George Clark’s review published on Letterboxd:
Solo: A Star Wars Story is a 2018 American space Western directed by Ron Howard and stars Alden Ehrenreich as the iconic Han Solo and Donald Glover as Lando Calrissian as well as Woody Harrelson, Emilia Clarke, Thandie Newton, Phoebe Waller-Bridge, Joonas Suotamo and Paul Bettany in supporting roles. Set 10 years prior to the original Star Wars, the story follows Han Solo and his adventures into the criminal underworld where he meets his future co-pilot Chewbacca and encounters Lando Calrissian years before joining the Rebellion.
Following the prequels, Solo is chronologically the fourth installment in the Star Wars franchise and boasts one of the more inventive plots I've seen from in Star Wars film. The troubled production of Solo: A Star Wars Story has been well noted, with Phil Lord and Chris Miller, the film’s original directors, being axed from the film due to creative differences. However, what Ron Howard managed to achieve with this must be noted. Of course, it's not a perfect Star Wars film, it's far from it actually, but Ron Howards direction is surprisingly good with the film portraying the "Weston" vibe remarkably well throughout its last two acts and surprisingly, does become increasingly enjoyable as time goes on.
Now, the hate shown towards Alden Ehrenreich's Han Solo is completely unmerited. Sure he's no Harrison Ford and doesn't embody the character as well as him, but he does give a great performance in the leading role and his portrayal of Han Solo was definitely a good one. Alongside him, Joonas Suotamo, who plays Chewbacca, was also great fun throughout and Emilia Clarke, who plays Qi'ra, works wonders alongside Alden as both share great chemistry alongside him. Similarly, whilst I'm on the performances, I've seen many complaints about the rather one dimensional villain of Beckett, played Woody Harrelson. Despite not adding too much to the universe, the character is still great to watch and does provide some brilliant moments once his intentions are revealed as he teaches Solo many of the lessons he becomes so well known for using in the subsequent films.
However, the inventive plot can also be the films downfall at times as, sadly the film does become slightly bland during it's middle act. This mainly whittles down to Bettany's character of Dryden Vos being a weak villain. Despite Paul Bettany being a great actor, his character doesn't get much to work with and sadly, even when he finally gets screen time and fights with those incredible Kyuzo petar's, never fully makes an impact on screen. Sure, you could say this about Maul. He too had limited screen time and he's still considered one of the best villains in the franchise. Yet, Maul had such an intimidating screen presence The Phantom Menace became instantly all the better for it and sadly, Dryden Vos simply doesn't have the same effect on the film as he feels more like a side villain when compared to other incredible villains in the franchise.
Ultimately, Solo: A Star Wars Story is another great addition to the franchise, despite being a rather simple film, it's one that's still a lot of fun to revisit from time to time. However, it's a film I think would have been done so much better as a Disney Plus series like The Mandalorian. The world, the characters and especially that incredible Maul scene could have been fleshed out a whole lot more and for one, those are storylines I would like to see explored more. It's not to late Disney, The Mandalorian, Kenobi and Solo would make three incredible series.
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What are your thoughts on Solo: A Star Wars Story and in the future, what Star Wars series would you like Disney to make?