Review of Solo: A Star Wars Story

solostarwars

Lucasfilm’s output has increased dramatically ever since the Disney acquisition. There was a time when you would have to wait years for a new Lucasfilm release. Nowadays the studio churns out Star Wars flicks with the frequency that EA brings out a FIFA game. For the foreseeable future cinemagoers can expect to see a mainline Star Wars movie or a prequel spin-off on an annual basis. Rogue One was the first Star Wars prequel, under the Disney banner, to come out and following on its heels is Solo: A Star Wars Story. Over the course of 135 minutes this feature film chronicles how the titular smuggler met Chewbacca and how he got his mitts on the iconic Millennium Falcon.

OVERVIEW

Solo is an intergalactic heist adventure directed by Lord and Miller. Um, I mean directed by Ron Howard. The duo responsible for the hilarious Lego movies were axed from the project, as they allegedly didn’t stick to Jonathan Kasdan’s script. Shame, because the pair’s comedic flair could have bolstered several lines of cringey dialogue. Anyways, moving back on topic. Solo sees Han and Chewie team up with a veteran criminal named Tobias Beckett (played by Woody Harrelson.) The trio have been hired by the Crimson Dawn syndicate to steal some precious coaxium fuel. If the group can successfully pull off the robbery they shall be rich beyond their wildest dreams. Should they fail however, they shall be killed quicker than Captain Phasma in an action scene.

Joining the abovementioned rogues are Han’s childhood sweetheart Qi’ra, along with L3-37 and Lando Calrissian. L3-37 surprised me by being the film’s funniest character. She is a parody of modern day social justice warriors (so much so that feminist money grubber Anita Sarkeesian recently bashed the bot on Twitter.) Just like a rabid SJW, this mechanical lady trumpets the cause of racial equality – in this case rights for androids. Donald Glover meanwhile takes the award for best performance with his portrayal of Lando. Glover has more charisma than Lando has capes and that is saying a lot. In one scene viewers see that the future head of Cloud City needs an entire wardrobe just to store his collection of dashing capes.

VERDICT

My rating for Solo: A Star Wars Story is a three out of five. It’s better than the underwhelming trailer suggests, but lacks the magic and grandeur one expects from this franchise. The movie feels more like Firefly than Star Wars. All that said Solo was more fun to watch than the disappointing Last Jedi. I dug the action sequences, even if the drama is somewhat hamstrung by the story being a prequel. No matter how precarious things get, given the tale’s place in the Star Wars timeline, you know that at the very least Han, Chewie and Lando will escape unscathed. Alden Ehrenreich’s acting was a mixed bag. I never bought that he is Han Solo. He was however a likable enough protagonist and had good onscreen chemistry with his hairy sidekick Chewbacca.

I reckon that the movie would have benefitted from a trim on the cutting room floor. The straightforward plot didn’t need to exceed two hours in my opinion. For the most part the story is predictable, although there are a few neat twists in the final act. I was especially surprised by the identity of Crimson Dawn’s true mastermind. Fingers crossed that said villain will appear more prominently in a future prequel spin-off. Given its well-publicised production troubles Solo turned out more entertaining than it deserved to be. I wonder how this version of the film compares to the vision Lord and Miller had in mind. Sadly we shall never know as the directors were Lego… um let go.

35 thoughts on “Review of Solo: A Star Wars Story

  1. Being hard-of-hearing I couldn’t understand what L3-37 was saying most of the time as her voice was heavily processed to sound robotic, but overall I found her to be surplus to requirement, since Lando seemed to much of a cool guy to need a co-pilot. If he did need one, it should have the six-armed guy from Beckett’s team – now HE was lot of fun! 😛

    • The alien voiced by Jon Favreau was a cool character. I would have been okay with him being Lando’s partner and L3-37 being moved to Beckett’s gang, as it would have given him more screen time.

    • Haha, most of the people I know say that they went into the movie with low expectations. Perhaps that explains the low box office? The movie is worth a rental. It’s not something that most people need to watch at the cinema, although it is nice seeing the space battles on a big screen.

  2. I’m burned out on Star Wars. I haven’t seen this one, but it does look decent, like it might be worth seeing. Does Emilia Clarke act above the level of a block of wood in this movie?

    • A lot of people are suffering from Star Wars fatigue at the moment. One movie every year is a bit much, especially when the last two releases have been mediocre. Emilia Clarke won’t win any acting awards for this showing, but I’ll forgive her as she is easy on the eyes.

  3. I was wondering if Star Wars spin-off movies were any good 🙂 This one doesn’t sound half bad. An android rights bot sounds interesting.
    Great Review. Star Wars does seem to be pumping out movies, as frequently as EA pumps out a new FIFA game hehe 🙂

    • The other Disney made spin-off is Rogue One, which I thought was decent. I’m not kidding about Star Wars mimicking EA. Since 2015 we have gotten a new movie every year. Next up is Episode IX (2019) followed by Bobba Fett (2020).

      • Hehe, they actually are mimicking EA. It’s rather funny when you think about it. 🙂
        Say that must be awesome for Star Wars fans 🙂 Well, as long as the quality is still there, of course 😀 .

  4. I’ve given up on the modern Star Wars films, so I don’t really have a dog in this fight, but the release schedule seems to inject a very notable change into the feel of the films. Used to be they were drip fed out in agonizingly long times, so you didn’t get much content unless you went for the expanded universe, but when a new film came out, it felt super special. Now, not so much.

    • Star Wars does feel less special now that it comes out on annual basis. Then again, no one would mind if the last couple of movies would have been better. Marvel releases two movies per year and I still look forward to those. It’s amazing how two studios that belong to Disney can have such contrasting fortunes.

  5. I almost went to see this, but I decided to wait for Incredibles II. But I’m glad Solo is better than what a lot of people (including myself) thought it would be.

    • Hope you enjoy Incredibles II. I wonder if Solo’s lower than expected box office is due to it’s release date. You have opted to watch Incredibles instead and other people chose to see Infinity War/Deadpool over this one.

  6. I’m glad you mentioned first directors Lord & Miller. I had to wonder how much of the movie was their vision vs how much it might have been altered when Howard took over.

    • Reports suggest that Howard re-shot a substantial amount of the movie. The impression I get is that the original directors were making a flat out comedy, with a lot of improv, but Disney wanted an action movie with the occasional joke.

  7. It has been a long time since I went to go see a movie in a theater and I live so close to one. Lately, I want to go see a movie for the experience but the only movie that is showing is this Star Wars movie you reviewed. I’m very picky. I will pass on this one.

    • Don’t blame you for being picky. Going to the cinema can be expensive, when you factor in the tickets and any snacks you may purchase. No wonder most people wait a few months for the DVD, so they can watch the film in the comfort of their own home.

      • For this particular movie, yes. Generally, I don’t mind spending a bit to see a movie at the theater for the experience. Back in the days, I saw a lot of movies with my brother that’s because I have no friends in my teenage years. Tickets were at least affordable and I can always sneak food in my purse. Hey I’m not going to spend 2 dollars on a candy bar! Watching a movie at a theater can be exciting, especially watching horror/action/sci-fi movies. Anything slow paced is better to watch at home because you might fall asleep in the theater.

  8. I felt like this is the first Star Wars movie from the Disney era that really felt like fan fiction. “Let’s see how he meets Chewie, and Lando, and how he gets the Falcon, and how he gets his name!” It’s an entertaining popcorn flick, but if this is the way SW movies are going, it’d be better to slow down the pace to get better quality than to try to match the MCU rate of output.

    That said, I’d see another movie centered around Donald Glover as Lando. Beyond that, I’m cool with them trying to tell stories in the universe outside of characters we already know.

    Also, this and Terminator have cemented my opinion that Emilia Clarke is a terrible actress.

    • That’s the problem with prequels. You can bet your bottom dollar that they will be origin tales packed with references. Given the choice I would prefer stories set in the future or featuring new characters. That avoids potentially upsetting diehards with new canon on established characters.

    • The reviews have been mixed. Some people think that Solo is alright and others hate it. The movie is a but like Ghost in the Shell. Even before it came out certain fans had decided they would despise it.

      • I think some fans are like too many Star Wars movies are coming out. I feel the shows kind of don’t have substance. It’s just another way to make money off fans now. It’s becoming watered down.

  9. Some people told me that it was great, others said that it was terrible. 3 out of 5 seems appropriated. Personally, I never liked Han Solo but he presence is needed because the Jedi and Sith are have no sense of humor and Solo provided that at least.

    • The reviews for this movie have certainly been mixed. If you are not a fan of Han Solo I think you can skip this film. It’s pretty much a standard action movie that happens to be set in the Star Wars universe.

    • Last Jedi was more epic, but I had more fun watching Solo. At the very least Solo made me chuckle a few times. Episode 8 disappointed me with how it handled Luke and some of the ideas set up in Force Awakens.

  10. I didn’t know there was backlash on L3-37 haha, I guess just the name itself should indicate she’s a parody. The train job and the general vibe of the film definitely reminded me of Firefly too.

    • I wouldn’t be surprised if the previous directors came up with the Leet name. Right now there is push back on SJWs in movies, which is why some people disliked the droid.

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