“A hundred and ninety years old? You look great! – Han Solo
If it feels like we’ve been waiting 190 years for the titular character to have his own movie, then your wish finally came through this weekend. Solo: A Star Wars Story was the next installment in the Disney Star Wars Anthology Series – and it came in with a… well bang is to strong of a word, so maybe just one “pew” out of the customary “pew pew” sounds of a blaster going off.
Grossing $85 million over the weekend ($103m if you include Monday Memorial Day), it wasn’t a bad haul domestically. However, internationally, where Disney was expecting to make a large part of its earnings (Rogue One took in almost half of it’s $1.056 billion from international markets), it made a paltry $65 million. You can chalk it up to the lack of international stars in Solo vs Rogue One, or you can chalk it up to the story itself.
Billed as an origin meets heist story, Solo was a result of too many cooks in the production kitchen. Things fans would have wanted to see more of (Han and Chewie, Han and Lando, Han and the Falcon) were given not quite enough service in favor of newer story elements (Han and the home planet of Corellia, Han and Beckett, Han and [insert random character here]).
For all it’s mundaness and production faults, Solo was a fine movie, which is about the best thing one can say about it. It’s exciting, but not so exciting that you’re on the edge of your seat (although the famous Kessel Run lived up to its mythology). It’s a heist movie but also a western, and also a romance and also an action story.
It’s Indiana Jones, in space. Which is kind of what you want in a summer blockbuster movie. Star Wars fans have come to expect event type status when watching these movies. Every movie is critiqued, scrutinized, and individual frames are looked at with a magnifying glass.
Directors make entire movies about making the movie.
But SOLO felt more like a classic summer movie – fun and light enough to keep you entertained, and that’s about it. Nothing else really is needed, and honestly, it’s kind of nice to have it like that.
It’s a nice bit of fresh air in a franchise and universe that replies on heavy religious tropes (Jedi vs Sith) to keep it afloat. Diving into these characters, no matter what plot holes they are trying to cover up (Kessel Run, Lucky Dice, his last name), is always fun, for casual and loyal fans alike. It’s not a bad way to spend a couple of hours at the theater, and by the end of it, you’ll think – this was fine.
Which in and of itself is a victory.