Since Lucasfilm moved into the House of Mouse I haven’t been too enamored with the smattering of Star Wars films they have released. The Force Awakens was repetitive ( I know they rhyme like poetry but Abrams needs to stop with his patented brand of mystery box nonsense), Rogue One was largely impressive, especially considering the rumours of reshoots and The Last Jedi was…..well…divisive to say the least.
With all that in mind, and the fact that this film had more production issues than a Space Worm has Mynocks I was naturally apprehensive when the lackluster trailer was released. After reports of lead actor Alden Ehrenreich needing an acting coach for multiple scenes I was just about done with this movie. It surely would be a dumpster fire of a movie and we should just strike it from the records like the Holiday Special.
After all of this my expectations were in the toilet.
I had zero excitement for this film.
But then I watched it and I must say it is the second best prequel behind Rogue One.
This film is certainly not a seat filler, with my viewing being fairly empty especially for a Star Wars flick.
The film is definitely a mess, with the dialogue being clunky at times and tone discrepancies between scenes running rampant. The performances were a highlight of this film for me, with Donald Glover’s Lando Calrissian proving once again that he has 360 degrees of talent, while Ehrenreich’s Han Solo was actually fairly impressive. Paul Bettany’s villain was nothing to write home about, but served his purpose well enough. Emilia Clarke’s Qi’ra was also above average, but that being due mainly to the patchwork script that incorporates multiple drafts. Chewbacca was excellent, with the interplay between he and Han being a highlight of this film.
The film does get bogged down with unnecessary callbacks to the Original Trilogy. The fact that Han Solo gets most of the attributes that make Han Han just literally thrown to him is, to put it bluntly, ridiculous. Ron Howard said we would learn how Han Solo got his name in this film, but I didn’t expect it to be somebody literally giving him the name Solo!
The entire film is largely non-stop, with the brisk pace barely letting up. There was one moment which legitimately gave me heart palpitations, a moment which I will not spoil. Lets just say that fans of The Phantom Menace (all two of you) will be pleasantly surprised. I was saddened at the lack of Boba Fett, but I understand that putting him in it could end up being even more fan-servicey than the film already was.
The scant social commentary that the film tries to add is as ham fisted as the racial stereotypes in the prequels. Looking at you Watto.
A moment I immensely enjoyed was the name drop of Clone Wars era Bounty hunter Aurra Sing, which shows that Disney does not completely loathe the EU. That, along with the mention of the combat style Terras Kasi showed me that Ron Howard put more attention into this than I initially gave him credit for.
I ultimately enjoyed the film far more than I was expecting to, and while there were some moments that left me groaning with the sheer laziness of the writing I did find that it was actually a fairly serviceable film and one of the better post Disney acquisition Star Wars film.
Verdict: Overall, I would give Solo a 6.5 out of 10 for being an unwanted, unnecessary but still unexpectedly good film.