'Solo' has exciting thrills and lush photography, but it's the first 'Star Wars' movie to make me worried about franchise fatigue

Disney‘Solo: A Star Wars Story.’
  • “Solo: A Star Wars Story” has some great moments, but as a whole is a flawed movie.
  • The third act of the movie has major problems and feels uninspired.
  • However, Alden Ehrenreich gives a worthy Solo performance, Donald Glover’s Lando is fantastic, and the movie beautifully shot.

Warning: Minor spoilers below.

The moment I realised “Solo: A Star Wars Movie” wasn’t for me was toward the two-hour mark of the movie, when I realised we were nowhere near the end.

Granted, there was about only 15 minutes left in the movie, but it felt like an eternity. I’ve had that feeling in many movies in my life – when it just won’t end. But never for a “Star Wars” movie.

“Solo” is not an awful movie, it just has a few awful parts that feel uninspired. This is particularly true in the third act of the movie.

In “Solo” (opening May 25), we follow the progression of Han Solo (Alden Ehrenreich) from a small-time hood on his home planet of Corellia, with dreams of being a great pilot cruising through the galaxy, to eventually becoming a space pirate.

There are thrilling action sequences, cinematographer Bradford Young (“Arrival”) gives the movie a beautiful look, there are fantastic performances by Ehrenreich and Joonas Suotamo as Chewbacca, and Donald Glover completely knocks it out of the park as Lando Calrissian.

But the movie crumbles following Han and the gang’s thrilling completion of the legendary Kessel Run. The conclusion of the movie is stale, filled with cliches, and tries too hard to set the foundation for future “Solo” movies by featuring one of the most random cameos you’ll ever see in a movie (more on that in a sec, but don’t worry, no spoilers).

That’s certainly not my only issue with the movie.

It starts with some really lame opening text that sets the stage. The worst piece is the use of the words “mean streets” in describing the planet Solo grew up on. And the movie at times tries a little too hard to make Han an idealistic jokester. Personally, I think this is less the leftover effect of Chris Miller and Phil Lord’s involvement in the movie as one-time directors, and more on eventual director Ron Howard’s vanilla style.

Lando calrissian han solo movieLucasfilmDonald Glover as Lando Calrissian is fantastic.

However, there are some great elements to the story, as well.

Young’s photography goes from smoky original “Blade Runner” vibe in the beginning to wide epic shots by the end. Glover’s Calrissian sounds like the actor who originally played him, Billy Dee Williams, and has a flawless style. He’s also paired with a sassy robot co-pilot, L3-37 (Phoebe Waller-Bridge) that is a total scene stealer. And Ehrenreich actually pulls off playing Solo, not so much by doing his best Harrison Ford impression, but instead showing us a different side of the character. This is how Solo was before the galaxy chewed up all the youthful optimism he had about life and spit him back out.

And we see the Millennium Falcon at its one-time pristine condition, which is a thrill to take in.

The biggest issue the movie has is that the screenwriters Lawrence and Jonathan Kasdan try to shoe-horn a plot twist at the end that is so unnecessary. In teasing a potential villain path for Han’s love interest in the movie, Qi’ra (Emilia Clarke), they bring back a character from the “Star Wars” saga that is a fan favourite, but is a bizarre choice to be included in this story. It certainly is going to make an uproar when general audiences see the movie, primarily because it feels so blatantly force fed.

Like all “Star Wars” movies, there will be those who will absolutely love this movie, and there are certainly things to enjoy about it. The supporting cast – filled with veterans like Woody Harrelson, Paul Bettany, Thandie Newton, and one character voiced by Jon Favreau – are all great and mesh perfectly with the leads.

But my fear is “Solo” shows signs that Disney/Lucasfilm are hitting a point where the beloved “Star Wars” universe could be headed to a watered-down moment. Is there a need to have a “Star Wars” movie released every single year, especially with multiple “Star Wars” series coming to Disney’s streaming service in the coming years?

To this point, all the movies released so far since Disney took over Lucasfilm have been enormous money makers, so obviously the studio won’t want to slow down. But “Solo” may be the first indication that it might be time to pump the brakes and take more time to focus on the stories, and make sure everything is right (especially the creatives involved) before making a movie.

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