Movie Review: Solo is an awful Star Wars story

Star Wars
Movie Review: Solo is an awful Star Wars story
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Tyler Collins

Tyler Collins

Tyler Collins is the Oakville News publishing assistant and arts reporter. He started with the news in 2016 and now specializes in current and live events, film, theatre and entertainment. He comes from Campbellton, NB and has lived in Oakville more than 20 years. Proud Sheridan grad of Journalism and Performing Arts. Twitter: @MrTyCollins

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“Solo” sinks to a new low for the Star Wars universe. Filled with clichéd plots and dialogues, the best case is audiences will enjoy the shallow spectacle. The worst case scenario? It will trigger repressed nightmares from seeing Star Wars: The Phantom Menace nearly 20 years ago.

Solo: A Star Wars Story is Disney’s latest effort in a spinoff series to expand the Star Wars world. Though unlike it’s previous instalment Rogue One, this one abandons the charm and political intrigue that defines the Star Wars world.

While its occasionally shiny and light-hearted in spirit, viewers will likely be as divided as those seeing The Last Jedi last Christmas. Yet surprisingly, Solo can’t even overcome the apathy and rock-bottom expectations of the fan-audience. I counted the audience total at my premiere screening and it was barely one-quarter full.

As the title suggests, the story tells the humble beginnings of hotshot pilot Han Solo (Alden Ehrenreich) in a galaxy far, far away. To rescue his lost friend Qui’ra (Emilia Clarke) he joins a band of thieves on a heist for…intergalactic fuel? What matters is it’s a glowing, blue liquid. But when he discovers what it’s really for, Solo faces a difficult choice.

Star Wars

Photo credit: Disney

The unquestionable worst parts are the writers attempts to cleverly incite and foreshadow. All the events we already know will happen to Han Solo are carelessly thrown around into a sloppy order that makes no sense as a story worth watching.

For example, the scenes where he inevitably meets friends Chewbacca and Lando exude eye rolls from obvious timing. It doesn’t help the story’s inciting incident doesn’t happen for almost an hour, and the action before it is endlessly boring.

While the acclaimed acting ensemble could have elevated this primer-thin material, they don’t. Had they invested more time and care, the lead actors could have made the story fun. Or at the very least shown an emotional investment into what’s going on in the galaxy around them.

Paul Bettany as baddie Dryden Vos, however, is the rare exception to an apathetic ensemble of actors. He makes the most of his few scenes to create compelling stakes and behave like an interesting character.

Without a compelling story, moral backbone, creative showmanship or focused cast, there’s no real reason to rush and see the movie. Worse still, there isn’t an evident reason why it was made other than to desperately sell tickets. But even at its worst, this big-budget space western isn’t all hopeless.

While the first hour and a half is excruciating to watch, the last twenty minutes do offer something better. Without saying much, there’s no great twist or dramatic spin at the end. But there is one surprise character appearance that adds a fascinating complexion to the otherwise pedantic story.

Perhaps the general movie crowd’s absent anticipation comes from an inundation of Star Wars material in the last three years. Too much too soon creates a saturated marketplace. It certainly doesn’t help the movies before it were exponentially better.

It’s so disappointing to see the film sink the prestige of the Star Wars saga to new depths. But nobody could’ve imagined that rock bottom was really so low.

Solo: A Star Wars Story

1 out of 4 stars
PG, 2hrs 15mins. Fantasy Western.
Directed by Ron Howard.
Starring: Alden Ehrenreich, Emilia Clarke, Woody Harrelson, Joonas Suotamo , Donald Glover and Paul Bettany.
Now Playing at: Film.Ca Cinemas, Cineplex Winston Churchill and Cineplex Oakville & VIP. Also in IMAX.



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