Despite a host of negative reviews, I decided to return to the Star Wars universe to catch SOLO. What followed was a festival of boredom, a yearning to leave the theater early, and deep regret in paying full price (albeit, a friend paid) for a pedestrian film best reserved for the discount shelf at your local convenience store. So, why don’t we get into this SPOILER-FREE review of SOLO.
What hurts SOLO most is the ponderous, predictable plot that does little to capture the attention or imagination. Set in the shady underworld of the Empire, SOLO centers on the backstory of Han Solo, the legendary scoundrel-come-savior of the original films. Tasked with recovering high value products, Solo’s crew predictably fails and remains on the hook for the goods the rest of the film. What follows are obvious betrayals and counter-betrayals as the audience is treated to some tedious and yawn-worthy plot developments. The film pauses far too often in clunking attempts to develop characters but those pauses become the problem — they are too frequent and are far from compelling.
Beyond the plot, we’re left with actors who never really pull off the illusion. Alden Ehrenreich, who plays Han Solo, just doesn’t have the confidence, cheek, or guile to capture the true essence of Harrison Ford. His love interest, Qi’re, played by the dark-haired version Kaleesi herself, Emilia Clarke, seems out of her element. The chemistry between both actors is near non-existent and I was left thoroughly unconvinced at their budding romance. The two outstanding roles are offered by Woody Harrelson (as Tobias Beckett) and Donald Glover (as Lando Calrissian). Unfortunately, their combined excellence does little to rescue the film.
Once the dust settled, I walked out shaking my head in disappointment. Ron Howard has lucked his way into directing yet another flat film with little in the way of passion or excitement. Unless you’re a Star Wars junkie, committed to checking out the latest release in the universe, I would hold off on the theater viewing. SOLO is, at best, a rental with a coupon in hand. Worth seeing (eventually) but you’re missing very little should you decide to take a pass. For me, the Rip-Rating lands somewhere around a 5/10, but I could be talked into a 4/10 should the mood strike me.