a SOLO: A STAR WARS STORY musing
I was lucky to go to the press conference for SOLO the day after I saw the movie. Check out my coverage here at socalthrills.com.
It’s hard for a movie to really climb its way out a hole it dug for itself. The first act is excruciating exposition followed by scenes that flew by so quickly, it made the movie less interesting. I’m all about letting moments breathe, letting characters figuratively flex their muscles, and the stink of the first half hour or so followed throughout the rest of the film. But in comes a cool breeze aka the third act rolls around to at least make me momentarily forget what I disliked. Hole and breeze metaphors be damned, SOLO is still a fun adventure that doesn’t reinvent any wheels, but keeps the Star Wars brand rolling in the most entertaining way.
Taking place, I’d say, about 8 years or so after the events of REVENGE OF THE SITH, this story covers how the people whom Solo met when he was a much more naive young man changed him into the person we’d meet in the original trilogy. Thankfully it’s not extremely on the nose with references to future events, but still honors the larger Star Wars universe canon and builds upon it. Alden Ehrenreich inherits the role of Han Solo from Harrison Ford, who appeared for the last time as the character in STAR WARS: THE FORCE AWAKENS. (Sorry, spoilers…) He’s fine in the role, not really adding much to Han, but in the end what can you do differently without upsetting the way he turns out?
That averageness spills over into the rest of the actors’ performances, with no one particularly standing out; they're all pretty solid, but unmemorable. It pains me to say that Donald Glover is just fine as Lando, as he tries to imitate Billy Dee Williams’ voice and pronunciations. Glover is one of my favorite actors/rappers/creators, but I can see him doing even better in future Star Wars movies if given the chance. Harrelson is serviceable; Emilia Clarke does the acting thing here; Paul Bettany at least seems like he’s having fun with playing a bad guy; Phoebe Waller-Bridge gets a few fun moments as a type of Social Justice Warrior-Droid; Thandie Newton is there; but the standout has to be Joonas Suotamo, playing everyone’s favorite lovable Wookie, Chewbacca.
After the departure of original directors Phil Lord and Chris Miller less than a year from the release of the movie, it’s a minor miracle that SOLO turned out the way it did. It still didn’t prove that it was a necessary film or story in the Star Wars universe, but at least I had a good time watching it. There are a lot of smaller moments that do make me excited for what’s to come in the future, if they are to do more of these SOLO solo films.
RATING: DIDN’T WASTE MY TIME
(Refer to my rating system HERE!)