Does “Solo: A Star Wars Story” Deserve The Benefit Of The Doubt?

Matthew Loffhagen
(Photo: Lucasfilm)

Among a growing part of the “Star Wars” fan community, and the moviegoing public as a whole, “Solo: A Star Wars Story” has become something of a joke.

The movie’s legendarily troubled production, coupled with the fact that Alden Ehrenreich simply doesn’t look the part as the title character, suggests that this could well be the first “Star Wars” movie of the Disney era that is genuinely, inescapably bad.

Many fans of this longrunning franchise are eager to dismiss the movie, arguing that even its most recent trailer looks like an elevated fanfilm rather than a piece of entertainment that anyone would actually want to see.

As quick as many people may be to lambast this film, I can’t help but think that maybe, just maybe, “Solo” might be the underdog “Star Wars” film that a large part of the fanbase have been crying out for ever since Disney started making these movies.

With the release of “The Last Jedi”, the “Star Wars” fanbase split pretty evenly down the middle.

Half of all “Star Wars” fans embraced the movie as a nuanced, complex and thoroughly enjoyable new chapter in the series. The other half of the fanbase have railed against the movie since its release, announcing that it’s the worst movie in the franchise.

Many fans have called out for, believe it or not, a return to the style and aesthetic of the “Star Wars” prequels. These movies may have awkward dialogue and stilted performances, they may rely tremendously on green screens and CGI, but at least they’re fun and energetic.

For these fans, it seems that “Solo” might well be exactly what they’re looking for.

The movie is selling itself as a fun romp, rather than anything big and serious. There are no galaxy-wide stakes attached to the movie; instead, this is all about Han Solo and his little band of mercenaries pulling off some heists and attempting to get rich.

Solo Trailer Lando Playing Cards
Source: Lucasfilm

If this story is done right – and Disney has poured a lot of money into making sure that “Solo” is as polished as it can be – then this film should be frivolous, explosive, action-heavy fun.

This, then, could be exactly what audiences need after the relatively dour experience of “The Last Jedi”. Those who loved Grumpy Luke probably won’t care too much for a silly “Star Wars” story, but for those audiences who grew up with Jar Jar Binks and company, “Solo” might be perfect.

There is a danger with all of these annual “Star Wars” releases, that audiences might end up burning out. If we get too much of the same in too short a period of time, we’ll all collectively lose interest in the franchise as a whole.

“The Force Awakens” is a fun movie, if not particularly innovative. Both “Rogue One” and “The Last Jedi” push the boundaries a bit more, but are ultimately fairly dark, brooding narratives with unlikeable characters at their core.

Perhaps it’s time for another fun, cheesy, not overly serious “Star Wars” film; a cotton candy affair that’s enjoyable in the moment but that doesn’t linger too long on the tongue.

Solo and Daenerys
Source: Lucasfilm

Sure, “Solo” looks a bit awful, but bad “Star Wars” movies can be enjoyable in their own special way, as anyone who’s ever enjoyed a Prequel Meme can attest.

This, perhaps, will be the greatest contribution that “Solo” could have to popular culture as a whole – the film is, itself, a “Star Wars” prequel.

Something tells me that this movie’s going to give us an awful lot of new, fantastic memes. That’s worth the price of admission in and of itself!