Director: Ron Howard
Starring: Alden Ehrenreich, Woody Harrelson, Emilia Clarke
Running time: 135 mins
Ron Howard takes the reigns of directing this latest instalment of the Star Wars franchise, albeit due to a troubled start which led to original directors Phil Lord and Christopher Miller being fired over ‘creative differences,’ Howard was brought in over halfway through the films production. He directs Aiden Ehrenreich (Hail, Caesar!, Beautiful Creatures) as Han Solo, Emilia Clarke (Game of Thrones, Me Before You) swaps the winds of Westeros for the realms of the Galaxy, as Solo’s love interest, Qi’ra. Donald Glover (The Martian, Atlanta) and Woody Harrelson (Natural Born Killers,The Hunger Games) play Lando Calrissian and Beckett respectively. Whereas the previous Star Wars spin-off Rogue One was a war movie, this can only be described as a Heist movie. Solo, Qi’ra and the others are tasked with stealing an extremely explosive substance for Paul Bettany’s villain, Dryden Vos, and there fate is made clear to them if they fail.
The first thing to say about this film is, despite the news circling in the media relating to the troubled production, and the reports of Ron Howard reshooting up to 80% of the film, it’s impressive that the film holds itself together as much as it does. That, however, is one of the few points of praise. Following the extremely divisive Star Wars: The Last Jedi as the franchise’s next big release was never going to be easy, but the backstory of Han Solo is one yet to be told, especially in the original trilogy. This is the first problem, though, as this film portrays the character’s backstory to have happened in just a matter of days, and it seems to be a story with very little danger involved. For a film that has a considerably long run time it’s difficult really to explain what happens. That is not because things don’t happen, most of it is just instantly forgettable.
Unlike Rogue One, this Star Wars story feels as though it has been made to line people’s pockets
This isn’t helped out by a script which is so irritatingly on the nose, the only bits of dialogue where the plot isn’t explained is when Chewbacca is speaking. It isn’t a case of this film is terrible, more that the film is so unnecessary that it’s difficult to forgive the shortcomings. This is a problem which is likely to repeat itself, with any number of Star Wars spin-offs lined up for the upcoming years. Unlike Rogue One, this Star Wars story feels as though it has been made to line people’s pockets, which it undoubtedly will regardless of the mixed reviews or troubled production.
There are some good bits, however. Chewbacca, as ever, is written into the story brilliantly. Donald Glover is having no ends of fun as Lando Calrissian. In fact, his story is probably more interesting than Solo’s. Phoebe Waller-Bridge steals the show as the hilarious droid L3-37 who has her own mission of droid liberation, and it’s such a shame that she is not in this film more than she already is. John Powell has adapted the Star Wars score with his own twists added in, and these come off magnificently. It is a shame the film does feel so bogged down by its own insignificance which makes it difficult to say much about this film because of how forgettable it is.
Did you know? This is the first live action Star Wars film not to feature the two most famous droids, R2-D2 and C-3PO.
Solo: A Star Wars Story is screening at Broadway Cinema now