"Solo: A Star Wars Story" is a Predictable Snooze Fest

To say that “Solo: A Star Wars Story” was a forgettable piece of garbage would be a harsh statement but not an inaccurate one. I really, really wanted to like this movie. I’ve loved “Star Wars” since I was a kid.  But alas, I am a lover of good movies first and Star Wars fan second.

And this movie is not...good. It has good elements and loads of potential. But the predictable plot, forgettable characters and lackluster ending are 35 pound concrete blocks tied to the ankles of this movie.

Well, let’s start on a more positive note. What were the things I liked? Well, I liked Lando. And not because he’s played by my husband, the lovely Donald Glover. Well mostly…

Glover’s portrayal was the perfect balance of fop and suave. Plus he now canonically has a closet of gaudy, designer capes which I love. Honestly, his gambling scenes with Han were the only point that I was invested in the theater. Unfortunately, Lando is barely in it. He’s somewhere in the sweet spot between supporting character and cameo. I really wish he was in it because he was only one of two memorable characters on screen.

The other memorable is actually a character that we don’t see in the original trilogy.

Meet L3, Lando’s navigational guide and droid freedom fighter. She is, as my boyfriend affectionately put it, the Harriet Tubman of droids. In all honesty I would rather have a movie about L3 and Lando travelling through the galaxy liberating droids as opposed to the drab mess we received.  Imagine it, a droid becoming self aware and embarking on a quest for independence for her people (robots?). Unfortunately her character is promptly killed off so it’s pretty unlikely that we’ll see anymore of her in the future.

The rest of the characters reach wet cardboard levels of boring, the writers seemingly relying on our nostalgic love of Han Solo and Chewie for us to become invested. Han’s love interest in this movie, (Kyra I think her name is?) is nothing more than your standard love interest. She’s cute with a tortured, non specific past. There’s nothing about her personality, actions or line delivery that makes her stand out. Not to mention that it’s hard to get invested in a “Will they or won’t they?” story arc when we already know the outcome due to the film’s prequel status.

While the two actors do have some chemistry, there’s nothing that has me rooting for them in the end besides the fact that it’s Han Solo. And the more far removed the characters are Han, the less you give a sh*t about them. I’d go into each of them in detail but...I don’t give a sh*t about them.

But to be fair, it’s hard to write engaging and complex character when the plot is so contrived. There’s not a single event in this story that catches you by surprise. Which is fine. Not every story needs to keep the audience on their toes. But when you couple that with uninteresting characters, the movie becomes one big snore fest. If I’m not watching this movie because the plot is interesting. And I’m not watching this movie because the characters are engaging. Then why the f*ck am I watching this movie?!?

Plus there are just things about this movie that are dumb. Like, spoiler alert, Han Solo receives his name because while signing up for the military the official asks him “What’s your last name? Who are your people?” and Han responds with “I don’t have a people.” So this random government official goes calls him “Solo”. And Han just runs with it, I guess.I always imagined that Han gave himself the name in Flynn Rider/ Eugene Fitzherbert fashion. I just found the whole thing to be incredibly lame.

If you’re wondering why I haven’t mentioned Han at all in this review, there’s a reason for that. There isn’t much to tell. We barely get to see any of Han’s origins. By the time the movie starts, he’s already got a girlfriend, lost his parents and is trying to escape the corrupt slumlord. And we get little explanation to how he got into this situation.

Han’s character lacks the charm of his Harrison Ford counterpart and his motivation, while clear at first, doesn’t make much sense by the time we get to the end. Han is not a well written main character. And it might not totally be the filmmakers fault for that one  Han Solo does not make a very good main character fundamentally.

Here’s a quick summary of the ending of Solo. The macguffin, in this case the coaxium crystals, that Han and the gang have been chasing the whole movie are finally in their possession. But, in an eleventh hour twist, a bunch of freedom fighters need the coaxium in order to take down the Empire. So Han decides to do the right thing and while getting to escape with his girlfriend into the sunset. But, plot twist there plan is found out by the villain (which is Paul Bettany with tiger stripes and cocaine addict eyes).

Originally I thought that the plan wasn’t going to work, the freedom fighters would be killed and the girlfriend would be behind this betrayal. And this would be the catalyst that creates the selfish, cynical Han that we have at the beginning of the series.

But nope, everything pretty much goes to plan. There is a betrayal (not by his girlfriend) and his girlfriend does leave him, but I don’t see why, in the context of the film, that would turn him into a jaded a*shole. Or at the very least I don’t see why he’d stop helping the rebellion.  Or at the very least, why he’d even help the rebellion in the first place.

The thing about Han Solo is he doesn’t get his change of heart until the trilogy. That’s his huge story arc. He learns to care and joins a cause that is bigger than just himself.

So in order for Solo to work you’d either have to A.) make this a story about how Han became the jerk we see in the beginning of the series or B.) make him a jerk the entire time and just have this be a fun, adventure romp. And I wouldn’t mind either of these choices because both don’t pretend that Han was a good guy from the very beginning.

But in this movie, they try to frame it like Han Solo was good all along. Which, as we know from the original movies, was not the case.

This whole movie needed to go through some serious rewrites and changes. To be fair, there was a lot of chaos behind the scenes, including a complete change of director halfway through. And it definitely shows.

“Solo: A Star Wars Story” should’ve been better than it was. But we cannot judge a movie on what it could’ve been and must judge it on what is was. Which was bad.