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Wick's Review

Created Jun 09, 2018 01:43PM PST • Edited Jun 10, 2018 11:43AM PST

  1. Quality
  2. Good 3.0

    Lesser Star Wars is still enough for a Saturday matinee’s rip-roaring yarn – the serial essence of Star Wars. George Lucas was inspired by Saturday serials from a long time ago in an America that feels very far away. But Lucas was MIA for this episode, so the Force isn’t with Han Solo’s origin story, literally or figuratively. No Force, no Jedi knights, albeit Solo does have one cocksure pilot, a wookie and the Millennium Falcon.

    Yet the mistakes add up: colorless palette, weak supporting cast, lots of twists and thrills but zero suspense, and several unfortunate character choices, including no charming droids, one mawkish droid-love bit aside.

    However, Solo: A Star Wars Story is more than a little enjoyable. It features a great new Han Solo in moviestar Alden Ehrenreich, and rolls out John Williams’ supremely terrific Star Wars Theme as needed. That’s plenty for a hot afternoon matinee. Future episodes will be better, so long as the Force is with them.

  3. Good 3.0
    Strong Lead. Weak Supporting Cast.

    Alden Ehrenreich’s young Han Solo is sufficiently charming and kinda cocksure. Somewhat as in his beguiling appearance in Hail, Caesar, he’s initially unimpressive, after which his charisma grows.

    As to the actor who originated this role, Han Solo may have been Harrison Ford’s breakout role, but in the grand sweep of his superstar career it’s only third or fourth. Indiana Jones is clearly Number 1, followed by his Jack Ryan of the Patriot Games and even his POTUS aboard Air Force One or his Dr. Richard Kimble from The Fugitive. Does that say more about Ford or Solo? I think the latter.

    • Emilia Clarke isn’t convincing as a femme fatale or compelling as a love interest.
    • Woody Harrelson is less than scintillating as an intergalactic bandit.
    • Donald Glover’s Lando Calrissian doesn’t hold a candle to Billy Dee Williams. It’s not just that Glover is less handsome. After all, no actor is more handsome than Billie Dee Williams. It’s that Glover is wan when he should be wow.
    • Thandie Newton is always great, always.
    • Phoebe Waller-Bridge is more irritating than ingratiating as an SJW droid. She’s almost in Jar Jar Binks territory on the anti-charisma scale.
    • Joonas Suotamo paws around in the Chewbacca costume.
    • Paul Bettany is less than dread-inducing in the essential role of supervillain. Darth Vader he ain’t.
  4. Male Stars Very Good 3.5
  5. Female Stars OK 2.5
  6. Female Costars Barely OK 2.0
  7. Male Costars Good 3.0
  8. Good 3.0

    The opening title cards sit on screen with nary a crawl, the first indication that Solo is lesser Star Wars.

    The curious disappointments don’t end there. For instance, the chromatic palette of Ron Howard’s film is largely colorless. Why? More significantly, the film eschews charming droids and major family drama, pillars of legendary Star Wars past. It also stoops to conquer social justice, awkwardly. Marvelous it ain’t.

  9. Direction Very Good 3.5
  10. Play OK 2.5

    Not only is the Force MIA in Solo, there is no epic family drama, the secret sauce of all great Star Wars.

  11. Music Great 4.0
  12. Visuals Very Good 3.5
  13. Content
  14. Risqué 1.9
  15. Sex Innocent 1.5
  16. Violence Brutal 2.6
  17. Rudeness Salty 1.7
  18. Fantasy 4.3
  19. Circumstantial Surreal 3.0
  20. Biological Fantasy 5.0
  21. Physical Fantasy 5.0


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