This time around, veteran director Ron Howard (Apollo 13) takes the helm of a spin-off Star Wars movie based on Han Solo's background. Unfortunately, Solo: A Star Wars Story moves at a slow and often boring pace. Unlike Rogue One, Solo grants no payoff in the end. There is a cameo towards the end that seems like an attempt at re-creating the intensity of Darth Vader's Rogue One appearance, but the cameo falls flat without much weight in the franchise.
As a whole, the film is less of an adventure and more of a journey to hit every beat that has already been laid out in previous Star Wars films. Of course, these beats are important and weigh heavily in the previous films, but they are forced upon us unrelentingly. One might say that the force is strong with this installment, but rather than providing hope for the future of the franchise, we are provided with another formulaic retelling.
The cast of the film is decent, but there are no real standouts. Alden Ehrenreich (Hail, Caeser!, Stoker) clearly tries to follow Harrison Ford's (Raiders of the Lost Ark, Air Force One) portrayal of the character, but the charm is missing at times. Emilia Clarke's (Terminator Genisys, Me Before You) character is interesting, but never really breaks out. The ending reveals that her character was mostly set up, but we never get to see how it is fully developed. Phoebe Waller-Bridge (Man Up) voices a unique droid, but audiences can already expect a new droid based on the introductions of BB-8 and K-2SO. My favorite character is Lando Calrissian in this film. Donald Glover (The Martian) is spectacular in the role and it would be fun to see a solo film with him in the lead role.
Overall, Solo is just another offshoot Star Wars film. It is neither great, nor bad. At times, the story is too direct and the creativity that audiences got with The Last Jedi has washed away for now. Hopefully the poor box office results do not affect the upcoming installments in the franchise, but clearly the issue has to be addressed and a new release strategy might need to be drawn.
The Bottom Line: Solo: A Star Wars Story falls short of the creative threshold that audiences became accustomed to after The Last Jedi's success a few months ago.