Vasili Birlidis’s review published on Letterboxd:
"Do you want anything?"
Solo: A Star Wars Story? More like Snore-o: The Last Twenty Minutes Are A Star Wars Story.
It's clear Disney had too much to lose by firing Lord and Miller so late into production, so I understand why Kathleen Kennedy hired reliable and generally good director Ron Howard at the eleventh and a half hour. But there's very little of his touch that's apparent here: the film emphasizes drama, with dark color palettes. But then every time there's a (forced) callback (flash-forward?) to later Star Wars moments, there's a swell of John Williams' original score and a funny one-liner. I don't understand why Lucasfilm is riding Lawrence Kasdan's dick is my point. Solo is soulless and unfolds matter-of-factly: a last-minute plot twist happens so last minute that it doesn't affect a single thing, and there's really no character development for anyone except Han and Chewie. Is it fun seeing young Lando and a very woke female droid? Sure, but it doesn't actually matter at all.
The movie we ended up getting was not worth all the behind the scenes drama, at all. The story was interesting, but its delivery was dry. I would have loved to see some improvisation of dialogue and action, because it would fit Han's future improv-scoundrel attitude a lot more than a scared puppy figuring out where he belongs by blindly following others. I don't give a shit who wrote Empire Strikes Back -- writers write scripts. They should not be getting upset when directors do their job and direct the structure of a film.
My issues with how Lucasfilm handled this (and, really, all Star Wars films so far) aside, I will speak my other truth: some of this movie is just boring. I really liked the storyline! It felt like true Han Solo! But the movie itself is so drab. The 3D added nothing to the movie because it was cinematographically lacking. No bright pops of color save for Lando's yellow outfit. No fun Star Wars wipe transitions. Alden Ehrenreich did commendably as a young Harrison Ford, but the material he was given was lacking. I could believe it was Han visually but couldn't believe the dumb stuff he was saying. At least Attack of the Clones had some visual flair!
For a movie derailed because the guy who wrote the dialogue didn't want any improvisation at all, the movie does talk about how you need to improvise a lot. Which I wish it would have listened to, because the dialogue sucks.
The last twenty minutes of the movie was great though. I wish we would have gotten the two reveals about the marauders and Crimson Dawn a lot earlier though because they are clearly a wealth of possibilities for future Star Wars stories.
Solo isn't bad, but it's not particularly good either. I guess as someone who's only a casual Star Wars fan I was let down by the open-ended possibility of really good Star Wars stories that weren't integrated into this story at all.
I will say I do approve of how aggressively this film promotes Star Wars' transmedia narrative -- I can imagine a hell of a lot of people are going to be checking out The Clone Wars and Rebels now.
Disclaimer: I am currently an employee of Regal Entertainment Group and used a free employee pass to watch this film.
Friday, May 25th, 2018
Regal Royal Park Stadium 16 (Regal #1860)
Auditorium 16 @ 9:15pm
RealD 3D, stadium seating
Employee pass ticket - $0.00
Seen with my girlfriend, Nia.