Monday, May 28, 2018

The Han Solo Movie

So, the Han Solo movie is the Star Wars movie that no one really cared about.  Honestly, I wasn't expecting much out of it.  It was not a movie I really needed to see.  In my opinion, there are far more interesting Star Wars characters to make a prequel movie about, far more interesting Star Wars stories to tell, and all kinds of new and original movies they could be making with the Star Wars name and universe.  And I was somewhat following the troubles with production of the movie with mild amusement as well.  My expectations for this movie were so unbelievably low, that when it turned out to be ok-ish, I was pleasantly surprised.  Is it a great movie.  Not really.  Is it a movie that needed to be made?  Nope.  Is it a story that needed to be told?  No, especially since there are several books/comics that already exist, telling the Han Solo origin story.  Did it entertain me for a couple hours?  Yeah.  There were a few pretty good jokes.  A few good action scenes.  The train heist and the Kessel Run are probably the best.  Did it add anything to the character, show any new sides, give us something new or interesting to think about while watching Han Solo in the movies that take place after this one?  Not really.  They played it very safe, and that was kind of boring, really.  Why tell a Han Solo origin story, if you're not going to add any new dimensions to his character?

My biggest problem with the movie was that it never did anything unexpected.  The Force Awakens, that did some pretty unexpected things.  Rogue One, that did some pretty unexpected things.  The Last Jedi, love it or hate it, did some pretty unexpected things.  Solo... Solo was a pretty by the numbers heist movie that took no risks, and didn't try to be anything new or original.  It's a movie I've seen a thousand times before with different titles.  Honestly, heist movies are so done to death that you kind of really need a bit more than Han Solo, and a Star Wars setting to make me care much about it.

Through most of the movie I was thinking, well, this is okay, I guess, but why does it exist?  Money.  that's why it exists.  Just so Disney can get more of my money.  But, judging by the box office performance for its opening weekend, that is sort of backfiring in their face.  No one is really going to see the movie.  There are several reasons why this could be, but I think the biggest is that Disney REALLY overestimated how much people were going to care about seeing a Han Solo movie.  They didn't really do their research and just sort of assumed that everyone was going to be lining up to see this one, when, as the box office numbers are reflecting, no one really cared to begin with, and would probably have preferred a different Star Wars movie.  The trailers didn't really do this movie justice.  If you look back at Rogue One, a lot of people, myself included, were pumped to see that movie.  The marketing for that movie showed off all of the things I was hoping to see in a Star Wars movie.  This one, the marketing was pretty subdued, and never really showed off much that looked very interesting in the movie.  Solo is a lot better a movie than it looks, going by the marketing alone, but still, I just don't think there was enough audience interest to begin with to justify making the movie in the first place.

That being said, I did enjoy it.  Donald Glover is PERFECT as Lando, he even gets the voice down eerily well.  Guy whose name I couldn't spell to save my life as Han Solo was okay.  I mean, there are better actors out there.  I think the problem with his performance is that he is supposed to be the center of the movie, but he is surrounded by people who steal every scene from him, because they just have more presence as actors than he does.  Woody Harrelson and Donald Glover pretty much steal every single scene they're in, which leaves very little for Han Solo to shine through in his own movie.  The movie has a lot of cool action scenes that are really well shot.  But the love story is pretty weak, because, well, Amelia Clark is kind of a terrible actress.  She's definitely the weakest link in the cast, and her character just doesn't have much going for her other than generic love interest because reasons.

Anyway, going back to my post on Star Wars movie rankings, I'd probably put this one at about equal to Return of the Jedi or The Last Jedi.  It's not great.  It's not horrible.  It's just kind of average as far as Star Wars movies go.  It's maybe a little bit better than The Last Jedi, if anything, but by such a miniscule amout that it doesn't really matter.  It could have been MUCH worse, but it also could have been better too.   I hope Disney learns from this experience, and starts making some more original Star Wars movies, and maybe listens to fans when they collectively say "meh" at the announcement of your next big thing.  Star Wars has a pretty large built in audience, BUT you still have to make movies that the fans want to see, and, well, they kind of didn't with this one.

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