Solo: A Star Wars Story was the movie no one really wanted, but that we got anyway. The Ron Howard version, that is. With production on the film not going well, directors Phil Lord and Chris Miller were fired and an acting coach had to be hired for star Alden Ehrenreich. This left the film as a whole to be seen as a mess from the outside. And when the trailer was finally released, people were more excited about Donald Glover’s Lando than they were about Han Solo himself.
Well, a little less than a year later, the movie has finally been released. And as you could probably guess based on the chaos that it took to get this made, it’s not really that great.
It’s by no means a bad movie. Rather, it’s a flawed, but enjoyable summer blockbuster with no real emotional depth to it. Where Disney’s other Star Wars Story, Rogue One had some real stakes to drive it, the only thing that really drives Solo is its titular character, the pilot.
The acting coach hired for Ehrenreich really must have been good at their job because you can see shades of Harrison Ford in just about everything Han does – From his smirk, to his wink, to the way he holds his blaster. Ehrenreich is able to get most of the little intricacies of the character down. He’s the brightest spot in the film. If he had gotten Han totally wrong, the movie just wouldn’t have worked at all.
Donald Glover as Lando is the only other standout. Similar to what Ehrenreich was able to do, Glover is young Lando. His voice sounds like him, his mannerisms are the same, and most importantly, his character was written to give a completely satisfying beginning to the character.
Like I said, the acting is really what holds the movie up at all. Because the story is repetitive and not all that engaging. Like Rogue One, it tries to fit in too many Star Wars Easter eggs. Most notably, it prominently features a pair of dice that are important to Han. Other than in The Last Jedi, where their inclusion was just confusing, the dice have barely been seen in a Star Wars film. Because of this, it didn’t make much sense why we were shown them so much. Add in some other Easter eggs I won’t get into for the sake of spoilers, and we get a film that doesn’t really know what to do with itself when it really needs to tell an original and new story.
The movie is also about 20-30 minutes too long. It wastes a good chunk of time extending sequences that have no business being extended and throwing unfounded twists at you. It’s frustrating and it tends to drag, which is too bad, because I was immensely enjoying myself for the first act. The clichés and familiar blockbuster movie tropes throughout don’t help its case either.
But overall, Solo really is an enjoyable and entertaining film. Though, that’s about the highest praise it should get. Out of the entire canon of Star Wars films, it would probably wouldn’t earn the right to be in the top two thirds. One thing it would earn, though, is its classification as an overall crowd-pleasing summer blockbuster.