Solo: A Star Wars Story – Good, Bad & Ugly Review

During an adventure into the criminal underworld, Han Solo meets his future copilot Chewbacca and encounters Lando Calrissian years before joining the Rebellion. – (Source)

Rotten Tomatoes Rating: 71% (Critics) / 56% (Audience)
MetaScore: 63 – Generally favorable reviews
Directed By: Ron Howard
Written By: Jonathan Kasdan and Lawrence Kasdan
Starring: Alden Ehrenreich, Woody Harrelson, Emilia Clarke, Donald Glover, and Paul Bettany
Studio: Walt Disney Pictures

The Good:
I am a sucker for a heist movie and there is enough for a pretty darn snazzy heist film found in SOLO: A STAR WARS STORY if some characters and plots were removed and the focus was just on Woody Harrelson‘s shifty Beckett and his motley crew of malcontents doing a seemingly impossible job for Paul Bettany‘s chilling crime lord Dryden Vos.

Phoebe Waller Bridge and Jon Favreau were instantly likable as the freedom fighting droid L3-37 and the simian-like Rio Durant respectively.  And Emilia Clarke may have had less than zero romantic chemistry with Alden Ehrenreich‘s Han Solo but she was very believable as a femme-fatale whose motivations were questionable. Those characters were all very interesting and I would have been up for a ROGUE ONE style film of new characters in the familiar Star Wars universe. With Chewbacca tossed in because there is never a situation where a Wookie doesn’t make something better. Chewie is pure undiluted awesome sauce.

A nod to a popular character from the prequels was also cool just because it means that the amazing animated series, The Clone Wars and Rebels are part of this new Star Wars cinematic universe and what happened in those shows is now seemingly canon. If that is the case then there is some really good material that these new films can start mining.

Ron Howard‘s direction was workmanlike but generally unspectacular. Its like he was doing a paint by numbers of what a Star Wars movie should be like. It wasn’t bad, it was actually good in some spots but nothing he did was truly memorable.

The Bad:
It is too bad that all the other nods to pre-existing characters fell flat.
I was disappointed by Donald Glover‘s Lando Calrissian. I give him minor credit for trying to at least pull of a Billy Dee Williams impersonation in his performance but instead of doing Billy Dee Williams as Lando Calrissian, Glover was doing Keenen Ivory Wayans impression of Billy Dee Williams the Colt 45 spokesman. There are serious differences in the two.

Thandie Newton deserved much better. How do you cast Newton for what ended up being such a tiny role? There was so much more that her character could have done in this movie and she had very good chemistry with Woody Harrelson.

The Ugly:
The casting of Alden Ehrenreich as Han Solo may be one of the worst casting blunders I have ever seen a movie make. He was a void of infinite suckage that only was tolerable when in a scene with other characters who could balance just how bad he was. It also did the movie and the character very little good to make Han’s origin story just as bland and uninspiring as the guy playing the role.

Final Verdict: SOLO: A STAR WARS STORY is a middling film with specks of a more interesting and better film sprinkled throughout that relentlessly bashes the audience over the head with fan service and nostalgia to cover up just how bland a film it truly is.

Grade: C

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