Eppler: "Solo" is enjoyable, but disposable "Star Wars"
"Solo: A Star Wars Story" tells the backstory of an iconic character. FOX34's James Eppler says it's fun, but not memorable.
These one-off "Star Wars" movies not part of the numerical order films have been playing out like genre exercises - while "Rogue One" was a "Dirty Dozen" type war picture (and one of my favorite Star Wars movies), "Solo" leans hard into being a Western - complete with showdowns, seedy saloons and even a thrilling train robbery.
You can think of "Solo" as the first fifteen minutes of "Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade" stretched into a feature-length movie. Like River Phoenix in that film, Alden Ehrenreich smartly doesn't try to do an Harrison Ford impersonation, making the character his own with flashes of recognizable snark the character is known for.
The story involves Solo falling in with a band of outlaws and making friends with a certain fuzzball. The supporting cast is aces: Woody Harrelson as the outlaw leader, Game of Thrones' Emilia Clarke as a love interest with secrets, and Donald Glover is a scene-stealer as young Lando Calrissean.
Sure, it's fun seeing how certain characters met, how they got ahold of certain things we recognize and all these references are punctuated by a stinger John Williams' "Star Wars" score as if to say, "Ehhhh? Remember that? Yeeeeah, this is where that comes from. Cool, huh?" The movie is just as obvious about its foreshadowing with dialogue about a subtle as siren - signaling "THIS MIGHT BE IMPORTANT LATER."
Director Ron Howard and a talented team of editors cobbled together something pretty good out of what was reportedly a mess of a first draft that got the first directors fired. "Solo" is an entertaining, if disposable "Star Wars" entry. I don't have much interest in seeing more from these versions of these characters - save maybe for Glover's.
But it may be a moot point. The box office numbers may make this "Solo" the solo installment of this series.
EPPLER'S RATING: * * *
* * * * * Incredible - One of the best of the year
* * * * Excellent - Touches greatness with only minor quibbles
* * * Good - Plenty to like, definitely worth seeing
* * Mediocre - You can do better
* Awful - The worst, an insult to movies