I rewatched "Solo: A Star Wars Story". I've seen it a couple times over the years since it came out and overall my fondness for it hasn't lessoned much. On recent re-evaluation I'm far more willing to acknowledge it's flaws. The writing is not terrible, but not great either. I'm in that ultimate minority of fans that not only hated all 3 of the new trilogy films about also adored the two side films on release.
There's not a lot of meat to this movie and I can see why it wouldn't appeal to the broader audience of Star Wars fan fandom. It doesn't say anything of note. It's predictable and straight forward. There's no Jedis and the stakes are pretty low. I think that's actually why I'm so forgiving of it. It's existence doesn't matter. You can really take it or leave it within star wars canon. It provides very little insight into Han's character or back story and has the slimmest tangential relationship to even the original trilogy. It reminds me a lot of 70-80s scifi b movies. When I was a teenager we used to play the Star Wars pen & paper game where you played as smugglers and mercenaries so this film naturally appeals to me more so that the main films that tell me I must know Reys backstory and watch her grow as a Jedi or whatever. I was one of those kids who dreamed of being Han more than Luke. It also definitely benefits from having Woody harrleson and Paul Bettany in the cast as well as Thandiwe Newton. There's notable elevation to the dialog quality every time they're on screen. If I had to change anything I'd -
A. Toss the Maul reference. I hate that pandering shit and it looks really out of place.
B. I think it would have benefited from more time spent with Han in the empire. Even one or two scenes. I think him seeing more death and disillusionment would have better served his character. He's still a bit too plucky by the end of this.
C. Alden Ehrenreich is ok, and by the end of it I can see "some" of the natural ford smarm seeping out, but having heard they had to really pry a good performance out of him I can believe it. I think they could have done better.
All that said as the story goes, Howard supposedly rewrote this from the ground up after the Lego guys got fired and refilmed something like 70% of the movie. Even if its terrible or Star Wars way of Talladega Nights I'd still kill to see the original. I love those film urban myth stories.
I love Solo. Yeah it's not great, but all of the films have their issues. I don't hate the new trilogy, and genuinely find TFA and TLJ to be good films, Rise can go stuff it though.
I would've liked to see them maybe doing a montage of smaller jobs or something, leading UP to the big fuel heist. Just a few bits, showing him fucking up from time to time, but also beginning to learn the ropes. I think they did just fine showing him learning as he went, but I felt it rushed a bit to this big heist, which was enjoyable, if a bit hurried in my opinion.
A. Yes, the Maul reference served no purpose other than to be connective tissue to the franchise, and to have (in theory) fanboys cream their pants at a reference. Failed utterly.
B. Eh, I don't really care about him in the Empire. I'm fine with just "he had discipline issues, and got out ASAP" Having worked with veterans, many of which left early due to bad behavior and the like, I can just handwave that. "Yeah, not everyone that enlists is a good fit, unsurprisingly, a person with issues with authority, is one of them"
C. I thought he did just fine. He had charm and poise when he needed to, and bumbling baffoonery when he needed it. I felt his chemistry with Chewie was pretty solid. I thought the two of them, slowly building the comradery with each new struggle, felt very real and organic. He expressed genuine concern for Chewie when he was in danger, bantered with him jovially when it mattered, and just overall, I felt they had good scenes together.
I wish there had been more L337, as I just loved her to death. Her sheer joy at the robot chaos she unleashed by accident at the mining facility, has me beaming every time I see it.
I really don't get why people dislike that film so much. It has lumpy bits sure, but again, all of the franchise has lumpy bits. It's fucking Star Wars.