When you are fan of a certain franchise, you can be very passionate about it. That can be both a blessing and a curse. Take the Star Wars universe for instance. The release of last year’s The Last Jedi has devided the fan community in a way that no film had ever done previously. For every fan that loved it, there was also someone who hated it. You only have to read my own review for it to see which camp I belonged to. Even though my review was the most controversial post that I have ever written, it also gathered an enormous amount of views and comments, more than any other post that ever appeared on this blog. Why? Because a lot of people love Star Wars and are very passionate about it. But when does passion turn into unfairness? One only has to look at the box office performance of the new Star Wars movie to see what is happening. Before it’s release there were certain fans that deliberately sabotaged the new film simply because of the awfulness of all that was Episode VIII. Admittedly I was very skeptical for the new movie as well. But I gave it a chance any way. And you know what? I am very glad that I did.
Solo a Star Wars movie takes place roughly 15 years before the events of Star Wars Episode IV. It kicks off on the planet Corellia where we get to meet everyone’s favorite scruffy looking nerfherder Han Solo, albeit his younger version. Han, together with his lover Qi’ra are desperately trying to escape from a local criminal gang. Just when it seems that the odds have turned in their favor and they are about to go off planet, Qi’ra gets caught. Han makes his escape but vows to return in order to save the woman he loves. Three years later Han has entered the service of the Imperial army, but it is a job he is not very happy with (or very good at). But then he meets up with the criminal gangleader Beckett and he sees an opportunity arising that may final give him the chance to become something more. However things aren’t always what they seem to be, and what at first seems like an easy job might soon turn into a nightmare. But help sometimes comes from the strangest sources, and in this case in the form of a young Wookie that goes by the name Chewbacca…..
When this movie was first announced a lot of people (myself included) asked the question: ” Do we really need this film?”. Han Solo is an iconic character, that is loved by a lot of fans and played brilliantly by actor Harisson Ford. When the news came out about a troubled production, a director leaving the film and other news like that, we all got a bad feeling about this. But it seems our fears were misplaced. Solo is a fun film, that I enjoyed very much. Alden Ehrenreich who plays the young scroundel, is pretty convincing as Solo. While he might not have the same charisma as Ford, he has enough charm to pull it off and at certain moments in the film it almost seems like you are really watching the young Harisson. And that of course is a big compliment. But, it has to be said, it is actor Donald Glover in the role of Lando Calrissian that really deserves the most credit. Even though his screen time is limited, all his scenes are a delight to watch. He really is Lando in every sense of the word.
From a storypoint of view we have a tale that was pretty predictable but still had a few surprises in it nonetheless. Especially a nice twist at the end that should come as a big, but very welcome surprise for fans. This basically is a heist movie in space. It doesn’t pretend to be anything else nor does it need to. This being a Star Wars movie we of course have plenty of action, though not on the scale that we are used to in any of the previous installments. Still the special effects and action scenes work where they need to, but the movie does seem a tad bit too long. One of the weaker points of the film is it’s main villain played by actor Paul Bettany. His character just lacks the depth to make him truly menacing and this is the films biggest flaw. We also have a new droid that acts as the comedic relief but most of those “funny” scenes fall flat and fail to really make you laugh.
Overall though we have a movie that at least for me has managed to wash away the bitter taste that was left after last year’s Episode VIII. Solo is a film that many Star Wars fans (and even non Star Wars fans) will quite enjoy. The fact that the movie unfortunately isn’t performing well at the box office is a real tragedy. And that brings me back to the opening paragraph of this post: fandom can have both it’s positive and negative effects. I think to let a single movie ruin the franchise for you is maybe going at it the wrong way. Yes, I was furious as well last year, but since then I also put things in perspective. Star Wars has been around for a long while, and will probably be here for many more decades to come. Every once in a while there will be a film that you might not like or even downright hate. But that’s something that happens to most franchises or television series. So in other words, give Solo a fair chance and watch it with an open mind. You will, in all likelyhood be very pleasantly surprised by it. I know I was…
I give Solo: A Star Wars story a 8 out of 10 score.