National Opera House, Wexford, Co. Wexford

SOLO: A Star Wars Story Review

SOLO: A Star Wars Story Review

From Guest Blogger: First Person Loser 

I’m not going to lie – like most other Star Wars fanatics, I both rolled my eyes and internally jumped for joy when this film was announced. From the get-go, this production was plagued with rumours of mishandling material, corner-cutting and bad acting… it seemed like an absolute trainwreck from its inception.

People went BERSERK when relative newcomer Alden Ehrenreich was announced as our baby scruffy-looking Nerf Herder. Let’s be honest, regardless of who you are, it’s a near impossible feat to go toe-to-toe with Harrison Ford, particularly Harrison Ford as Han Solo. Solo is an icon, one of the main beacons of the Star Wars Universe, trying to take over that mantle is dooming you before you even begin. But Ehrenreich does a fine job, and I’ll tell you why. He doesn’t make the same mistake as Brandon Routh unfortunately made while taking on an iconic role during ‘Superman  Returns’, he doesn’t play a caricature of Ford’s Han Solo, (unlike Routh who was instructed to play Christoper Reeves playing Superman), Ehrenreich takes the highlights of Solo’s personality, and crafts his own version of a younger, unestablished Han, which perfectly merges with this film and it’s story. Han is young and naive in this film, he has the faux confidence and swagger, but you know it’s more his survival mode rather than classic Han Solo.

Which leads me to my main point of this ramble and how best to approach and enjoy this film. In my opinion, when you go in to see ‘Solo’; you need to completely take it for what it is. It’s a pointless, cash-grab popcorn movie. That’s it. There’s no higher meaning. It’s a Star Wars Popcorn movie – the first of its kind, and it’s not nearly as bad as folks are making it out to be.

The film is simple in it’s premise, it’s a Star Wars Heist/Spaghetti Western – a young Han Solo does what he does best, and blags his way into some crazy-ass adventures, one of which backfires when he and his partners end up in debt to an extremely hostile criminal organisation, and have to recklessly rectify the situation quickly, and thus begins our tale!

As I said, Ehrenreich is no Harrison Ford, but he doesn’t have to be – his portrayal is very endearing in it’s own way. His chemistry with his cast-mates is palpable, and it sure helps that you’ve got some heavyweights involved, such as Woody Harrelson’s Beckett, and Donald Glover’s Lando Calrissian. Emilia Clarke is charming as Qi’ra, but, in my opinion, she’s just playing a brunette Space Khaleesi. Paul Bettany is the man, as per usual, but is criminally underused.. one of my only, and main gripes of the movie. The core relationship and plot point in this movie is the meeting of Han and Chewbacca, and forging of their classic friendship. This is a heavy cross to bear. It could go so wrong, so quickly – but ‘Solo’ has a very nuanced approach to this fledging relationship. I won’t say much in order to avoid spoilers, but I really liked how it was handled, and it makes for some really cool moments.

There’s some really cool action sequences in this movie, and the score is quiet different to classic Star Wars, but I adored it, it was a nifty little change. It’s not a perfect film, but it’s not nearly as bad as it’s being mad out to be. I feel like ‘Solo’is being demonised because of viewer fatigue, and the troubled early reports, I imagine that it tainted a lot of people’s perspective, which is unfortunate and unfair. It’s not a necessary entry to the Star Wars universe, but it’s definitely a fun one. There’s some awesome references and throwbacks in this movie too, and if you’re a dork like me, you’ll end up internally raptor screeching.

I went in to this movie, somewhat deflated, expecting nothing, and left the cinema, very pleasantly surprised, and super pumped. However, this is a Star Wars movie, and it’s forever be divisive and a point of contention amongst the fandom. Honestly, my advice is to see it and make your own mind up – hopefully you’ll have the same experience that I did!

Have you seen ‘Solo’? What was your take on it? Let me know in the comments below!

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