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Solo: A Star Wars Story Review

It’s been a tricky, controversial and troubled journey to get to Solo and the question you are probably asking is was it all worth it? Casting of the lead seemed impossible and then the dismissal of original directors Phil Lord and Chris Miller raised a few eyebrows, and when rumours of an unworkable script started doing the rounds, brows became furrowed. Let’s face it, a film focusing on one of sci-fi moviedoms most revered characters should have instilled waves of excitement throughout fandom, on an Infinity War level, but instead it seemed to just split the existing fan base, and cause most other cinema goers to shrug their shoulders.

Why Solo would have this effect is hard to explain. Perhaps there are certain characters that are so well loved that to try and fill their back stories in, is a futile and dangerous path to take Fans of the series probably have their own takes on Han’s early adventures, and I have no doubt that there is enough fan fiction out there to fill a Sarlacc Pit, making me think that this is a prequel that was redundant before it even got off the ground.

After watching the film with a midnight audience, I have to admit that the whole affair is a bit underwhelming. Alden Ehrenreich was always going to be under the microscope as Han Solo, and I understand that this was going to be a hard role for him, and his performance is fine, but he’s no Harrison Ford, because nobody could be Harrison Ford. Unfortunately that won’t save him, and obviously he will be compared, and fair or not fair, he can’t match the character that Ford presented. I always felt that Solo, in his youth, would have been a much seedier, desperate and conniving individual, with dubious morals that were smoothed out as his Star Wars exploits began, but instead we get a sort of diluted cosplay version of him here.

There are no great revelations either, in fact a film called Solo, seemed to not really focus that much on who the man was or what his early motivations really were. Perhaps I missed some of the more subtle nods to his origins, but Han seems pretty much cooked by the time we meet him in Solo. In fact, there are very few surprises in the whole screenplay, which is a trick missed for a franchise so filled with story possibility. Quickly make a mental checklist of the things that you expect to see in the film, and I would venture that you hit the mark on all of them.

Story wise, there’s also very little substance, although the style of the film is apparent. The trailer shows you a lot of what is probably the films best set piece, with our heroes involved in robbing an interstellar space train. But honestly, it’s hard to get too invested when you know that Han and Chewie obviously come away unscathed. That’s the trouble with prequels, you know the leads are going to be fine, despite how dangerous things seem to be.

We know that Lando pops up, as expected, and gets away, as expected, so there has to be something else for the audience to worry about, and really there’s not. There’s lots of explosions and fighting but from the cast of characters that we get, you could hazard a pretty good guess at who is going to walk away at the end of the 3rd reel. The running time of 2 hours and 15 minutes felt way too long too. There simply wasn’t enough meat on the bones to make it a satisfactory film experience, and again that’s a shame because this should have been a meaty feast for all involved.
The colour palette was dark and uninspired, everything seemed muted and dry, there was no magic and spectacle, and even the aliens and droids that pepper the Star Wars cantinas and gambling dens seemed dusty and tired, like old Muppets.

Perhaps I’m just not the biggest fan of the new Star Wars franchise, but I will be interested to read the reviews as they come out on this latest release. I’m sure there will be fans that love Solo, but perhaps just as many that hate it, and that’s a shame because this should have been a movie event that got cinema goers excited, but this reviewer, very sadly, left the theater unimpressed.

Rating: 5 out of 10