Solo: A Star Wars Story: Film Review

While it should be expected that everyone should get excited about another Star Wars ahead, that doesn’t seem likely when it comes to Solo: A Star Wars Story. One of the reasons is because some fans didn’t want to see a spin-off/ prequel in the first place. Not too many were hyped from the marketing, or some are still bitter about how people felt about The Last Jedi. But though I knew the film wasn’t going to be great finished product could be a done deal without even watching it in theaters.

What’s the Story?: This follows a young Han Solo (Alden Ehrenreich) before the events that takes place A New Hope where he teams up with the likes of Chewbacca (Joonas Suotamo) and the smooth Lando Calrissian (Donald Glover) to pull off an intergalactic heist for the criminal underworld while becoming known the smuggler everyone knows about for years to come.

Alden Ehrenreich and Joonas Suotamo in Solo: A Star Wars Story (2018)

The second anthology released after Rogue One two years ago, the idea of Solo having his own movie sounded cool in retrospect, but nervous in the process. The film became infamously known for the news of original directors Phil Lord and Chris Miller (still received executive producer credits)  being fired after almost done with shooting the film over creative differences, which lead into production problems. After that, Ron Howard came on to what was supposed to be the finished product but ended up re-shooting 80% of the film that some won’t be sure if some the cuts at first made it in. But, I was still wanted to have the anticipation for this because Solo is an outstanding character. Except for Luke, Solo’s my favorite Star Wars character that’s made famous by the talented Harrison Ford for four movies. If the odds of loving Solo: A Stars Wars Story are approximately 3,720 to 1, those odds weren’t fully there.

Let’s get this question out of the way: Did we really need to explore more about Solo? At first, I didn’t, and most would agree to that we didn’t necessarily want to know everything about his past. Granted, there will be more spin-offs in the future for characters we didn’t ask for. In terms of how this was executed, it’s a solid enough origin story for Solo at best. Did we need to know how he got the Millennium Falcon? No. Or how he got his blaster? Maybe. Or What about meeting Chewbacca? Yes, actually. But we finally got to see how he got his name “Solo”, and it was a poor excuse to justify the reason.

Coming in and practically re-shooting an entire movie, Howard does a capable job in handling a Star Wars film. Visually speaking, it has some good cinematography, but there doesn’t seem to be a lot of colorful scenes, which might be the point to make it have that sci-fi western feel to it. Looks like he was following Lawrence and Jonathan Kasdan’s script.

Woody Harrelson, Alden Ehrenreich, Emilia Clarke, and Joonas Suotamo in Solo: A Star Wars Story (2018)

Ehrenreich was a choice that some weren’t so sure with at first glance, but I was one of the few who was really pulling for him. Honestly, he did a solid job as a young scoundrel, though there isn’t much resemblance there. He mustn’t do an imitation of Ford and come off as just an impression. He was honestly capable enough to pull this character through. Ehrenreich has been a good actor when he’s the breakout performer in Beautiful Creatures and Hail, Caesar!, respectively. Kind of might’ve started off shaky in the first five minutes, but it was more grounded after that even when the movie overpowers his performance.

Didn’t think I could’ve love Glover more when he was the first choice to play a young Lando (he was my first choice, too). Made famous by the legend Billy Dee Williams in both The Empire Strikes Back and Return of the Jedi, Glover’s captured that sense of wave and Lando coolness anytime he’s on screen. At the point of life with this and the jam of the summer “This is America”, he can’t do anything wrong in my eyes since he basically steals every scene he’s in, in my opinion.

Donald Glover in Solo: A Star Wars Story (2018)

The action sequences along with the visuals effects kept my interest enough. In particular, the train heist sequence was fairly enjoyable and well-shot. As well with a chase with the Falcon that was impressive.

The film explores the relationship that Han has with others along the way. We got to see how Han met Chewie, and how he nearly killed Han in the process, which explains why he owns his a life debt. He joins the Imperial Navy so he can rescue his former love Qi’ra (Emilia Clarke) and the chemistry for them was good enough. He gets to joins Beckett (Woody Harrelson) to join his wife Val (Thandie Newton) and Rio Durant (voiced by Jon Favreau) on his crew for an upcoming heist. Harrelson’s performance was pretty good, even though that role could’ve been played by somebody else and it wouldn’t make any difference.

Some things in Solo also were just a mixed bag from my viewpoint. For instance, the character L3-37 (voiced by Fleabag’s Phoebe Waller-Bridge), droid companion of Lando, came off as annoying in almost every scene she’s in. Aside from her, so much of the humor that was in here was very hit and miss.

But why I don’t think Solo ends up being a great Star Wars film is that it’s very predictable with very little stakes found within. Even though this does take place before Episode IV, there wasn’t anything that was really surprising. Because of that factor, it didn’t add anything new to the saga. It takes a while for the movie to start its plot up. Paul Bettany plays Dryden Vos, a ruthless crime lord that has a history with Beckett, and he was a wasted talent with very little to do when he first shows up. And almost all of the Star Wars film usually have some heart thrown in there and Solo lacks an emotional weight in its entirety.

John Powell’s score was also quite good in certain parts.

Alden Ehrenreich and Joonas Suotamo in Solo: A Star Wars Story (2018)

I can kinda see that not a lot of fans will really enjoy this. For me, it’s just alright, though the chances of forgetting about this are pretty high. The group of people who won’t like this is the same group of douchebags complaining over The Last Jedi, and I’m honestly sick of them thinking it’s the worst thing ever. Am I getting tired of Star Wars? To be honest, not really, but we should need some space between now and Episode IX next December. Granted, the decision to release this month after the last movie seems too odd. But I also know that this will likely be the lowest-grossing Star Wars movie in terms of box office. It’s by far the weakest out of the new films. But even with mild expectations walking into this cause of the director switch, I personally wanted Solo to be a lot better.

Solo: A Star Wars Story does have its problems and doesn’t offer anything new to the saga, but this prequel is fun and action-filled enough to consider this an enjoyable take on the charismatic character.

Grade: B-

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