Solo: A Star Wars Story (2018) Film Review

The Star Wars/Disney experiment continues with the origin story of the fan favourite Han Solo. After some production troubles with a change of directors quite a way into the making of the film Solo: A Star Wars Story has finally been released and fans now get a chance to look into the life of Han Solo before A New Hope.

The film starts off with a young Han (Alden Ehrenreich) and partner Oi’ra (Emilia Clarke) trying to escape a local gang. They find some Coaxium, an expensive material that is used for hyperfuel. They used that to bribe an imperial officer so they can leave the planet they have been stuck on their whole lives. Han gets through the gate but Qi’ra gets caught and gets separated from Han. Han promises to get enough money to get a ship and come back for Qi’ra. He attempts this by meeting Tobias Beckett (Woody Harrelson) an outlaw who offers him a job to get the money he needs to buy a ship.

A troubled production usually does not end well for most films and to change the director of which needed 70% of the film to be reshot one could be apprehensive for this film. The trailers weren’t spectacular and being released only 5 months after The Last Jedi, fans might be getting tired by the onslaught of Star Wars films. Solo has not had the greatest start compared to most films but at the end of the day it is still a Star Wars film that focuses on the most popular character within the franchise.

To start with Solo is a fun summer film that gives fans an extended look into the lore of Star Wars. To see Han Solo as a young, brash kid trying to prove that he is a great pilot and strive for freedom is great to watch. This is the same with Chewbacca (Joonas Suotamo) and Lando Calrissian (Donald Glover) To have this focused origin story the film gives time for Lando and Chewie to build upon their character. Glover plays Lando brilliantly as the suave, cocky outlaw that has a lot of tricks up his sleeves. Also we get more character development from Chewie, we learn of his motivations, how he met Han and how old he is. It is fun to see these characters have more freedom in a more focused film compared to what they would have in a main Star Wars film.

This film is wholly centred on fan service, this is not necessarily a bad thing but it handcuffs itself by being fan service. Pretty much Solo answer most of the questions you ever wanted to ask about the character. The Kessel Run, the Falcon, how he got his name, how he met Chewie and Lando. This is a film that is full of references and with that limits the coherence of the film. Everytime the film gets some momentum it has to drop in a reference to service the fans. Solo is a film littered with awesome moments but it would of been much more effective if the film felt more connected. The action scenes however were great, the Falcon chase scene was thrilling and mind blowing and overall it was a fun film to watch.

Most of the reactions from the film was saying it was fun. It wasn’t amazing and it wasn’t dull at all but it was just fun. Coming in at 135 minutes, the runtime could of been shorter and most of the film’s attempt at comedy didn’t work. The tone was slightly off and I can’t really put my finger on why it was. It might be fact that it was reshot quite far into production but for some reason it was a bit all over the place. It may seem I really hated this film, I didn’t, I thoroughly enjoyed it but it should of been much better. This is a film about the most popular character in Star Wars anything that isn’t amazing will be seen as a disappointment.

Overall Solo is a fun film for the Summer, but that is all it is. It is mainly a film that acts as fan service, runs a little too long and the pacing is all over the place. The action scenes are great and the casting is good and I am excited for a sequel as hopefully they would learn from their mistakes. Solo: A Star Wars Story is a good sci-fi film that will sadly get lost and forgotten about being sandwiched between Avengers: Infinity War and Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom. This is a slight misstep since Disney acquired the rights to Star Wars but it does show a lot of promise for future Han Solo films.

Rating – ★★1/2

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