The first legacy Star Wars film.
That’s what SOLO: A Star Wars Story ultimately is.
Yes, we’ve had the excellent Rogue One, which found itself woven into the mesh of Episode IV: A New Hope.
But Solo is here to take us back to the start of one half-witted, scruffy-looking nerfherders life.
Young Han Solo (Alden Ehrenreich) finds adventure when he joins a gang of galactic smugglers, including a 196-year-old Wookie named Chewbacca (Joonas Suotamo).
Indebted to the gangster Dryden Vos (Paul Bettany), the crew devises a daring plan to travel to the mining planet Kessel to steal a batch of valuable coaxium.
In need of a fast ship, Solo meets Lando Calrissian (Donald Glover), the suave owner of the perfect vessel for the dangerous mission — the Millennium Falcon
Let’s get the first thing off the table:
ALDEN EHRENREICH IS A REALLY GOOD YOUNG SOLO.
Yes, I bloody said it. Why anyone was worried is beyond me. Perhaps it’s because they weren’t as much a fan of his work in Beautiful Creatures or Hail, Caesar as I was, but I digress.
Acting as the first (and now potentially last) legacy project for the Star Wars franchise, we see ourselves go back to a long, long time ago in a galaxy far, far away.
Joining Han on his adventure to become “Han Solo” is Lando Calrissian, which sees Donald Glover THANKFULLY cast as the coolest guy in the universe, along with Emilia Clarke, Woody Harrelson, Paul Bettany and Thandie Newton, who finds herself terribly underutilized.
And maybe that’s because of all that junk that happened behind-the-screen.
Finding itself bogged in a sarlaac pit of creativity hell, the film jumped from a pair of Directors into the safe hands of Director Ron Howard; You know, Happy Days! Oh, and his amazing back-catalog of film he’s directed throughout the years.
‘Safe hands’ shouldn’t be a bad thing, but when a film already mired in the mists of Dagobah is gently picked back up, it can’t reach beyond that limit; It simply becomes something good rather than great. And SOLO needed a little bit more lift to get above the trouble the franchise was going through, where it needed something great.
That’s not to say the film is bad; In-fact it is good. It’s a fun family romp that plays with a certain smugglers past that makes him more transparent for no reason beyond this current need for extended lore. Filling in blanks like “Where did the Falcon come from?”, “How did he become friends with Chewie?” and “Has Lando f**ked a robot?”, it’s playful, humorous and good.
But good doesn’t have enough coaxium to jump it to the Hyperspace speeds of great, which is unfortunate; Because with a little work on that hunk of junk, I think the sequel could be great.
I've watched SOLO more than once, supporting the fact that it is a good film. But that's it. Maybe on the next Kessel Run we'll see how fast that baby can go...if it gets one.