SOLO: A STAR WARS STORY SPOILERS - 7 Things That Worked And 3 Things That Didn't

SOLO: A STAR WARS STORY <font color=red>SPOILERS</font> - 7 Things That Worked And 3 Things That Didn't

Solo: A Star Wars Story is Star Wars at its finest but while some things worked perfectly, there were a few things which didn't quite click. Hit the jump for a look at what worked and what disappointed...

After Star Wars: The Last Jedi divided the fanbase, Lucasfilm needs Solo: A Star Wars Story to resonate with fans and not disappoint. The critical response to the movie has been mostly positive and early box office projections are good, so chances are it will be a hit but what about the spinoff works and in what ways does it ultimately disappoint? Well, that's what we're going to take an in-depth look at here. 

Needless to say, major spoilers follow from this point on but even if you haven't checked the movie out yet, you may want to take a look at these points so you can prepare yourselves for what's coming.

Solo may have been besieged by behind the scenes issues following the firing of Phil Lord and Chris Miller but Ron Howard has steered this character's origin story in the best direction and there's a lot here which sets the stage for what's come next so click on the "View List" button for our breakdown. 

Did Work: Alden Ehrenreich As Han Solo

I'd only seen Alden Ehrenreich in Hail, Caesar! before Solo: A Star Wars Story and while he delivered a fine performance there, nothing about him screamed "Han Solo" to me. In fact, I couldn't really picture anyone other than Harrison Ford in the role but what the actor does here is nothing short of fantastic and he both homages his predecessor's performance while also delivering his own, unique spin.

That's the best possible thing to do when taking on a part made famous (well, iconic) by someone else and there's just enough Harrison in Alden's performance to make Han feel familiar while also delivering some new traits which ensure what he's doing doesn't feel like little more than a poor imitation.


Didn't Work: An Opening Crawl That Isn't An Opening Crawl

Rogue One made it clear that these spinoff movies won't be utilising the opening crawl made famous by the core saga but then Solo goes and puts three paragraphs of text on screen and after that, this adventure for the smuggler might as well have had one! Don't get me wrong, this really isn't a big deal but it's a distracting way to kick things off and an argument could be made that it wasn't needed.

On the other hand, kicking this movie off with an opening crawl definitely would have been a little weird but here's hoping Lucasfilm finds a less clunky way to handle exposition moving forward.


Did Work: How Han Became Han Solo

I've seen some critics complain that while Solo spends plenty of time exploring how Han got his name, gun, and ship, it fails to explain how he became the character we meet in A New Hope. That's utter nonsense as he clearly has a character arc here and things play out in a way that makes it clear why he becomes so jaded and struggles to trust anyone following this action-packed adventure with Chewie. 

While it's true that he's not the Han who shoots down Greedo by the time the credits roll, that's clearly because we've yet to see him spend years going through all sorts of misadventures as a smuggler and his feelings towards the Rebellion and Empire make much more sense after he got to see things from the frontline and realised that nothing either side is doing is going to get him where he wants to be.


Did Work: That Mind-Blowing Cameo

I don't think any of us ever saw this coming. As Qi'ra reaches out to the mysterious leader of the Crimson Dawn, we see a holographic figure wearing a cloak who I initially assumed was the Empire. After all, it would make sense for him to use criminals like Dryden Vos to do his bidding but the reality is that it's Darth Maul who secretly controls this group and seeing him here is mind-blowing!

He's clearly a bit older and has robotic legs (which ties into his animated appearances) but this is definitely Darth Maul and I have to give Lucasfilm some serious credit for this unexpected surprise. With any luck, the studio has a plan for how best to use him from here regardless of whether that's in a Solo sequel, the Boba Fett movie, or Obi-Wan Kenobi's long overdue spinoff. Time will tell, I guess. 


Didn't Work: The Betrayals

While Qi'ra and Tobias Beckett betrayals came as something of a surprise to me, they're not actually that hard to see coming if you stop and think about it. Killing both of them off would have been too Rogue One-ish and something had to happen to make Han the jaded smuggler we met in 1977.

Keeping Qi'ra alive is a curious decision and her story arc will have to play out somewhere because it won't make any sense otherwise. After all, she's clearly loyal to Darth Maul and it sounds like he may want revenge on Han for what happened to Dryden. Either way, this isn't a particularly big complaint.


Did Work: Han, Meet Chewie

Chewbacca's first scene is nothing short of perfect as we learn that he's the "beast" the Empire is keeping chained up to feed deserters to. Covered in mud and clearly angry about being locked up and treated like an animal, Chewie quickly takes aim at Han but is surprised to learn that this young soldier speaks some Wookie and a plan is quickly formed for these unlikely allies to make their escape. 

From their, friendship blossoms and it's easy to see why and how these two become partners. They're both orphans in their own way and need someone by their side and that's what they find in each other.


Did Work: Ron Howard: Saviour

Near the start of the movie, there's a couple of scenes with Han which feel like they might have been improvised. In fact, they feel very Lord and Miller-ish but if that's what this whole spinoff would have ended up like, thank God they were fired. A Jump Street approach to this franchise really would not have worked and so we should all be grateful to Ron Howard coming in and saving the day. 

As I stated in my review, the filmmaker has delivered a superb movie which feels like classic Star Wars and I for one would love to see him return to the franchise somewhere down the line. After all, if he could do work this great after all that behind the scenes chaos, just imagine what he'd deliver with a decent amount of prep time. Move over Han because Ron is actually the true hero in this film.


Didn't Work: Wasted Characters

Whenever these spinoffs feature characters we've not seen in the main trilogy, we should probably accept there's a very good chance they'll die to explain why they don't show up there. Despite that, it was still ridiculous for Thandie Newton's Val to be killed off in such short order and that was a real waste.

The same could arguably be said in regards to what happens to L3-37. Her goodbye may be extremely emotional but when the door is so clearly open to spinoffs, simply making her part of the Millennium Falcon isn't quite the same and there's surely more that could be done with her. Alas, it is what is it.


Did Work: Donald Glover's Lando Calrissian

Heading into Solo: A Star Wars Story, I'd heard a lot of good things about Donald Glover's Lando Calrissian but wasn't sure what to make of him when he showed up on screen for the first time. Initially, it felt like he was simply impersonating Billy Dee Williams but as the movie unfolded, I think it's fair to say that not only does he steal the show but he's actually the better Lando of the two (really).

Learning more about his and Han's past not only explains a lot about the character but it also makes it clear why he betrayed his so-called friend to the Empire all those years after this adventure. While I don't think his own spinoff movie is necessary, it would definitely be good to see Glover return.


Did Work: Sequel Set Up

Surprisingly, Solo sets the stage for a sequel in a lot of ways and none of them feel forced. There's nothing to say we'll ever get a follow-up, of course, but Qi'ra's story remains pretty open-ended and seeing Han embark on the mission which sees him ditch Jabba's loot would be a great deal of fun. 

Ultimately, I guess this boils down to whether or not the movie is a box office hit but it would actually be a shame for this to be a one-off and there's really no reason why Disney and Lucasfilm couldn't start releasing more than one Star Wars film a year the same way Marvel does with its own MCU-set tales.

What did you think about Solo: A Star Wars Story? Share your thoughts in the comments section.

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