Solo: A Star Wars Story is the newest entry into the anticipated Lucasfilm anthology Star Wars spin-off series after last year’s Rouge One. The latter film had a clear link to the original skywalker series, filling in plot gaps while also introducing new characters and deepening others. Solo, while it has nothing to really do with, nor narratively links to the other Star Wars films, is a fun adventure film that brings the classic heist tale into space all while being led by one of cinemas most loved characters. The film is unnecessary, but wholly enjoyable.
The plot is mostly straightforward and effective. A ragtag bunch of intergalactic scoundrels have to steal valuable cargo for a crime lord, leading to action, adventure and backstabbing. You won’t find any Jedi or lightsabers in this film, instead you are treated to “The Italian Job” set in a galaxy far far away. This is a welcomed refresh for the series.The special effects are second to none. Director Ron Howard is a master of pace and while the stakes aren’t really there throughout making for an emotion lacking third act, the pacing never lets up and thankfully one is never bored. The question of a canon film that has no purpose still lingers, however that is not to say it’s bad in any capacity.
The film serves as a fun origin story for Han Solo, so famously portrayed by Harrison Ford, this time given life by Alden Ehrenreich. His performance is part mimicry and part character development. A hard job to convincing match the effortless charisma of a young Ford, but he manages it with a smirk. He gives a large and energetic performance that leads the film well. Woody Harrelson is a welcome addition to any film. Period. His bounty hunter mentor is the perfect figure of intrigue to help shape the man that Solo eventually becomes. Seeing the relationship between Chewie and Han develop is one of the best parts of the film, for fans and newcomers alike. You can feel the genuine affection between the two progress. Donald Glover is equally as charismatic and suave as Lando, whose ship goes on to play a major part in cinema history. Glover is so effortlessly scene stealing, it makes one think if the series will ever do a “Lando” story. A particularly funny female-droid is introduced that will be fondly remembered by many.
A fun night at the theatre is what Star Wars was always meant to be. An adventure tale that transports us to another galaxy. This is that film, and a classic through-back to the days of cinema where it was just about the enjoyment of the storytelling.
Solo: A Star Wars Story hits Australian cinemas on May 24, 2018.
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