Review: Solo: A Star Wars Story

Starting with the elephant in the room, this is the first ‘Star Wars’ film to officially flop. It’s something I thought was impossible but here we are. Whilst there are many factors as to why this is the case, I won’t dive into them here as I’m here to write about the film and the film alone. Due to the countless issues this film had during production, I went in with cautious expectations. I imagine this is how a lot of people went into it and it’s understandable. I wasn’t sure what I was going to get, but thankfully, I’m pleased to say I thought ‘Solo…’ was great and a lot of fun.

I think it’s only fitting to start by discussing how great Alden Ehrenreich is as Han Solo. It must have been daunting taking on a role made iconic by a legend of cinema, but he more than holds his own. From the opening scene, there are moments that make you think it is just a young Ford in the role. While he embodies the role almost perfectly, the fact this is based on a young Solo means he gets to add more depth to a character many grew up on. We see a side of Solo that’s never been explored, and thanks to Ehrenreich, it never feels out of place. Yes, no one will ever top Harrison Ford portrayals, but considering there were rumours Ehrenreich was forced to use an acting coach, it’s really great he seems so natural as a young Solo.

While Ehrenreich lived up to Ford’s performance, you could argue that Glover surpasses Billy Dee William’s in some aspects

On the other end of the scale, when Donald Glover was announced as a young Lando, the world pretty much agreed in unison that was perfect casting. No surprise then that he was. While Ehrenreich lived up to Ford’s performance, you could argue that Glover surpasses Billy Dee William’s in some aspects, not an easy task. The other main additions to the cast are Emilia Clarke as Qi’ra and Woody Harrelson as Beckett. Both start of as pretty generic supporting roles, but as the plot moves on, both characters have extremely interesting arcs, allowing both actors to show off how great they are. Rounding it off is also Joonas Suotomo returning as fan favourite Chewbacca, Phoebe Waller as soon to be fan favourite L3-37 and Paul Bettany as the big bad Dryden Vos. It was quite a refreshing change not to have an all powerful Sith Lord scaring our heroes, and I hope future films utilise the non Jedi side of this universe more.

‘Solo…’ justifies it’s existence by being so damn good. It’s full of spectacular set pieces, genuine humour, and a few shocking moments.

As this film stars no Jedi, the films plot is surprisingly refreshing. The seedier side of a galaxy far, far away is ripe for exploration and stories to be told. While the opening sets up the complete change in tone from any film that’s come before it successfully, it does somewhat slodge it’s way through the first act. Until Han makes contact with Beckett, the films fells weirdly alienating. It’s a necessity for the plot to move forward later, but compared to how great the film gets as it progresses, the beginning seems like it was perhaps affecting by the change of director and re shoots. This may not have been the case however, in all honesty it’s more realistic that these changes actively improved the film as when the team get together for their mission, it goes into a hyperspace of fun. ‘Solo…’ isn’t as groundbreaking as the original trilogy or as uniquely trilling as ‘Rouge One’, but it’s hard to deny the film is really enjoyable.

I still think this film defiantly didn’t need to happen. There are countless new stories we could get instead of seeing old characters again. However, ‘Solo…’ justifies it’s existence by being so damn good. It’s full of spectacular set pieces, genuine humour, and a few shocking moments. Yes, the film is a bit on the nose with its excessive fan service, but most of them are played to perfection. Considering a lot of people unfairly wanted this film to fail, I’m so pleased it’s brilliant. Box office numbers very rarely represent a film’s quality, and in this case they couldn’t be further from the truth. ‘Solo…’ is a triumphant middle finger to all the doubters.

8/10

 

Leave a Reply