Solo: A Star Wars Story

It's a shame this thing bombed when going up against Infinity War, because it's an enjoyable space heist / western and exceeded my low expectations. Solo is a trainee cowboy who learns how to ride his first spaceship, embark on his first train robbery, and generally cross and double cross with the big bad sheriffs of the universe. There is even a hint of colonised Amerindians and enslaved robots. Both groups get the chance to cast off their chains because of Solo's shenanigans, which means the film doesn't avoid reiterating a white saviour complex. The way the mute oppressed fuel refiners are depicted is particularly cringey.

That aside, this is a lot of fun. Alden Ehrenreich and Donald Glover have the tricky task of impersonating the performances of other actors, but apart from a few ticks they settle into their own groove, for which we should be grateful. More interesting than either of them is Woody Harrelson's grizzled veteran shyster Beckett, and Emilia Clarke as the ambiguous Qi'ra, both of whom have to make their own compromises with the powers that be. I'm kinda hoping to see more of Qi'ra, and Solo leaves open the possibility of an appearance in other standalone Star Wars stories. I have a hunch that although they may not be as successful as the new trilogy, these one-offs may end up being better films.


Gave a bit of thought about why Qi'ra was such an intriguing character over the week. She's there ostensibly as the love interest, but the expectation is sent up by her decision not to follow Solo at the end of the film, and instead join the bad guys. That choice highlights the fact that she is a woman trapped by other men, and that includes Solo. There's an intriguing bit of symbolism added to this. Han Solo has a lucky charm of two dice on a chain which he gives to Qi'ra at the beginning of the film. When we see her next, she is an employee and possible lover of Dryden Vos, who dispatches underlings with a double-headed laser knife. At the end of the film, Qi'ra upgrades Vos to Darth Maul, who lights up his double-bladed lightsabre to show off what a great guy he is to work for. Qi'ra gives Solo back his trinket. He's unreliable, like his dice – and his luck. The red weapons are more deadly, but also more powerful. They hold out the prospect of her being her own woman.

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