Solo is considered to be a box office flop. Of course a flop in the Star Wars franchise is a smash hit for most movies. Worldwide box office totals are well above 350 million dollars. But that puts it at the bottom of the franchise when factoring in inflation. I think Solo got a raw deal. Ron Howard did a nice job bringing this thing together but the relatively low box office receipts are more likely a result of fan anger with head of Lucasfilm, Kathleen Kennedy than the actual film itself.
Solo is actually a very good movie. It is much better than episode VIII. I think it is a tad better than Rogue One, although my Han Solo fanboy status could be causing some bias.
I am not a fan of the dark lighting used in both Last Jedi and Solo. Some scenes need that low light for mood and such, but some should be bright and crisp and Solo gives us no such sunshine. The story is cohesive and has a fabulous plot twist. Over all, the acting is well done but the dialog falls a bit short of my expectations. I think they wrote a great story and the screenplay was pretty solid. It just needed some of that Harrison Ford swagger, and a bit more of his classic dialog.
Lando Calrissian is played by Donald Glover and he nails it! He even sounds like Billy Dee Williams. A solid ‘A’ performance for Mr. Glover. Emilia Clarke plays Han’s girlfriend who is much more than she seems. I don’t think we have seen the last of her. She delivers the goods as well. Woody Harrelson is amazing bringing some ‘A’ paper work here in Solo, but our title character is a bit underwhelming. Many bloggers and youtubers lamented the casting of Alden Ehrenreich as Han Solo.
The movie flows well, something Last Jedi didn’t do. The story is easy to follow yet offers some intriguing developments and the aforementioned big twist. Solo should have performed at least as well as Rogue One, and that is too bad.
The movie was solid, so why didn’t it do better financially? Let’s just get right to the crux of the matter. Ms. Kennedy has been on a mission to feminize Star Wars. I don’t mind that so much actually, so don’t scream at me in the comments. I like strong female leads. I think the original trilogy was a product of it’s era with strong leading men and soft and squishy females. Hey Kathleen, we all get it, the 21st Century is here, been here for 18 years in fact, it’s time to jettison the old way of thinking. I’m down with that.
The problem lies in that it seems her desire to introduce a wide range of social justice politics into the stories is MORE important than the stories themselves. She created a horrible division at Lucasfilm between those loyal to the franchise and her team she brought in after the Disney purchase. Rumor has it Disney wants her head on a platter but no one wants her job. Disney is getting exactly what it deserves in my opinion. When you pay 4 billion dollars for a product that has proven over 40 years to shit nothing but gold bricks, you don’t put some radical yahoo at the helm that alienates the fan base and changes the dynamic for the sake of her own politics.
Ms. Kennedy sits at the top of Lucasfilm, she doesn’t get to blame anyone but herself for the backlash from fans or the softer earnings. The sad thing is, she could have had it all. There is no reason she could not have created all of these great female characters in the four movies they have made in the Disney era, and still focused on the Star Wars story and legacy themes that made the franchise one of the biggest and arguably best in history. In fact it seemed she pulled it all off in the first effort, Force Awakens. But Last Jedi went a bit off the rails. When the social politics are MORE important than the characters and stories, the fans will retaliate, and so they did. She signed off on all of this stuff, she gets to shoulder the consequences.
OK Spoiler ALERT:
The movie has been out since May 10, you should have seen it by now if you are worried about spoilers. Darth Maul makes a cameo in this movie. Yes this movie takes place AFTER the events of Phantom Menace. 20 years later most likely. So you can watch the animated series Clone Wars to get some insight on how he may have survived, but in Star Wars canon, he did. The ending of this film leads us to believe another is coming, not another Han Solo movie but perhaps this is leading us to the Obi-Won movie that is rumored.
Also Lando is romantically involved with a droid. Seems a bit off character for Lando and I am not sure I buy into the notion that particular character would travel that particular path. But who the hell really knows, right? After all this takes place a long time ago in a galaxy far far away…
I do hope that the under-performance of Solo doesn’t ruin the opportunity for more of these back story movies about the characters George Lucas brought to life in the first three films. Just fire Kennedy already and get someone in charage that understands what Star Wars IS and what it IS NOT. Then Disney will get back to making a billion or more per picture.
I prepped a list of my favorite Star Wars movies again and if you read my last Star Wars review you will see this list has dramatically changed. I watched both Awakens and Last Jedi recently and Awakens still holds my attention, but Last Jedi is falling down.
Here they are in my highly subjective order:
- Star Wars Episode V: The Empire Strikes Back, 1980 ★★★★★
- Star Wars Episode IV: A New Hope, 1977 ★★★★★
- Star Wars Episode VI: Return of the Jedi, 1983 ★★★★☆
- Star Wars Episode VII: The Force Awakens, 2015 ★★★★☆
- Solo: A Star Wars Story, 2018 ★★★★☆
- Rouge One: A Star Wars Story, 2016 ★★★★☆
- Star Wars Episode I: The Phantom Menace, 1999 ★★★★☆
- Star Wars Episode III: Revenge of the Sith, 2005 ★★★☆☆
- Star Wars Episode VIII: The Last Jedi, 2017 ★★★☆☆
- Star Wars Episode II: Attack of the Clones, 2002 ★★★☆☆