Before sharing my thoughts about the film itself, I have something that I need to talk out first..
A question I keep on reading articles asking if we have reached Star Wars saturation with the films being too close together. Let’s compare Star Wars with the other big property owned by Disney, Marvel. In the last twelve months we’ve had four MCU films (Spiderman: Homecoming, Thor Ragnarok, Black Panther & Avengers: Infinity War), and that’s not even counting Deadpool 2. When did anyone ask if there were too many Marvel movies?
Star Wars films have always been seen as events, and they won’t feel as special if we end up having new films yearly. It even felt weird having two years between Episodes in the latest trilogy (as opposed to three). Not that I am complaining. I think there should also be a differentiation in expectation between these Star Wars Stories, and the main trilogy of trilogies. The main sequence, moves the franchise forward, but these stand alone films flesh things out a bit more.
I ended up watching Solo twice in twenty four hours. Not from any love of the film, but with different groups of friends wanting to go at different times. I just don’t like saying “no”.
The first question that needs answering is about Alden Ehrenreich. Let’s get one thing straight, he isn’t Harrison Ford, and he doesn’t have the charisma of the original Han Solo. That’s good, as this is the Han Solo origin story and all you need are flashes. Ehrenreich’s Solo isn’t the finished article, but there are a couple of times in the film where I thought to myself that this was Han.
Donald Glover as Londo was a joy to behold. If the future Londo film was nothing more than him spending a couple of hours monologing into a holo recorder; I’m watching it. We’ve seen this shtick before, but L3 was the droid that I was looking for. As a whole, I liked almost all of the characters. Qi’ra seemed a bit off, but other than that, I thought that the acting was quite good.
I do have one question though, we got a big reveal when Enfys Nest took off her mask. My first thought was, is meant to be someone that I should recognise? Then I found out that she was a new character. So, that would be a no then. The scene was just too heavily played for the pay off.
There are moments that are pure fan service. The Kessel Run really being a measure of distance probably being the prime example. While there are other moments which count as trolling. Han shooting first, because he always did. They were fun, and the film was as a whole was a big ball of enjoyment. Oh, Han winning the Falcon should have been a bigger deal. It was a great twist, him losing first time but, this is Han becoming owner of the Flacon!!!!! Should have been bigger.
When I was leaving the cinema I overheard someone ask if that was really Darth Maul. If you’ve only ever watched the films then it makes no sense as last time you watched Maul he was literally half the man he once was. If you’ve watched The Clone Wars and\or Rebels then you know what happened, but for the casual viewer it seemed confusing rather than a wow moment.
Even with this cameo I think that this is the first truly standalone Star Wars film. Rogue One was really Episode 3.9, with it’s Death Star plans and all, but this the first time that we aren’t dealing with rebellions, empires, resistances or orders. It’s an opportunity for us to see more of the sandbox that is the galaxy far, far, away.
I don’t think that we are going to get a direct sequel, which should of course be called Duo. However, I like the idea that some of the future Star Wars Stories, I’m look at you Londo and Boba Fett, are related to the ending of this film. It shouldn’t be a trilogy, but films that are connected. A bit like the Marvel films.
It would be easy to blame this films struggles with the production issues. However, Rogue One had it’s problems and still worked out quite well. I think the problem was that it was aimed too much at the fan boys.
There wasn’t really an outcry to make a film about the origins of Han Solo. For the casual fan, there was neither a story with a hook (getting the Death Star plans) or anything that took the Star Wars universe forward. Geeks like me are going to see it, but there was nothing there to grab those who have only ever watched the other movies. Even, the big twist at the end was confusing to those fans.
That is my main concern going forward with “A Star Wars Story”. I’m always on the lookout for more Star Wars stuff, but this may not be viable in the long term. I think that the Star Wars Universe should be moving forward. It’ll be interesting to see what happens when all of the other announced projects go live. Maybe there is a place for these tales, but at the edge of the universe.