Solo (2018) Review

Posted: May 25, 2018 in FILM REVIEWS/COMMENTS
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Warning: Contains star destroying spoilers.

A crew devises a daring plan to travel to the mining planet Kessel to steal a batch of valuable coaxium.

Credit to award winning director Ron Howard Solo feels like a small film, focusing on characters and high stakes,  not just big sets ups. Howard offers a dark standalone entry without the plodding pacing of Willow or his drama epics. Even with the reshoots and behind the scenes director changes rest assure Howard’s vision fits perfectly in the Star Wars universe. With a few title cards introducing us to the story (no Star Wars title crawl) setting the scene. It’s builds on Rogue One’s grim look opening with Corellia. The effects are as first rate as the performances.

While Han isn’t quite the swashbuckling adventurer yet, Solo isn’t the swashbuckling adventure film either. But that’s not a bad thing leaving room for the further buddy movie adventures of Chewie and Han in the future.

Mother of Dragons Emilia Clarke makes up for her less than perfect Sarah Connor as Hans strong independent love interest. Kira Joonas Viljami Suotamo is perfect one again as Chewie mirroring Peter Mayhew‘s Chewbacca wonderfully. Here we see the Wookie fighting more, pulling arms out of sockets with glimpses into his character and background. Like all the main player characters we’ve grown to love including Lando Calrission (Donald Glover taking over the cape from Billy De Williams) are handled carefully.

Woody Harrelson as Tobias Beckett and his ill-fated crew are great including Thandie Newton at the top of her game and while Alden Ehrenreich may not be everyone’s first choice as a young Han Solo, he does a sterling job.

John Powell, John Williams music fits and heightens the emotion, double crosses and shootouts. We see how Han is named Sol and here we also see Han, once again, getting to shoot first in a pivotal moment. Yet, thankfully it’s not an eye rolling paint by numbers origin tale.

Amongst the excellent action scenes and impressive special effects (no distracting subpar effects, like in Last Jedi) there’s plenty of Star Wars trilogy connections with planet dropping and character (Bosk, Hutts to name a few) dialogue nods including a surprise link and character to the prequels, namely Dark Maul! It also plays against trailer expectations that Paul Bettany’s Crimson Dawn criminal boss Dryden is the masked Cloud Rider saboteur Enfys Nest who in fact is played by Erin Kellyman. The Star Wars story has plenty of twists and turns and it’s even more universe building than Rogue with its moulding of Han into the character we loved.

While not a huge spectacle film it’s still an essential and recommended Star Wars Wester-like heist film.

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