It’s difficult to construct a reason for why Solo: A Star Wars Story should even exist in the first place. Fleshing out the backstory of a character whose ambiguous existence is what made him popular from the start is a surefire recipe for disappointment. Coupled with the very public production issues and the surprisingly vocal backlash to the last Star Wars endeavor (only 6 months ago), there didn’t seem to be anything going for Solo. It’s all the more surprising then, that the final product ended up being somewhat decent.
Solo occupies a weird space in the current Star Wars filmography precisely for how middle of the road it is. For better or worse, Star Wars has become a love it or hate it series, with a sharp divide between what is perceived as “good” Star Wars and what is “bad” Star Wars. Solo rests somewhere directly in the middle, there’s enough there to criticize but also enough to like if you’re looking for it. Alden Ehrenreich, who plays a young Han, delivers a fantastic performance when faced with the impossible task of impersonating one of the most charismatic actors of the last few decades. Donald Glover has fun in his role as Lando and Director Ron Howard’s workmanlike direction insures even the most casual Star Wars fan can remain invested throughout its comparatively short run time.
It’s a perfectly serviceable action-adventure movie, not really striving to be anything more. Is that enough for a Star Wars movie at this point? There’s no reason it shouldn’t be, and the general reaction has been largely positive while the box office receipts have been anything but. What’s even more interesting than the movie is speculating on how Disney will react to the lukewarm reception of this film and the ever-shifting opinions of an increasingly fickle fandom.
-- Zach E.