Solo: A Star Wars Story ★★★½

Someone, I think it was Stephen Fry, once remarked that a signature is something you practice as a child, something you create to signify the person you want people to think you are and, from that practice, it actually becomes who you are. In the end, you become the fantasy.

Solo: A Star Wars Story is all about that. It's how Harrison Ford's Solo became the gun-slingin' outlaw, who secretly has a heart of gold, that we first met in the original Star Wars, by way of Alden Ehrenreich's Han; a romantic youth who dreams about being anything but the good guy because well, to live like a saint would be dull wouldn't it? On the whole, the film pulls this off rather well. It's full of spectacle, but it's also rather sprawling and, as such, is perfect for post Christmas lunch viewing because, if you nod off momentarily or stumble to the fridge for another can of lager, you're bound to catch the next big setpiece and the gist overall.

Much was made of Ron Howard stepping into the hotseat at the last moment but I've nothing really to say about that as he's a reliably safe pair of hands I guess and he turns in a decent picture given what is required of him. Of the performances I will say that all the main players deliver the goods, with Ehrenreich and Donald Glover in particular finding the right balance between impersonation and their own characterisation. Joonas Suotamo too I suppose as Chewie.

Emilia Clarke is a stunning femme fatale for Han's affections whilst Woody Harrelson is his charismatic mentor, but Phoebe Waller-Bridge is an impressive stand out as politically-minded, wisecracking droid L3-37; a CGI creation reliant solely on a vocal performance yet never once losing her fine comic chops. I did keep expecting her to turn to camera and announce that Lando had "fucked me up the arse" as Fleabag so often does though!

Not sure about Paul Bettany's villain though, or the pink zebra stripes that adorn is face. Seemed a bit lame.

Didn't expect to see Raised By Wolves' cousin Cathy pop up as leader of the marauders, Enfys Nest! And was chuffed to see she was accompanied by Warwick Davis. Warwick always raises a smile, even on daytime quiz show Tenable!

I know a lot of fans had much to say about an appearance by a certain someone but I'm not really an out and out fan and so I have no idea how that actually affects the 'universe' overall. Ultimately, this is - to my mind, at least - an improvement on Rogue One.

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