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Synopsis:

Board the Millennium Falcon and journey to a galaxy far, far away in “Solo: A Star Wars Story,” an all-new adventure with the most beloved scoundrel in the galaxy. Through a series of daring escapades deep within a dark and dangerous criminal underworld, Han Solo befriends his mighty future copilot Chewbacca and meets the notorious gambler Lando Calrissian, in a journey that will set the course of one of the Star Wars saga’s most unlikely heroes.

What We Thought:

Going into Solo: A Star Wars Story I was very hesitant. Han Solo is one of my favorite movie characters of all time. I grew up on the (holy) Original Trilogy and got emotional when Han died in The Force Awakens. I didn’t think Alden Ehrenreich really had the “it” factor when they announced he was cast as Han in this prequel film. Then I got nervous when original filmmakers Lord & Miller got tossed and replaced by Ron Howard. I like Ron Howard, but a studio coming in during production and relieving the writers/directors is a pretty bad sign. Then I saw The Last Jedi and was so disgusted at that movie I pretty much wrote this off as a dumpster fire.

So after seeing the film what do I think? It’s not the hot mess The Last Jedi is, but it’s certainly not the film it should be. If forced to give it a grade it would get a 5.5, maybe a 6 out of 10. It has a ton of issues which I’m going to get into.

Alden Ehrenreich isn’t Han Solo to me. I understand this is a prequel and the Han character isn’t what he is in the Original Trilogy, but this kid just didn’t do it for me. He’s not as tall as Harrison Ford. He’s not as charismatic as him either. I understand he’s stepping into some difficult shoes and the writing isn’t all that great either, but he seems to be doing Harrison Ford doing Han Solo, not him directly doing Han. Han is the definition of anti-hero. He helped Luke in Star Wars for the money. Then he does it for the money and the girl. He’s not a hero. He’s a hero for hire. Anyone acting heroic for selfish reasons is The Han Solo Complex. They make Han out to be too much of a hero here. I didn’t like that.

Just like The Last Jedi there are unnecessary scenes in Solo. You could cut multiple scenes/side stories from this and still get the end result. Lando’s droid character is completely worthless. It feels like it’s there just to be a message. I don’t know if the unnecessary scenes are because the film had multiple filmmakers and the studio just cut it up on top of it or if the writing is just that bad. It feels jumbled at times and has multiple tonal shifts that aren’t smooth.

Early buzz talked about how great Donald Glover is as Lando Calrissian, but I didn’t see it. He’s good and I’m a big fan of Glover’s, but there seemed to be no real chemistry between Glover and Ehrenreich. Maybe Ehrenreich isn’t that good of an actor, maybe the multiple directors caused issues, maybe it’s Disney screwing up Star Wars again, who knows? Ford and original Lando, Billy Dee Williams, had great on-screen chemistry. That’s missing here.

What was also missing was crowd reaction. I saw it in a theater filled with Star Wars fans and non-fans and there wasn’t much response. When Han and Chewie first meet should be an emotional act. I sat there feeling meh. When Han first sits down in the Millennium Falcon and later on when Chewie sits down next to him should be another crowd pleasing scene. No reaction. When Han gets his first blaster. When Han first meets Lando. All nothing, no heart string pulling. There’s even a line in the film that should have gotten a huge response and didn’t. Either some people didn’t get the “I know” reference from The Empire Strikes Back or nobody cared at that point.

I did like Woody Harrelson in the film, but then again he’s always good. His character is more Han Solo than Han Solo. Joonas Suotamo is a pretty solid Chewbacca. The costuming and set design are what we expect from Star Wars as is the musical score. I guess those are all positive.

Solo: A Star Wars Story isn’t as bad as The Last Jedi, but it’s not the film I wanted. There’s enough Han Solo canon back story in books to tell a better story than this. There isn’t much of an ending and a trilogy is expected. I hope there’s a complete overhaul for future movies, but this will make just enough money for Disney to not care about making great movies. Oh well.

Cast:

  • Alden Ehrenreich
  • Woody Harrelson
  • Emilia Clarke
  • Donald Glover
  • Thandie Newton
  • Paul Bettany
  • Joonas Suotamo

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