Had I seen it before: No.
What IMDb says: During an adventure into the criminal underworld, Han Solo meets his future copilot Chewbacca and encounters Lando Calrissian years before joining the Rebellion.
– At least one action/adventure movie
– At least one movie in theaters
– At least one movie directed by someone who’s won the Best Director Academy Award
Why I picked it: I actually meant to see this one a little while ago as it’s just one of those movies that you’re sort of expected to go see. Even without that factor though, I can still say I was excited about this movie. I’ve been liking most of the newer Star Wars movies and Han Solo has always been a fun character so it was on my list anyway.
What I liked about it: There’s a lot of adventure in the movie and it is delivers the kind of fun that you expect from a Star Wars movie. Donald Glover is wonderful as Lando and Alden Ehrenreich embodies the same Han spirit we know and love.
What I didn’t like about it: Ok so I really wish I could come up with more positives for this movie but it’s hard. I really don’t consider it to be a bad movie but it’s just that it’s on the same level as a bunch of other fun action movies. It’s not an exceptionally good movie.
I think the underlying issue I have here is that the Han Solo of this movie is too similar to the Han Solo of other Star Wars movies. One of the fun things about a prequel is showing how characters became who they are in later movies. Heaven knows Star Wars Episodes 1-3 are far from perfect but at least they start with an Anakin Skywalker that is nothing like Darth Vader. This transformation is what makes the movies interesting. I would argue that most interesting movies, prequel or not, have this sense of transformation in their main protagonist.
Han Solo: A Star Wars Story doesn’t give us any interesting insight into who Han Solo is or why he is that way. Sure, maybe we learn a little bit about how he met Chewy and Lando, but the fundamental core of who Han Solo is remains completely stagnant throughout this movie. It is the story of an egotistical pilot who gets into shenanigans… being an egotistical pilot who gets into shenanigans. The new supporting characters Beckett and Qi’Ra are entertaining enough, but none of them are really compelling enough to make up for this fatal flaw.
The movie just seems devoid of real human emotion. At one point (SEMI-SPOLIER) a character loses someone close to them in a botched Han Solo mission. It would have been a FANTASTIC chance to explore how this death was all for nothing and how much that sucks, and caused more tension between Han and some of his other crew. The movie doesn’t embrace this opportunity though, instead choosing to gloss over the character death and just focus on the next mission at hand. The movie as a whole just never really punched me in the gut and made me feel something.
Will I watch it again: Maybe? I mean I wouldn’t necessarily oppose seeing it again, but I feel like there are other movies that can scratch that action/adventure itch which I prefer.