Toy sales are down. The Last Jedi made $700 million less than The Force Awakens. Is Solo: A Star Wars Story enough to make a difference?
NO. That’s the short answer. Besides, we all expect this to happen. However, it’s not an utter trash like what most fans have imagined. It’s an average Star Wars film with likable characters, interesting subplots, and the right amount of fan service to possibly create nostalgia.
Solo: A Star Wars Story follows a young "scrumrat" and an aspiring pilot as he becomes the Han Solo we all came to love. It involves a heist storyline together with some story arcs about how Han met Chewie, how his friendship with Lando started, and how he ended up being the captain of the Millenium Falcon.
As usual for a Star Wars film, Solo has a good score and cinematography. The action sequences are slightly above average. Some scenes stood out than the others including a train with a twist (literally) and seeing the Millenium Falcon in space scenes. The wide shots of some places look amazing. The plot is easy-to-follow. Yes, it can definitely stand up on its own. BUT... It doesn’t add anything new or important to the Star Wars lore. It is just an origin story of the things connected to Han Solo.
Some of the actors stood out like Donald Glover as Lando Calrissian and Phoebe Waller-Bridge as L3. The female droid can be overbearing at times with her rebellious advocacies. Her spunk and awesome abilities made up for that. I think Emilia Clarke (Qi’Ra) and Woody Harrelson (Tobias Beckett) played similar roles in the past with Daenerys (Game of Thrones) and Haymitch (The Hunger Games). Their performance is often amusing but nothing mind-blowing.
As for Alden Ehrenreich, he gave his best in portraying Han Solo, just like a young Harrison Ford would. The similarities are there, especially in his voice and gestures. He’s just not Harrison Ford and I found him lacking in charisma. He even gets overshadowed by Lando or Qi’Ra when they were in the same scenes.
Of course, expect the political subtext. There is a little rebellion thrown in there as well as fighting the “evil” association ideology. The story itself is good enough without that. However, it is needed to set up more movies that are connected to that. Maybe, it will continue to develop in the newly confirmed Boba Fett film. Who knows.
Most of the film is predictable. Good thing the ending isn’t. It kinda saves the whole movie. In case you didn’t know, this movie includes a lot of references to the original trilogy. Some of it works but others just felt unnecessary. All these newer movies that are part of canon felt like they are just shadows of the franchise’s glory days in the past. Nostalgia is good, but don’t just bring up the old stuff and recycle it. The fans want new stories without losing the spirit of Star Wars.
The biggest flaw of Solo for me is that it took itself seriously. I am not talking about the humor. (I applaud the creators for not putting too many jokes in it, actually) I am talking about the lack of a good outer space adventure just like in all Star Wars film.
The final act is definitely the best part of the whole movie. There's a surprise appearance of a character from the prequel trilogy. We were introduced to a new villain that is complex and has Vader-like motivation. It really smells like the ending is a setup for other films.
Overall, Solo: A Star Wars Story is a good film, but just average compared to the other films from the franchise. Thank goodness that the expression of political and equality agendas are toned down this time! Just watch out for more Alden Ehrenreich as Solo. He reportedly signed up for two more films.