The much-maligned Solo movie has made it to our screens after a troubled beginning, and middle, to its formative years.
Under the directorship of Ron Howard (A Beautiful Mind, Apollo 13), Solo seemed to have the right person at the helm and the unsteady ship became a Tweeted and Instagrammed favourite.
Writers Jonathan (Dawson’s Creek (TV), The First Time) and Lawrence Kasdan (Raiders Of The Lost Ark, Star Wars: Episode V – The Empire Strikes Back) take us on a rip-roaring journey across different planets and space as Han Solo, Alden Ehrenreich (Stoker, Hail, Caesar!), takes us on the story of his past.
It also sees him meet Beckett, Woody Harrelson (Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri, War For The Planet Of The Apes), Qi’ra, Emilia Clarke (Game Of Thrones (TV), Terminator Genisys), Val, Thandie Newton (Westworld (TV), Crash), L3-37, Phoebe Waller-Bridge (Fleabag (TV), Goodbye Christopher Robin) and Dryden Vos, Paul Bettany (Avengers: Infinity War, Priest).
Despite a two-hour run-time, Solo, quite literally, fly’s by. Kasdan (L) borrows heavily from some of his back catalogue of movies of the 1980’s and most James Bond movies.
With car-equivalent chases, whereby they end up on their side, trapped in an alley-way (hello Diamonds Are Forever), and a couple of gambling scenes (take your pick of Bond movies) as well as nods to Indiana Jones, a mining scene which sees robotist (?) robot L3-37 free all the slaves, and, of course, other Star Wars movies.
Ehrenreich does a more than adequate job of filling the rather large shoes left by Harrison Ford, to be left by Harrison Ford, in the future, if you get what I mean…
There are times when he more than sounds like the Fordster and he has the look down to a T. He smiles and charms his way throughout the movie and, with both him and Glover on screen, it turns into a charm-overload-fest-thing.
Harrelson is great as always though this is perhaps a muted performance from the star, I couldn’t quite put my finger on it, but it didn’t strike me as a typical Harrelson performance.
Bettany and Newton don’t have overly large parts whilst, on the other hand, Clarke plays the ambitious and mysterious character of Qi-ra very well, leaving you wondering if that’s not cause for another spin-off of the universe.
It’s also good to see Chewbacca kick some arse, including Han’s, though it is Waller-Bridge who is the scene stealer, in the few she has, with her snappy one-liners and sassy attitude, she breathes some life into proceedings.
That’s not to say Solo is a bad film, it isn’t, really. It’s good fun, it’s a laugh, however. It’s not anything we haven’t seen before, other than this time round it’s in space.
It doesn’t give you the big, euphoric lift you got from watching the original Star Wars movies, perhaps that’s down to the lack of good vs evil gangs or, more likely, perhaps it’s that sometimes, just sometimes, it’s good for a character to remain mysterious, to have a past we don’t know about.
If there was ever two characters from the Star Wars universe that fit the bill I’d argue it’s Han Solo and Lando Calrissian. I’m happy not knowing how they turn into the men they are, I’m happy for them to be the fun characters I know them as and not know anything about their past. I guess Disney doesn’t feel the same way.