Solo: A SPOILER FREE Review

If you have listened to my reaction podcast (It’s right here if you haven’t) then you know I loved the film, if you could discern that in between the gushing praise and wow’s.

Solo: A Star Wars Story is a love letter to the fans. It’s full of references to stuff from the Prequel and Original trilogies and even a few Clone Wars references too, which, seeing as everything is connected, feels perfect.

Alden Erenreich is an amazing Han Solo. He plays the character so well with perfect levels or cockiness, arrogance and heart.

Donald Glover nails Lando. He’s smooth and suave and just oozes the Lando charisma. He really deserves his own Lando film. Hands down, give that man his own film.

Joonas Suotamo has Chewie down. The walk, the mannerisms and the soul that Peter Mayhew brought to the character are still very much present. The character is in the best hands and Chewie has so much to do in this film and he steals the show.

Woody Harrelson is great as Tobias Beckett. He plays the mentor role brilliantly, teaching Han and Chewie about the criminal underworld. He’s intriguing and funny and I really can’t wait to get more material about the character.

Emilia Clarke as Qi’Ra is a great addition to the Star Wars saga. A complex character who brings an air of sophistication to an otherwise rag-tag group.

Paul Bettany plays a terrifying Crime Lord, Dryden Vos. He’s a brilliantly sinister villain and you just love to hate him.

Thandie Newton’s Val fits right in to the known Star Wars underworld and her character is up there with the ranks of ‘Most Bad-Ass’ with Boba Fett and Praetorian Guards.

Jon Favreau voices the CGI character Rio Durant. He’s fun, funny and is essentially a four armed space monkey. His character alone is worth the price of admission.

Tonally, the film is a fun adventure set within an aspect of the Star Wars Universe we’ve seen in mere glimpses but now we get to dive head first into the criminal underworld and it’s a great place and as Han as our guide we get to learn about it through him and Chewie.

The Han and Chewie relationship is the centre of the film and Alden and Joonas pull it off so well. From the unexpected beginning of their relationship to the final shot they get closer and their bond gets deeper.

Cinematically this film looks great. Bradford Young has shot a beautiful film. Every planet looks different, not just in terms of location but the lighting and camera techniques used.

The music is glorious. John Powell mixes old and recognisable themes from previous Star Wars scores with amazing new music. There’s not one track that feels out of place.

Solo feels like a Star Wars film made pre-Disney. There’s a definite George Lucas feel to the whole film, which is understandable, Kasdan did start work on Solo before Lucasfilm was bought by Disney.

The script is incredibly well written. Laurence Kasdan has written more Han Solo than any screenwriter and he knows the character so well, and Jon Kasdan has helped craft a beautiful story that works on so many levels, for hardcore and casual fans alike. They know their Star Wars and they know it well.

Finally the Director, Ron Howard. He has shepherded this film from the brink of disaster and made it the crown jewel of this summers cinematic onslaught of popcorn films. I was always dubious about Phil Lord and Chris Miller directing Solo and the only reason I was shocked when they were fired was because how late in the filming process it happened, but as soon as Ron Howard was announced I did take a deep breath and held out some, but not a lot of hope. Kathy Kennedy made the right choice, why throw out such a great script and make the actors uncomfortable by making them improvise? I’m. It saying Lord and Miller are bad directors, I love The Lego Movie and 21 Jump Street is a fun film, and I can kind of see why they got the job on Solo but it wasn’t meant to be. Ron Howard deserves the keys to the kingdom after this and I hope he agrees to do a Solo sequel because there are plenty more stories to tell about this younger version of our favourite scoundrel.

I love this film, and I can safely say that even though I’ve only seen it once but I’ve been thinking about it non-stop. Now, stop reading this blog and go see this film. Now.

A spoiler-filled post will be out next week.

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