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'Solo: A Star Wars Story' – Movie Review

A Solid Landing for Such a Messy Production

Promotional Artwork for Solo: A Star Wars Story [Credit: Lucasfilm]

The Star Wars franchise isn’t exactly in the best shape in terms of how fans have been reacting to the recent installment in Star Wars: The Last Jedi. Personally, I loved every chance that it took and it may be one of my favorites in the saga. So, if you’re someone who just couldn’t connect with that film on any level, then I feel your thoughts about this addition to the universe will be vastly off. That being said, I was still very hesitant on seeing Solo: A Star Wars Story, due to the fact that the production hit such a huge snag and it had the potential of being a giant, rushed mess. After seeing a few trailers this movie started to win me over and now that it’s finally in theatres, my thoughts somewhat fall in the middle of every point I just hit. While Solo: A Star Wars Story doesn’t do a lot to expand or give itself a purpose for existing, it’s still an exciting time at the movies that I would recommend to fans, and here’s why.

The core plot of the first two acts is sort of a spoiler, so I will keep this brief. Solo: A Star Wars Story follows Han (Alden Ehrenreich) as he plans on returning to his home on Corellia, which is where many surprises lie for the movie. Getting caught up in the criminal underworld, joining a crew, meeting who will become a lifelong friend in Chewbacca, and encountering Lando for the first time, this film goes by in a flash. If there’s one thing this film isn’t, it’s slow. For myself, I found it to have too much on its agenda to stop for anything. Sadly, that’s only due to the fact that it was very streamlined and predictable throughout most of its duration.

Yes, seeing all these characters on-screen together was amazing, but if you’re a fan of this franchise, you’ll find yourself coming up with predictions as the film progresses and most of them will probably come to fruition. The third act of the movie is about as predictable as it gets, but I will admit they at least found a way to make it an exciting ride. From betrayals to giant CGI action sequences, this movie definitely doesn’t fall short in keeping the audience engaged. I personally just feel as though they didn’t do enough to justify this film’s existence. In order to win me over, it needed some great surprises and terrific performances that would make me believe I was watching these classic characters on-screen once again.

The big question everyone has been asking is how Ehrenreich portrays the character of Han Solo and while I can’t say he’s a better fit than Harrison Ford was for this role, I can admit that I had a blast watching him from start to finish. He makes this character his own and that was enough for me. His charisma, along with the terrific supporting cast in Donald Glover, Emilia Clarke, and Woody Harrelson just brought it to another level for me. I truly felt like I was watching young Han interacting with young Lando and that was enough to put a permanent smile on my face.

In terms of surprises, I can’t really get into that here, but I’ll say there are moments of genuine shock that filled my face. There are revelations that make their way onto the screen throughout the third act that had my jaw dropping, but then I was also thinking to myself that this is just a spin-off movie and they can’t really do much from here unless they make a direct sequel. There are many issues I have with the ending of this film and when looking back, the conclusion just becomes more and more frustrating.

In the end, Solo: A Star Wars Story presents a few surprises but really doesn’t do anything new for the franchise. Aside from a terrific score that actually stood out as one of the better Star Wars scores over the last few years, and performances that truly made me smile, thinking I was watching these classic characters on-screen again, I simply don’t know the reason this movie was made. Yes, it’s a fine sci-fi adventure that everyone will likely be entertained with like I was, but that’s about it. I don’t have too many complaints, because it just decided to play it far too safe. I have to admit that I have a good time at the movies, but I never found myself impressed. Recommended for fans because it’s absolutely not worth the hate and fan outcries it’s receiving.

Rating: 3.5/5

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