What, exactly, were we expecting?
Such a question defines not how we see new Star Wars films, but how we see any film. Pazaak cards on the table: I did not enter this movie in good faith. Solo: A Star Wars Story originally had Chris Miller and Phil Lord (The Lego Movie, 21 Jump Street) as directors. You’ll notice they’re famous for comedies. You’d guess that their version of Solo would be an improv-heavy satire that mocked its own premise. Disney did not foresee this. Lucasfilm fired both directors during production, hired Ron Howard as a replacement, and reshot 70% of the movie into something less… ok, I’ll stop the preamble. Howard reshot the Solo farce into something less good. A lot less good. I may seem close-minded here, but the movie didn’t even open a window for me.
That half-remembered backstory informed my viewing of Solo. Turns out, upon further research, Miller and Lord did respect the project in their own strange way. The movie never would have been an intentional send-up. But did it become unintentional satire? I walked into the theater expecting at least so-bad-it’s-funny from Solo. I barely even got that. 15% of the movie consists of dumb, but successful jokes noting how shallow the Star Wars mythology can be. 15% of the movie is regular dumb. The worst part is that, for the remaining 70%, I can’t tell which is which.