So… Solo… is so so.
Nah, it’s probably better than so-so, but it’s not great.
It’s a fun action movie, and I enjoyed it. It’s probably a bit too long, but its pacing is pretty good.
In fact, I’d say it’s pretty great except for the dumb endingS, which are both highly predictable and highly unbelievable.
To my great surprise, I had no problem with the non-Ford Solo guy. He worked quite well. I also liked Emilia Clarke, who was much better in this than Terminator:GarbAge and more fun and human than in GoT.
I also liked that the relationship between her and Solo didn’t fall into predictable tropes and cliches.
I liked Woody Harrelson as well, and the team/teams mostly had good chemistry. (Star Wars movies do do good chemistry… except the prequels).
There were basically 2 problems with the movie.
1 - Too many fan references and callbacks/forwards (Mild plot spoilers, big Line spoilers)
One of the annoying things about the prequels was the way they made the universe feel small by including too many links to the originals. Solo is 10 times worse. Rogue One managed to mostly avoid this.
Sure, it’s cute and I guess it’s a reward to the fans when they reference other characters or events, or reuse famous lines. But Solo seemed to be doing it every 5 seconds, and going 'wink wink! Did you notice that! Did you see how clever that was!?'
Eg: The line about ‘there’s a BIG crime boss on Tatooine…’ was repeated about 5 times just to hammer it home.
A few of these would have been ok, but they were just too obvious.
There was also the other sort of reference, where they kept throwing in references to characters/factions from the EU. Some of those I got, some of those I didn’t. But again there were too many and they were too clunkily obvious even when I didn’t get them.
“Hey, aren’t you Beckett? You’re the guy who killed Aurra Sing! (You know, that one lady who was referenced one second in one movie but in a bunch of EU stuff and only big fans are going to get this line and everyone else will be thinking why am I talking about this guff?)”
"Wow! You can do Teras Kasi, that dumb martial art from a crap star wars video game!! I’d better point it out because people will go nuts for that clever reference!"
Lando thinks mining outposts are the worst? Ha ha!
Plus the big surprise reveal of a bad guy at the end was a big surprise and kinda cool (Hey it’s that guy!) but makes no sense unless you’ve been keeping up with other parts of the EU (which I haven’t).
2 - Plot twists were mostly hugely predictable and out of character (BIG spoilers
Pop quiz hot shot:
You have watched more than one movie in your life.
You are watching Harry Potter part 1 and Hermione pointedly says to Harry “Don’t trust anyone!”.
In part 7, Hermione betrays Harry and says “I told you not to trust anyone”.
Are you (a) Shocked and surprised because you’d never have expected her to do that!
(b) Entirely unsurprised but thinking 'this is totally out of character for her and dumb"?
If (a) you might like the end of Solo.
The ending has, I think, 3 surprise reveals/betrayals in 5 minutes. 1 with the Marauders kinda works. 1 with Becket is really dumb. The other one kinda makes sense, but feels out of character. It also feels a bit dumb that the big bad would believe her.
Both of these were exacerbated by the fact that we already know how the main mission has to end because we’ve been told in the originals. They’re going to Kessell in the Falcon and will have to leave quickly. I wonder if they can make that run in time??
So we have events we already know, lots of references and lines you may know, and surprises that are predictable.
I guess a lot of the issues may be down to the re-shoots and edits, but I don’t know if they were added or toned down. There are a number of points where it feels like points/lines are repeated when not needed. There’s also some very quick ‘tone changes’ where people go from grieving to joking within about 2 seconds.
Despite all these nitpicks, it is fun. It feels like it could have been really good if it’d dumped the fan service, had less production/editing issues and had a bit of a better ending.