May 28, 2018
Welcome back to Matinee Mondays. Some weeks you just know which film you want to see at the theaters, like last week’s Episode #141 (“Deadpool 2”), and today’s jaunt back into the Star Wars Universe. Thank you to everyone who took the silly Twitter poll and expect one every week. I will definitely need your help next week. Keep a lookout in the next couple of days, and let me know.
Today’s movie is “Solo: A Star Wars Story” (2018), the origin story of Han Solo (Alden Ehrenreich), beloved rogue of the Star Wars Universe, written for the screen by Lawrence Kasdan and his son, Jonathan Kasdan, and directed by Ron Howard. The film follows the adventure that initially brought Han together with Chewbacca (Joonas Suotamo) and Lando Calrissian (Donald Glover), along with the rest of the criminal underworld.
I hate walking out of a theater feeling dissatisfied. I’ve been hella spoiled lately with “A Quiet Place” (Episode #127), “Avengers: Infinity War” (Episode #120), and “Deadpool 2” (Episode #141). But I had high hopes for this film after being quite impressed with “Rogue One: A Star Wars Story” (2016). And I think it’s important to make some comparisons between the films, because they offer two potential paths for these anthology films. One path is telling new stories within the framework of the old canon. The other path is to tell old stories within the framework of the new canon.
“Solo: A Star Wars Story” (2018) is taking the latter path, trying to shoehorn every random line of dialogue from the original trilogy with every unanswered question about Han Solo, including the ultimate retcon of making sense of the famous Kessel Run quote. I certainly agree the film had to integrate with the rest of the canon, but I don’t like that nearly everything happened on this one adventure, and the rest of it is conveniently foreshadowed as a sequel. A sequel that will have direct ties to “Rebels” if the stinger reveal is any indication.
I thought the cast was all right, with big nods to Donald Glover as Lando, Joonas Suotamo as Chewbacca, and another great droid role for Phoebe Waller-Bridge as L3-37. I thought Alden Ehrenreich was all right as Han Solo, but there is still some room to grow. Overall, I liked the direction, although some of the filters and lighting were too dark and too gritty. And sadly, while both the practical and special effects were above average, I actually thought all three Marvel films this year had better effects by far.
“Solo: A Star Wars Story” (2018) is a perfectly adequate Star Wars film, with a slightly contrived script that will either hit or miss with the audience. It struggles with canon integration at times, but it delivers a decent adventure within an amazing universe, and leaves room for sequels, depending on how well this one lands. Fans of the Star Wars franchise should definitely see this film, but temper your expectations to maximize your enjoyment.
Rotten Tomatoes: 70%
One Movie Punch: 6.6/10
“Solo: A Star Wars Story” (2018) is rated PG-13 and is currently playing in theatres.