I will be honest with you, Bingers. Prior to watching Solo: A Star Wars Story, I am new to the Star Wars fandom. In fact, it has only been a few years since I immersed myself into the beauty of this intergalactic opera. Who wouldn’t recognize that infamous sound that Darth Vader makes or the fancy swooshing effect of lightsabers? Any pop culture geek has to at least be in the loop about this universe. And I am but barely. That was until I saw the first spin-off movie, Rogue One: A Star Wars Story.
The original six movies set the foundation. No matter where you stand on the quality of the prequels, they are still of great value. Then 30 years after Episode VI came out, comes a new trilogy spearheaded by The Force Awakens. Each movie tries to flesh out the plot and succeed in it, they did.
The Age of Spin-offs
Still, it was kind of bizarre to see external stories. Rogue One served as a prelude to A New Hope. I will take courage in saying this but that has to ironically be the best movie in the franchise! Meanwhile, I have been scratching my head about Solo: A Star Wars Story. Sure, Han Solo is a beloved character but I’ve always had this lingering thought at the back of my head: “is the character big enough to carry the weight of a whole film revolving around him?”
In a surprising turn of events, he is! Solo: A Star Wars Movie was more than just an origin story. While the film had the famous scoundrel at the forefront, the plot developed as it dived further into how the people suffer under the Imperial rule. The story started on the planet of Corellia where we see Solo (Alden Ehrenreich) years before he became the character that people loved. A total loner and a hustler- that’s what he is. If not for his ambitious partner Qi’Ra (Emilia Clarke), he would’ve lost himself to the street gang life. The main character was merely a device to paint the struggles that the residents of Corellia face every single day and along with it are their poor attempts to escape the said life.
At this point, the audiences may have started wondering how does this connect to a larger picture AKA the main story. To be fair, it barely did until the third act. Majority of the film explored the pre-Millennium Falcon and pre-Chewbacca Solo. It played around with his escape from Corellia and provided a little backstory into how he became a scoundrel.
Walking on a Thin Plot
Space adventure and smuggling- this phrase sounds exciting on paper but unfortunately, the film failed to make it seem so. In fact, it was as if they barely even tried. I spent most of the time watching the movie waiting for that high moment but it did not arrive. There really was not anything at stake in Solo. Sure, there were instances that put the characters in danger but given that it is a prequel, that easily cancels out the tension. Also, it had a hard time figuring out its tone: whether it will be comedic (as it should be!) or an enlightening piece on the struggles of the oppressed. Neither of which resonated in the film despite the vivid attempts to reflect both. In the end, it just ended up becoming a confusing narrative piece.
Solo: A Star Wars Movie can be put alongside the Star Wars Episodes I to III. They are forced and confused. At least the first three prequels were necessary and had enough material to work with, unlike Solo which walked on a thin plot. It did not have the merit nor value of a feature film. Perhaps, it could have worked as a mini-series or as a TV movie. If anything else, may this be a lesson to Lucasfilm that not because a character is famous, that does not mean that they should have their own movie. And oh, before I end this review, thank god for Lando Calrissian (Donald Glover) for saving the movie. So, yes, Solo: A Star Wars Movie takes off and drops quickly. Sadly.