Solo: A Star Wars Story (2018): ‘The Star Wars Heist Story’ – A Film Review

 

 

Introduction

Like many things within Star Wars, the origins of Solo: A Star Wars Story actually goes back quite far with George Lucas. It would seem that the idea for a Young Solo or an origin story for Han Solo – the rough-edged smuggler goes back as far as 2002 (as part of Star Wars: Episode III – The Revenge of the Sith) and 2012 (as a standalone film). Sufficed to say that this was going to be a tall order and expectations were always going to mixed. Fitting into a category of a spin off film about one of the most beloved characters, whilst being a Star Wars film whilst not having heavy amounts of the force, could be interesting, could be hard. Almost nodding back to Han Solo’s origins in Western films or Crime films as a Gun duelling, gambling low life. Since George Lucas has entrusted Star Wars to Disney, we’ve seen the continuation of the main Star Wars Legacy in Star Wars: Episode VII – The Force Awakens and Star Wars Episode VIII: The Last Jedi and the first spin off in Rogue One: A Star Wars Story, all of which rely heavily on the Original Trilogy to form their beginnings. But Solo: A Star Wars Story will be something…. Else.

 

How to Perform a Loved Character

Like the sequels, prequels and reboots and remakes that appear to be the rage at the moment, Solo: A Star Wars Story has a huge amount of pressure to bring to life the essence of characters that have made a huge impact. Little things can make it feel wrong and cause uproar. Fortunately, Alden Ehrenreich, somehow manages an impossible task at capturing some of the mannerisms and styles of what could actually be a young Han Solo. Similarly, Donald Glover, does well to capture the smug but deceptive charm of Lando – neither must have been easy. Chewbacca also does well and has the sheer charismatic power that his character always does. Though I had my doubts, Han Solo’s romantic connection with Qi’Ra (Emilia Clarke) makes a lot of sense and works well both to underpin a lot of what happens in this film but also the potential of a further film.

 

Rough Tides of Creation

Having said that, there are a lot of design choices or downright weird moments within the film that seem cheesy or just out of place. Origin stories seem to need to explain the ‘meaning’ behind everything. Fortunately, the dice, though given weight, isn’t given much meaning beyond Han’s attachment to them, which works. But, his Blaster, his name, the look of the falcon, the kessel run (I preferred to think this was his bluff to impress Obi Wan), his attitude – by a mentor; whilst moments, like how he won the ship and how he met Chewie, got a groan from me but actually makes a lot of effective narrative sense (same to be said for the reveal character at the end). Little nods to other films within the franchise were appreciated but sometimes miss their mark.

 

SPOILERS: They play a game played in Star Wars: Episode IV – A New Hope but without showing Chewie’s angry competitive side. Whilst referring to the Millennium Falcon as a piece of junk is a cool nod – it feels strange coming from Han! Similarly, his involvement in the Empire feels at odds with his character, whilst their catching a ship from a guy who had only disliked them up until then feels at odds with the film itself! Though whilst on spoilers, a great reference is made when Han shoots first – a little like Tuco. END OF SPOILERS.

 

L3-37 (Phoebe Waller-Bridge), as a small note, feels just odd. The theme seems to be referring to the question of ‘are droids slaves?’, and yet, the inherent feminism of the character seems to take it into strange places. Made even stranger by other characters completely ignoring and rendering useless any sense of her independence. Far from the focus of the film, but a strange and unfocused inclusion none-the-less.

 

Conclusion

So, when all is said and done, by the happy go lucky character, given a cocky smile by Alden Ehrenreich; or the foreboding love story with Qi’Ra and his almost rivalry with Lando, and bromance with Chewbacca, makes this film into an enjoyable film with some hard to reach thorns. That is just it though, this character is a hard one to sell and buy. Han Solo is just far too refined and far too loved. It is amazing that they pulled it off at all, and they did; but with a story with this much importance, and perhaps why the audience attendance is hesitant and low, there will always be problems. If you can just ignore, or even delete, certain scenes then the film would be made so much better. Seriously, how dumb was the origin of his name…

 

Synopsis

The happy go lucky, thinks too much of himself, but ultimately morally good Han Solo, leaves his planet with a huge regret – his sweetheart was captured before they could leave together. This leads him to some desperate choices that find him amongst the Empire and then amongst smugglers.

 

Ratings

Entertainment:

 starfish starfish starfish starfish starfish

Performances:

 starfish starfish starfish starfish starfish

Predictability:

 starfish starfish starfish starfish starfish

Technical:

 starfish starfish starfish starfish starfish

 

A Note on My Reviews

Please read ‘On Reviews‘ for a guide to how I write film reviews. Any spoilers are appropriately marked and, though I personally prefer to know little about a film before seeing it, there is a synopsis below the review for any who wish to see one.

 

Films Mentioned

Rogue One: A Star Wars Story (d. Gareth Edwards USA 2016)

Solo: A Star Wars Story (d. Ron Howard USA 2018)

Star Wars: Episode III – The Revenge of the Sith (d. George Lucas USA 2004) 

Star Wars: Episode IV – A New Hope (d. George Lucas USA 1977)

Star Wars: Episode VII – The Force Awakens  (d. J. J. Abrams USA 2015) 

Star Wars Episode VIII: The Last Jedi (d. Rian Johnson USA 2017)

 

Further Reading

rottentomatoes.com

metacritic.com

Official Site

Interview with Alden Ehrenreich

Interview with Ron Howard

Interview with Emilia Clarke

Behind the Scenes

Easter Eggs

Bloopers & Funny Moments part 1

Bloopers & Funny Moments Part 2

 

If you liked this…

Rogue One: A Star Wars Story (2016) – A Film Review

Star Wars Episode VIII (2018): ‘Failure and the Risk of the New’ – A Film Review

Star Wars Episode VII: Force Awakens (2015) – A Film Review

Avengers: Infinity Wars (2018): ‘A Marvel Climax’ – A Film Review

 

This was an analytical review of….

 

Solo: A Star Wars Story (d. Ron Howard USA 2018)

 



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