SPOILER ALERT. Avert your eyes if you don’t want to be spoiled for Solo: A Star Wars Story.
My family and I just saw Solo today, the day after opening day and I walked out of the theater pretty disappointed. To be fair, the film exceeded my low expectations, but overall for the Star Wars franchise I was pretty let down.
I suppose I should start with a quick plot summary:
- Han starts life as a thief in servitude to this worm-thing that hates light. He and his girlfriend, Q’ira, nearly escape, but she is just barely captured while Han makes it away. Desperate to find a way off the planet without being caught, he signs up for the Imperial military and swears he’ll be back for her.
- Three years later he’s in the imperial infantry doing some kind of battle thing when he accidentally runs into Woody Harrelson and a couple others trying to steal a ship in the middle of the battle. He convinces them to take him. By the way, he runs into Chewbacca and rescues him from slavery.
- This new crew of 5 attempt to steal a bunch of hyperdrive fuel from a train. Two people from Han’s new group die trying. This group of masked dudes called Infant Squad or something try to steal the stolen goods, but instead everyone leaves with nothing.
- The bad guys who hired Woody to steal the stuff, called Crimson Tide or something, get mad and the boss, Vision, threatens to kill them if they don’t finish the job. Vision’s girlfriend is actually Han’s girlfriend who magically shows up and goes on their adventure to help.
- To start the job, they have to get Lando to lend them his ship, the Millenium Falcon. Then they take Lando and his social justice warrior, quasi-lover droid to this slave place that makes the hyperdrive fuel. They manage to swing it; meanwhile Chewie rescues some other Wookies. They escape into a super dangerous asteroid field thingy in space where they run into a space whale. The Falcon gets really banged up in the process.
- Woody and Han meet Vision on this desert-y planet. Woody and Han seem to have a plan to double cross Vision, after finding out that the Infant Squad are actually good guys. Lando runs away with the ship. Woody double crosses Han. Han’s girlfriend double crosses Vision. Then Han’s girlfriend double crosses Han and steals Vision’s ship to go meet with Darth Maul (!?).
- Han seeks out Lando and wins the ship from him in a game of cards. They fly to Tatooine to do a job for Jabba the Hutt. The End.
Ok, I’ll start with the good:
- Alden Erhenrich ended up being more likable than I thought. He was not Han Solo, but he at least was kind of endearing.
- The start of the relationship between Han and Chewbacca was pretty cool, though way too accelerated to be totally relatable.
- Chewbacca got to do way more in this movie than in any other, and that’s a good thing.
- The action scenes were fun, not too cheesy.
Now, a sampling of the bad (because I don’t have the patience to write down everything):
- It seemed like the scriptwriters watches Episodes IV, V, and VI to find every offhand reference to Han’s past, and tried to figure out a way to cram it into this movie. Did Han shoot first? Check. Got hold of the Millenium Falcon? Check. Got his blaster? Check. Got sent on his way to meet Jabba? Check-a-roo. It all seemed so contrived–we don’t need to squeeze everything we know about Han’s past into a few days of story time.
- Deux ex machina alert: How in the world did Han’s girlfriend show up just at the right time and place? They were both nobodies.
- Lando and L3-37 (get it?) were just kind of comical, but without actually being funny.
- Han’s behavior didn’t really set up how he behaved in A New Hope. In the end, he played the good guy, but by the time we meet him in Episode IV, he’s back to being the self-centered rogue.
Overall, thumbs down. That’s two in a row that Lucasfilm has blown. Please, please give more work to guys like JJ Abrams, Jon Favreau, or Ryan Coogler and kick Ron Howard and Rian Johnson to the curb.