Solo: A Star Wars Story Review

Solo: A Star Wars Story - Theatrical Poster

When Phil Lord and Chris Miller were announced as the directors of the Han Solo spin-off film, the Internet rejoiced with glee. The Internet became even more excited when the cast of the spin-off film was announced. Unfortunately, things don’t really go according to plan. Halfway through filming, Phil Lord and Chris Miller left the project and Ron Howard became the new director of Solo: A Star Wars Story. However, the last time Lucasfilm had trouble during production, that film eventually became Rogue One: A Star Wars Story. Does Solo follow in the footsteps of Rogue One or does it fall underneath its troubled production?

Fortunately, lightning strikes twice with the spin-off films. Although Solo is not the best Star Wars film, it’s definitely the most fun you’ll have watching a Star Wars film.

Before the Falcon and Chewbacca, Solo: A Star Wars Story follows the early days of everyone’s rogue smuggler, Han Solo.

Solo: A Star Wars Story - Alden Ehrenreich and Donald Glover

Star Wars films have always been a franchise that’s full of action and excitement. Yet, this is the first film where it truly feels fun. Despite the controversy over the firings of Lord and Miller, you can sense that the fun spirit of their films is still alive in Solo. Much of the fun comes from the characters themselves. We’ve come to expect this from Han Solo but it’s nice to see that everyone gets their moment too. Despite the fun spirit of Lord and Miller being in there, their frenetic pace isn’t. Ron Howard is able to balance out the fun with the exciting elements you’d find in Star Wars films. This isn’t as disjointed of a film as you might expect.

Speaking of exciting, the action choreography in Solo is superb. As it is with the recent films (prequels included), the action in Solo is fast-paced and smooth. It’s clear that Solo took inspiration from a lot of modern day action films. Films such as John Wick, Saving Private Ryan, and the Fast & Furious are just some of the inspirations that come to mind. It’s that cinematic dynamism that brings a lot of the excitement to Solo.

Unfortunately, there are some inconsistencies with the story itself. There are several story elements that occur in the film that never really go anywhere. Essentially, you can say the same thing about several characters as well. They leave as quickly as the film introduces them. Also, the film suffers from shameless fanservice. Instead of subtly showing audiences how Han Solo got a lot of his trademark features, the film shows you these things with a huge wink and a smile. Which, in turn, makes these moments stick out like a sore thumb. But the biggest story foul comes from the story’s blatant setup for future films. Although the film turned out alright, it’s still pretty ballsy for them to include setups for sequels.

Solo: A Star Wars Story - Woody Harrelson, Emilia Clarke, and Alden Ehrenreich

The film’s biggest surprise comes from Alden Ehrenreich who is the right man to play Han Solo. No, this doesn’t mean that he’s replacing Harrison Ford as the archetype for Han Solo. The role will always be Ford’s. However, Ehrenreich exudes the charisma and roguish charm that made audiences love Han Solo. Not to mention, he’s able to mimic a lot of Solo’s mannerisms from the original trilogy. Ehrenreich does show a bit more emotion than Ford did in all of the films, though.

Donald Glover did a fine job as Lando, despite his “Lando” accent cutting in and out. Glover does have the charisma to be Lando, but he also has the comedic timing to play the swindler side of the hero as well. In other words, this is more of a comedic version of the character than the cool version.

As for the new characters, Emilia Clarke does really well as Qi’ra. Her character goes through the most progression out of everyone. As a result, Clarke’s able to showcase several different aspects of her character. It isn’t just a one-note thing as the other characters she’s played. Similar to Ehrenreich, Woody Harrelson has the roguish quality to play Han’s mentor, Tobias Beckett. He doesn’t have the same charm as Ehrenreich but he still does well with what he has to work with.

Overall, Solo: A Star Wars Story is an entertaining action-adventure film that brings a ton of fun to the Star Wars franchise. It’s not the best Star Wars film by any stretch of the imagination. However, it’s the kind of film that’ll leave you with a smile on your face at the end. Hopefully, if there are sequels, that the film keeps the fun of the first film while improving on its weaknesses.

Rating: 3.5/5 atoms

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