Yay! A Star Wars review. I can’t wait to see the s***storm in the comments section, because reviewing anything related to this franchise is the equivalent of a dog laying down a fresh one on the grass and the flies buzzing towards it, hungry and insatiable for another bite. Solo: A Star Wars Story should be particularly fun considering that some morons have already started a boycott because… Actually, I have no idea and don’t care. I’m sure he can bore his disinterested parents with his idiotic reasons.
Anyway, to the actual film. This production has been a messy, bumpy ride, with Phil Lord and Christopher Miller leaving so late in the game and Ron Howard having to come in and essentially remake 70% of the film. Throw in the fact that not many people were convinced with Alden Ehrenreich’s casting as the legendary Han Solo and there were many doubts about whether Solo: A Star Wars Story would be any good.
Well, thank whichever deity you believe in, because Howard saved this film from inevitable disaster. While we’re unlikely to ever see the footage that Lord and Miller were responsible for, it’s easy to spot the traces of where this movie could’ve gone off the rails in places – especially with the droid L3-37’s ramblings which sometimes missed the mark completely. Unfortunately, Star Wars isn’t the franchise to practice your improv skills and you need to follow some established rules – or else it almost becomes a parody of what it’s meant to be.
At the same time, Solo: A Star Wars Story doesn’t break any conventions, which is strange for a movie about a maverick. Its beats are reminiscent to George Lucas’ original Star Wars (something that should delight the diehard fans) and it doesn’t try to do anything too dangerous. Yes, slightly bizarre for a movie about Han.
If you’re expecting a major extravaganza with massive stakes here, you’ll be disappointed. This film dials it down to a fun adventure in outer space, without being of the magnitude of Avengers: Infinity War, for example. That said, it’s jam-packed with action and speed, as it accelerates out of the block and didn’t slow down until the final credits. Visually, you can’t fault it as the sets and characters look tremendous and not like they were done on the cheap the second time around, while the sound (obviously borrowing from John Williams’ iconic score) is everything you’d expect from Star Wars.
Now to the storyline. Again, Solo: A Star Wars Story plays it relatively safe here. We find out about Han’s past, how he gets the surname of Solo, his relationship with Chewie and Lando, as well as how he finds himself in the smuggling business. The most interesting part, however, is Han and Qi’ra’s romance, as it displays how Han has always been the good guy (even if he doesn’t admit it) and how she plays a critical part in his life’s path. Additionally, the film ends on a note that leaves the possibility for further sequels open. Whether it happens or not is another story.
In terms of the actors, let’s discuss Ehrenreich first. When you get past the fact that he isn’t Harrison Ford and he’s doing his own thing here, he’s convincing as a younger Han. You can actually see how this young flyboy goes on to become the grumpy, smug pilot of the Millennium Falcon. Donald Glover and Emilia Clarke shine in their supporting roles as Lando and Qi’ra, but the true star of the show is Woody Harrelson as Tobias Beckett. Every moment he’s on screen is instantly better, as Harrelson’s nuanced and morally ambiguous performance leaves you begging for more of his character. Honestly, we need to start a campaign about why Harrelson is one of the best actors of our time right now, because he is.
Overall, Solo: A Star Wars Story is a damn good time. It isn’t perfect, nor the best Star Wars film, but that’s okay. Even if it isn’t a masterpiece, it’s far from being trash. It’s a solid 7/10 film, with audience-pleasing moments and all-round fun.