Lucasfilm has begun the process of breaking all of their main characters off into their own origin stories. Or as I would describe it, shaking the piggy bank that is the original trilogy for every last cent. My main question going into this film was whether or not it could justify its existence other than being something that was all about the money for Disney. While all most blockbusters are obviously made to make money, Solo feels like a film that exists for that purpose alone. Does that make it a bad movie? Not exactly, but I wouldn’t call it a great movie either. It falls somewhere in the solid popcorn flick category.
Whoever started that rumor about Alden Ehrenreich not being able to act either made it up or was just way off base. I personally thought he played a great Han Solo, and actually added some depth, and innocence to the storied character. This is a tough thing to do considering the entire concept of the film sort of puts him into a box in regards to what he can, and can’t do as an actor. It is extremely hard to add to a character that has already been established, and that you are merely supposed to be imitating. Donald Glover is put in the same box with Lando, but he also adds more to the character, and was incredibly slick with his portrayal. He was definitely having the most fun with his performance and it shows, as he steals every scene he’s in. The acting is fine, but the character development for everyone else in the movie besides Han, Chewy, and Lando leaves a lot to be desired. Towards the end everyone starts changing sides from good to bad, and it is easy to get confused. There is also no background for why these characters choose to make some extremely rash decisions in the last act. I didn’t find anyone that truly likable in the movie besides the three that I mentioned above. I especially hated the new droid in this movie, which was incredibly annoying, and added nothing to the movie although she was clearly intended to.
In terms of crowd pleasing humor, in blockbuster movies it seemed like Disney had it all figured out. However, in Solo the humor is incredibly flat, and forced. This was kind of surprising, as I expected this to be one of the positives for this film going in. For everything that the film lacks, it has the three main redeeming qualities. The portrayal of Han Solo by Ehrenreich is great. Some of the action set pieces are pretty good, but a little bit jarring as they were shot mostly handheld. And third, the fan service. Not all of it was great, as some things seemed like they were being pointed out way too assertively. There are a few very subtle nods for fans though that I wholeheartedly appreciated. The one major fan service moment takes place towards the end of the film, and my guess is that it was thrown in last minute to give people something to buzz about when leaving, and also to take the attention away from the rest of the movie. I realized when I left that there weren’t any real “stand out” moments that make me want to watch the movie again anytime soon. Say what you want about The Last Jedi, but at least it had a few of those.
If anything Solo plays it safe. The studio knows what sells, and that is what we got. There was not really any significant opportunities to take leaps with this material anyway as we already how Han’s life plays out. The creative team had the middle, and the end of the story and and were tasked with writing a beginning to match it, which I imagine isn’t an easy thing to do. The problems with Solo almost all stem from it being a movie that you just can’t do much with. It is entertaining for its two hour runtime, and it will please Star Wars fans enough, but something just feels very commercial and generic about it.