The unthinkable has happened. According to most box office reporters, Solo has become the first Star Wars Film to officially flop. Despite not being a huge super-fan of the franchise, I can’t deny I do enjoy most of the films and am deeply shocked that a Star Wars film hasn’t broken the box office. More surprising, however, was that the box office survived the new trilogy (Phantom Menace etc.) and instead fell apart on Solo, a film which I found to be thoroughly enjoyable.
After production issues, the original directors of the project left and Ron Howard was brought in to take over, and you really can see what fun he’s having, being able to finally direct a Star Wars movie. In an interview he stated how exciting it was to be able to access the incredible ‘Star Wars Toy Box’ that the franchise offers, and Howard has made Solo feel more like a fan-film than a blockbuster suffering from massive studio interference (as reports suggest). Shots inside the Millennium Falcon are clearly being filmed out of love for the ship as much as anything else, and this whole aura that the film gave off made it very pleasing to watch.
I also found the cast to be very enjoyable. Naturally most of the praise must go to Alden Ehrenreich, who’s portrayal as Hans Solo is brilliantly similar to the cocky nature of Harrison Ford. Similarly, Donald Glover is brilliant as the sly Lando Calrissian, and the two share many hilarious quips during a brilliant ‘space poker’ scene. I felt Emilia Clarke, a hugely talented actress, was slightly wasted in her role, as was Paul Bettany, but I did enjoy the gratuitous appearance of Warwick Davies, as well as a creature in the opening scene that reminded me of Roz from Monsters Inc.
What was perhaps the best call for Solo was to make the stakes much smaller than most Star Wars films, a winning formula also demonstrated by Spider-Man: Homecoming. In Spider-Man’s film, he was saving Brooklyn, not the entire Universe. Similarly, in Solo, the action follows a small group of criminals pulling off an impossible heist for a renegade criminal. It was refreshing that a Star Wars film DIDN’T have the entire Empire after the protagonists, and this worked well in making the camp action fun and really enjoyable.
Overall I was very surprised by how much I liked the film. While there are some pacing issues and a fairly flat third act, the action sequences are fantastic and the film showed no sign of the production issues it suffered from. I felt this film was just as strong a standalone film as Rogue One was, and see no reason why it shouldn’t have shared the same success.