Film Review & Trailer: Solo

Review by Frances Winston

Directed by: Ron Howard – Starring: Alden Ehrenreich, Woody Harrelson, Emilia Clarke, Donald Glover, Thandie Newton, Phoebe Waller-Bridge, Joonas Suotamo, Paul Bettany

In the midst of all the swagger in the Star Wars universe, no one has more swagger than Han Solo. From the minute that Harrison Ford steps on the screen, he owns it. And there’s probably not a person who hasn’t watched the movies, who hasn’t wondered what made him the way he is. Well, now we finally have an answer, as he gets his own origin story.

Obviously Harrison Ford can’t take on the mantle of his younger self (he looks great for 75 but couldn’t pass for a twentysomething let’s face it) so it falls to Alden Ehrenreich to fill his rather substantial boots.

While Ehrenreich does bear a passing resemblance to a young Ford, I’m not gonna lie, it took me a while to get used to watching him in role. And although he does a good job, he doesn’t have the presence of Ford, or the wry wit that made the character so beloved in the first place. To be fair he was given and almost impossible task though. After all, Ford has been associated with the franchise and character for 40 years.

Since this is an origins story, we learn how he met faithful sidekick, Chewbacca, how he came to acquire his beloved ship, the Millennium Falcon, his history with Lando Calrissian, and how he came to be called Han Solo.

The plot involves young Han hooking up with a band of thieves in order to earn enough to buy his own ship, and return to the planet he grew up on to save his first love Qi’ra (Clarke).

As you would expect, there are plenty of action-scenes and lots of heroics, giving Ehrenreich the chance to flex his action-man muscles. Unfortunately, Clarke doesn’t see as much action, which is a real shame, as at times she simply feels like the token love-interest. It would have been nice to have another kick-ass female hero, but alas it was not to be.

Glover is OK as Calrissin. But again, the spectre of the original Lando, Billy Dee Williams, looms large. Glover is cool, but he is simply not Billy Dee Williams cool. In fact, it is impossible not to draw comparisons between the young pretenders and their original counterparts, no matter how hard you try.

We also get a new droid in the form of Lando’s sidekick L3, and honestly, she is one of the best things about the film. Voiced by Phoebe Waller-Bridge, she is the feminist hero that you didn’t know you needed in your life!

This looks amazing. As we have come to expect from films set in the Star Wars universe, the effects and CGI are spellbinding. The sound mixing is also fantastic. The script contains a lot of wit, but feels lacking in heart. However, they are also trying to answer a lot of questions about Han, so this may have restricted them.

This is great fun, but it doesn’t actually feel like a Star Wars film, rather a standalone sci-fi epic. Diehard fans will find it impossible to separate the original actors from the roles that made them famous. They also played it very safe, which is ironic, since the character of Han is notorious for breaking the rules.

But if you take this simply as an action-adventure roller-coaster romp, rather than getting hung up on the character we know from the original movie series, then it is decent enough.

For all its flaws, it is good fun, and unless you are vehemently opposed to sci-fi as a genre, it should satisfy most cinema-goer’s appetite for thrills.

In Cinemas Now! See Trailer Below:

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