Yet another review for Solo: A Star wars Story. I wonder what the blog version of a hot take is….

My initial thoughts and take away from this film, I enjoyed it. It was a fun sci-fi adventure on the big screen. I’m not a huge Sci-fi fan myself so I wouldn’t pretend to know what key ingredients are absolutely necessary to make a good sci-fi adventure, but as a fan of movies, in general, I’d say this gets a solid pass

However, I think that is the film’s major problemI’ll touch o this a bit later, but I believe that you can’t take such a well known and loved character, and place him in an average film. Not someone with the legacy and history such as Han Solo. It just doesn’t work and people will notice

So the film follows Han from humble beginnings to, well mostly still his beginnings but we see what events in his life started to shape him and turn him into the man we know from the original Star Wars trilogy. We are also introduced to the people he met and lost (including Chewie), his supporting cast if you will, and we see what life lessons he gained from those interactions

The actors

Alden Ehrenreich: Han Solo

Alden gives a good performance as a young Han Solo I think. I’ve noticed that from a lot of reviews, people seemed to generally be fine with his performance which is good. With all the crazy news coming from the Solo set while it was filming you’d think that disappointed fans would have been quick to point the finger at him. I think a young Han Solo could’ve just done a young impersonation of Harrison Ford, maybe made it a bit nuanced in places and that would have been fine. As an adult, you are different from your kid self in many ways but there are also things you carry over into adulthood like movements or mannerisms so it would have made sense if they went that route

solo-star-wars-story-imax-header

However, as a young version of yourself, you are also still figuring yourself out. So not every part of your personality will carry over. Also, there is a supposed planned trilogy of films in the pipeline (either a Han Solo trilogy or trilogy of anthology films that are connected, bobba fett, obi-wan etc) so there’s room to add more to young Han and to get him closer to what we see in his adult self. Good job Alden

Donald Glover: Lando Calrissian

What more can be said that hasn’t already been said about Donald Glover as Lando Calrissian. It seems like Donald can do no wrong these days, especially on the big screen. His portrayal of a young Lando was super slick and even though we are looking at younger versions of the characters, I feel most would agree his representation was quite accurate. He “channeled” Billy Dee Williams at times but at other times was original and showed a surprising emotional range consider the character and situations he and the others were in. Oh and his outfits were amazing

lando

Emilia Clarke:

Q’ira is an interesting character. Emilia’s performance was fine. There was a bit f a concern that you’d just see and keep thinking that it was Khaleesi on screen but that wasn’t an issue for me at all. I would’ve liked to get a bit more on her in the time she was separated from Han but I guess they are saving that one for the sequel….hopefully

Another problem I had was that I didn’t really buy the relationship here. Sure they kissed a few times and Han seemed quite upset when they were initially separated but that was it. They could have just been good friends or siblings (minus the kissing) and it would’ve been the same. I don’t blame the actors, it’s most likely to do with all the re-shooting and change in direction and directors

Also, and I heard this on a podcast so I’m not taking credit, the big love story of all of Star Wars is Han and Leia. Did we really need to see Han’s “high school sweetheart”? My answer to that is, yes but they could have done more to make the relationship work, especially knowing the competition they were facing from the other Star Wars films in the aforementioned relationship between Han and Leia.

Q'ira

I won’t say too much about the remaining characters. They weren’t horrible but they just weren’t exciting, not really. This is not the fault of any of the actors, I don’t even blame the writers Jonathan and Lawrence Kasdan. It’s not even Ron Howard’s fault (although I do think that collectively everyone involved shares a bit of the blame) The film was messy ever since it started having issues in the direction it wanted to go in and this is felt clearly on screen. I’ll give some of the characters an honorable mention though

Woody Harrelson’s Beckett was fine. Seemed like a space adventure version of Woody Harrelson. He seemed to contradict himself at times but felt like a good looming threat for the protagonist going through the film

Thandie Newton as Val didn’t give much, which is a shame considering a lot was made of her being the first black woman in the star wars universe (which in itself is still weird) She felt a bit rushed and I felt she wasn’t given much time to make an impact or do anything really

Paul Bettany plays Dryden Vos the main villain of the film. He gives a strong performance but again we hardly see him and he only really has a very small number of action sequences which prevent us from establishing him as “the big bad” of the movie. I don’t know if this was the original intent of the film or if it was changed because of the reshoots. Paul Bettany wasn’t even the original actor cast for the role. It was originally Michael K Williams but there were scheduling conflicts when it came time to do the reshoots so they found someone else. Very messy all around

The story

Sadly there isn’t too much here either. What I mean is that the story doesn’t stand out, as it should, for a character as loved as Han Solo. As I mentioned at the start, this would be a fine sci-fi adventure film if it wasn’t Star Wars related. The story itself is average and feels like a copy of any other generic anti-hero tale. That is the problem

To summarise, Han escapes from his “horrible home for orphans who are now forced into a life of crime” home with Q’ira only to be separated from her at the last second. Through a series of misadventures many years later, he finds a crew of misfits (plus Chewie) and they go on a big adventure to pull off the job that would get them all square with the big bad of the film. The job goes bad but Han and Chewie stick around to try and make things right. They go to the big bad and are given a second chance thanks to….Q’ira, who it turns out now works for the big bad. Of course, they need a ship and Q’ira knows a guy. Lando is convinced to join the job for a cut and they proceed to their next destination, Kessel. Things seem to be going well as they get what they need and take it to where it needs to be taken, only for things to go south again. Queue some minor and major betrayal, return of some lesser (but also not so lesser characters from earlier in the film), a run in with the big bad and you have the film

Again, as a standard space heist sci-fi film, it was a lot of fun. I’d watch it again. However, as a Star Wars anthology movie, I think once is enough. IT just didn’t live up to the expectations for me. Mind you, this is just one humble man’s opinion. I’m sure there are some out there who absolutely love the film and that’s ok too

What did you think of the film? Have you seen it yet? Did any of the behind the scenes drama affect your decision to see or not see the film? Leave a comment and let’s discuss

Thanks, guys, see you around

 

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