4.5 out of 5
I’m writing this movie review late for a reason…I wanted to see if a theory that I’ve believed for some time is actually true in regards to movie reviews and how the media portrays them.
The short answer to that theory / question is: YES.
Here’s the theory: In spite of what fans think, in spite of what the rotten tomatoes score it has, and in spite of what otherwise might be true to your eyes — the media already has its mind made up in regards to a movie’s quality and how it should perform — and will push that narrative no matter what is happening in reality. Some might argue they do this no matter what the topic is — but since this is a movie review — we’ll stick with that.
Here’s the media narrative around “Solo:” it was in big trouble when Kathleen Kennedy fired the original directors deep into production, and brought in Ron Howard to clean up their mess. The movie’s main actor: Alden Ehrenreich, is no Harrison Ford (who is?), and was going to be a miserable failure in trying to recapture what Ford was able to produce. Then, BEFORE the movie came out — the box office numbers were reportedly tracking low, and various reasons began to circulate as to why…The most common being, people weren’t going to like it due to Star Wars Fatigue, apathy and/or anger were still simmering after “The Last Jedi” had been blasted by Star Wars fans, the supposed Social Justice messages, along with it was being released too close to other big box office productions — such as “Avengers: Infinity War,” and “Deadpool 2.”
Despite what looked like a very interesting trailer and the excitement / curiosity I had going on in my head regarding this film — when I went to the preview a couple of weeks ago — I was resigned to what was being reported: That I wouldn’t like this film, I was tired of Star Wars movies, and that after seeing “Avengers: Infinity War” this was going to pale in comparison. Funny thing happened though…I really liked this movie. I mean, I REALLY liked it. I enjoyed it just as much — if not more so — than “Infinity War,” and it was, in my humble opinion, as good as any of the newly released Disney Star Wars films.
In watching it — not once did I flinch with Ehrenreich as Solo. In fact, I really liked him in the role. Is he Harrison Ford? No. But again, who is? Still, he was very good, he looked comfortable, and I felt as the movie wore on — he became the character that we all have loved since he first appeared on the screen in 1977. Next on the list — if no one had mentioned this film was supposed to be a mess since it changed directors, and had numerous re-shoots, I would have never even had that thought enter my mind. I did not detect any of that — at all. Third up, I found I wasn’t tired of Star Wars, “The Last Jedi” didn’t enter into my head at all (although I really liked that movie as well), and finally, the social justice messages that people try to either force into a movie or imagine being there — were mysteriously missing (in fact, those moments if that’s what you call them — were used for comedic purposes).
The bottom line is this: “Solo” is a really good movie. It’s action packed, it moves along at a great pace from beginning to end, the acting is good and the story is strong. Most importantly — it felt like a Star Wars movie to me, in much the same way that “The Force Awakens” and “Rogue One” did. It truly felt like we were learning about Han’s past, as well as his erstwhile partner, Chewbacca. And as for the group of people I watched it with? They really seemed to enjoy it as well…In point of fact, there were two — TWO — moments in the film when people applauded and even shouted their approval as the film unfolded. People left buzzing about what they saw, and were excited for more.
So how is it that “Solo” is flopping at the box office, and is under performing when compared to the recent Star Wars releases? My explanation for that is simple: For months, the movie media has been telling everyone the movie was a mess and was not going to be good. So why is anyone shocked when after all the bad press in the build up — it doesn’t exactly burn up the ticket booths? If you’re told something is going to be bad — for a long time — are you going to be excited to give it a try? The shame of it all is — this movie didn’t deserve that. It’s a good film, and fits really nicely with all of the other Star Wars films to date, and people not going due to the drum beat of negativity surrounding it are missing out. Period.
Now, if you’ve been holding out because you’ve been one of those people, trust me when I tell you — you will like this movie — especially if you’re a Star Wars fan. Go see it. I can’t wait to see where Han’s adventures take us next, and am really excited to see where the story with the surprise appearance at the end of the movie goes.