By Brennan Dubé | @Brennan_Dube71R
‘Solo: A Star Wars Story’ is out this weekend and is the second ‘Star Wars Story’ we’ve had in the last two years (‘Rogue One’, 2016). It is also the fourth ‘Star Wars’ installment given to us in the last three years. One can wonder, when will the fatigue set in. Here is my review of ‘Solo: A Star Wars Story.’
Production of this film was deemed a mess by many: directors were fired, re-shoots were rampant and Alden Ehrenreich’s hiring of an acting coach led this film to be a big question mark and concern for many fans of the beloved franchise. Nonetheless, ‘Solo’ was brought to us in this busy box office summer and it was an enjoyable film.
Firstly, it took some time to get used to Ehrenreich as the ever so famous ‘Han Solo,’ but Ehrenreich for the most part did this job well. I can safely say he played the part justice and offered fans a safe and charming portrayal of ‘Han Solo.’ I say safe because this movie did not feel the need to take risks: it was quite a basic plot driven film that did not add much to the overall ‘Star Wars’ universe… we will get into that a bit later.
Alden Ehrenreich was not the only individual who took the leap and portrayed a famous character from the past, Donald Glover plays ‘Lando Calrissian’ and he also did an adequate job at playing this role. When Glover and Ehrenreich have scenes of interaction this movie is at its best. They have a few moments in this film that are simple yet special and quite entertaining to watch.
Woody Harrelson is also in this film and he plays a mentor-ish individual who is the leader of the group. Harrelson offers a good performance as always, quite the actor who never fails to impress. I quite enjoyed the story arc between Harrelson’s character and ‘Han’ as in the past we have never seen Mr. Solo have to be in a position where he is under someone’s wing.
Paul Bettany is in this film as well, he plays the role of our villain and his performance as ‘Dryden Vos’ is great. One gripe I have about his character though is I feel he is underused. His performance on screen was quite well done and he provided that feel of a menacing vibe whenever he was in the room. This is a feeling that overall I felt was missing from ‘Solo’ and would have enhanced the film quite a bit.
Special effects in this movie are stunning and it is quite clear that this franchise will not settle for second best when coming to visuals and CGI. Certain chase scenes early on in this film look very clean and crisp and offer good sequences of action. That train scene that is shown in every commercial is as awesome on screen as it is in the trailers. Other than that, ‘Solo’ fell flat. I can recount zero other action sequences that stood out to me.
The opening third of this movie holds its intrigue and stands strong, then we hit the middle third. The middle third of this movie was slow, choppy, silly and boring. It dragged on far too long and felt rather filler. I felt optimistic after what the first third of this film had to offer, just to be disappointed by a rather annoying middle chunk.
Deep into the second act of ‘Solo’ things happen that are just plain stupid. Without giving up too much I felt this movie would have been much more enjoyable without a certain droid…you’ll know. The final third of this movie got back on track for the most part. Also, expect references… a lot of references.
Personally, I am a fan of nostalgia, but in ‘Solo’ you feel like you are being force fed things just for fanfare. Sure, we get to learn how ‘Han’ becomes ‘Han Solo’, and sure we learn how him and ‘Chewbacca’ meet and yes, we also learn how the ‘Millennium Falcon’ becomes Han’s, but it was not interesting and those moments didn’t feel magical like they should have.
The Big Plus: ‘Solo’ is a fun time. Forgettable but fun. Expect some entertainment in the action sequences and good portrayals of old characters by Ehrenreich and Glover.
Where it lacks: This movie lacks a villain that makes the story compelling thus leaving us with a forgettable addition to the ‘Star Wars’ franchise.
In the end ‘Solo’ feels plain. It did not offer much to the ‘Star Wars’ universe and it stayed its course, not taking too many risks or jumps. Alden Ehrenreich and Donald Glover both do solid jobs portraying the famous ‘Han Solo’ and ‘Lando Calrissian’ and the rest of the cast give good performances as well. ‘Solo’ was driven by a tasteless plot that had predictable outcomes. If you are a casual movie goer you might find enjoyable fun in this space western. Big props to John Powell and John Williams for creating a great soundtrack. Williams is often taken for granted now due to being so damn good at what he does, but him and Powell did a great job at bringing this movie to life with the music.
Box Office Forecast:
‘Solo’ is expected to open up somewhere between $125-145 million dollars meaning it will be the lowest opening for a ‘Star Wars’ movie in the Disney era. The high-end estimate of $150 million would give ‘Solo’ the all-time best memorial day opening weekend at the box office.
June 1: Adrift
June 8: Ocean’s Eleven, Hereditary
June 15: The Incredibles 2, Tag, SuperFly