Thursday, May 24, 2018

Movie Review: 'Solo: A Star Wars Story'

Only a few short months after the last 'Star Wars' movie was in cinemas, and being the big Star Wars fan that I am, I enjoyed a midnight screening of the film. I wouldn't say it was the best film in the series nor would I say it was the worst either. It's more of something safely in the middle. Not great, not bad, but just good. Which isn't bad considering all the troubles behind the scenes it went through - a change in director, extensive re-shoots etc.

Along with the main heist story, we do see some of the origins of events in the life of Han Solo, like meeting Chewbacca for the first time, the Kessel Run, and how he won the Millenium Falcon from Lando. So if you've ever wanted to know the past of your favourite scruffy looking nerfherder in the new canon era, then your questions will be answered.

I liked Alden Ehrenreich as a younger Han. Much like Ewan McGregor did of Obi Wan in the prequels or even River Phoenix / Sean Patrick Flanery as a young Indiana Jones (which is probably a better comparison), he didn't have to do an impersonation of the original iconic character, but got the swagger and personality right, and it worked for me, a very believable incarnation of an iconic character. Same goes for Donald Glover as his Lando Calrissian was spot on. For the other characters, Woody Harrelson as Tobias Beckett, Emilia Clarke as Qi'Ra, Paul Bettany as Dryden Voss, Thandie Newton as Val and Jon Favreau as Rio were all good as well. But I didn't like L3-37. Just something about the character was off putting and jarring, taking me out of the movie. Maybe it should've have been better to cast the character as a human or an alien instead of another sassy droid. I much preferred the way she was written and portrayed in the Han and Lando book, 'Last Shot' by Daniel José Older.

'Solo' felt a lot like 'Firefly' or 'Serenity' than a 'Star Wars' movie to me, which is certainly no bad thing at all as I loved that series/movie, and saw similar beats throughout 'Solo'. As a result it made for something a bit more refreshing in a way, going in a different direction than the Skywalker Saga movies. Something that was still familiar enough and feeling part of the same 'Star Wars' universe, but at the same time something completely different and separate as well.

I'm a big fan of the expanded canon universe of 'Star Wars, and enjoy the books, comics and the animated series. I love the different stories set in the universe with the different characters and settings, it's why I love 'Star Wars' so much, but for casual fans that only know the movies and not the other canon material, the end reveal might be confusing. As good as it was to see the character, it felt a bit forced and shoehorned in to me. The big bad could easily have been someone else instead of who it was, someone like a Prince Xizor from the 'Shadows Of The Empire' would have been cool, or maybe not even having anyone in that role at all. But I did like the reveal of Enfys Nest and their motivations though, and would like to see more of their escapades and who they became and what happened to them. The ending appeared to be open ended as well, leaving the opportunity for the possibility of a return for further adventures.

Overall, I thought it was a bit of a Goldilocks movie, it was good and worth going to see for sure, but it only does enough to be just right and nothing more. Just don't go in expecting to be amazed and you'll have a good time.

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