It has been just over a week since Solo – A Star Wars Story hit the theatres. The first two weekends have come to an end and so it seems now is the right time to look at all the little details in the film and try to come to a conclusion on our thoughts of the film. A quick reminder that this is the SPOILER review so if you haven’t had a chance to see the film yet please do click away. If you still want to have a read about the film I suggest to read our post on it here.
Now that all the formalities are out of the way let’s have a closer look at the whole cast of the film. There has been a lot of talk about the casting of Han Solo and to me it seems most people seem to be displeased with the choice of Alden Ehrenreich. However I personally felt that he was cast really well, while I am sure there are many other choices that would have been great (or better) I enjoyed his portrayal of the iconic character very much. It seemed clear to me that he had studied Hans’ mannerisms before filming. This to me was very clear in multiple shots of him shooting his pistol as he takes the exact same stance as Harrison Ford did in the original trilogy and also in The Force Awakens, in shots of him and Chewbacca in the Milennium Falcon together and his smirk/smile to me was very similar to Harrisons. Overall I feel that Alden’s portrayal of Han Solo was very true to the original while also of course being slightly different since we are looking at a much younger Han Solo here. We find out where he gets his name from which for me worked just fine and definitely worked in the moment as he had just lost Kira and really seemed to be on his own for the foreseeable future. We also finally got to see how Han and Chewie met which really to me was one of the most entertaining scenes in the film. It was interesting to see that Han actually speaks some wookie and so can communicate with Chewie and help the both of them escape. I think the film showcased the blossoming of their friendship/brotherhood very well in multiple scenes which to me has solidified their friendship a lot more. Han throughout the film sticks to his word to Chewie that he will be free after the one mission which is seen when they try to escape and he lets Chewie do his own thing (a.k.a free other slaves including another Wookie) which could have meant the end of a friendship. It showcases Hans’ character perfectly and allows Chewie to make his own decision to join him and form the iconic duo. This was definitely one of the highlights throughout the entire film. We see Han in a completely different environment for the first 45 minutes or so as the movie takes a much more ‘World War 1 like’ filming style once he escapes without Kira. But more on the filming style(s) later in this particular scene we get to meet our next character, Beckett – portrayed by Woody Harrelson.
I have been of very different minds about Beckett since walking out of the theater. I have to say that the introduction to his character to me seemed slightly sloppy as I was confused as to who he really was for the first 20 minutes or so of his screen time. I was unsure who he sided with, what he was doing in that battle and really what his goals, his aims in life were, what made him him? He started to grow on me throughout the film however which in part was due to seeing him lose the seemingly one thing he truly cared about; Val. She isn’t explored very much in the film and plays a minor character but seemed crucial to his development into a more ‘likeable’ and relatable character. The film never really touches on his background and how he got to where he is but bearing the plot twist at the end in mind, this makes sense, we were figuring out who he was alongside Han which worked. I am not sure how I feel about his turnaround at the end of the film when he betrays the crew. While I saw it coming once he decided to ‘desert’ which was so unlike his character (hence we knew he was not actually leaving) I did not enjoy the decision. I understand why they did it as it allowed for more character development for Han at the end and ultimately the settling of the ‘Who shot first’ debate as we once again see Han take the lead and indeed; shoot first.
Another highlight for me throughout the film was Donal Glover’s portrayal of Lando which to me…was spot on. He completely embodied Lando’s charisma, wit, likeability but also the mystery around him throughout the entire film. I mean just look at this picture, it is the absolute classic Lando stance am I right? Talking to people around me about the film it seems most agree with me here that he definitely was one of the highlights and brought a lot more to the character. His comedic timing was definitely needed for me as well (since for me sometimes some of the jokes just seemed to be timed completely wrongly) and the chemistry between him and Han was great. It is clear why they connected as friends over the card game as they trick eachother constantly throughout the film and to me it really was exactly the same as in the originals. The only flaw in his arc throughout the film for me was the story between him and L3-37. While I enjoyed her in parts of the film and of course was excited to finally see a female droid as one of the main characters in a star wars film, I was confused for most of her screentime about the relationship between her and Lando (and no I do not mean a romantic relationship). They don’t explain at all where she came from, how the two of them met, how long they have known each other and so I found it very difficult to connect with her and her beliefs (which are highly pushed throughout). It was a sweet touch to upload her into the Falcon and allow her in that way to help them escape but overall I thought her character was sloppy. That aside I do have to say that I thought the design of her was great ranging from her head movements to how she walked and presented herself.
Speaking of female characters, I think it is about time we had a look at Kira portrayed by Emilia Clarke. When I heard she was going to star in the new film I didn’t know whether to be excited or not. She is usually a hit or miss for me but I have to say, I really enjoyed her in Solo. I did not fall in love with her straight away however I feel like that was more down to the script writing a.k.a the dialogue between her and Han than the acting. As the film progressed I warmed up to her and really started to enjoy many aspects of her character more and more. Her intelligence shun through in multiple scenes where she really found her own and didn’t ‘need’ anyone to help her out of a situation and actually helped the others to escape. It was clear from the moment of the reunion between her and Han that she definitely had changed and was very strong minded and willed. While at times it seemed that Dryden Vos controlled her, it became clear quite quickly that really it was almost the other way round. While I would have liked to get to see more of what happened in those three years apart (since it must have been a hell of a lot considering the plot twist at the end!) I really enjoyed her throughout. And then we get to the ending of the film and wellwellwell…honestly I almost fell out of my seat (ask my friend who almost had to help me get into my seat again). Man oh man, Darth Maul is quickly becoming my favourite character. Having religiously watched all of the Clone Wars and Rebels he has made one of the biggest character arcs in the Star Wars universe. I NEED MORE! I need to know more about where he is at this stage in his life, where is Kira going? What happened to her? It was the perfect set up for either another film or a series about the two of them. It was like the icing on the cake and I can only compare it to THAT iconic darth vader scene in Rogue One. Many of us saw it coming that Kira would double cross someone, but that she would do it to both of them?! That was a surprise to me and a pleasant one at that. Like I said, I really enjoyed her in this movie and writing about her in this review has definitely solidified that.
I want to briefly touch on another character in this movie, and I say briefly because honestly…there really isn’t that much to say which I don’t think is a good thing in this case. I welcome our ‘main villain’; Dryden Vos. It is clear to see throughout the Star Wars movies that they really seem to have a thing for scars, they show the journey of what someone has been through, they add character to the face and with it bring the notion of wisdom and experience. I thought the scars on Vos’s face looked amazing and they way they glow up when he is in a rage was great! But that was it!! No explanation and really seemingly no purpose(?), when we see him for the first time and we see the glowing of the scars I was immediately intrigued and excited to learn more about them and whether it brings some kind of power to him (it almost looked as if he could drain life power from another being). I was disappointed to find none of this really played any part. When looking at other villains in Star Wars it is true we rarely find out a lot about them before they are killed off, look at Snoke who we hardly knew anything about before he got killed and the same goes for Darth Sidious who at the time we knew almost nothing about (thank you to the prequels for giving us a whole backstory there!) so it fits, however here I don’t see where we would ever get an opportunity to learn more about him.
Some final points on not any specific characters but the film in general, I have to say I really enjoyed a fair amount of the references to the original films ranging from the iconic pair of dice which we also saw in The Last Jedi, to the iconic “I have a bad feeling about this” being switched to “I have a really good feeling about this”. After the film I talked to some people who aren’t as invested in Star Wars as I am and they told me they therefore did not notice these references, hence it seems the film is definitely more enjoyable when you are more involved with Star Wars. I really enjoyed Enfys Nest who was this looming danger in the background and really when we first meet the whole ‘pirates gang’ they looked incredibly intimidating which I thought was really well done. I liked the reveal of them at the end however felt that after the initial reveal their story kind of faded away and did not matter much.
It was quite clear that the film had a sudden switch of directors during production to me and my fellow cinema goer. There were many references to Western style movies with the classic shot of widespread legs with a hand reaching for the gun which to me is clear Ron Howard shot. It seemed however that the film had many different directing styles throughout as mentioned earlier we had some clear WW1 inspired scenes which then quickly changed to western to then more action etc. which just made it slightly confusing at times. The dialogue especially at the beginning was quite poor in my personal opinion and some of the jokes throughout the film really fell flat or were poorly timed. However all those things aside I enjoyed the second half of the film very much and overall had an enjoyable experience. I can only compare it to the previous ‘stand alone’ film we have had; Rogue one, and in that sense it really does not compare. The development of the main villain Vos vs Krennic is just not comparable but Solo left us in the same way with Darth Maul as Rogue one did with Darth Vader. While the Darth Vader moment would be iconic to many movie goers (because who doesn’t know who Darth Vader is) the Darth Maul scene most definitely is more rewarding if you have also watched the Clone Wars and Rebels series.
So what did you think of Solo? Do you agree or disagree with most/any of these points? Let me know in the comments and don’t forget to click back to the homepage and continue reading!