Solo: A Star Wars Story ★★★★

Like every other Star Wars film, this is a mix of REALLY GOOD stuff and some QUITE SHIT stuff, and my enjoyment depends on whether the balance between the two is sufficient for me to be able to ignore the dark side and concentrate on the light.

Luckily the positives here easily outweigh the negatives - Alden Ehrenreich is just as great as Han as I hoped he would be, the almost non-stop action is consistently thrilling and there are plenty of wonderfully funny moments that have survived the film's awkward production. After a slightly shaky start I found myself having easily enough fun to forgive the flaws; the clumsy throwbacks and over-explanations of original-trilogy character histories weren't actually as bad as I feared but Emilia Clarke... was. After the awful news recently about toxic Star Wars "fans" bullying cast members off social media I'm wary of saying anything too cruel, but I'm absolutely baffled that some of her clumsy line deliveries made it into the final version of a major blockbuster.

I really enjoyed the rest of the supporting cast though - Donald Glover's take on Lando is great fun, and I loved that Paul Bettany's villain feels like the slimy businessman character from an 80s comedy. The early fate of a couple of other characters also serves as a reminder of why these Star Wars universe films work better for me than most of the recent Superhero ones - people CAN die, which instantly raises the stakes and makes the action scenes feel so much more visceral. The writing and direction here is sharp enough to make me care about those characters too, which gave this an edge over Rogue One.

I'd definitely be up for more Young Han Solo adventures if the disappointing box office for this one doesn't rule that out, especially if we get to see the musical act from Dryden Vos' yacht again. In fact, to hell with it, just give them their own film.

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