Solo: A Star Wars Story

Film
3 out of 5 stars
3 out of 5 stars
(1user review)
Solo: A Star Wars Story

Time Out says

3 out of 5 stars

Alden Ehrenreich fills the biggest flying boots in the movies in a verve-filled ‘Star Wars’ spin-off

You definitely wouldn’t have bet your spaceship on this Han Solo spin-off movie being anything other than a hunk of junk. The ditching of original directors Chris Miller and Phil Lord (21 Jump Street) – which was well published and just shy of acrimonious – only complicated the already onerous task of bringing a new take on the beloved Harrison Ford character to the screen. Somehow, though, the pair’s replacement, Ron Howard, has come through with a frisky space caper that zips along like a speeder on a bed of air. It’s far from perfect, but it’s much better than it has any right to be.

It opens back in the streetwise early days of Han (Alden Ehrenreich) in the ‘putrid sewer’ of his home planet Corellia, before skipping forward, via a hair-raising stint in the Imperial army, to a team-up with a colourful band of thieves led by Woody Harrelson’s Tobias Beckett and his wife Val (Thandie Newton). Their first heist involves boosting starship fuel at the behest of sinister playboy Dryden Vos (a scene-stealing Paul Bettany, bearing scars like he’s just faceplanted a waffle iron). The sequence is a rush, and the first of a few reminders that the man who made Apollo 13 knows how to cut between outer space action and claustrophobic cockpits.

And what of the main man? Ehrenreich makes a solid fist of emulating Ford without ever quite matching Ford’s easy cool or jaded worldview. Does he feel anything like Ford’s Solo? Not really, though the film never pauses long enough to let you dwell on it. Instead, we get buckets of boyish charm and a lovelorn crush on Emilia Clarke’s mysterious Qi’ra. He’s trying the cockiness on for size in this one, caught between his natural exuberance and the cynical skew on life of his new mentor, Tobias Beckett.

Donald Glover’s shifty but charismatic Lando is a joy, as is the hilarious Phoebe Waller-Bridge as his seriously woke droid, L3-37. At one point, the mouthy ’bot launches a ‘Droid Lives Matter’-type protest that’s both oddly current and very silly indeed. Of course, Han’s burgeoning Wookiee-mance with Chewie gets plenty of airtime too.

Inevitably, some of the box-ticking elements of Solo fall flat. Unless you really want to know how Han got the ‘Solo’ part of his name – and trust us, it’s not that thrilling – all the Hansplaining is mystique-sapping at times, especially when nestled in an already exposition-heavy script (a working knowledge of intergalactic fuel rods is definitely helpful here). Solo is at its best when it’s uncoupled from all that heavy lifting, just crammed in a cockpit with its likeable cast and shooting for the stars.

Details

Release details

Rated:
M
Release date:
Thursday May 24 2018
Duration:
141 mins

Cast and crew

Director:
Ron Howard
Screenwriter:
Lawrence Kasdan, Jon Kasdan.
Cast:
Alden Ehrenreich
Emilia Clarke
Woody Harrelson
Donald Glover

Users say (1)

3 out of 5 stars
LiveReviews|1
1 person listening

SOLO is an old-fashioned movie straight out of the serial cliffhangers of the 30's and 40's. It's basically one set piece to the next. Alden who plays Solo is spot on casting of the iconic space smuggler. Of all the Disney Star Wars movies SOLO and ROGUE ONE are worth the price of a ticket. The bad response to SOLO can be put down to the bad reaction of the smelly THE LAST JEDI and deserved better.