Never tell me the odds
If Ron Howard had directed The Phantom Menace when George Lucas offered, we would have at least gotten at much more competent movie. This is evidenced in Solo: A Star Wars Story. Howard was brought on to finish the last few weeks of prinicipal photography, and reshoots for five more weeks after Phil Lord and Chris Miller were fired from directing duties. We will likely never know what that original vision for the movie was, but what we got was a fun offshoot for the Star Wars lore.
Solo is a movie I wasn’t readily excited for, even as a hardcore Star Wars fan. I just didn’t see the point of telling this story. Perhaps my low expectations allowed me to really enjoy the movie, despite its flaws.
Alden Ehrenreich did NOT sell me in the trailers. He didn’t seem to have the energy, nor the badass quality that Harrison Ford has. I am happy to say that he is the best part of the movie. The trailers hide a lot of his best moments, and the film is an evolution into the Han we know. I was excited to see Donald Glover as Lando, and he was fine, but underused. He isn’t given enough to do, and the lines he’s given are a bit clunky. Han and Chewbacca’s relationship is on point, and Chewie does more damage than we have ever seen before. The rest of the cast does well enough, particularly Woody Harrelson, but its the Han and Chewie show front and centre.
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The production value is top notch, its Star Wars after all. The action is directed with an energy that we haven’t seen from Ron Howard in a long while. The main problem here is that the film is oddly paced. The first 10 minutes is a bit of a drag, then we have a fast paced first act from then on, and then the middle portion starts to drag again. I think this could be a result of the reshoots, but I’m not sure. Lucasfilm needs to stick to a more direct plan if there is another Solo movie, which is set up.
There are some really good surprises and fanservice, so avoid spoilers for sure. The score by John Powell is fine, but the themes by John Williams always outshine everything. Also, I did enjoy the gritty, and grimy look to the cinematography. The world feels quite lived in and real.
Overall, this is probably the weakest of the new Disney owned Star Wars saga, but its still great entertainment, and I would love to see another movie about Han with a straightforward vision.
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