As the release of Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker nears, so does the end of the third trilogy in the Star Wars series. Thus, it is an ideal time to look back at each film that came before it, in chronological order, starting with the prequels. This is Solo: A Star Wars Story, the prequel spin-off about the legendary smuggler.
Solo tells the story of young Han Solo (Alden Ehrenreich), a fan-favourite character from the original trilogy. The film takes place between Revenge of the Jedi and A New Hope, tracking Han’s rise to prominence, from doing small crime jobs on the planet of Corellia to pulling off a highly dangerous heist for a crime syndicate. Solo is a heist film with 40 minutes tacked on before and after the job, that frankly didn’t even need to be there.
Along on his journey he meets various characters, though you’ll be hard pressed to remember any of their names after the end, despite some serious acting talent portraying them. The exception being Lando Calrissian (Donald Glover), who also appeared in the original trilogy. Unsurprisingly to his fans, Glover is the shining star of the film and the only character that feels truly alive. Thanks to his charm he steals every scene he’s in. Solo knows what a talented actor it has and the film utilizes him accordingly, as he gets more than enough screen time to make his mark on the film.
The villain is a generic gangster, who hires Han to steal hyperfuel from the planet Kessel for him. Once on Kessel, the film kicks into gear, delivers its best action and is genuinely fun for about 40 minutes, before we leave the planet and are forced to sit through the third act of this predictable story. In the last leg of the film, we are presented with multiple twists and characters double-crossing each other in an attempt to surprise the viewers, who most likely stopped caring a while ago.
No matter how many characters are in the frame at once or how many twists the film introduces, it’s hard to shake the sense of how dead and robotic the entire film feels. As if the sole purpose is to tick off a series of events from a bucket list, so that Han can brag about them later. How did Han get his name? How did he get his ship? What’s his relationship with Lando? How did he meet Chewbacca? We get all these questions answered, but none of the answers feel natural, rather the characters are thrown in random dialogues and situations just so we can get answers. And to be honest, these are not questions worth $275 million and a two hour movie answering.
Even when looking at it outside of the context of the Star Wars franchise, there’s very little about Solo that makes it worth talking about, yet alone watching. Inside this film, there is an entertaining action-packed heist starring Glover’s insanely watchable Lando Calrissian, but the lifeless rest is flying on autopilot.