Hot Take: Harsh reality set in watching Solo: A Star Wars Story. I realized maybe I don’t care about Han Solo’s backstory enough for a prequel. While still above average, it’s a step backward from Rogue One: A Star Wars Story and doesn’t earn a guaranteed sequel.
Solo: A Star Wars Story is the second “Star Wars Story” to be told outside of the main films. While Rogue One: A Star Wars Story did a solid job of telling the story of how the Rebellion obtained the blueprints that eventually led to the destruction of the Death Star in Star Wars: A New Hope (the first Star Wars film ever which technically was the fourth Star Wars chapter but which became the fifth chapter once Rogue One was introduced and now is the sixth chapter if you place Solo: A Star Wars Story in sequential order), it was all about nostalgia right down to the way the film was shot. Granted, it introduced a handful of new characters but most of them died in their effort to obtain the blueprints and act only as a footnote in the Star Wars tale. With Solo: A Star Wars Story, while the film had a little bit of nostalgia, this chapter relied strictly on fan service and, if you’re a Han Solo fan, delivered a slightly above average prequel to how Han became Han Solo, how he met Chewbacca and how Han became the Millennium Falcon’s captain. Director Ron Howard was brought in to salvage the film after the directorial team of Phil Lord and Chris Miller were fired. He reshot most of the film which ended up having the look and feel more closely resembling the prequels than the original trilogy or the latest works. The resulting film is an example of the Star Wars franchise playing it completely safe without much risk of total failure as there is plenty to see here and discuss about Han and this aspect of the Star Wars universe that was revealed.
There’s two sides to Solo: A Star Wars Story. The first is whether or not the film is entertaining. More or less, it is. There’s some entertaining action. Han, Chewie and Lando are here. Granted, Alden Ehrenreich as young Han doesn’t live up to Harrison Ford’s portrayal but Donald Glover excels in the young Lando role. The Millennium Falcon is basically a character here, too, and adds to the fan service. The new characters are somewhat interesting, too. Woody Harrelson plays Tobias Beckett who acts as Han’s mentor. Emilia Clarke as Qi’ra, Han’s love interest that drives his early personae, is the most compelling new character. Paul Bettany is essentially the latest villain but lacks any memorable moments. The action works and the film has a light, breezy feel with enough fan service to satisfy Star Wars fanboys. The second side is its importance to the Star Wars franchise. Unfortunately, there’s very little here that comes across as important or necessarily needs to be told. Did we need to know this much about the world’s most famous scoundrel?
Solo: A Star Wars Story is an adequate addition to the Star Wars franchise. It falls short of an essential addition with some frivolous moments and excessive fan service as every bit of Solo lore short of Greedo and Boba Fett is crammed into the 135 minute movie. It’s release is also unnecessarily close to The Last Jedi which for many Star Wars fans was a lot to digest. So, here’s to a good (not great) Star Wars flick that would have been better served up later in the year.
You care about things like what it must have been like for Han to make the Kessel Run in less than 12 parsecs.
It’s comic book movie season!!!