"I've got a bad feeling about this" is what I thought given this film had no reason to be made, and that fact should have been made more obvious given the troubled production that took place and the negative testimony from the lead actor himself. If there's anything worse than a sequel, it's a prequel, which is a lesson that Star Wars itself has taught us time and time again, and origin stories are much too familiar to us nowadays. It's strange that Disney would think it a good idea to make a Solo movie so far past the character's relevancy and after they've already pushed away the fans who ever grew up with the character at this point, and it also undermines Harrison Ford's claim that the character's arc was complete, essentially meaning there was no reason to give him more screen time. There's nothing good left that Han Solo has to offer the audience, as his whole story's been told in one way or another, yet they insisted on dedicating a whole movie to things we already were told happened decades ago.
Alden Ehrenreich did a terrible job emulating Han Solo. While the appearance is acceptable, his demeanor, attitude, and voice are very off-putting, and frankly I'd be more forgiving of him looking less the part if it meant he nailed the personality. The original Han was a smug but charismatic jerk whereas this Han is simply an arrogant fool. The delivery of lines sounds way too chipper whereas Ford more fit the gruff cool guy character type.
Chewbacca was at least handled well, though that's damning with faint praise since it's kind of hard to screw up a one-dimensional beast type character that speaks in Wookie noises. The scenes with Chewie are easily the best in the movie as his comedic relief worked well in contrast to the cringeworthy surface level social-commentary riddled comedy throughout the rest of the film. Chewy and Han's first meeting while contrived was one of the few fun scenes in the film that while short-lived offered an acceptable explanation to their quick friendship. Chewy's interactions with Han are quite fun, as is seeing him beat up baddies for once.
One of the biggest remaining issues is that there's nothing new this film has to offer of any significance. The original Star Wars told all that needed be told of the character, and this film simply shows that which was unnecessary for the story in the first place stretched out to an excruciating 135 minutes. Much like the previous spin-off, Rogue One, Solo serves no purpose beyond simple fan service, and worse yet it fails to tell an original story with only a select few exclusive characters and lacks at least the excuse of being a unique take on Star Wars, as this one feels like a basic Star Wars film with the most interesting technologies and elements stripped away. Where The Last Jedi at least had visual interest, this film unfortunately doesn't even have dumb action going for it as the vast majority of the film is people talking. I'd think a movie which exists just to show us what had been told or assumed before would understand the big rule of cinema, "Show, Don't Tell." I nearly fell asleep during this film as it played out like a television melodrama on basic cable rather than a quirky space opera. There's such a massive emphasis on romance in this film, which I found bizarre given it being a prequel, sucking the whole 'will they, won't they?' out of it. If you've watched the other Star Wars films featuring Han, you already know the answer to it. The twists and turns along the way are meaningless as you know the only two characters of substance survive. There's even a truly embarrassing cameo from none other than Darth Maul from The Phantom Menace late into the film, which is almost hysterical to even imagine. It sounds like a preposterous joke, but Darth Maul makes an appearance in this film which I assume takes place after the events after Phantom Menace given how long before the original trilogy that film took place, and given how much Disney had tried to distance themselves from the prequels and expanded universe prior makes me wonder if they've doubled back and brought back the Darth Maul story from the Clone Wars television series. There's very little respect for any of the prequel films, so it almost seems like a meme or a gag on the audience to toss in the wink to a character so few cared about from a despised film. My guess is that they're going to make a standalone Obi Wan Kenobi film with Ewan McGregor where he and Maul have a rematch, and this film simply tried to set that up by any means possible even though it's horribly convenient considering how supposedly expansive and endless the Star Wars universe is. It truly seems like the "A Star Wars Story" marks derivative spin-off material that pays little respect to its classic source material, and I think at this point it would be literal insanity to expect better out of Disney at this point, as it seems they struggle at making original material and thus feel the need to fall back on the source material constantly.
As if the story wasn't bad enough, the movie lacks any intriguing style. It truly feels like Star Wars has run out of steam, this film feeling as lifeless as any franchise gets once it goes on too long. At no point did this film take any risk, going for only the simplest and most overdone tropes in existence, and never going beyond mediocre even at its best moments. New characters to this film are treated much like the red shirt guys from the Star Trek series; simply expendable pawns with no significance or weight upon anything. The pacing is also incredibly jarring, jutting back and forth between low-energy action sequences and extended dialogue sequences, with the most exciting action sequence taking place within the first quarter of the film, giving the film a dreadful sinking feeling throughout it's bizarrely long runtime. Whilst I commended Blade Runner 2049 for being the most entertaining boring film ever, this film is even more boring and lacks any of the atmosphere or world building that 2049 had. This feels not like a film made with a vision, but rather a product designed by a company with no purpose beyond basic existence to generate sales for merchandise from bumping these few characters back into relevance.
The humor in this film is mostly cringeworthy and lame, making it the second cringiest Star Wars film to The Last Jedi, and much for the same reasons too, just to a lesser degree. While the presence of humor itself didn't feel jarring given the lighter tone of this film overall, it nonetheless missed the vast majority of the time, and simply gets more of a pass for being less insulting in this film. There are plenty of one liners from the main cast, and I feel none of them were impressive, especially those from the staple comic relief droid in this film, whom I'll get to later.
The film's comedic droid, L3-37, is probably the worst character of the entire series. First of all, yes, the character is named "L3-37" as in "Leet" as in "Elite" in the titular "leetspeak," (though usually spelled "1337" with all the numbers representing letters) which is now a classic internet meme with its usage dating back to the early 1980s. What makes this droid unbearably cringeworthy is how amazingly "woke" she is. It's hilarious that this one droid from a long time ago in a galaxy far, far away is essentially a Tumblrina feminist from the 21st century's planet Earth. Her literal stated purpose in the film is to free her oppressed robot brethren, of which I would only accept if it were truly being done in a satirical manner. Honestly, I've never understood the offense given to the treatment of robots in films as they are literally objects, no matter how intricate. While there are many lovable robotic characters, I cannot reasonably equate one to that of an animal, so this makes the equality argument equally annoying in such instances. The only other time I've seen this argument made is in the unintentionally hilarious independent PC game "Murder" by Peter Moorhead which is simply no more than 20 minutes of questioning the morality behind destroying a robot before being told it's bad and you should feel bad, essentially. The robot is incredibly sassy and aggressively righteous, and her attitude towards the supposedly oppressive masses never comes with any threat or consequences, essentially negating their own point of this oppression. If they wanted to sell me on this robotic oppression, then they had to have gone full American History X with it, or at least Animatrix. She's a strong, independent robot who knows Lando has the hots for her, but she's too cool to have sex with him, which is basically what she says in a less direct way in the actual film, and yes, she explicitly states it would be possible for humans to have sex with her. In an even more bizarre instance, she utilizes a tool to cut a fence at one part, with a blatant innuendo tossed in when she asks the others to look away lest she get performance anxiety. In this hot political climate, Disney has strongly chosen to side with the radical liberals, pushing their mind-numbing nonsense to the Nth degree here, and it is simply embarrassing.
Lando was also lackluster in this film, and actually one of the most disappointing aspects since there was actually a precedent set given his importance in The Empire Strikes Back. There was a huge missed opportunity here for great interaction between young Solo and Lando, however Lando's simply there for nothing other than his ship, simply taking a backseat to Solo and whining about his circumstances throughout.
The music was also the most bland in the series, whereas the prequels at least had incredibly exciting tracks to subsidize the sub-par content. Music plays a huge part in excitement, and this film's soundtrack merely seemed to be trying to lull the audience to sleep.
Please stop ruining Star Wars. It has been 35 years since the last good Star Wars film.
Review by john robinson (Fizzle_Talks) from the Internet Movie Database.