Finally, a star wars movie I was not excited for has arrived. It’s nothing against Alden Ehrenreich in the role Harrison Ford has made famous, my lack of excitement comes from the “meh” trailers and the fact that I’ve never wanted to see a young Han Solo.
A big part of the allure of Han Solo is the idea that we don’t really know much about this suave smugglers past. This film fills in that unknown portion of Han’s life, and we see him becoming the character we meet in A New Hope. It has lots of fun fan moments, and getting to see Han Solo do the things we have heard stories about is really fun for a fan like me.
One thing going into the film that you just have to accept is lead actor Alden Ehrenreich in the role, otherwise you may struggle to enjoy this film. He doesn’t look or sound like Harrison Ford, and it’s hard to get your head round at first. After 10 minutes I forgot that it isn’t Harrison Ford, and I found myself enjoying the film.
Alden gives his own interpretation of the Han Solo character, which whilst different to what we’ve seen, but could be jarring to some people. Emilia Clarke (Game of Thrones) plays Qi’ra, Han Solos love interest, and despite being in most of the film, she doesn’t serve much of a purpose beyond that of a love interest. She gives a good performance but I didn’t find her character very interesting, as a friend of mine said, the entire film could play out without her in it and not a great deal would be different.
Tobias Beckett, played by the always great Woody Harrelson, acts as Hans introduction into the world of smuggling. His relationship with Solo is interesting but this film has a real problem making things feel important. The fact is that we know what happens to solo after, all the way up to his death in Force Awakens, and this origin movie doesn’t add anything to the story of Han Solo that we didn’t know before.
Donald Glover as Lando stole his scenes in the film, as he is a character we don’t know much of, and the hints at his back story stuck out to me as a more interesting story. His charisma grabs your attention just like Lando did in the original trilogy. His casting is perfect, and he is a magnetic presence on-screen.
There are chases and action scene’s sprinkled throughout the film and as with every star wars film since Disney came in, they look stunning. The train section from the trailer is incredible, and despite me having questions as to why there are trains in a universe with flying freighters, I really enjoyed the scene.
Evaluating this film on its own merits, as a standalone film removing all other knowledge of the character, it’s a decent sci-fi film with some interesting characters. However this isn’t the case, we do know this character, we know what he is like and where his journey goes. This all means the stakes in this movie are pretty much non-existent. The new characters only have this movie to endear themselves to us, but we know that Solo and Chewie stories beyond this story, and that takes away from the film a bit. I can understand the same argument being levelled at Rogue One, but Rogue one featured all new characters front and centre and the stakes for them was very real as we didn’t know anything about them.
It makes me a little wary of the future Star Wars films that may be based on beloved characters, I have been shouting for a Obi-Wan film, as I think there’s a story there between episode 3 and 4, but beyond him I think another film based on any other established character could suffer from the same issue Solo does.
Good: Beautifully shot and well made film, with some really great star wars moments. Lando is excellent.
Bad: Lack of stakes and the disconnect people may feel seeing Han Solo being played by anyone other than Harrison Ford.
7/10 – Solo is a good star wars story, but doesn’t add anything to the universe.