After the divisive “Star Wars: The Last Jedi” was released, many fans have been reluctant to put their trust in another Star Wars movie out of fear that their long-admired characters are changed into something that they no longer recognize. “Solo: A Star Wars Story” comes in the wake of a fractured fan base, and it doesn’t seem like it’s doing anything for the Star Wars franchise anytime soon.
While Ron Howard succeeded in making a space western movie, complete with train heist, the movie itself does not progress the overarching Star Wars story. It simply seems like Disney and Lucasfilm have produced the film to capitalize on the popularity of Han Solo and make some money, rather than produce the film out of a desire to tell an excellent story about a beloved character.
“Solo: A Star Wars Story” is out, and not many people seem to care. The second of a so-called anthology series, the first being “Rogue One,” “Solo” follows the story of everyone’s favourite smuggler, Han Solo. However, “Solo” is struggling to perform in the box office, having already fallen behind “Rogue One” in its three-day debut, as well as a dismal international launch of only $11 million. Time will tell if “Solo” is able to get on its feet.
Alden Ehrenreich plays the titular character as he makes his first foray into the criminal underworld, meeting fan favourites like Lando Calrissian (Donald Glover), and Chewbacca, as well as new characters such as Qi’ra (Emilia Clarke), and Tobias Beckett (Woody Harrelson). Han and his band of rogues and misfits attempt to perform a large heist, one that will make them rich for the rest of their lives.
While the actors perform their roles admirably, it is the performance of both Ehrenreich and Glover that stand sout. Playing two characters that are immensely popular amongst movie audiences is a tough task, and the two actors shined in their roles as Han Solo and Lando Calrissian. Ehrenreich nailed the swagger and arrogance that everyone loved about Han, yet added his own comedic dimension to the character, one that absolutely seemed like a facet of the young Han Solo before he became world-wearier.
Glover exudes charisma in his role as Lando Calrissian, and at some points in the movie it is hard to distinguish his voice from Billy Dee Williams, the original actor. Glover plays a much younger Lando, but one with many more accomplishments than the young Han Solo. Their interactions make for the funniest scenes in the movie, mixing both the fantasy of space and aliens and the grounded characters of Han and Lando.
The visuals of “Solo” definitely do the Star Wars franchise justice. Several panning shots of the various locales were absolutely breathtaking, and the cinematography moving with the characters as they fight, and flee is unmatched within the Star Wars franchise. Director Ron Howard aimed to make the film a space western movie and he accomplished that. The fantastical elements of Star Wars intermingle beautifully with the gritty combat sequences, and it is something that must be applauded.
While the characters certainly performed well, both the pacing and stakes of the movie were lacklustre. The storyline never let any of the characters breathe, and many of them simply served as expeditionary characters, speaking only when it was needed to move the plot forward.
Characters like Qi’ra, and the villain Dryden Vos (Paul Bettany) were only there to serve as devices for Han to interact with, and they didn’t feel like characters of their own. We aren’t invested in their characters, and Dryden Vos seemed quite one-dimensional, as his motivations were unclear and it seemed like he was a villain just because he was evil.
The issue that many critics and audiences have with “Solo” lies in its inherent lack of creativity. The other Star Wars films always brought something new to the table, something exciting that would leave fans hungry for more. “Solo” did none of the sort. While the visuals were certainly beautiful, and the actors performed their roles well, none of that can save a dull plot.
Star Wars fans will watch “Solo,” and will be somewhat satisfied. Even with all of its flaws, it isn’t a bad movie by any means. The cinematography and action sequences redeem the flaws in its story and characters, making it a fun watch if one has time to burn at a cinema.
Casual audiences may not find much in the positives of this movie, but those that love the universe of “Star Wars” will certainly not say no to another addition, albeit quiet, to the Star Wars universe.
The editor may be reached at