Directed by Ron Howard
Starring: Alden Ehrenreich, Woody Harrelson, Emelia Clarke, Donald Glover and Paul Bettany
Are we all ok out there, Star Wars fans? Are your butts less hurt now? Ready to stop being children?
(When a Star Wars neckbeard see’s their friend purchase a ticket for Solo.)
Oh well, unlike the babies of this fan base I was able to move on from my less than impressed view of “The Last Jedi” and buckle myself in for the newest installment of the Star Wars franchise, not because I was particularly that enthused with seeing a needless cash grab of one of the series most iconic characters but because I felt like getting out of my house to watch some cheap escapism for a couple hours.
And for the most part “Solo” succeeds in this endeavor, even if it painfully plays it safe and tells us very little about how everyone’s favorite scoundrel came to be.
But, again, you don’t watch these types of movies cause you care about deep philosophical metaphors, there’s another space-faring franchise for that. You watch them because you want to see space battles, wisecracks and laser fights and “Solo” delivers in this regard.
(Seriously are you not entertained?)
“Solo” follows the story of a young Han who dreams of becoming an ace pilot someday and getting off his miserable little planet along with his girlfriend Qi’ra to go where they want to go and be who they want to be. When the two get separated Han vows to return and save her and when he runs into a band of thieves masquerading as Imperial soldiers he see’s his ticket out to save Qi’ra and into a life of adventure that he seeks.
“Solo” relies almost entirely on the witt and charisma of its cast and it’s pretty easy to see why.
Woody Harrelson is about as dry humored as he’s ever been as the smuggler Beckett, Donald Glover is pitch perfect to a T as Lando and even Emelia Clarke delivers some decent scenes here and there. While Alden Ehrenreich is probably not my first, second or even third choice to be Han Solo, he’s mostly not too bad as the title character and reflects some (not all) of Harrison Ford’s original charm.
(Seriously how do you look simultaneously 20 and 40 at the same time, Alden??)
The cast play well off each other, delivering good quips and action scenes and, even if the story is lacking, at least it’s pretty entertaining. Space flight and laser fight scenes are fun to watch and beautifully rendered on screen with often astonishing cinematography and if you’re inner child isn’t smiling you might be dead inside.
(Or a neckbeard.)
“Solo’s” weakness ultimately comes down to a script that doesn’t really add anything to the mythos of the character. Chalk it up to the directing changes, production hell and I guess the difficulties the studio had with its lead but Han goes through no major arcs in this film and we learn very little about how he came to be who he was in “A New Hope.”
Han is basically the same guy from start to finish; he’s a little too perfect. He’s an ace pilot the minute the movie puts him in the cockpit of a space ship, he already knows how to carry himself right away in the presence of crime bosses, all of his ideas and plans work perfectly on the first try and learns to shoot first before being shown why. Like Rey gets a lot of shit for being called a “Mary Sue” but I think Han can deservedly be called a “Gary Stu” in this film.
Here’s a couple small ways the script could’ve mitigated this (some spoilers ahead):
– Show Han struggle first flying or better yet show, instead of a ground battle with the Empire at the start of the film, a space battle instead where his antics get him into trouble and lead him to becoming a rogue pilot.
– Instead of having him be James Bond essentially when he steps into Dryden Voss’s ship have him kind of be an idiot in front of these high end syndicate leaders that lead him to doing something more suave (aka when he goes and does the card game later with Lando) when he is in the presence of those types again.
– Instead of having Han know to shoot Beckett right away at the standoff before he can finish monologue-ing show a scene where he spends too long quipping and gets shot (survives of course) and Beckett tells him something hammy like “Always shoot first, kid.”
These wouldn’t make the movie perfect of course but I would say it would make the movie sharper at least because ultimately in any good story the character needs to learn something and change from where he or she was at the start. It doesn’t need to be anything deep but it does have to be something at least, right?
With all this said though, there’s nothing majorly wrong with “Solo.” It’s dumb sci-fi, action-adventure escapism and for a summer movie that’s all you can really ask for. It’s worth a matinee at least and, not that I care what the crazier parts of this fandom think, is probably more in line with the type of movie those fans want to see and should probably give it a chance instead of organizing piss baby boycotts against the studio.
I think it’s totally fair to not like the last movie, I DON’T LIKE THE LAST MOVIE, (There are plenty of legitimate criticisms and not fake ones), hell choosing not to see anymore of these movies is entirely your choice too but to hate on it to the point that you are harassing fans who don’t feel the same about it, cast members and the studio with often racist and sexist insults you, well, start to lose any moral argument you may have had about the movie. (For fuck sake! It’s a movie about Space Wizards!!)
So if you have some free time in the week “Solo” is worth a shot and certainly not the worst thing in the theaters these days. And if you’re still crying about the last movie just remove that lightsaber from your ass and maybe you’ll be able to enjoy this one.
3 out of 5
Now about the next spin-off…