Movie Review – Solo: A Star Wars Story

Don’t you just hate it when you find yourself on a train of thought you wish you hadn’t boarded? Well I’ve bought a ticket for the “is too much Star Wars a bad thing?” express and jumped on board. I then purchased two bars of “are The Force Awakens and The Last Jedi as good as I thought?” from the trolley.

The Lucasfilm logo on the big screen is a special experience, and I clearly remember lamenting seeing it for the last time in front of Revenge of the Sith. But now, with four films in less than four years, I’m worried it’s starting to lose it’s silvery sparkle.

Now, I don’t hold anything against each film for this feeling. It’s not their fault! So where does Solo sit? Is it a Star Wars Story worth telling?

Before we get into the film itself I do need to point out that I think releasing this film only six months after possibly the most divisive Star Wars ever was a mistake. Not only has the aftermath of that film not fully cleared, but Solo has been on shaky ground ever since the the cast was announced. I don’t think Disney did it any favours in that regard, or with the seeming lack of marketing.

Solo is not a 10/10, but not every film needs to be. There’s plenty to enjoy here, and it’s still far better than most of what the prequels presented us.

Regardless of all that, Solo is a decent film. I have issues with it, but after seeing various hyperbolic statements I have to wonder what exactly some people were watching. Do you want a good time at the cinema? Solo can provide that. Would you like a few cool shout outs and a couple of very surprising moments? Solo does that.

Now, if you’re looking for a fulfilling arc to follow for Han, you’re out of luck. Alden Ehrenreich’s younger scoundrel comes along pretty much fully formed. He’s a talker, a good pilot, and gets himself out of tight spots with more than a bit of luck. Thankfully Alden isn’t trying to do a Harrison Ford impression; he manages to capture the feel of Han, and that goes a long way. Joonas Suotamo’s performance as Chewbacca is going to go unnoticed by a lot of people, and that’s due to how seamlessly he has taken over the role. His chemistry with Alden is perhaps the best part of the film, closely followed by Donald Glover’s Lando Calrissian. Again, not much growth or change, but damn it he’s good.

The story doesn’t dwell on anything, moving Han through various situations as he meets a host of characters. It’s a shame some of them don’t get longer. There is a stronger film in here somewhere; concentrating on fewer characters and scenes, and really putting some meat on them. If I wanted to be harsh it felt more like a story to tick things off a list. Blaster, dice, partner, ship etc. But there’s enough warmth, chemistry and action to make this better than that.

I laughed, I gasped, and I whooped. Solo is not a 10/10, but not every film needs to be. There’s plenty to enjoy here, and it’s still far better than most of what the prequels presented us. What I do suggest is that you go and see for yourself rather than listen to all the naysayers.

Franchise fatigue is a concern for me. But as I said earlier, that’s not the fault of any individual Star Wars film. With Solo we didn’t get a game-changer, but we do get an enjoyable time at the cinema, and that still means something.

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