As star wars apologist, I've liked or loved every single star wars film, even (after a fashion) The Phantom Menace. So its a curious sensation to come out of a Star Wars movies completely nonplussed. I've seen Solo twice now and while the second viewing was much better, this is easily the weakest entry in the current canon.
First viewing, I found it TV movie level, dull and generic, with so-so characters and the worst action of any star wars film to date. Barring two impressive set pieces . I didn't mind Han Solo, but didn't love him either. He seemed ironically like your typical 'Han Solo type' character we get in any average space adventure. Lando was pitch perfect though. Surprise cameo near the end (the last character you'd expect) but it seems pointless. Also the robot in this is the most hateful, annoying star wars character to date.
I left deflated.
Second viewing with my son, enjoyed it way more. I actually liked (but not loved) all the characters bar the fembot (and she does sound like Gwendoline Christie). A I think the two major set pieces - the train heist and Kessell run sequence- are terrific additions to the saga, although the latter could have been way better (and bigger!). The story seemed to cohere better on this watch too, although I stick to my conviction that the entire affair is massively average and underwhelming. Main problem once again is the scale (or lack thereof). It's so small and really does feel like a TV pilot rather than a movie. No space scenes in a Star Wars film is baffling, and the lack of establishing shots failed to convey the scope of the story. It could all have been filmed in a parking lot. Bradford Young's cinematography sucked. Score wise, I liked it even though composer John Powell basically indulged in a John Williams medley during the maelstrom scenes. It's spine tingling, but feels unearned. Really liked the nods and connective tissue with the other films including the prequels. The attention to details is very good indeed. Even so, I still feel it's the least impressive of all the Disney SW films.
Furthermore, its hard to escape the conclusion that the film adds nothing to the franchise that wasn't already known, and Solo's portrayal here more or less negates his character arc in New Hope. Han is a selfless, amiable and heroic figure from start to finish in this film- which isn't where we find him in Star Wars.
My son really enjoyed it. Although I could sense him getting restless during some of the frequent boring bits. He enjoyed the twists and turns of the final act, as he loves being surprised and shocked in films. This is part of the reason he responded so well to The Last Jedi; that film was absolutely full of surprise/shock moments. On that note, the cameo character at the end of Solo blew his mind. He even liked L3-37 saying he enjoyed her enthusiasm and that she was 'cool'. His main criticism of the film was there wasn't enough of the Empire in it.
I asked him which of the four new films was his favourite and he said they are all equally good. He believes every Star Wars film has an element that makes them special in their own right. That right there is the wisest contribution to the star wars conversation I've heard in years.