“It’s a sign of where America is now at as a culture that we’ve gone from Han Solo to watching an actor as frictionless and badass-free as Alden Ehrenreich pretending to be Han Solo…and finding that perfectly acceptable! Why not? We’re still at a Star Wars movie! I’ve got my 64-ounce Coke, and the dude is all right. He’ll do! That’s exactly the attitude that could plunge the Democrats into disaster when they choose their next presidential candidate. He’ll do. (Or She’ll do.)
“Where have you gone, Harrison Ford? A nation turns its lonely eyes to you.”
The preceding is the best paragraph from Owen Gleiberman‘s “It’s Official: Deadpool Is Now Cooler Than Han Solo,” posted an hour ago (5.26, 10 am Pacific) in Variety.
Here are seven almost-as-goodies:
“It’s not every day that I feel sorry for an actor, especially one who’s lucky enough to have landed the lead role in a Star Wars film. But I honestly began to feel a little bad for Ehrenreich in Solo: A Star Wars Story. It was during the scene where, acting opposite Emilia Clarke (who looks like she could eat him alive, and would happily do so as foreplay), he attempts to signify the Awesome Casual Cockiness Of His Inner Being by slouching against a wall, hands on hips, his fingers spread out just so, in a John Wayne-meets-Clark Gable sort of swashbuckling cowboy-stud pose.
“At that moment, Ehrenreich doesn’t seem remotely like a young version of Harrison Ford’s lone-wolf space pilot; he seems like a sculpture of it. You don’t see the acting — you see the coaching. ‘Let it hang out a bit more, Alden…that’s right, spread those fingers…just keep thinking, I’m the man!’)
“I felt bad for Ehrenreich because it’s not his fault that some executive board meeting signed off on the looks-good-on-paper decision to cast him as a junior version of the ballsiest renegade of the blockbuster epoch.
“Harrison Ford has always been a superb actor — better, in many ways, than he gets credit for. Just watch him in “Raiders of the Lost Ark,” where he never lets Indiana Jones jostle along on a free ride of attitude. Yes, he’s having a blast, but Ford also has that dark-and-stormy undercurrent, which anchors the cliffhanger preposterousness, grounding it in a moment-to-moment reality — his reality. As an actor, Ford is fierce, strong, funny,\ and sexy, but through it all he’s got gravitas.
“Whereas Alden Ehrenreich is preppie-handsome but scowling-eyed in a likable weightless way. He belongs in a corporate office — not at war, or racing through the stars. In Solo, he looks like he might blow away if his upstart hair weren’t so perfectly plastered down.
“Let’s be clear: My gripe about Ehrenreich isn’t just that he’s ‘not macho enough’ — which is no crime, and not necessarily a problem for an actor. And it’s certainly not Ehrenreich’s fault that he happens to be a mild-mannered and rather neutral-spirited customer. The problem is that because Ehrenreich, in Solo, puts all his energy into creating a studied facsimile of masculine moxie, doing what amounts to a kabuki impersonation of it, he can’t assert it and tweak it, revel in it and lighten it at the same time.
“And that’s the devil-may-care essence of what Harrison Ford did in the first two Star Wars films. He wasn’t just a brusque customer — he was a wise-ass cynic, a winking-outside-the-frame grouch like Bogart in Casablanca (‘I was misinformed’), a guy who originally went ‘solo’ because he didn’t play well with others. As a character, Han Solo is all about his tough-bordering-on-heartless insouciant edge, and that’s a lot like rhythm. Either you got it or you ain’t.”