Solo: A Star Wars Story ★½

If anything, this is even more embarrassing on a rewatch. The figments of the comedy that Lord and Miller were making are left scattered haphazardly amid a story that is inexplicably straight-faced and dour. If the worst of the prequels dealt with an absurd sense of obligation to explain how every little thing from the original trilogy came to be, Solo, even more than Rogue One, builds an entire film around that concept. Anyone could have foreseen that the concept of a Han Solo film that did not involve Harrison Ford (one of only two actually iconic performances from the original trilogy alongside James Earl Jones's voice work) was going to bomb, but instead we are made to sit through a belabored, insipidly downbeat origin story that does not add a single thing to the character. Ehrenreich does his best, but both he and Glover are just doing impressions, while Clarke is saddled with a role that produces a performance so bad I was convinced she was the worst actress of her generation until she spent the last season of Game of Thrones working her ass off that make that dogshit work.

The action is consistently bad, at once overly busy yet lacking any sense of importance or urgency. The entire Kessel sequence, from its half-assed and weirdly ironic depiction of a prison riot to the stunningly awful effects porn Kessel run, is to date the worst sequence to be in any Star Wars film. Bradford Young is one of the best cinematographers working, but the skidmark browns and Piss Christ yellows that fill this movie are so stunningly ugly that for once I wish Ron Howard hadn't done his usual thing of letting his DP basically run the show. It's amazing that Disney would outdo the sheer pointless, ill-conceived disaster of this just one year later with that disaster of focus grouping and algorithmic filmmaking that was The Rise of Skywalker, but it was here that it became clear that the studio had no idea what to do with this property, and also that the suits would run a PR campaign to blame everyone but themselves for the failure.