There’s always a sliver of dread whenever someone contemplates making a prequel.
There’s so much that could go wrong and when you add one of the most iconic characters to ever twirl a pistol, the chances of failure go way, way up.
There’s a wealth of canon already available, after all. Do we really, really need to see younger, hotter, Han Solo traipsing about the galaxy? Yeah. We do.
There were a lot of ways this could go wrong. Even ignoring how much this fandom hates a prequel, you’ve got a cast of overly cocky, tragic backstory laden, kinda self-obsessed characters out for their own interests and agendas, and not overly concerned by the destruction in their wake.
And somehow, you’ve gotta drag them through the maelstrom of previous movie canon, being respectful to the book ‘verse and aware of fan service, and hit all the plot points required to get Han Solo from gutter rat to potential hero material. Not an easy task.
Thankfully, you also have L3-37. It’s when the Leia-bot shows up that this movie starts getting really, really good. She is sassy, she is headstrong and has all the traits that we loved most in our Princess-turned-General, with the additional superpower of being able to shift between hard-ass pilot and snarky, gossipy girlfriend in the blink of a robotic eye.
BB-8 can roll back, there’s a new alpha droid in the ‘verse. And she has exactly no time for any of your idiocy.
Look, ‘Solo’ probably isn’t going to make your ‘movie of the year’ status, but it’s fun in a cheesy, not taking itself too seriously kind of a way.
This isn’t an edge of your seat kinda deal, even if there’s a wealth of battles, intrigue and things going boom. If you’ve seen a few action flicks, then you can basically count out the beats here without much trouble.
That’s true of pretty much every action story ever made, though, but ‘Solo’ has an additional weight to shoulder: audience awareness.
The problem with prequels like ‘Solo’ is that you know the main character cannot die – the stakes are lower than in any other movie (excluding that last ‘Twilight’ one). Knowing Han’s future means it’s kinda easy to see how certain elements are going to play out, and long-terms fans might not find themselves really feeling the plot twists.
Still, ‘Solo’ is tropey, bad-boy-against-the-world fun with space travel. What’s not to enjoy?
The cinematography, unsurprisingly, is top-notch. It’s hard not to be dazzled by the landscapes and the artistry at play here, even if there’s a few niggling issues.
Brutal honesty: the lens flare as a trend needs to die. It was worked to death by the new ‘Star Trek’ franchise and not even a younger, hotter Han Solo can reanimate it. Make like a Disney princess and let it go.
The truth is ‘Solo’ is cheesy and ridiculous, and can’t quite hit the emotional heights of, say, ‘Rogue One’, because there’s simply too much established canon to create that kind of tension around Han.
But it’s still an enjoyable romp through the ‘Star Wars’ universe and a chance to learn more about true Jedi Dad of the ages, Chewbacca.
And if there’s a chance of more prequels, can we please get a ‘Leia learning to be a badass’ movie? Because there’s a whole ‘rogue Disney princess’ vibe that would be so much fun to see.