“Solo: A Star Wars Story” was directed by Ron Howard and stars Alden Ehrenreich, Emilia Clarke, Donald Glover and Woody Harrelson. The film is an origin story around the character of Han Solo, and the adventure he goes on in order to become the character we know him for in the original trilogy.
I was only mildly excited to see this film, as Marvel seemed to suck all the hype out of this film by dropping both “Infinity War” and “Deadpool 2” within a month of this movie. Still, this is a Star Wars release, and Glover and Clarke get me excited for any project they’re involved in, so I came in hopeful, but with my expectations lower than with any Star Wars film before it.
Ehrenreich had the most to prove, he is the titular character and he is surrounded by a loaded cast, and I found him to be excellent as Han in the movie. Ehrenreich successfully portrays all the wittiness and charm that the character is known for, and I found him consistently entertaining to watch.
Equally great, though less surprising, was Glover in the role of Lando, as he had all the charisma in the world to make the character the star of every scene he was in. Clarke is great as Qi’ra, as is Harrelson as Beckett, but a surprise star came in the form of L3-37, voiced by Phoebe Waller-Bridge. L3 had the perfect amount of snarkin`ess to go with the comedy, and I founder her humor to work the most of anyone in the film.
This is yet another visual feast, as the effects are top-notch and the action sequences are excellently shot and well-crafted. I thoroughly enjoyed the major action moments in the first two acts of the film, as they felt unique and tense enough to capture my full attention.
“Solo” does a good job at making a fun action film from start to finish, which may sound like small expectations, but that is enough to make this a fun movie to watch. Above all else, “Solo” is often a fun ride with enjoyable characters and beautiful visuals, but it never really goes anywhere further than that.
At 135 minutes, “Solo” is absolutely too long, especially for something that never goes further than being a fun action flick. Sure, there are a lot of enjoyable moments to be had, but there is also a lot of filler that does not feel warranted or important enough to be in this final cut. Most of this filler is in the opening act, which gets the ball rolling at an incredibly sluggish pace. The film picks up, but still feels like it could easily be cut to well under two hours.
Howard attempts to build an interesting storyline through various plot twists, but these twists all happen within such a small amount of time that they fail to land with any impact or surprise. The film eventually felt like a twist solved by another twist which is an issue because of another twist, etc., and it just made the final act feel tiresome instead of satisfying.
There is a certain level of comedy that is similar to the previous “Star Wars” entries, and it sort of feels like something you’d see in an MCU movie, except it hits with much less regularity. The comedy is often forced or ineffective, and it left me awkwardly silent more than once.
More than anything, “Solo” fails to ever feel like it deserved to be made. There are some cool tie-ins to previous “Star Wars” movies, but more times than not they feel incredibly forced in. Do I need to know why Han Solo is his name or why Chewbacca is called Chewie? No, and it caused more eye rolls for me than it did moments of nostalgia that I wanted.
“Solo: A Star Wars Story” is a pretty fun ride with a strong cast, but never does it get much better than that. There are long lapses of time that dragged the pacing down, the comedy wasn’t as sharp, and the story was not as interesting as “Rogue One,” and not even close to the other two recent films in the franchise. Is it terrible? No. But is “Solo” underwhelming and easily the worst addition to “Star Wars” since the prequels? Absolutely.