It is hard to think about Solo: A Star Wars Story without thinking about the chaotic behind-the-scenes turmoil that plagued the production. However, with everything that was reported about the production, does it impact the final product? Possibly, but we will never know what the project would have been like with the original directors. If you were to boil down the review of Solo: A Star Wars Story, it would be concluded as being a fun, popcorn ride, but will not go down as the most memorable of the series.
Like many fans of the Star Trek franchise know, they all can’t be winners. However, while social media depicts Star Wars: The Last Jedi as a failure, it will be the butt of many jokes. Yet, as a dissenter, I enjoyed this movie as much as I enjoyed The Last Jedi. Keep in mind, I did enjoy many of the DC movies, which included Man of Steel, Justice League and Suicide Squad. Ron Howard managed to remind us how he does bring entertainment to the masses and he was a good choice to bring it home.
The story itself is a tried and true concept. You take someone that is really a two-dimensional character from the original trilogy and try to make him more complete. When reviewing the comments Harrison Ford made about the character, you understand why Ford was always reluctant to return to the franchise, except when he needed the box office and clout. The film manages to put Solo on the right track but doesn’t do a lot to make him a complete character. However, he did start off as an idealist but through personal experience, he has become a cynic.
Alden Ehrenreich’s turn as Solo was comforting. He managed to give us a positive turn of the character, while playing a bit more of the comedy that we saw in the original trilogy. If you don’t believe me, then you need to rewatch them. His optimistic beginnings begin to wash away after many of the people he trusts double-cross him. A simple and traditional concept for a rogue-turned-hero story.
Donald Glover’s turn as Lando was a true highlight of the movie. He managed to capture an extra dimension of the Billy Dee Williams’ character, almost mimicking his cadence in certain aspects. However, he managed to make his own mark on the character and turn in a very strong and memorable performance. Emilia Clarke plays the dubious love interest, which holds her own, but you know how it will end. Not in the instance of already knowing that she doesn’t make it to the trilogy but how it will end in the movie.
Woody Harrelson’s Beckett was a strong character, almost a mentor to Han, but gives us the character we knew was going to happen. Harrelson’s performance is strong and works well among the cast, and he gives Han his balls back after Lucas removed it from “A New Hope”. Thandie Newton and Paul Bettany had strong presence on screen but was wasted on the miniscule roles they had to work with.
Ron Howard managed to take all my fears away with his solid and entertaining direction. However, there was more expectation from a script written by Jonathan and Lawrence Kasdan. After all, Lawrence did pen The Empire Strikes Back. Unfortunately, the script gave us some good moments, and lots of fan service, but didn’t do much in giving us some deep character driven moments like we had in Empire.
Solo: A Star Wars Story is an enjoyable film for major fans of the series, including Rebels. In the pantheon of the franchise, it is sort of a forgettable film. For a moment of commentary, this is the sort of thing that is feared by the standalone features. We don’t need backstories for many of these characters. Maybe an Obi-Wan standalone, simply because I want Ewan back in the robes. The expanded universe is huge and there could be more stories to share instead of backstories.