Film Review: Solo: A Star Wars Story (2018)

‘I genuinely wouldn’t be surprised if the script for this film was written for another and it was subsequently edited to fit the needs’

Solo: A Star Wars Story, 2018

Directed by: Ron Howard

Starring: Alden Ehrenreich, Woody Harrelson, Paul Bettany, Emilia Clarke, Donald Glover, Thandie Newton

 

The second of the spin-off trilogy of Star Wars films (after Rogue One) retells the story of Han Solo’s (Alden Ehrenreich) history prior to the events of A New Hope. From being a smuggler to commandeer of the Falcon, it sadly plays out like a generic ride through space rather than that of a Star Wars film.

I genuinely wouldn’t be surprised if the script for this film was written for another and it was subsequently edited to fit the needs; that’s not to say it’s a bad film, necessarily, far from it, just disappointing. We jump from one location to another, very rarely being truly emotionally invested in Han’s actions (we know he’s going to live, after all), and that point-A-to-point-B style of film only truly works if there’s a major storyline running through it, and, sadly, Solo: A Star Wars Story doesn’t have that. Han’s actions are to find his girl, and his actions land him with a gang of bandits, led by Beckett (Woody Harrelson, War for the Planet of the Apes), and their main storyline involves stealing some fuel (called coaxium) to appease Beckett’s boss, Dryden Vos (Paul Bettany, Avengers: Infinity War).

It’s difficult with films like this because it has to tick off so many items on the needed checklist (his friendship with Chewbacca, obtaining the Millennium Falcon, etc.) while having to live and have all the characters we meet be of no importance (otherwise they would have reappeared in the original trilogy). It’s a similar issue that Rogue One had, in that none of the characters were destined to live, but that had a fantastic battle scene towards the end which was complimented by a solid storyline that led up to that; Solo is lacking that storyline. And it unfortunately brings one trope of the other films with it: a droid sidekick. Normally they can be quite funny, but in this one (the droid is called L3-37) the droid goes on-and-on at every opportunity about droid-equality, and each time the jokes don’t land.

Solo, 2

Alden Ehrenreich must have been a mixed bag of emotions after being hired to play Han, happy at joining one of largest movie franchises of all time while frightened at playing a younger version of a beloved character, and apparently Harrison Ford (who played Han in the earlier films) met with Alden to give him advice on the character, and for the most part it worked; Alden was actually a lot better than I was expecting and he played his role very well. Aided by more-than-competent talent across the board, they manage to all produce a solidly acted film (it’s always a worry going into a Star Wars film about how well it’s going to be acted).

Some people may really enjoy the action sequences of this film and seeing Han in his youth, and, I will admit, they are quite fun. But, others, like myself, may feel disappointed at the lack of major storyline, the mundane point-A-to-point-B style, the stupidly annoying droid or the lack of fully fleshed out characters. It’s fine, and will sit in the middle of the franchise rankings of best-to-worst, and that’s probably it’s biggest compliment.

 

Personal: * * *     Acting: * * *     Writing: * * *     Presentation: * * *

Overall Rating: * * *

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