May 26, 2018 – This popcorn Star Wars prequel is light, funny and entertaining for the most part, unlike the previous, heavy, serious, tragic prequel, “Rogue One: A Star Wars Story” (2016) but nevertheless, it seems pretty sleight, with thin characterizations.
There is plenty of action in this film, which has a plot comprised of about 20 cliffhangers strung together. That is more than a bit repetitive. There is a car chase, a spaceship chase, several escapes, shootouts, a daring heist and several double-crosses by scheming crooks and organized crime thugs. There is so much of this happening in the movie we never really get to know the characters well at all.
I saw this in 3D, so that may have had something to do with the film looking dark and kind of musty, like it was shot through fog or dust. The story opens on Corellia, a dark and dusty world where people live miserable lives and children are forced into lives of crime. Han (played by Alden Ehrenreich) and his girlfriend, Qi'ra (Emilia Clarke of “Hail, Caesar!” make a desperate attempt to escape this god-forsaken planet, but are separated in the process.
Years later Han Solo (getting his last made-up name from an Imperial Army recruiter) escapes from imprisonment with Chewbacca the Wookiee, who is already 180 years old at this point. Han and Chewie team up with some desperate crooks led by Beckett (Woody Harrelson of “Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri”) and Val (Thandie Newton of “2012”). They team up for a heist which goes wrong, and that gets them into trouble with the criminal syndicate called the Crimson Dawn they are working for.
In order to make up for this blown opportunity, the team has to promise to make good by doing another risky heist. A few more cliffhangers and some double crosses later, Han and Chewie meet up with some rebels, led by Enfys Nest (played by Erin Kellyman). They also meet up with a card sharp, Lando Calrissian (Donald Glover of “The Martian”) and they also run into Han Solo's old flame, Qi'ra. Not such a big galaxy after all.
There is a big shootout during the heist, a spaceship chase afterwards, and more shootouts and a couple more double crosses. This is a very busy plot. One wag said the Han Solo in this movie would not have shot Greedo first at the Cantina. That is funny, but wrong. He would definitely shoot first, and does, in this film. The most interesting character in the film is Qi'ra, and I hope she shows up again in a future Star Wars movie.
This movie is full of sound and fury, but it doesn't signify much. There is plenty of action, and plenty of humor too and it is well directed by veteran Ron Howard, who is being wrongly faulted for the plot problems in this film. Howard stepped in to direct the second half of this film due to a production dispute with the original directors of the film. This film rates a C+.
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