Much like its title character, "Solo: A Star Wars Story" had all the odds stacked against it.
From the firing of its original two directors and rumors of the entire film being reshot, it had a troubled production to say the least. The film features a young and unproven actor trying to step into one of the most iconic roles in cinema history.
Even when the film was first announced, fans did not seem all that excited. Most wondered why it was even being made. Does Solo overcome these odds to become an enjoyable film? For the most part, it does.
The film opens on the planet of Corellia, where a young Han Solo, played by Alden Ehrenreich, has been forced into a life of crime by a criminal syndicate. Han is working on a plan to get off the planet with his girlfriend, Qi’ra, played by Emilia Clarke. As the two are escaping Corellia they get separated. Han is forced to join the Empire to escape and the movie kicks off.
Stepping into the role of Han Solo is a daunting task, and Ehrenreich does an admirable job for the most part. It is clear he's not playing the same jaded smuggler that Harrison Ford portrays in "Star Wars: A New Hope." Ehrenreich portrays a younger, more optimistic Han and does a good job of it.
The rest of the cast's performances range from average to great. Much has been said about Donald Glover’s Lando Calrissian, and it is a highlight of the film. Glover seems to care more about giving a fun and charming performance than he does emulating Billy Dee Williams and the film is better for it.
Solo’s major problems come from its pacing and placement of scenes. The most exciting action scene in the entire film takes place approximately a third of the way through the movie's runtime.
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The rest of the film never quite captures the frantic energy and excitement of that scene. The film does move quickly and never dwells on any one thing for too long which the film benefits from greatly.
The climax and ending of Solo is perhaps the weakest part of the film. It is so genuinely underwhelming that it leaves a negative impression on the viewer right before they leave the theater.
There is a reveal that is oddly placed, and it completely overshadows the very important scene that comes after it. It overshadows it so much, that in my theater it seemed that about half of the audience was not even paying attention to the pivotal scene.
Still, Solo never bored me, nor did any one scene overstay its welcome.
The cast is all likable, with Chewbacca stealing many scenes. The camera work and cinematography are all solid, though it's nothing special.
The writing is all sharp, despite a few moments here and there that seem rather out of character for these movie icons.
Ultimately, Solo is an inoffensive, fun summer film and one that you won’t regret seeing. Even if you won’t have any desire to see it again.
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