Solo: A Star Wars Story

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The continuation of the Star Wars franchise has dominated cinemas for the past few Christmases. The latest in continuing this universe is an origin story for one of its much beloved characters Han Solo, with Alden Ehrenreich taking the reigns from Harrison Ford, in how a lovable rogue came from the slums, to bandit, to estranged father of an emo genoicidal maniac. Stuck on a planet more grey than Aberdeen, Solo forges a plan to escape with Qi’ra (Emilia Clark). But when the plan goes south and escapes alone, he vows to find a way to return to the planet and rescue her. Even if that means joining the Empire to learn to be a pilot.

Three years later, Solo has traded one hell hole for another. When he spots a nifty gungslinger in Tobias Beckett (Woody Harrelson) and determines them for rogue traders, he persuades them to take him along, as well as a walking Alsatian on steroids. Just as Solo thinks he’s on his way to being reunited with Qi’ra, he’s in for surprise. Before he can truly be with her, he Beckett and Chewbacca have to pull off one impossible job for space mafioso Dryden Ros (Paul Bettany), before he can finally be free.

Personally, I’ve never been overly swayed by the Star Wars universe but I love a bit of space odyssey and I have a lot of love for Rogue One, so I did come into this hoping to be surprised, but alas I couldn’t help but find Solo a soulless ride. There are about as much smirks as there are lazer beams from Alden Ehrenreich. He shares the same cockiness and brashness as Ford, but the dry bitterness was not evident, maybe it’s something to be developed. Visually it is as arresting as a four day old egg salad from Little Chef, I was struggling to actually see what was going on in the opening parts it was so grey. Woody Harrelson was giving very little to test his acting chops or motivation for that matter. I have already been worn down by the consistent trait of the Star Wars universe having pretty white girls who speak the Queen’s English thus watching Emilia Clarke was fairly insufferable. That’s not to say she doesn’t do her job well, it just feels like something Star Wars has failed to rectify. As probably could be said for it’s antagonists. It often feels the most important players sound privately educated. Donny Glover as Lando also failed to raise any feeling of joy. The only character that was raising an eyebrow for was Lando’s sidekick freedom fighter droid, L3-37 (Fleabag’s Pheobe Waller-Bridge) who derived the one laugh from me. Giving Ron Howard was at the helm, it did surprise me what a flatline experience this was, as a spectacle and from a script perspective. Too often establishing shots failed to try send a tingle down the spine. Were all familiar with the Millennium Falcon, but the way it is established is like a traffic warden finding a Volvo parked on a double yellow line. Star Wars has never been revered for its dialogue and Solo is another expositional fest that’ll make you want to roll back your eyes like a Las Vegas slot machine.

George Lucas has always stated that Star Wars has always been for kids, but I do feel that there are original Star Wars fans looking for something that shows it has grown up with some it’s fans. With reviews veering to being unfavourable and the evening screening I was at on the first day barely one fifth full, it might seem that Disney has finally milked the franchise dry in terms of spin offs. Not the worst Star Wars film but probably the most pointless.

★★

Chris Aitken

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