Solo: A Star Wars Story – Film Review

As much as I love Star Wars, I was not excited for Solo at all and the firing of original directors Phil Lord and Christopher Miller didn’t help matters. I didn’t care for Rogue One and I felt this next spin-off would be on a similar level – and it was a slight improvement, but not by much.

We know Han Solo as Harrison Ford in the original Star Wars trilogy, but we never knew much about his origins and these are explored in this prequel starring Alden Ehrenreich as the younger Han. We discover where he grew up, how he met best pal Chewbacca (Joonas Suotamo) and rival Lando Calrissian (Donald Glover) and how he acquired the Millennium Falcon.

These nuggets of information are cool to learn throughout the movie but the central story in which these are revealed is pretty dull. It just felt really uninspired. It follows Han, Chewbacca, childhood friend Qi’ra (Emilia Clarke) and mentor Tobias Beckett (Woody Harrelson) as they try to retrieve the precious energy source/explosive coaxium to repay a debt to Dryden Vos (Paul Bettany). It is basically the same storyline used in every Star Wars movie and I struggled to be excited or particularly interested in it, not just because it is pretty hard to follow.

Ehrenreich was charming and likeable so I had no issue with him being Han, although he doesn’t have the same spark as Ford. I didn’t really connect to the character, but then again I didn’t connect to anyone actually, although I really enjoyed Glover as Lando – now he is a man with style and swagger – and Clarke when she’s kicking ass. I wanted more Thandie Newton as Val, who is treated very badly by the writers (no spoilers!) and less Phoebe Waller-Bridge as droid L3 as she was annoying and trying too hard. The good thing about the spin-offs is that pretty much any new character can die, and that does add a fresh level of excitement, but they are usually dispatched too soon before you get to know and care about them.

The script is pretty much what you’d expect from a Star Wars movie but it could have done with a few more laughs. It would be interesting to know which bits of Lord and Miller were kept in, as I have a suspicion those were the truly funny bits. I do like Ron Howard, but he doesn’t have much flair for comedy or an obvious style so it was all very by-the-book. Perhaps the revelations will shock diehard Star Wars fans, but as someone who is interested but not devoted, nothing striked me as huge.

Solo is by no means awful and is an improvement on the messy Rogue One, but it’s not as fun and exciting as the main trilogy. It was too long and I just felt like I’d seen it all before and I just couldn’t be thrilled by it, which is a shame because I liked a lot of the talent involved and there were some stellar scenes and pieces of dialogue.

In cinemas Thursday 24th May 

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