‘Solo:’ A fun, if unsure tale about the most daring rogue in the galaxy

‘Solo:’ A fun, if unsure tale about the most daring rogue in the galaxy

‘Solo:’ A fun, if unsure tale about the most daring rogue in the galaxy
May 27
22:54 2018

“Star Wars” is not impervious to franchise fatigue.

When it was announced that six “Star Wars” films were to be gifted to us over the next few years, I was pretty excited at first. But things started to go south after 2015’s “Force Awakens.” It was a middling offering that told an inexplicably boring story and flooded markets, inevitably eating up everyone’s money.

Only a year after, we saw the release of “Rogue One,” which was received poorly at first but has since found its footing with a die-hard fanbase (and is my favorite “Star Wars” movie to date). A little more than a year later we were cursed with the abomination that is “The Last Jedi,” which broke canon and the logic of the established universe so much, I should write an article on how offensively bad it is.

Since then, it’s been confirmed that in addition to the films promised, we have at least seven more on the way.

You’re treading some dangerous ground, Disney. But until then, we’ve received “Solo: A Star Wars Story.” While we can now say we’ve been graced with a movie dedicated to the most daring rogue in the galaxy, the road to release has been bumpy. A switch in directors in the 11th hour and a lot of drama on set plagued the internet leading up to its worldwide debut. But here we are. So how is it?

“Solo” is a decidedly good offering. While it lacks true justification to exist, it still explores a lot of fantastic places in the “Star Wars” universe that we’ve only heard about in throwaway lines in previous movies. It’s a solid action movie, and it’s interesting watching Solo back to his young self after his heartbreaking fate in “The Force Awakens.” (It’s been three years. Yes, he dies.)

Alden Ehrenreich’s Han Solo and “Game of Thrones” actress Emilia Clarke’s Qi’ra star in this galaxy-wide heist movie. The film opens with Solo and Qi’ra trying to get off their home world to start a life together. They get separated, and Solo sets out to make it back to her.

Woody Harrelson, Donald Glover, Jon Favreau, Thandy Newton and Paul Bettany also play middling to strong supporting roles.

Although the movie’s main issue is with its pacing, I still enjoyed myself as I waited in anticipation for more of Ehrenreich’s fun take on the character. While I feel as though this story is quite inessential to the overall plot of “Star Wars,” it also gives me a reason to explore another part of the world and I can’t complain about that.

Action is one of the things we want with a “Star Wars” movie, and while it’s not the conventional lightsaber duel or a battle between stormtroopers and rebels, it’s arguably more enjoyable. Any duels that occur, as woefully infrequent as they are, are staged in more interesting ways: atop a moving freight while they are trying to steal a precious resource, during a prison riot on an enslaved planet, Solo in close quarters with a mad man wielding curved blades, etc. My only complaint is that you don’t see Solo in combat all that often.

The tone of the movie is inconsistent to say the least. Any time Lando Calrissian (Glover) is on screen, for example, the movie has a suave nature to it, which is complimented by some fantastic light-hearted banter. It’s exactly what a Solo movie should be about.

But there are plenty of dark moments that feel a little too at-odds with the light-hearted nature of the rest of the movie. It’s a ham-fisted way of trying to balance a character as upbeat as Han Solo with the dark nature of “Star Wars” villains. Why do you think we only ever saw Han Solo in one scene with Darth Vader in the original trilogy? The characters and their respective light and dark demeanors don’t blend well on screen. This is the case here, as trying to create a “fun” movie is laden with the obligatory dark presence that looms over its protagonists.

While the performances are all satisfactory, the roles played are borderline throwaway. There is a large supporting cast that isn’t important, and we’re not given a reason or time to care about any of them. The biggest offender is Bettany’s crime boss, Dryden Vos: a great performance for a boring character. This is made worse with a plot twist at the end of the movie, which even further marginalizes the character’s importance with what has to be one of the cheapest fan service cameos I’ve ever seen.

The score here is interesting, if unfocused. It blends a lot of known classics from the “Star Wars” discography in with some unique sounds not found in any other “Star Wars” movie to date. There’s a lot of unsettling music during the action sequences I wish had been present more as they were an extremely exciting and a welcome change to the formula. Alas, they come and go and never return, making each scene simultaneously unique yet also lacking in recognizability to the rest of the movie.

The switch in directors is painfully obvious, as this movie really is all over the place. It’s still a fun time, and I have a feeling it will grow on me over time just as “Rogue One” did. Ehrenreich has been signed on for a “Solo” trilogy. However, there are no solid plans for a sequel as it stands. The fact that this movie is supposedly going to have the lowest box office opening of any “Star Wars” movie does not bode well for any hopes of a sequel, but it will still make millions, so I guess we’ll have to wait and see if that sequel pans out.

My Rating: 3.75/5

Featured Image: Courtesy The Walt Disney Company

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Zach Helms

Zach Helms

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