Sitting down to watch the film last night was an anxious experience. We’ve had prequels before, and we all know how those turned out, and we’ve had ‘Star Wars Stories’ before, which absolutely knocked it out of the park, but we haven’t had a Star Wars origin story before. Or at least, not until now, for Solo: A Star Wars Story blasts into theatres next week, and despite months upon months of negative speculation and set reports that were far from flattering, the film we ended up with is anything but a train wreck.
Solo: A Star Wars Story is the very definition of a serviceable movie. It’s fine. Everything about it is fine. There’s some fun to be had, and it’s always great seeing such beloved characters return to the big screen, but nothing about it feels overly remarkable in any way, shape or form. Ehrenreich is the perfect embodiment of a young Han Solo, whose reckless antics harken back to what Harrison Ford first portrayed in the 1977 original. He effortlessly encapsulates the essence and vibe of a young Han Solo in a similar way to Chris Pine’s portrayal of a young Captain Kirk in 2009’s Star Trek.
Donald Glover is pitch perfect as Lando, giving a performance that’s every bit as smooth and charming as you’ve come to expect from the endlessly talented actor/musician. However, his character doesn’t have a lot to do once he’s offered up his ship to help out Han and Chewie. I enjoyed watching him on screen, but he never felt like he was essential to this story, nor did this younger version of the character feel interesting enough to warrant a rumoured spin off movie he might be receiving.
Ron Howard’s direction is impeccable, matched with some visually drab but satisfyingly stylistic cinematography by Oscar nominee Bradford Young and an incredible score from John Powell. Given the fact that Howard had to step in mid-production and reshoot nearly all the film is impressive in its own right, but the fact that he’s also got to deal with a lackluster script just goes to show how talented a director he really is. A bad script isn’t something you’d typically associate with Lawrence Kasdan, the man behind three Star Wars films including Empire as well as the original Raiders of the Lost Ark. And yet the screenplay for Solo, co-written with his son Jonathan, is terrible.
This is, by no stretch of the imagination, an abomination of a film. When it ended, I didn’t feel cheated or angry about what had happened, but instead, a feeling of neutral numbness. Solo: A Star Wars Story isn’t great, but it’s not bad, and it’s one I’ll probably come back to at some point in time, but not one I need to rush out and watch again. It’s also one of those films that ends setting up a sequel that sounds like it would’ve made a much better first movie than the actual first movie. So… yeah, I guess it’s left me wanting to see where this story heads next. That’s not something I thought I’d ever say about a Han Solo origin film.
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