Solo Act I saw the young Han Solo movie this past weekend, and I liked it.
After all the CGI angst of the prequels then the old Skywalker family problems in the new movies as well as the demise of all the Rogue One characters, it was so nice to watch a Star Wars movie that was fun. Sure, most of it was just simple tricks and nonsense, but deep ideas and mystical fields controlling everything have never been Han Solo's style.
But what is Solo: The Movie? Is it a heist movie? Is it a western? Is it an origin story? Space noir? In the great Star Wars tradition of using everything, Solo steals from everything and mixes it into a pot of simmering entertainment. Sometimes, it tastes cool. Sometimes it tastes lame, but we keep eating it.
Solo has a checklist to get through. We see him on Corellia, an underlit rust belt planet. We see him meet Chewbacca. We see him hang with criminals who teach him stuff. We meet Lando. We see the Millennium Falcon (there switches in the cockpit, switches!). We even get to see the twelve parsec Kessel run. There are Stormtroopers and idealists and droids and creatures.
I'm also impressed with what is not on the checklist. We don't meet Han's mommy and daddy. We don't have a scene where his young idealistic girlfriend dies in his arms. We don't hear about the Force or the Jedi. We just get to go on a space adventure. How fun is that.
At the center of it all is Han Solo (well played by the new guy). He takes what comes and figures things out quickly. He might not be the brightest light bulb in the galaxy, but he keeps going. He also doesn't dismiss folks who are different than he is. He makes alliances with those who can help him. He shoots first.
When I was a kid, I read Brian Daley's Han Solo novels (Han Solo at Star's End, Han Solo's Revenge, Han Solo and the Lost Legacy). Those books took place a few years before the original Star Wars movie. They were fun reads that let me escape into the Star Wars universe before there were videos of the movies. Han Solo is the kind of character you can have a lot of fun with. I'd watch more of his adventures as he flips the switches.
So yeah, I liked the Han Solo movie. Is it the best Star Wars film ever? No. Is it better than some of the Star Wars crap we've been handed in the past? Yes. After seeing Solo, I left the theatre happy. I went to see a Star Wars film and actually had a laugh.