SOLO (aka SOLO: A STAR WARS STORY) (PG)
D: Ron Howard
Disney/Lucasfilm (Kathleen Kennedy, Allison Shearmur & Simon Emanuel)
USA 🇺🇸 2018
W: Lawrence Kasdan & Jonathan Kasdan [based on characters created by George Lucas]
DP: Bradford Young
Ed: Pietro Scalia
Mus: John Powell (& John Williams)
Alden Ehrenreich (Han Solo), Woody Harrelson (Tobias Beckett), Emilia Clarke (Qi'ra), Donald Glover (Lando Calrissian), Thandie Newton (Val), Joonas Suotamo (Chewbacca), Paul Bettany (Dryden Vos), Erin Kellyman (Enfys Nest), Jon Favreau (Rio Durant), Linda Hunt (Lady Proxima), Phoebe Waller-Bridge (L3-37)
When Disney brought the rights to Lucasfilm for a tidy sum, they announced that not only will there be three more films to the original saga, but a series of spinoffs ancillary to these main stories. Solo is the second of which, following 2016's Rogue One, which was likewise set between the events of Episode III & Episode IV. We can expect a whole lot more of these too, because as long as there is money to be made, Disney will squeeze every last penny out of this movie franchise. There is a famous adage however, that you can only have so much of a good thing.
2018's Solo provides the backstory of one of the sagas most beloved characters, starring Alden Ehrenreich as the roguish pirate Han Solo, from his meagre beginnings on a slavery planet to becoming the pilot of the iconic Millennium Falcon.
From my own personal point of view, there was enough backstory provided for this character in the original Star Wars movies, and his introduction in the 1977 film was more than sufficient, as was his character arc within that story as a money-grabbing mercenary turned hero of the hour by the time the credits roll. That being said, the trailer had me hooked and I was happy to pay the price of the movie ticket, especially since Rogue One was so impressive. Unfortunately, Solo was incredibly underwhelming and totally unnecessary.
The film flirts with the legend of the character, having escaped from poverty and being thrown out of the empire's flight academy, meeting his longtime companion Chewbacca, and performing the Kessel Run in less than 12 parsecs is all on the billing, but only touched on the periphery as Han Solo joins a gang of bandits and assists with the heist of incredibly volatile rocket fuel for a crime lord named Dryden Vos. There's also a bit of romance thrown in, which serves to underpin why Han was presented so cynically in his original introduction.
There are some very entertaining moments in this Star Wars chapter, and the performances in general are good, but it has to be said that the whole is less than the sum of all its parts, and the introduction of an irritating droid with an SJW agenda gives the saga one of the worst characters imaginable since Jar Jar Binks in Episode I, and it really doesn't have enough jeopardy in the action scenes which make you think that the characters are in any real peril... we already know that the main duo are going to survive.
On balance, Ron Howard does a good job bringing balance to a very troubled production, but the film itself is nothing like how the original teaser trailer presented it, and is just a series of set pieces which don't have any real dilemma.
It's nowhere near as bad as The Phantom Menace, but it's equally as disappointing.
Disney need to realise that the fans need more than this, but they don't care. All they really want is our money.