For someone like me who never gave a damn about Star Wars nor ever understood its appeal in the film community, Rogue One was truly an unexpected surprise. An action-packed, delightfully dark & mostly entertaining blockbuster, I actually found it way better than the main episodes of the saga even though it had no valid reason to exist.

Rogue One was the first entry in what became the Star Wars anthology series, a selection of spin-off films that are independent from the episodic saga and serve as standalone chapters in the vast mythology of tales set in a galaxy far, far away. Solo arrives as the second Star Wars anthology film, exploring the origin story of Han Solo.

A space western of sorts filled with cartoonish creatures, Solo: A Star Wars Story brims with a kinetic vibe and yet nearly everything about it is so dull, predictable & uninteresting that it left me indifferent from start to finish. Despite featuring a good dose of action, there never really is anything at stake here as the filmmakers opt for a risk-free route.

High On Films in collaboration with Avanté

Set nearly a decade before the events of A New Hope, Solo follows young Han as he escapes from his captivity and embarks on an adventure that leads him to his future co-pilot Chewbacca as they team up with other criminals to pull off a heist and enlist the help of a notorious gambler Lando Calrissian who takes them to the Millennium Falcon.

Directed by Ron Howard (best known for A Beautiful Mind & Rush), the entire film is one bland segment stacked on top of another. The action is involving at times but only in bits n pieces. Characters are poorly sketched, interactions are more or less hollow, relationships are undercooked, and motivations are absurd or unconvincing or both.

Though the film strives for a lighthearted extravaganza, much of its attempts at humour fall flat. What’s supposed to be funny isn’t funny. What’s supposed to be serious doesn’t come off as serious. All in all, the film just wanders from one place to another. And since the characters aren’t remotely interesting, we don’t really care about their predicament.

There isn’t much wrong in the technical department, for the set pieces are finely carved & wonderfully detailed but that’s expected considering its high budget. Camerawork is energetic though that’s pretty much a given in a Ron Howard film. Its overlong runtime is severely felt plus there are scenes that linger on for longer than necessary. John Powell’s score isn’t all bad though.

As for the performances, Solo features a capable cast in Alden Ehrenreich, Woody Harrelson, Emilia Clarke, Donald Glover & Paul Bettany, but none of them manage to leave a lasting impression in their respective roles. Harrelson’s character may not be noteworthy but the actor does well with what he’s given. The remaining cast just chip in with generic inputs that are more or less forgettable.

On an overall scale, Solo is another disappointment in the latest pack of Star Wars films. Never bringing the emotions into play, failing to give viewers something to root for, and functioning entirely on nostalgia, everything about it is as superficial as it is formulaic. The loyal & die-hard fans of the franchise may find something salvageable in this messy blockbuster but for me, Solo is one of the most underwhelming films of the year.


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