Why Negative Reviews For “Solo” Shouldn’t Spoil Your Fun

Matthew Loffhagen
Lucasfilm
(Photo: Lucasfilm)

According to reviews, “Solo: A Star Wars Story” is the worst “Star Wars” movie since “The Phantom Menace”.

Ouch.

At the time of writing, “Solo” is clinging onto respectability with a 69% positive score on Rotten Tomatoes, along with an average review score of 6.5/10.

By comparison, “Attack of the Clones” has an average score of 6.7/10, and “The Phantom Menace” scores 6/10. According to critics, “Solo” fits snugly between these two movies.

“Solo” currently still has a higher average user review score than both of these movies (3.4/5 compared with 3.3/10 for both “Episode I” and “II”), but we’re still in the opening weekend, and only die-hard fans have seen the movie at this point. It remains to be seen whether “Solo” will dive below the average user review score for “The Last Jedi”, but somehow I doubt it’ll fare quite that badly in the long run.

Solo Bad Feeling About This
Source: Lucasfilm

I fully admit that I haven’t had the chance to see “Solo” yet. I’ve been at Disneyland with my family this week, and as an aside, nothing has rekindled my love of “Star Wars” quite like Hyperspace Mountain and Star Tours, but that’s a story for another day.

As I haven’t seen “Solo”, take this with a grain of salt, but it’s my opinion that you shouldn’t worry too much about the negative reviews for the movie.

Peaking Early

We’re at a point now where the majority of “Star Wars” films haven’t been particularly well received.

The problem with a series that reached such incredible heights early on is that it’s hard to top your early success. From “The Phantom Menace” onward, the overwhelming discourse surrounding “Star Wars” has focused more on the movies’ flaws than on their triumphs. The Prequel Trilogy is terrible, many audiences argue, while others love “Revenge of the Sith” and hate everything from Disney.

There are even fans who dismiss parts of the Original Trilogy. Some viewers (particularly younger fans who are used to modern storytelling and editing) feel that “A New Hope” and “Return of the Jedi” drag in the middle.

(For the record, “Return of the Jedi” is my personal favorite, and I will defend the Ewoks to my dying breath.)

Ewoks
Source: Lucasfilm

My point is: “Star Wars” movies are almost always met with waves of negativity. This franchise holds such a powerful sway over the hearts of generations of moviegoers, but our general response to this is to attack any movie that doesn’t entirely match the style and tone of our own personal favorite film.

Not the New Religion

I fully admit to being in the camp that hated “The Last Jedi”. I remember leaving the theater, having heard nothing but glowing reviews from early reviewers, and wondering whether there was something wrong with me for disliking the film. It was gratifying to know that I wasn’t alone when the dust settled.

Even so, I love “The Last Jedi” in its own way – I’m thrilled that the movie has inspired such a big discussion about what “Star Wars” is and how it should be presented on-screen.

So while I fully expect “Solo” to be a bit rough around the edges, I’m moving beyond the point where I see these films as life-affirming, nigh-religious experiences.

Instead, I’m going to see this as the latest instalment in an ongoing episodic adventure. A revival of the pulpy sci-fi serials that used to show in movie theaters back before the dawn of television.

Solo L3-37
Source: Lucasfilm

In other words, I feel like “Star Wars” has finally become what George Lucas envisioned right from the start. An omnipresent entertainment saga without beginning or end. Something that can be enjoyed in slices or as a whole, but that doesn’t need to be picked apart and overly scrutinized because, at the end of the day, there will always be another episode in a few months’ or years’ time.

I’m interested to see whether my opinion changes after I’ve seen the movie, but personally, I’m going into “Solo” expecting two hours of popcorn filler action, and if you’re at all worried about the negative reviews for the film, I advise you try to do the same.

Because, at the end of the day, despite most “Star Wars” films proving to be divisive, they’re all beloved by some fans in their own special way.