When Solo was first announced, many fans were less than excited, many deciding to boycott it, considering it to be an unnecessary addition to the growing list of Star Wars films Lucasfilm has been rapidly churning out ever since the acquisition of the franchise by Disney. Solo: A Star Wars Story hit theaters today.
Solo has a rating of 71% on IMDB and Rotten Tomatoes and 63% on Metacritic, and while the reception was warm, it’s still the lowest-rated Star Wars movie since the prequels. Chances are that people who didn’t like The Last Jedi will complain that Solo is another Star Wars movie that isn’t quite Star Wars and that Disney is just milking their beloved saga.
In a way, that’s not entirely wrong. Solo is quite different from the other Star Wars films. It’s the first Star Wars to not feature a Death-Star, Vader/Anakin Skywalker or any sort of conflict between the Empire and the Resistance. Chronologically, it lies between Revenge of the Sith and Rogue One, and while the absence of the war between the two sides of the force is thoroughly felt, it sheds a considerable deal of light on the non-force using characters of the Star Wars universe, whose origins were shrouded in mystery till now.
Alden Ehrenreich’s Han Solo may be the highlight of the movie, but stellar performances by Emilia Clarke (Kira), Donald Glover (Lando) and Woody Harrelson (Beckett) don’t go unnoticed. Emilia Clarke does an admirable job and given that her role here is quite different from the GoT one that made her popular is another indicator of her skill as an actress. Ehrenreich also emulates Harrison Ford in a rather spectacular way, despite the fact that they sound and look quite different.
Perhaps the only less than impressive character in this otherwise talented cast is the antagonist, Paul Bettany’s Dryden Vos. His performance wasn’t bad per se, but the character itself is a bit of a lousy villain, and this becomes even more glaring if you consider his counterparts in the other Star Wars films. It’s especially lackluster when you compare it to his performance in Avengers: Infinity War earlier in the summer.
Out of all the aspects, the plot feels the most out of place in Solo. All Star Wars movies to date focused on the conflict between the rebels and the Empire, with flashy battles between the Sith and the Jedi. Solo instead steers the movie in a completely fresh direction. Han joins a gang of smugglers to help them escape their past, and clear their debts with Dryden Vos, a bigwig in a powerful conglomerate.
The movie starts off on a low note, with scant action, but just like a fine wine, it gets better as it progresses. It consists of a couple of well-planned heists that go just as well as one could have expected, and the ending packs the juiciest sequences of the movie.
Thanks to an able cast, intelligent writing and a bunch of references to the original movies, Solo actually proves to a decent watch. Solo paints the scene of Han and Lando’s first meeting, explaining their “cordial” relationship, along with how the Millennium Falcon passed from the latter to the former. The start of another fruitful friendship is also depicted in the movie, namely the one between Han and Chewbacca.
The animation and the score are just as good as expected from a modern Star Wars movie. In contrast to the signature Star Wars soundtrack, Solo features Han Solo’s theme during the defining parts, and this is another aspect that sets Solo apart from the other films in the saga.
At the end of the day, when it comes to a movie there will always be people who like it and people who don’t. There will also be those who’ll hate it for no apparent reason, without even watching it. These are the kind of people who need to grow up and stop putting their baseless arguments all over the internet. While Solo may not be the best movie the Star Wars saga has to offer, but it’s still quite entertaining and worth watching especially if you’re interested in the characters and their origins. That or you’re just bored and need to kill some time with a fun action movie.