I went to see Solo this past weekend with my husband and in-laws, and it was…fine.
This isn’t the emotion you expect a Star Wars film to inspire. Most Star Wars geeks are either love-it-or-hate-it on every single Star Wars film ever. (For the record, I loved The Force Awakens. I found The Last Jedi harder to digest, but I think it was the better movie overall. I was extremely disappointed in Rogue One, mostly because it could have been great if it had focused more on character development. The aught-era prequels don’t count in my universe, and frankly, I think Return of the Jedi is underrated.)
So Solo was…fine. Again. I’m not sure there are any other words to describe it. Amazing how the most beloved character in the franchise could be the star of a film so unmemorable that I literally had trouble describing what it was about 10 minutes after we left the theater.
My husband–who is both a Star Wars fan and a cinephile–fell asleep in the theater.
So what was the problem? Honestly, I think there were a few things. Alden Ehrenreich, who plays Han, is all right, but he can’t even come close to matching the raw charisma of Harrison Ford. Ford is so associated with this role that it’s hard to watch the movie without comparing the two. There’s too damn much going on in this movie, and it’s too long. The way it’s structured, it could have easily been divided into two films (although maybe I shouldn’t give Disney ideas).
Also, quite frankly, the film has a Prequel Problem (TM). Why should we care about the relationship between Han and Qi’Ra (Emilia Clarke)–the central catalyst for the whole film–when we already know she doesn’t show up in any other movie in the series? We already know that the younger, more idealistic Han is going to turn into older, jaded Han. We already know he’s going to meet Luke Skywalker and Obi-Wan Kenobi on Tantooine and fall in love with Leia. And frankly (SPOILER ALERT FOR THE FORCE AWAKENS, just in case you’re really that far behind) we already know that Han’s going to die at the hands of his own son. Why should we care about Han’s past with characters who don’t matter? Qi’Ra doesn’t set Han on his collision course with destiny; Luke and Leia do.
But I would be remiss if I didn’t mention the shining star of this movie: Donald Glover as Lando Calrissian. He manages to both honor Billy Dee Williams’ performance and add something totally new to the character. He pivots seamlessly from the cocky Lando we know and love to a more emotional character than we’ve ever seen before. Forget Solo…if The Powers That Be don’t use their Star Wars saturation to produce a Lando Calrissian movie starring Donald Glover, that would be a crime against a galaxy far, far away.