Solo: A Star Wars Story ★★★½

Solo is the slick, entertaining and exceedingly charming lollipop Lucasfilm is giving fans after big mean The Last Jedi tore off the nostalgia band aid off Star Wars fans.

The very concept of a Solo film for me was deathly uninteresting, it felt like Kathleen Kennedy and Lawrence Kasdan where pandering to a fanboy wish-list from 1992 without any real finger on the pulse of what would work today. The would be later compounded when Phil Lord and Chris Miller, whose entire career is based making great films out of unnecessary concepts, where infamously fired during production which naturally hangs over the film like an albatross.

But it's a testament to the tight ship at Lucasfilm that the movie absolutely pulls through and is as worthwhile an entry as any, although it's probably the most laid back of any including Phantom Menace. if Rogue One extrapolated the WWII aesthetic from the original trilogy and built around that, then Solo does the same using the western influences. Make no mistake this is likely the movie most well described by space western you're ever likely to see. The structure of the film, the interactions, the characters, the action scenes, even the mcguffin is straight out of a western. I can only imagine that means Kenobi will be a full blown Kurosawa samurai film.

The success of the film lies mostly in it's characters. Alden Ehrenreich does very well given what is an unenviable task and brings a very easy, effortless charm that suits the film's laid back attitude. Woody Harrelson brings his natural charm a role he could do in his sleep, but is so much fun, you wish the film did more with him. It's a little hard to see past Donald Glover as Lando, seeing as how it really does come off as Donald Glover doing a Lando impression, but once again it's all part of the film's breezyness. Some of the other characters don't land as well, the tumblr SJW robot is genuinely worse than Jar Jar Binks, Paul Bettany may as well have had a George Lucas style self aware name like Stock Gangsterellian and I'm no big fan of Emilia Clarke in general.

Ron Howard does a really good job pulling this film together and he's aided by a really well done score by John Powell, whose riffs on traditional Star Wars themes play far better than Michael Giaccino's embarrassing knock offs, and Bradford Young's cinematography ensures this is the best looking film of 2018 so far.

Don't go looking for much in the way of complex storyline, I think a lot of it is probably lost in the cutting room floor as the film does have a very truncated feel, but honestly, it adds a bit of variety to the franchise. In a world of Suicide Squads, Justice Leagues, X-Men Origins and about 30% of the MCU, you absolutely want your disaster production to turn out like Solo.

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