Now that there’s a slew of Star Wars-themed movies in the Disney pipeline, eventually a stinker is going to arrive.
(Well, some would say the second trilogy were all duds…)
While Solo: A Star Wars Story isn’t horrible, it pales in comparison to most in the series.
About the film
The Movie Man has seen and reviewed every movie in the Star Wars canon released theatrically – even when the original trilogy was re-released.
Here’s how the Movie Man ranked them (in order of release except for the first three which were seen again in the 1990s):
Episode IV: A New Hope – “1997” Movie Man No. 165, 9
Episode V: The Empire Strikes Back – “1997” MM #169, 9
Episode VI: Return of the Jedi – “1997” MM #171, 8
Episode I: The Phantom Menace – 1999, MM #288, 6
Episode II: Attack of the Clones – 2002, MM #457, 6
Episode III: Revenge of the Sith – 2005, MM #614. 7
Episode VII: The Force Awakens – 2015, MM #1181, 8
Episode VIII: The Last Jedi – 2017, 1285, 7)
One movie – Rogue One (2016, MM #1233, 7) – fits outside the official Star Wars time line even though it’s closely related.
The Movie Man excluded the animated TV series The Clone Wars.
The next official canon movie, Episode IX, is set to arrive Dec.. 20, 2019.
In the meantime, there’s this week’s Solo, another film that plugs into the story line but is not an official “Episode.”
It ain’t great.
Han Solo (Alden Ehrenreich) desires to be a pilot, but he’s from the wrong side of the tracks. With girlfriend Qi’ra (Emilia Clarke), things go bad when they get separated while fleeing.
Ehrenreich falls in with a criminal element led by Beckett (Woody Harrelson) while befriending the Wookie Chewbacca.
When a heist fails, the group must meet with kingpin Dryden (Paul Bettany) who gives them one more chance to avoid death.
The gang meets Lando Calrissian (Donald Glover) and all get involved in another daring, massive theft.
Double crosses galore begin and one ends up highlighting a Star Wars character believed dead.
Ehrenreich is fine as a young Solo. He’s appealing and has the basic Solo cockiness down.
The biggest fun of Solo is the budding friendship between a human and a Wookie.
Some Star Wars purists think having Ehrenreich literally speak Wookie is dumb, but it’s actually kind of cool.
Also solid is Harrelson – as he usually is – as Ehrenreich’s mentor.
The movie, directed by Ron Howard (after original directors Phil Lord and Joe Johnston were fired due to the dreaded “creative differences”), chugs along.
The opening sequence was boffo, giving the Movie Man hope that steadily ebbed away.
Ehrenreich plots to steal a vehicle with Clarke; it’s wham-bam as they try to get away.
What doesn’t work
More than once, Solo emits a significant whiff of The Phantom Menace which fanboys/girls hate for its long talky, political scenes and lack of action.
Solo is flat-out dull at times.
All the hullabaloo about Glover’s Lando role is too much; he’s just okay.
Clarke and Bettany seem wasted, especially the latter; it’s hard to care about him, especially since he’s supposed to be so powerful.
The dialogue is sometimes painful as one-liners mostly fall flat.
Also, the movie was curiously dark, literally.
This is a generic, sci-fi PG-13.
The Movie Man was surprised; Solo is the worst movie in the Star Wars canon.
Either Action Point or Adrift.