Movie Review: Solo: A Star Wars Story (2018)

Movie Review: Solo: A Star Wars Story (2018)

Does "Solo" overcome its troubled production to bring some summer fun?

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"Solo: A Star Wars Story" is part of Disney's plan to release a "Star Wars" film every year for the rest of eternity or until box office receipts dry up. This film is the second entry in Disney's "Star Wars" catalog to feature the moniker "A Star Wars Story", as if audiences would be unsure if "Solo" was actually about Han Solo if there was not a handy subtitle to remind them which Disney property they are viewing. The film caused a stir last year when it came out that the original directors Phil Lord and Christopher Miller ("The Lego Movie") had been fired from the project and replaced with Ron Howard ("Apollo 13"), who would subsequently reshoot 80% of the movie. Despite the troubled production, "Solo" manages to avoid being a disaster of "Justice League" proportion, but nonetheless falls short as a fun summer blockbuster.

The story is a prequel, taking place somewhere in the chronology of the "Star Wars Rebels" TV series, which is to say the film's events occur at some point before the original "Star Wars". Han (Alden Ehrenreich), who does not get a surname until a few minutes into the movie, lives a hard life on the industrial planet of Corellia. He and his girlfriend Qi'ra (Emilia Clarke) dream of one day making it off of their home planet and starting a new life together. However, in their attempt to escape, the couple is separated and only Han makes it off the planet by hastily enlisting in the imperial army. Three years later, now dubbed Han Solo by the imperials, Han finds himself wrapped up with a gang of thieves who are out scavenging the battlefields. Along the way, he also meets his iconic companion, Chewbacca. What adventures the wookie had in the interim between "Revenge of the Sith" and this film are not mentioned, presumably to save material for the inevitable "Chewbacca: A Star Wars Story".

After a botched train heist (farewell, CGI Jon Favreau, we barely knew ye), Solo and his new criminal comrade Tobias Beckett (Woody Harrelson) must find a way to appease their contractor, Dryden Vos (Paul Bettany). Conveniently for Han, Qi'ra works for Vos, and the two have a tenuously happy reunion. To make amends for their bungled mission, Solo and Beckett offer to steal more of hyperfuel (a glorified space MacGuffin) from the spice mines of planet Kessel. With the help of Qi'ra, Han recruits Lando Calrissian (Donald Glover) and his ship, the Millennium Falcon, to complete the mission and escape from Kessel through the treacherous Kessel Run. Any "Star Wars" fan worth their mettle knows where this is going. The heist is, of course, successful, and Solo makes the Kessel Run in 12 parsecs. This is not a spoiler, by the way. Han boasts of this feat in the original "Star Wars". This film decides to show us how that happened. The film continues on for what feels like another forty-five minutes past this climactic chase sequence, with all manner of double-crossings going on as Han and the crew try to give the hyperfuel to Vos. This being a Disney franchise film, the door is obviously left open for future sequels, or even worse, in-universe crossovers à la the Marvel Cinematic Universe.

Like the widely reviled prequels before it, "Solo: A Star Wars Story" falls prey to the constant desire to retroactively explain things about the original "Star Wars" trilogy. We as an audience do not really need to know how Han got his blaster, nor do we need to know how Chewbacca learned to play holographic chess, but "Solo" is going to tell us anyways. Constantly connecting things and events from the original trilogy only serves to make the universe feel smaller and more cramped.

The performances and characters of "Solo" do not fare any better. Alden Ehrenreich comes off like a second-rate Chris Pratt, but the script does him no favors. In the original trilogy, Han Solo was roguish and perhaps a bit brusque. "Solo" makes him too much a jackass to ever care about him as a character. Donald Glover's performance as Lando Calrissian is serviceable, but he is somehow outshined by his snarky robot copilot, L3-37 (Phoebe Waller-Bridge). Strangely, the two non-human members of the supporting cast, Chewbacca and L3-37, are the only two characters who breathe any spark of life (and fun) into the film.

"Solo" brings nothing new to the "Star Wars" universe, and it frequently feels like a placeholder film meant to tide over fans until "Star Wars Episode IX" comes out next year. I have no idea if Lord and Miller's take on Han Solo would have been any better than what Ron Howard delivered, but the final product is just not compelling. It drags for a majority of its runtime and is dead on arrival whenever an action sequence rolls around. Disney is well on its way to making yearly "Star Wars" films something to dread instead of something to anticipate.

Rating: 4/10

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75 Of The Most Iconic Vine Quotes

"I smell like beef"

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Vine may be dead but Vine references live on. I still watch Vine threads AT LEAST twice a day. Here are 75 of the most quotable vines:

1. "Ooooooo, he needs some milk."

2. "Hi, welcome to Chili's."

3. "It is Wednesday, my dudes."

4. "Country boy, I love you ahhhwweelhwh..."

5. "Escalera oooooooaaaa!"

6. "F**k ya chicken strips!"

7. "Barbecue sauce on my titties."

8. "Gimme your F**KING money!"

9. "That was legitness."

10. "Ms. Keisha, MS. KEISHA! Oh my f**king God, she f**king dead."

11. "Fre-sha-vocado."

12. "Staaaahp! I coulda dropped my croissant!"

13. "That's my OPINION."

14. "You're not my dad, ugly ass f**king noodle head."

15. "What the f**k, Richard."

16. "This bitch empty, YEET!"

17. "Road work ahead? Yeah, I sure hope it does."

18. "What up, I'm Jared I'm 19, and I never f**king learned how to read."

19. "Um, I'm never been to oovoo javer."

20. "My God, they were roommates."

21. "Why are you running, why are you running?"

22. "Whoever threw that paper, your mom's a hoe."

23. "I can't swim."

24. "Lebron James."

25. "It's an avocado, thanksssss..."

26. "Mother trucker dude, that hurt like a butt cheek on a stick."

27. "Watch your profanity."

28. "I love you bitch, I ain't never gonna stop loving you, biiiiiitch."

29. "What are thoooooose?"

30. "I smell like beef."

31. "You better stop."

32. "What the F**K IS UP KYLE?"

33. "Come get y'all juice."

34. "Two bros, chilling in a hot tub, 5 feet apart cause they're not gay."

35. "So you just gonna bring me a birthday gift on my birthday to my birthday party on my birthday with a birthday gift?"

36. "I wanna be a cowboy, baby."

37. "Why you always lying?"

38. "Nice Ron" "I sneezed, oh, what, am I not allowed to sneeze?"

39. "I'm washing me and my clothes."

40. "Honey, you've got a big storm coming."

41. "XOXO, gossip girl."

42. "Shoutout to all the pear."

43. "A potato flew around my room before you came."

44. "Chipotle is my life."

45. "Look at all those chickens!"

46. "YOU BETTER STOP."

47. "I like turtles."

48. "It's the most beautiful thing I've ever seen in my life, watermelon, INSIDE A WATERMELON."

49. "Deez nuts, HA GOT EM?"

50. "F**k you, I don't want no ravioli."

51. "21."

52. "I'm in my mum's car, broom broom."

53. "Iridocyclitis."

54. "You know what, I'm about to say it."

55. "That is NOT correct."

56. "Uh, I'm not finished" "Oh my God, can you let me do what I need to do?"

57. "I have osteoporosis."

58. "ADAM."

59. "Merry Chrysler."

60. "Wait a minute, who ARE you?"

61. "Try me, bitch."

62. "When will you learn, THAT YOUR ACTIONS HAVE CONSEQUENCES?"

63. "I didn't get no sleep cause of y'all, y'all not gone get no sleep cause of me!"

64. "Do you want to go see Uncle Cracker or no?"

65. "So no head?"

66. "You got eczema."

67. "I am shooketh."

68. "Hey my name is Trey, I have a basketball game tomorrow."

69. "Can I PLEASE get a waffle?"

70. "There is only one thing worse than a rapist." "A child."

71. "Ah f**k, I can't believe you've done this."

72. "Bitch, I hope the f**k you do."

73. "Two shots of vodka."

74. "F**k off Janet, I'm not going to your f**king baby shower."

75. "JEEEEEZ, Jesus Christ."

Cover Image Credit:

Vine/Katie Ryan

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8 Old Katelyn Tarver Songs You Probably Haven't Heard

None of her new songs will ever go as hard as "Chasing Echoes" and that's a fact.

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Years ago, I found (through iTunes recommendations) a pretty cool female artist. Later found out she was on "Big Time Rush", and then I found out she had some new songs out. I decided to give her new songs a listen, and they're good. However, I prefer some of her older stuff, which sadly isn't on Spotify. Fortunately, YouTube exists, and I'm here to share the best ones.


1. "Wonderful Crazy"

This is just a fun, upbeat song for when you're having a good day. Would recommend playing in your car with the windows rolled down.

2. "Rain"

I have a very specific memory of a time when this song blessed my life, but for all intents and purposes, it is a beautiful and happy song.

3. "I'll Make It Real"

This is a beautiful song with a wonderful message about staying true to yourself. I used to listen to it on the way to school every day my senior year of high school.

4. "Something In Me"

Featured in the greatest show of all time, "South of Nowhere" season 1 episode 6. A very relatable breakup mood.

5. "Love Alone"

This is definitely the second-hardest-hitting song she's ever released. The fact that this is not on Spotify or even iTunes anymore is just not fair.

6. "Favorite Girl"

This one's cute and upbeat, a definite crush mood. Not on the same level as "Love Alone", but it's still underrated.

7. "Closer to My Heart"

Another cute love song. I'll tie it with "Everything" for cutest love song on her first album. Highly recommend both.

8. "Chasing Echoes"

Facts are facts and the facts are that Katelyn Tarver's new stuff could never go as hard as "Chasing Echoes". I can't even begin to explain how deeply these lyrics cut through me when I was fifteen. Even now, this song can take me all the way back. She is robbing us by not making this available on streaming services (or even to purchase). Katelyn, bring this song back, I am begging you.

Anyway, I'm still enjoying the new stuff and am excited to see what's next.

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