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Cut solo some slack

Solo has finally come and gone, and it looks like everyone and their mother hated it.

For some people, Alden Ehrenreich simply could not cut it as Han Solo. Others thought the story was shallow. Well, I could not have loved it more. The fact that I have little attachment to Star Wars helps.

I thought the droid was awesome. Emilia Clarke was serviceable as the childhood love interest with the sordid past. I loved Han and Chewbacca’s first encounter, not to mention the events that gave the titular character his name.

But even if I had not loved this movie – and I’m starting to think that ‘love’ is too strong a word – I still would not think it deserves the hate people keep throwing at it.

The fact that Solo was, at best, fun is a miraculous feat all on its own. If you have watched Naruto (anime), then you know that the show was weighed down more by its filler content than anything else.

Most anime is adapted from manga. When a long-running anime catches up to its source manga, filler is created to pad the anime. This padding is original content created by the animation studio for the express purpose of passing the time while the manga pulls a little further ahead.

If you watch anime, you know that filler sucks, not because the writers of Anime studios have no creative talent but, rather, the very nature of filler makes it restrictive. As the writer of a filler episode or even an arc, you do not have the capacity to create anything new or to reimagine your characters or to take the story in any experimental directions.

Solo: A Star Wars story is essentially filler. Now think about what that means; the writers went into the making of this movie knowing that Solo was an established character with an established history that they could neither alter nor improve upon.

Jonathan and Lawrence Kasdan undertook this project knowing that even if they could interpret the tales of Han Solo as they were revealed in canon Star Wars movies in whatever manner suited them they had to play in a particularly restrictive sandbox.

Han Solo could not start out as the lovable rebellious rogue we all know only for the events of his movie to break him, show him the error of his ways and transform him into the hero he became at the end of the third Star Wars movie.

You know that if this had been an original property, that is the approach they would have taken. We would have been treated to a thorough exploration of a complex yet highly entertaining character.

However, all that happened in the original Star Wars trilogy. We got the definitive Han Solo arc. So, what the hell were they supposed to do with the character in Solo: A Star Wars movie?

If you watched the movie, then you know they did nothing with him. There were no character arcs, no significant progression of attitudes, personalities, traits and goals, nothing of note to show that Han Solo had undertaken a truly life-changing experience during which he met his lifelong best friend, encountered Lando and ultimately took his first steps to becoming a widely renowned smuggler.

In that regard, this movie was definitely shallow. But considering the handicaps facing the Kasdans, I think they did the best they could with what was essentially filler Star Wars material.

Solo could have been utter trash. But we were instead treated to a decent, two-hour fun time.


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