I don’t often bring non-football stuff in here, but I wanted to talk about this in more words than a tweet.
Ok, I think this goes without saying, but: spoiler alert. Don’t read this if you haven’t seen it and don’t want to know anything that happens before you see it.
First off: I didn’t hate the movie, I actually thought it was pretty entertaining. I like the sci-fi train robbery and the double… triple… quadruple-cross (?) at the end, where you don’t really get to know how much was improvised and how much was part of the plan, was pretty brilliant. It was nice to see how Han met Chewie and did the Kessel Run even if they weren’t particularly mind-blowing scenes.
There’s plenty of campy stuff and some groaner lines – this is the spirit of Star Wars – and lots of great allusions to the old films (my personal favorite being the thermal detonator and the way Han’s bluff gets called).
However, there was one thing that I really didn’t like (and I admit it may just be personal preference for me) and it kind of ruined my enjoyment of the film.
At the end, when Han is talking with Beckett, he shoots him. Great. Then Beckett admits that he would have killed Han. Boo.
Let’s go back to the beginning – episode 4. In A New Hope, Han Solo, selfish, cavalier, bad#ss, shoots Greedo – murders him in cold blood. Then he just gets up, pays his bar tab, and walks away. This is his beginning (and it’s spectacular). His end, in A New Hope, is that he comes back to help the cause – totally selfless and the final touch to a great character arc.
In the remakes, someone got the god-awful idea to have Greedo shoot first, miss despite sitting close enough to touch him, and then have Han fire back a split second in retaliation to kill him.
This changed everything. Now, Han wasn’t some stone cold smuggler who grew on his journey and changed for the better. Nope, he had been transformed to just a regular old stock character with witty lines and no arc.
Solo: A Star Wars Story could have fixed that.
The movie starts with Han as an idealistic whipper snapper who just happens to be on the wrong side of the law. Forced into crime by circumstance, he has boyish charm and would do good if just given the chance.
I have no problem with this beginning. It’s actually kind of neat.
At the end, after all he went through, if he would have just said “Nuts to this” and blasted Beckett, it would have been understandable, the right choice, and a fantastic way to deepen his.
Making Beckett start fidgeting for his gun took that away. Having Beckett admit his planned betrayal – which we all knew was coming and got to literally see with his hand actions – with his dying breath, was corny, unrealistic, and unnecessarily heavy-handed.
Worst of all, it took away the potential for a great character arc.
They could have started Han off as an idealistic rebel with boyish charm and had him change to the cold, hardened man we originally knew him as (with a compelling, relatable, sympathetic reason – spending three years coming back for his lost love only to the spurned and double-crossed). Then his updated persona in A New Hope would have completed a very entertaining there-and-back-again arc that is extremely difficult to pull off – and they would have nailed it!
For some reason – that I cannot for the life of me comprehend – the writers just can’t seem to handle a Han Solo that begins the way he originally began.
It really drags down what was otherwise a pretty entertaining movie.
Bigger than that, it again ruins what was my favorite part of the entire saga.
The movie wasn’t bad, but this missed opportunity just boggles my mind and makes me sad.