If you’ve read my review, you’ll know I didn’t care for Solo: A Star Wars Story (click here to read my review!). I’ve not really cared for any Disney Star Wars film apart from The Force Awakens (and that’s purely because my nostalgia glands were begging to be tickled!). Both Rogue One and Solo seemed pretty pointless to me. But many people have enjoyed both Star Wars spin-offs. Is it just me? Let’s talk about it…
Firstly, you know what you’re getting with Solo. Of course, we knew that we’d find out how Han met both Chewie and Lando. Fair enough. But Han’s first meeting with Chewie just seemed…ridiculous. I mean, was it realistic to have Chewie hurl Han back first into a post? Wouldn’t that have broken Han’s back? Lando’s first appearance was a highlight of the film, but I’ve still got ‘This Is America’ running through my head. And having Lando in the film meant that we’d see how Han won the Millennium Falcon from Lando. Did we really need to see that? No, no we didn’t.
We also didn’t need to see how Han did the Kessel Run in 12 parsecs. Just like Rogue One filled in the “plot hole” about the Death Star’s glaring weakness, Solo had to rectify the plot hole about Han bragging that he completed the Kessel Run in 12 parsecs. Parsecs is a measure of distance, not time, so his boast didn’t make much sense. If you think about it, it’s a perfectly silly boast for a cocky smuggler to make to Obi-Wan and Skywalker. That’s part of Han’s character! We didn’t need to see Solo finding a shorter route for the Kessel Run!
I’m willing to accept that we’d have to see the afore-mentioned events. But I wanted to spend more time with Han during his Empire days. That’s packed neatly at the beginning of the film. We see him join up, and then see him three years later in a war zone (oh, an irritating note about that scene where he joins up…Solo sees the Imperial Navy section, and a version of the Imperial March plays…but not as part of the soundtrack, actually in the location! It was a ridicukous fourth-wall break that took me out of a film I was struggling to engage in the first place). Not long after, he deserts the Empire. How fascinating would it have been seeing those three years? The film could end with him meeting Chewie. Just think, seeing Han fight for the bad guys…until he realises it’s not worth it. He makes money off the side selling Empire weapons to the biggest buyer. I don’t know…I’m just making it up as I go along! It beats seeing a repeat of Luke’s plan to pretend Chewie is a prisoner. Here, it’s Han and Chewie who are the fake prisoners. But we’ve seen it before (as well as somebody planting a tracker on the Falcon…).
I would have found my idea more entertaining than finding out how Han Solo got his name (the officer who signs Han up to the Empire simply names him Solo. Wow!). Or finding out how Han got his blaster. Or finding out how Han figured out how to spin the Falcon vertically to escape danger Unfortunately, we didn’t find out how Han got that scar on his chin. That was the most surprising part of the film!
Oh no, wait, it wasn’t. The most surprising part of the film was the cameo of Darth Maul. Yes, the Darth Maul who was sliced in half in The Phantom Menace. Now, if you only follow the Star Wars films, you’ll be bloody confused by this cameo. Not only was Maul sliced in half, but he fell down a massive shaft. Were they teasing future appearances of Maul in Star Wars spin-offs? Or was it just another trick to tickle our nostalgia glands (yes, we do have some nostalgia about the prequels; Maul being part of that nostalgia!). When he lit his lightsaber, I groaned. Was that strictly necessary? Any reminder of the prequels is a no-no for me! Yes even Darth Maul!
So, between the pandering to Star Wars fans and showing us what we’ve already been told about Solo’s past, Solo failed to accomplish much of anything. I understand the film was aiming to be a fun, sci fi romp. While I failed to find it fun, many others did enjoy the ride. But you can throw names like Teras-Kasi and Bossk at us, and have Han shoot first in the climax. But without being much more than an extended checklist, Solo left me unsatisfied. At least I can go to sleep safe knowing how Han came to work for Jabba the Hutt.