Solo – A Star wars story: film review

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Board the Millennium Falcon and journey to a galaxy far, far away in Solo: A Star wars story, an all-new adventure with the most beloved scoundrel in the galaxy. Through a series of daring escapades deep within a dark and dangerous criminal underworld, Han Solo meets his mighty future co-pilot, Chewbacca, and encounters the notorious gambler Lando Calrissian, in a journey that will set the course of one of the Star wars saga's most unlikely heroes.

When reviewing a Star wars film, or any film relating to the franchise, one should declare one’s loyalties. Thus, I have seen all the films. I watched them in the order in which they were released. I enjoyed them all. Even the cheesy ones. I was upset when Kylo stabbed Han. I was even more upset when Carrie Fisher died. But, I am not an uberfan. I won’t dress up as Leia when I ever get around to Comic-Con.

Why it was necessary to elaborate on Han Solo’s origin story is beyond me. Especially when the origin story being told here is quite pedestrian and, furthermore, told through an uninventive rehashing of Star wars iconography. The familiar elements of the earlier films, such as Han’s relationship with Chewie, his love for the Millennium Falcon, his typical one-liners, etc, are used as posts around which a silly plot is built. Instead of exploring new ideas, new fertile ground, the familiar Star wars concepts were simply reused. Sure, it is a fun space caper, and the first three were kind of fun space capers, but after the last somewhat darker instalments, and with the quality of television in 2018, we need a little more than that.

Alden Ehrenreich is good enough, but does not have the screen presence or charm of Harrison Ford. Emilia Clarke disappoints as a bland Qi’ra. She is particularly unconvincing in the fight sequences and has zero chemistry with Han. Thandie Newton and Woody Harrelson struggle to deliver the staccato one-liners and have even less chemistry than the lead actors. Donald Glover’s Lando is mildly intriguing, but utterly forgettable.

There are no noteworthy whacky space creatures, captivating spaceships or larger-than-life fight sequences, something the franchise has become famous for. The sound design, cinematography and sets are good enough, but not imaginative or groundbreaking. There is nothing that sets Solo apart from the franchise.

Solo is Star wars lite.

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