‘Solo: A Star Wars Story’ an unnecessary cash grab

Updated May 24, 2018 - 5:54 pm

The 8-year-old me would take his inflatable lightsaber and throttle the current me for even suggesting this, but maybe — just maybe — there’s such a thing as too much “Star Wars.”

When “The Force Awakens” arrived in December 2015, it had been 10 years since the previous installment and 32 years since the last one most people cared about. The result was exhilarating, if somewhat familiar.

The next two Decembers yielded “Rogue One: A Star Wars Story” and “The Last Jedi.” Even with 12 months between films, though, it was starting to feel like Disney was going back to the gravity well a little too often.

But with “Solo: A Star Wars Story” arriving just a few weeks after “The Last Jedi” left theaters, it begs the question: Why?

Why now? And, honestly, why at all? Especially considering there’s a far better movie hiding within it: “Lando: A Star Wars Story.”

“Solo” finds a young-ish Han (Alden Ehrenreich) and his girlfriend, Qi’ra (Emilia Clarke), longing to escape the planet Corellia and the clutches of Mother Proxima, who offers children protection in exchange for their stealing for her like a slimy Space Fagin.

During their getaway to “anywhere the Empire isn’t,” the two are separated, and Han vows to get his own ship and come back for her. He aims to accomplish this by falling in with a crew of thieves and smugglers led by Beckett (Woody Harrelson) and Val (Thandie Newton, “Westworld”).

The majority of “Solo” plays out as though someone at Disney took screenwriter Lawrence Kasdan (“The Empire Strikes Back,” “Return of the Jedi,” “The Force Awakens”) and his son, Jonathan Kasdan (“In the Land of Women”), aside and said, “We know Han has a blaster, hangs out with Chewbacca, used to be friends with Lando Calrissian, won the Millennium Falcon and did that thing with the Kessel Run and the parsecs. Here’s $250 million. Go do something with that.”

At least the movie doesn’t get bogged in showing us how Han acquired his black vest. But maybe they’re saving that for the sequel.

Ron Howard had the seemingly impossible task of stepping in for original directors Phil Lord and Chris Miller (“21 Jump Street,” “The Lego Movie”), who were fired with just a few weeks left to film. Howard reshot enough of the movie to earn the sole directing credit, but there’s no telling how much of what doesn’t work is his, and how much is Lord and Miller’s.

Lawrence Kasdan arguably knows Han Solo — one of the most beloved characters in movie history — better than anyone not named Harrison Ford, but the Solo that he and Ehrenreich have crafted can’t even carry his own film. The renowned thief has “Solo” stolen right out from under him by Lando (Donald Glover) and his sassy droid sidekick, L3-37 (Phoebe Waller-Bridge).

Proving once again there’s seemingly nothing Glover can’t do, the actor makes you believe in ways Ehrenreich can’t muster that he really is the younger incarnation of his character. Glover channels Billy Dee Williams so convincingly, he could make me rush out and buy some Colt 45.

Disney desperately needs to step away and give Glover the resources and freedom to write and star in “Lando” — heck, let him direct it if he so chooses.

As for “Solo,” it certainly has a few moments of charm. But is it an unnecessary cash grab that adds nothing to the character? You bet your sweet bantha.

Considering everything Han Solo has been through, the new movie isn’t as bad as, say, being frozen in carbonite or that long-awaited reunion with his son. But it isn’t far behind.

Contact Christopher Lawrence at clawrence@reviewjournal.com or 702-380-4567. Follow @life_onthecouch on Twitter.

ad-high_impact_4
Entertainment
WinterFest
WinterFest in Henderson.
Miss Rodeo America Fashion Show
The 28 women contestants of Miss Rodeo America compete in a fashion show at the Tropicana on Dec. 7, 2018.
Tournament Of Kings Holiday Show
Wizards and warriors are ready for the holidays at Excalibur's Tournament of Kings Holiday Dinner Show.
Take a dive with the Silverton mermaids
A visit to the Silverton Casino Hotel is not complete without taking in the popular, and very unique, mermaid show.
Cowboys and western aficionados can buy virtually anything at Cowboy Christmas
Vegas Golden Knights Christmas Display
In the Las Vegas Valley, the chances of getting a white Christmas are slim. But this year, you can have a “Knight” Christmas. A Henderson resident has a Christmas lights display that is synchronized to the entrance music for the Golden Knights. GG Misa’s Knights light show is played every 30 minutes from 5 to 10 nightly. His light show consists of two songs: Mariah Carey’s “All I Want for Christmas Is You” and the entrance music, “Le Castle Vania,” from the movie “John Wick.” The display is located at 730 Bollons Island St. (Richard Brian/Las Vegas Reivew-Journal)
Holiday Hooch At El Cortez is Just in Time For Repeal Day And Christmas
Holiday Hooch At El Cortez Is Just In Time For Repeal Day And Christmas. Janna Karel/Las Vegas Review-Journal
TV's LGBT superheroes
Green Valley Ranch's Winter's Village
The Mob Museum
Best Friend Menu Reveal Wednesday
Chef Roy Choi tells us what to expect from Wednesday’s Facebook Live Menu Reveal for his new Park MGM restaurant Best Friend. (Al Mancini/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Quick Chat With Criss Angel
James D. Gish and Susan Anton rehearse
Susan Anton will be special guest at James D. Gish’s holiday concerts Dec. 7 at Summerlin Library and Dec. 9 at Clark County Library. (John Przybys/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Bellagio Winter Wonderland
"Majestic Holiday Magic" at the Bellagio Conservatory.
Underwater Santa At The Silverton
Santa takes a dive Sunday, December 2, at the Silverton Casino Hotel. (Mat Luschek / Review-Journal)
Cowabunga Bay Christmas Town
Las Vegas Natural History Museum
Las Vegas Natural History Museum, which opened in 1991, has exhibits of mechanical dinosaurs and taxidermied animals, along with live snakes, fish and sharks. (Mat Luschek/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Magical Forest Lights
Cirque Du Soleil Performers Team Up For New Show "Kinekt"
Through dance, acrobatics and aerial arts, “Kinekt” tells a story all too familiar to modern families: how to maintain a human connection in the digital age. (Janna Karel Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Ethel M Holiday Cactus Garden
The Pinball Hall of Fame in Las Vegas
The Pinball Hall of Fame was created by Tim Arnold and opened in 2006. (Mat Luschek/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Jump! The Ultimate Dog Show at Springs Preserve in Las Vegas
Trainer Lou “Mack” McCammon guides several rescue dogs through a series of tricks and jumps two shows a day weekends through December at the Springs Preserve in Las Vegas. (K.M. Cannon/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Buddy V - Sep 21 Confidante
Famous Infinity Mirror Room is open in Las Vegas
Yayoi Kusama's "Aftermath of Obliteration of Infinity" mirror room is open at the Bellagio in Las Vegas (Janna Karel Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Glittering Lights dazzles Las Vegas
The Glittering Lights holiday display is shining at the Las Vegas Motor Speedway. (Mat Luschek/ Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Skybar at Waldorf Astoria lets you sip your way through Las Vegas history
Skybar At Waldorf Astoria Lets You Sip Your Way Through Las Vegas History (Janna Karel Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Stan Lee in Las Vegas for Madame Tussauds unveiling
Stan Lee Las Vegas speaks with the Review-Journal's Chris Lawrence about his love for his fans and shared universes. (Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Ultimate Belgium Waffle Sundae at Lavo
Lavo at the Palazzo serves a 16-scoop ice cream sundae that costs $800. (Rochelle Ricahrds, Janna Karel/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
A New Zip Line Is Opening On The Las Vegas Strip
A New Zip Line Is Opening On The Las Vegas Strip (Janna Karel lLas Vegas Review-Journal)
You'll need a keen eye to find this secret bar on the Las Vegas Strip
You'll need a keen eye to find this secret bar on the Las Vegas Strip (Janna Karel Las Vegas Review-Journal)
TOP NEWS
News Headlines
Add Event
Home Front Page Footer Listing
Circular
You May Like

You May Like