Solo: A Star Wars Story

Review pending

Theatrical release: 5/25/2018
PG-13; 135 minutes
Produced by Simon Emanuel, Kathleen Kennedy, Allison Shearmur
Written Jonathan Kasdan & Lawrence Kasdan
Directed by Ron Howard

The discussion thread for this movie is open. Comments submitted will be shown on this page but not in the comment stream. My review will be posted at a later date. I don't know when that date will be; it could be weeks or months. It's possible I won't even see this movie for some time.

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37 comments on this review

John Harmon
Fri, May 25, 2018, 1:47am (UTC -6)
This will be the first Star Wars movie I don't see. Disney has killed Star Wars for me with how mediocre to terrible the new movies are
Fri, May 25, 2018, 6:41am (UTC -6)
I saw this last night and it wasn't actually that bad.

The acting was better than expected. Alden Ehrenreich did a fine job as young Han; the Solo surname doesn't get added until partway into the film. Emilia Clarke played an excellent romantic lead as Qi'ra - she tends to shine more as an actress in non-tough girl roles such as this one, though I'm unsure if she was actually supposed to be a femme fatale here. Donald Glover was the real breakout star with his inspired turn as young Lando Calrissian. Kudos to the writers for giving him a cape collection and the scene where we see him working on his autobiography was delicious. Don't scratch too far beneath the surface of these characters, however, as they are pretty hollow though likeable on their own terms.

The story was middle-of-the-road fare, lots of goofy humour in the vein of 'The Force Awakens', lots of action scenes and salty character exchanges. There was one surprise twist near the end that gave me pause because it was so far out of left field but otherwise fairly predictable stuff.

All in all, it was an enjoyable popcorn film and a decent addition to the canon. Surprisingly there were lots of references to the old Star Wars Expanded Universe that any observant reader of the novels will get straight away (Han is a street urchin from Coronet City on Corellia, the Imperial Academy is on Carida, Kessel is near a black hole called the Maw, Lando tries to charm a female sabacc player with stories of his adventures in the StarCave Nebula, etc.). I went in with no expectations as I found 'Rogue One' such a chore on every level so this was a welcome surprise. Definitely a film to bring the kids to.

By the way, has word of mouth spread about this film at lightspeed or are people already burned out on Star Wars? The theatre I saw the film on was nearly empty for an opening evening!
Joseph B
Fri, May 25, 2018, 7:37am (UTC -6)
I saw the movie last night in a sold out theater and thought it was a lot of fun!

I liked the slow build up to the introductions of the iconic characters; and the way they held back the Star Wars music themes until the Millennium Falcon was on the screen.

The first half hour reminded me a lot of “Firefly” — not a bad place to go when you want a Sci-Fi/Western/Comedy mix. (But the comedy part was dialed way back ; this probably happened when Ron Howard was brought on board to direct. It’s hard to say if the movie could have been better with an even more comedic tone.)

The movie definitely succeeds in one regard: By the time we get to the last half hour I actually felt like I was viewing a young version of Han Solo.

Anyway, the crowd I viewed the movie with was into the movie big time: Cheering at the first sight of Chewbacca, Lando, the Millennium Falcon; and, yes, the mention of making the Kessell run in 12 parsecs! (They also gasped with surprise when the direct link to the “Star Wars: Clone Wars” and “Star Wars: Rebels” series was revealed.)

All in all, a fun romp in the Star Wars universe. ***

Fri, May 25, 2018, 7:54am (UTC -6)
Feeling mixed on this one. It's a fun adventure movie, but I still find myself asking why this story needed to be told.

I really liked most of the cast. Emilla Clarke was excellent as an emotionally conflicted femme fatale. Donald Glover WAS Lando. I was a bit disappointed that other characters, like Val and Rio, had so little to do. Alden Ehrenreich was... ok. I never really bought him as Han Solo, but I also wasn't completely torn out of the movie.

I think my biggest issue with the film is that it insists on treating Han as a "smuggler with a heart of gold." I worry that preempts his character arc in ANH. When we first see Han in ANH, he's a selfish, cynical smuggler. He scoffs at the idea of joining a rebellion. Yet, in Solo, he seems pretty sympathetic to idealistic causes.

It's a fun movie, but honestly I think I preferred the old Expanded Universe backstory in the AC Crispin novels.
Fri, May 25, 2018, 8:07am (UTC -6)
Rogue One was a mess and a slog that added nothing to the saga, so I’m not seeing this in the theater. Based on the comments here, I may give it a viewing when it shows up on streaming services since it seems like an inoffensive, fun enough film. But that doesn’t change the fact that this doesn’t seem like a story that needed to be told, and less is really more when it comes to characters like this.
Tim C
Sat, May 26, 2018, 8:52am (UTC -6)
I agree with the general consensus - it's a serviceable and reasonably entertaining movie, but completely disposable. It offers no new insights into Han's character and, more unforgivably, gives us the ROTJ-harmless-goof version rather than the edgier guy we met in Star Wars, who shot Greedo without a second thought and wanted no part of noble causes.

What we get here is a very safe, family-friendly, dare I say "Disneyfied" Han Solo who doesn't really give the impression of someone who grew up hard in a rough neighbourhood at all. The movie takes no risks at all, in any respect, and thus reaps no rewards either. Say what you will about The Last Jedi - and I change my mind about it every other day - at least it took some risks.

Casting is superb, however. Ehrenreich and Glover both play their parts with gusto. It's a shame their talents couldn't have been put to use in service of something truly memorable.
Sat, May 26, 2018, 1:38pm (UTC -6)
I liked it. Not a deep/thinker movie but a fun action/hiest film.

Liked the casting and several subtle moments made me think of other moments in the original trilogy, down to the body lanaguage of Lando.

Loved the score. It never took away from the story but frequently added to it.

It was exactly what I expected and well done.

Mon, May 28, 2018, 9:51am (UTC -6)
@Tim C, to the movie's credit, I actually think Han's arc in Solo was to start to get him to that darker place. The movie ends with Han literally shooting first. I think we're supposed to take that as Han learning through experience that he really can't trust anyone (except for Chewie). Han might be a smuggler with a heart of gold, but he realizes that's not going to work in the real world. Granted, Han doesn't end the movie at the same place he does in A New Hope, but there's some 10 years in between, so I'm willing to say Han got continually hardened over the years.
Mon, May 28, 2018, 10:02am (UTC -6)
I'm sure the movie is passable, but after the train wreck that was TLJ I'm done paying to see anything Star Wars related. Not this, not the Boba Fett movie they're planning, not Episode IX. As much as it kills me to say it, I think I'm done with this franchise for the foreseeable future.
Wed, May 30, 2018, 1:51am (UTC -6)
It was a pleasant movie. The 1st half so-so, but the 2nd half much better. Is it me or the droids in Disneyverse can do anything now? With the abilities of the droid here and the one in Rogue One, even BB8 who drove an AT-ST Walker in EpVIII, i'm wondering how come and droids dont rule the galaxy yet. I mean, what was the function of the droid here? A pilot? A fighter? A Rebel? A programmer? All the droids who dont get their memories wiped out develop human emotions? An imperial droid can be reprogrammed to be a better fighter than a stormtrooper, like the droid in Rogue One? How come the rebels dont get 1000 such robots and make a killer army?

I think that if disney had made Ep.IV, when the sandpeople had attacked Luke, 3PO would had fought them with karate moves instead of tripping and falling.

Only when the scenario calls for it, the droids become dumb again. I mean, in EpVIII the ship who got sacrificed had to be piloted by the ADMIRAL. No droid was good enough to press the 2 buttons required. The lady Admiral was required to do it, in order to press the buttons with determination! :)
Wed, May 30, 2018, 4:11pm (UTC -6)
@Dimitris I think any issue with droid overpowering/inconsistency goes beyond Disney and at least back to the prequels, where they're making goofy wisecracks but then also slaughtering hordes of Jedi on Geonosis, etc.

The Admiral Holdo deal, though... phew, no excuse, Disney blew that plot point.
J Ryan
Thu, May 31, 2018, 9:52am (UTC -6)
Enjoyed the movie. Considering we all knew what was going to happen in it based on every film until now they did a pretty good job with the story and the bunch of "firsts" everyone expected. I liked how Han dealt with Beckett at the end. It moved the character toward who we know a bit more. And the Big cameo surprised me. Had to piece together a timeline in my head to see if it was possible. Guess I missed some stuff by not following the novels and cartoons . It was good. Could have been better. And to be honest I was hoping for a short Harrison Ford cameo somehow. Perhaps it's better that didn't happen.
Dan Bolger
Fri, Jun 1, 2018, 5:42pm (UTC -6)
I'll watch this installment on blu- ray disc and not waste money at the cinema. The last jedi was nauseating nonsense.
Tim C
Fri, Jun 1, 2018, 10:52pm (UTC -6)
@Dom - you may be right, but that still doesn't change my mind that this movie is kinda forgettable. It doesn't feel like it got made because someone had a really great idea for a Han Solo movie, it feels like it got made according to a corporate check list.

Which is not to say that I wasn't entertained for two hours, just that I didn't care about anything that was happening. I prefer a little more ambition in my movies, even standalones.

Since this is a Star Trek site, the original Star Trek movies are a great example of how to do a standalone movie that still manages to take a risk. 2, 3, 4 and 6 all give us episodic stories that still change the status quo in meaningful ways. Characters face consequences for the choices they make, or grow in other ways. This doesn't make them good in of themselves (Generations, for instance, shakes up the status quo but is still a rubbish movie) but it does make them individually memorable. That's what Solo was missing. It felt more like an Insurrection or bad Voyager episode - a completely disposable story that you could easily skip and not fail to understand the next chapter.
Sat, Jun 2, 2018, 4:01am (UTC -6)
Like a most of my friends, I don't believe in "bad" Star Wars or Star Trek...We have things that we like about almost every installment.
...BUT Just saw Solo and it was shockingly "meh"
The acting was fine, the action scenes were impressive, the story was interesting.
But for the first time EVER, I found myself yawning through a Star Wars movie, looking at my watch and wondering when it was going to be over.
Also, I didn't laugh out loud once - something I have done during the original three, Force Awakens, Rogue One and Last Jedi.
I can believe I'm saying this but Ron Howard has effed-up Star Wars.
Sun, Jun 3, 2018, 8:35am (UTC -6)
@Tim C, I don’t disagree with that. There is some character development for Han, which I like. But it’s mostly stuff we could have inferred from watching A New Hope 40 years ago. It’s hard not to get the sense that there was a corporate decision behind this as opposed to a creative decision. I don’t know if the Star Trek model would work for Star Wars. Trek is by nature more episodic, whereas Star Wars is more mythic, more epic. Still, point taken about gradual yet real cahracter development over time. I suspect Solo would have worked better in an alternate universe where it introduced us to Han, and then we saw his arc over the course of the other movies. Instead, Solo was a backstory to a character whose death we’ve already seen on screen.

Pm... Ron Howard probably didn’t mess this up so much as prevent it from becoming an even bigger disaster.
Wed, Jun 6, 2018, 6:16pm (UTC -6)
Saw this at cheap movie night last night. It was about what I expected, quite fun at times but also kind of forgettable. I didn't really buy this version of Han, but the dialogue exchanges and Lando made it worthwhile.

And it looks like this will be the first SW movie to bomb at the box office. It will be interesting to see whether SW turns out to be in the same place Trek was in the late 90s.
David Ryan
Fri, Jun 8, 2018, 5:16pm (UTC -6)
As with a few others on here, I haven't seen this in the cinema and I must admit I'm in no real rush to either. The Force Awakens, Rogue One and especially The Last Jedi have sapped any enthusiasm I had for future films (which even the prequels didn't manage), and judging from the box office performance I suspect I'm not alone in that respect. Fingers crossed Disney takes heed and changes tack, but equally I'm not holding my breath.

Never thought I'd end up such a negative nancy about Star Wars, but I guess life is full of surprises.
Sat, Jun 9, 2018, 4:07pm (UTC -6)
This movie was fun, but forgettable. I was pleasantly surprised by it, given all of the upheaval during production. There’s a clear set-up for a sequel, or at least a continuation of these characters in another Star Wars story, which makes me wonder why they tried to fit in so many character beats and historical moments in Han’s background into a single film.

Paul Bettany was the best thing in this film. A great performance in which his mood and level of menace changes on a dime. Chewbacca also got some moments to shine. Alden was very likeable and wisely found his own take on Han instead of trying to replicate Ford’s acting precisely.

The anticipation of this film might have been enhanced if it had come out in December. We just had a Star Wars movie with the Falcon being chased by TIE Fighters 6 months ago. I don’t think Star Wars has enough variety to follow the model that Marvel has perfected - they have big ensemble movies, they can veer between earthbound and space opera and they shift tone pretty well to keep things fresh. Where can these Star Wars movies go when they’re stuck in the past and trapped by canon? This was a chance to change tack and tell a different kind of story, but instead we got the standard formula on a slightly smaller scale. Two Star Wars films in a year is too much, I feel.

I’ve really enjoyed the new Episodes and feel like they’re doing something different with the core characters while still giving elements of Star Wars that we know and love. But I have absolutely no desire to see a Boba Fett or even an Obi-Wan movie, I can’t wait for the new trilogy by Rian Johnson that is apparently going to be completely separate from the Skywalker saga. That’s the direction the franchise needs to go in, in order to stay relevant in today’s industry,
Wed, Jun 13, 2018, 9:01am (UTC -6)
A comment thread about a new Star Wars movie that isn't filled with people moaning about SJW's? We're through the looking glass here.

I'm really surprised that this was released at this time. Surely establishing the Christmas Star Wars movie is a better bet.
Dan Bolger
Thu, Jun 21, 2018, 6:24am (UTC -6)
Lucasfilm have canned any origins films stories for star wars for the forseeable future. No surprise at all.
Sat, Jun 23, 2018, 11:01am (UTC -6)
It's great to see that this flopped. Hopefully Disney will learn their lesson: dance with the one who brought you. The hardcore fans hated TLJ, and they owe to them to make the kind of films we want to see.
Matthew D. Wilson
Sun, Jun 24, 2018, 8:24pm (UTC -6)
I really wish the hardcore fans who hate TLJ wouldn't assume all hardcore fans agree with them. We don't.
Tue, Jun 26, 2018, 4:32pm (UTC -6)
I agree with Matthew d wilson. Some so called hardcore fans may have hated TLJ. I consider myself pretty hardcore and enjoyed TLJ very much. Sure it had some annoying parts and character beats but still enjoyed it. Solo was fine for a popcorn filler but I didnt need it or particularly want it. Saying that I was fine with it and will buy on bluray.
John Harmon
Fri, Jun 29, 2018, 9:51am (UTC -6)
I’m not a hardcore Star Wars fan by any means. I’m a hardcore movie fan though. TLJ was just a badly made movie.
Eduardo Jencarelli
Fri, Jun 29, 2018, 5:06pm (UTC -6)
It was worth it for the Darth Maul cameo alone. Solo isn't remotely the best film, but it does help to expand the universe by connecting it to the animated shows, recognizing their contributions as official canon.
Mon, Jul 2, 2018, 9:11am (UTC -6)

"but honestly I think I preferred the old Expanded Universe backstory in the AC Crispin novels"

"Solo" not colliding with Crispin's novels:

Ari Paul
Wed, Jul 4, 2018, 12:35pm (UTC -6)
I didn't see it. TLJ was the nail in the coffin for me. The saga died long ago.
Thu, Jul 5, 2018, 12:38pm (UTC -6)
@Q, Solo does indeed conflict with the novels at several points. How Han met Chewie for instance. In the EU, Han freed Chewie from slavery. In the movie, Han is thrown into a pit with Chewie and they escape together. What I liked about the prior version is that it was depicted in the novels as Han feeling like no good deed goes unpunished. Freeing Chewie led to his being kicked out of the Imperial Academy, which was his dream up to that point. In the new version, it is highly implied that Chewie ate several people, which is kind of gross. Han is also a bit too much the good guy in the film. I don't hate the new version, and liked Solo overall, but it's tough to not compare it to the alternative version we had for 20 years.
Sun, Jul 15, 2018, 2:58pm (UTC -6)
@Josh Because nobody cares about this movie enough to watch it.
Mon, Jul 16, 2018, 7:52am (UTC -6)
True, seems not even Jammer watched it!
Dan Bolger
Wed, Jul 18, 2018, 9:25am (UTC -6)
Seems so, looks like a crap film anyway! It's available on blu-ray in the latter part of September. I've not seen it but, like the last jedi, I'll see it on borrowed blu ray later.
Tue, Aug 7, 2018, 2:53am (UTC -6)
"I do know one thing: I will never again open up comments on something I have not reviewed if I intend to review it."
- Jammer, 9 years ago
(Battlestar Galactica series finale review)

Just came across this and thought it was funny after reading through this page and the Last Jedi review (sorry for nagging about the Last Jedi review - this site is adictively good - I don't have time to spend the time I do reading through it, but it's just awesome)
Sun, Sep 30, 2018, 2:49am (UTC -6)
Hey Jammer, can you please advise if you show SOLO yet? Thanks!
Latex Zebra
Tue, Oct 2, 2018, 1:55am (UTC -6)
My verdict on Solo.
Pretty much forgettable. Ok. It wasn't a disaster but I really didn't care. There is no jeopardy in a story like this. You can instantly guess who the bad guys might be and who is likely to die.
Got really bored towards the end and started to nod off.
None of the humour made me laugh. The Last Jedi was actually funnier. None of the action sequences blew me away either. Oooh.. another big monster chase.
I maintain this film didn't need to be made. The fact that it bombed has now likely robbed us of some potentially decent side stories. Like Rogue One was.
Slow clap Disney. Slow clap.
Latex Zebra
Tue, Oct 2, 2018, 1:58am (UTC -6)
Oh.... And why was there even a train on that planet. The Star Wars Universe is full of space ships that could have got the Coaxium or whatever it was there in no time.
But lets stick in on a train on a mountain because it will look cool.
All I kept thinking is "Why is that even there?"
Dan Bolger
Wed, Oct 10, 2018, 2:43pm (UTC -6)
Come on Jammer, set aside a few hours and review this pile of shit film. It has been several months since you reviewed anything.

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