has the feel of the Artful Dodger’s gang from Tale of Two Cities if the Artful Dodger was an eel monster and many of the kids in his gang seemed to be 30 years old.
Steve: I thought this part was pretty cool. Han bluffs that he has a Thermal Detonator and the boss freaks out but some of the other guys are like “nope that’s a rock” and it is just a rock.
Steve: Which he throws at the boss.
Zack: They run off to the space port and long story short Han and Qi’ra get separated on two sides of a security divider and Han has to join the Imperial academy to get off the planet. Meanwhile Qi’ra gets captured by the gang.
Zack: I dislike almost everything on Corellia. The vision of the planet isn’t very interesting, most of the scenes are in cramped hallways and you know what did this sort of setting better? Chronicles of Riddick. Also a Thandie Newton joint.
Zack: It’s true. That movie wasn’t great but it created a vision for the Muslim planet they were on and then had the cool gothic necromonger spaceships attack. Corellia wishes it had that much going on.
Steve: This is also the part where Han Solo gets his Solo name. From some bored Imperial official who has to put a last name down on a form.
Zack: Internet people were pretty mad about that.
Steve: It was great. I laughed both times.
Zack: It was not great. We didn’t need an explanation of why he had the weird last name. That’s one of the big problems with this movie period: Han Solo was already a fucking interesting character. Giving him more backstory or explaining what we knew about him makes him less interesting not more interesting.
Steve: Aw come on dude you didn’t want to know how he met Chewbacca?
Zack: That is literally the only fact about Han Solo I was interested in learning. I definitely didn’t need to see him win the Millennium Falcon in a card game, I didn’t need to see his golden dice or learn why his last name is Solo. And then there were all the stupid questions I didn’t need answered like “How could he make the Kessel Run in less than 12 parsecs?”
Steve: And all the SJWs! Don’t even get me started on the SJWs!
Zack: See, this is what I hate, Steve. All criticism gets lumped into being anti-SJW because a bunch of idiots act like they’re being oppressed when the main Star Wars character is a woman or some minority gets representation.
Zack: Like that new Ghostbusters movie was terrible, but it was terrible because it wasn’t funny, not because it ruined anybody’s childhood.
Steve: So we can review the new Ghostbusters movie now?
Steve: I liked it!
Steve: Very good.
Zack: Right so that after this we cut to three years or whatever in the future and there is a big Warhammer 40,000 war going on.
Zack: I thought it was amusing how people were dying all over the place and everything was filthy and there is this huge, brutal war and yet there is no clue about who they are even fighting or what is happening. I liked this part.
Steve: It was good. Han is terrified and ends up latching onto this guy who seems to know what he is doing. It turns out to be Woody Harrelson leading his team of thieves to get gear for a heist.
Zack: Right, Han tries to join up with them and they don’t need another dude. They rat him out to other officers.
Zack: Which lands him in the pit with a monster that is going to tear him apart and eat him.
Steve: Only… get ready for it… that monster is Chewbacca!
Zack: And he almost kills Han but Han speaks Wookiee to him.
Steve: Did you like this part?
Zack: Yes, although I thought it was a bit contrived that Chewbacca is even on this planet in the absolute middle of this massive war zone.
Steve: They gave a reason.
Zack: He was looking for his family or whatever. I get it. In the middle of an Imperial invasion of this random planet though?
Steve: So then Han Solo and Chewbacca end up with Woody Harrelson and his crooks and they do their heist and it is on a train that is like a maglev rollercoaster through the mountains.
Zack: Pretty dope.
Steve: Yeah, it rules.
Zack: So the heist is going alright until this guy* called Enfys Nest shows up. Clearly a reference to the Richard Mulligan TV show Empty Nest. Empty Nest and his gang of alien rowdies on space bikes shoots a bunch of lasers and kills the alien monkey pilot from Woody Harrelson’s crew and indirectly makes Thandie Netwon blow herself up.
Steve: You are making all of it sound stupid but I liked this part.
Zack: Yeah, it works. It’s definitely the best section of the movie and it has a good finish with the glowing lipstick they are heisting exploding dramatically. Which makes them go to the Crimson Dawn space mob boss.
Steve: Paul Bettany.
Zack: I know people like that dude but he fucking sucks. He sucked in Legion, he sucked in Priest, he sucked in all the Avengers movies he was in, and he sucks in this.
Steve: Dang dude you have it in for Paul Bettany.
Zack: He’s not an interesting actor. Give me a Vigo Mortensen or Jeremy Irons as this guy or go in a different direction and give me Paul Giamatti. Would love to see Giamatti chew up scenery as a Star Wars villain.
Zack: Hell, I don’t like him much, but give me Joaquin Phoenix. He was great in Gladiator. He could pull off a creepy Star Wars villain I bet.
Steve: I thought Bettany was fine. He was creepy and seemed like an evil rich guy mobster. I liked how one minute he would be nice and everything would seem fine and the next he would threaten to kill them all.
Zack: Even piece of shit movies like Underworld managed to get Bill Nighy. Come on. Paul Bettany is your Star Wars movie’s villain? Bullshit.
Steve: I resent you calling Underworld “piece of shit movies.” No series has more fully explored the rise and fall of the Lycans.
Zack: Okay, fair enough, I was talking up Chronicles of Riddick earlier. But that shows you the zone we are in with Solo. We are in a Riddick – Underworld level of movie. Let that sink in.
Steve: I like those movies.
Zack: I haven’t given my review of Solo yet.
Steve: Right, so they have to do another heist to steal unrefined hyperfuel and then refine it before it gets too warm and explodes.
Zack: Going to jump in here and say that the movie does a terrible job of managing its ticking time bomb. They don’t establish its parameters well and then as it is ticking they don’t cut to it enough or make it as dramatic as it should be. For a movie with a 250 million dollar budget the best they could come up with are these cylinders where a panel turns red as it gets too hot.
Steve: I thought all that stuff worked fine. They cut to it a few times and you were told explicitly it was going to blow up.
Steve: But let’s get back to the heist. To do it they need a fast ship, so Han tries to win it from Lando in a card game, only Lando wins and Han owes him a ship (something that never comes up again) but Qi’ra convinces him to join the team because she is with Crimson Dawn and smoking hot.
Zack: Lando’s ship is impounded. Lando also has a wisecracking robot that wants a robot liberation movement and also Lando seems to have a sexual relationship with.
Steve: It was implied or at least an intimate relationship.
Steve: But Lando is the pilot and his robot, L3, has the map to make the Kessel Run through this giant space smoke cloud filled with wrecked ships and a giant space monsters.
Zack: They go to the mine, free a bunch of slaves including some wookiees, and load the space fuel onto their ship. In the process, L3 gets destroyed, but they save her navigation module thingy and wire it into the Millennium Falcon.
Steve: I thought this whole part on the mine works pretty well.
Zack: It’s fine, I guess. The part I liked the most was the robot uprising around and busting crap up.
Steve: Yeah, that is great.
Zack: It seems unearned that a character introduced 20 minutes earlier as wanting a robot uprising goes somewhere and immediately foments a robot uprising, but it’s funny and L3 is fairly funny.
Steve: Lando is really bummed about this robot getting blow up. He has a whole slow motion run and save the robot and cry over the robot scene.
Zack: The fact that the robot was always divulging too much about its relationship with Lando was good, but then they spoil L3 by making it the explanation for why the Millennium Falcon is such a great smuggling ship: it has a secret ultra navigation map wired into it.
Steve: They use the map to navigate through the smoke cloud so they can get out before the fuel they stole explodes. Of course, they get interrupted by a giant space tentacle monster which they trick into falling into a black hole and getting its skin ripped off.
Zack: They escape to a refinery and then while they are refining the stuff Empty Nest shows up again and in a total Metroid move it takes its helmet off and DUN DUN DUN it’s a young freckle-faced woman. She wants the hyper fuel to fund a rebellion.
Steve: Did this upset you and all the other chads on mgtow reddit?
Zack: No. However, this character did annoy me because Woody Harrelson apparently loved Thandie Newton’s character who died because of Empty Nest. That is never brought up as a rationale for why he refuses to work with her and the space rowdies who want to start a rebellion.
Zack: But I want to interject with an even bigger problem I have with this movie.
Zack: This conflict over the space fuel and the idea of it funding a rebellion and Han Solo’s arc in this movie totally fuck up the original Star Wars. In that movie you have a rogue who is revealed to have a good heart. In this movie you have a Han Solo that is a good hearted rogue throughout. And then at the end of the movie he learns to shoot first? That’s your big reveal of his character, him doing something that was digitally removed from the first movie. And then right after that he gives up all the money.
Steve: Are you done?
Zack: I think so.
Steve: Because you skipped through the fight on Vos’s space yacht.
Zack: Which looks exactly like a ship from Eve Online, but continue.
Steve: There’s a cool fight on Vos’s space yacht with Qi’ra where she seems to side with Vos, then kills him, then sides with solo, then takes the space yacht and leaves.
Zack: But I think you’re leaving something else out…
Steve: Heck yes!
Steve: Hell heckin’ yes!
Steve: This movie resurrects my favorite Star Wars villain of all time, Darth Maul, revealing him to be the shadowy crime boss of the Crimson Dawn.
Steve: Of course, if you watched any of the Star Wars TV shows like Rebels or Clone Wars you would know Darth Maul had a twin brother and Darth Maul survived being cut in half.
Zack: Was this whole movie worth it for the Darth Maul reveal?
Steve: Are we doing our review now?
Steve: Yes, but also no.
Zack: Wow. Thank you for that.
Steve: Yes, it was great, but no, it didn’t need that to be worth it. The movie was great. It introduced some really fun characters and unlike Rogue One it did not kill all of them off.
Zack: Yeah, right, maybe in Episode IX the robot inside the Millennium Falcon can get rebooted and the ship will start wisecracking.
Steve: Well, supposedly they signed a bunch of these people up for multiple movies so there could be a Solo 2 and Solo 3.
Zack: After this shitshow I would be surprised if that happens. Maybe a Lando movie but I think Solo is dead.
Steve: Which is too bad if you’re right. I want to see Darth Maul in action. They set up so much.
Zack: Freed of the need to explain every tiny detail of Solo’s character history, maybe they could even make some decent sequels.
Zack: I mean, this isn’t all bad decisions. They got rid of Colin Trevorrow. And whatever they did with Rogue One worked.
Zack: Then again they are bringing JJ back for Episode IX so who knows.
Steve: Don’t be one of those too-cool-for-it dudes who acts like The Force Awakens is bad now.
Zack: It’s fine. It’s a perfectly fine movie. He had a lot of work to do and he got it done. I really like Daisy Ridley and Adam Driver.
Steve: Not John Boyega?
Zack: He’s fine. His character is not.
Steve: Agree to disagree. Finn is great!
Zack: Folks we have a special Avenger-themed RPG extravaganza coming later in June so stay tuned!
Steve: Thanks for sticking with us!