23 May 2018 | SpoodermanDerp
Solo: A "Skip This" Story
Gone is the time when an aloof and mysterious character like Han Solo can stand on his own. When the pure imagination of fans opened up countless debates on how the Kessel run really went down, or how Hans eventually won the Millennium Falcon and eventually became a staple of his character. The hard truth is, fans and casual viewers already knew these milestones in Han's story happened and will happen, so the only thing that mattered about this movie was, how was it going to happen?
For awhile, the magic of Star Wars was that of not knowing what to expect and getting to analyze an entire lived-in universe by yourself or with your friends throughout the years. With Solo, that magic is lost. You know you will be dealing with limited stakes since Solo and Chewie are pretty much okay and surely alive after this movie. You know that it will hit the basic story beats of how he becomes an outlaw, a rebel and eventually the iconic smuggler with a secret heart of gold we all know and love. You know he'll get the Falcon, you know he'll end up with Leia anyway. There's no mystery here, everyone knows the answer and we're all left with awkward suspicions about how things will play out.
Alden Ehrenreich does a, for the most part, fantastic job as Han Solo and he makes the role his own, probably one of the better parts of this movie. Lando (Donald Glover) and Chewie both get their moments, and also stand out in their roles. Beckett (Woody Harrelson) and Qi'ra (Emilia Clarke) weirdly fall flat as the new additions for Solo, aside from an obvious wisecracking droid to entertain us and give us some emotional moments, the two side characters that are meant to be the people that influence the title character are bland and uninteresting. Beckett seems to be just a ticket for Han to go follow him wherever he goes only to just ride backseat in the mission in the end. While Qi'ra plays the love interest of Han who we never get to know much about aside from pointless and explicit exposition. She also has a vague and messy arc that makes not just Han, but the audience confused as well. At one point, you're not sure where her allegiance lies, what her motivations are and what drives her to stick or stay away from Han.
Moreover, the story really doesn't aim to tell a properly structured narrative, instead it felt like a "Han's Biggest Hits Montage" all through out. Now this is not to say that it's hard and impossible to tell a proper movie about iconic persons/events we probably know about and/or have learned about and theorized ourselves. Rogue One (2016) was able to do it to an admittedly better extent, and quite masterfully in the James Bond reboot with Casino Royale back in 2006. To use Casino Royale as an example, it's a perfect story that shows how James Bond became THE James Bond we know and love, the commanding, suave and rough 007 agent. When the movie starts, he's not yet quite the Bond we're used to know yet, but what happens in that film contributes to why he changes. Then in the end, that's the only time we get the iconic line of James Bond introducing himself because that character has earned it through the context of the film.
While Solo tried to achieve this same level of success, it falls hard on its knees really hard in the process. The definition of "context" the filmmakers had in mind with Solo was just throwing in fan service after fan service of what made Han Solo iconic, but we never really see why THIS character in THIS film in particular earned that iconic status. Han is basically the same person from the beginning till the end, compare this to James Bond in Casino Royale wherein his relationship with Vesper and how it ended changed his character forever, inevitably giving strong emotional and narrative context as to why he became how he is. This is never explored in the film and it instead becomes a by-the-numbers, monotone, and dull looking film.