I love Star Wars as much as the next guy, maybe more. They are quite possibly the most immersive and captivating spectacles in the cinema sphere. With decades of fanfare and a legion of followers worldwide, it comes as no surprise under the Disney umbrella that a certain ‘ramping up’ of content would be imminent. But, like its sibling Marvel, do we really need another ‘galaxy far, far away’ story not even 6 months after the last film?
Short answer: No. Long answer: Maybe. Here’s why;
Solo is a guaranteed eyebrow raiser, I get it. And who wouldn’t want to see the back-story of the most loved maverick in film history? Han Solo is an enigma, and a legend, so it’s only natural people would want to find out how he got to where we meet him in A New Hope.
Solo whimpered out initially, having fired its original directors and replaced them with veteran Ron Howard. Then, after this – nothing fills an audience with dread or fear more than a lackluster trailer, and when people saw Alden Ehrenreich as the leading man they cried ‘FAIL’ before even seeing the movie. I admit I was on that train, I felt this was an unnecessary cash grab spin-off.
What we get however is a Star Wars movie that feels unique and can speak with its own voice. The script and story are different enough tonally that it feels more like an extension of the universe rather than pandering to the existing one. Plenty of cool heist vibes and moments for what becomes an overall very entertaining and exciting movie, with an energy that once it starts does not slow.
Each character, whether it be Lando (Donald Glover) or Woody Harrelson as Beckett, adds a certain dynamism and flow that means we don’t rely on Solo carrying the whole plot – in fact he (and we the audience) are merely passengers on a wild ride that shows us probably more ‘how’ Han became who he is rather than ‘why’, with a more reserved story told that doesn’t need planets being destroyed or a full-scale war scene for you to get your heart rate up.
And we revel as each fan service moment is plopped in front of us; how did he meet Chewie? When will we see the Millennium Falcon? OMG he’s going to do the Kessel Run! It’s all handled pretty well actually.
Yet Solo is doing poorly in sales, and I think it can only really be attributed to one thing – audience fatigue. If they’d held off on this until December it would be getting all the praise it deserves, and could’ve held it’s own like Rogue One as a tight little standalone piece, rather than what feels like a Downloadable Content movie to keep the bank account at Disney propped up in the interim to Episode 9.
Dendy – the home of quality cinema