Saturday, 26 May 2018

Solo: A Star Wars Story (12A)

And so the franchise continues it's exploration of the stars, looking for new and inventive ways to fill the gaps between the films that actually matter.

Two years ago we got Felicity Jones recreating scenes from The Empire Strikes Back in Rogue One, which while not terrible didn't really add anything to the universe we know and love.

Now, we have Han Solo's story. Whether we wanted it or not.

But you're not here to be badgered by my curmudgeonly musings on the state of modern cinema and the trashing of my childhood memories...

You see, in my day...

Ahh, I jest.

Kind of.

You see, this doesn't feel like they're filling in gaps in a much-loved story, or — as with the new episodes — expanding it. It feels exactly like the film it is.

Just another Star Wars film.

And that saddens me a tad, but also makes me remember the original films and their releases with far more fondness.

Anyhoo, we're not here to dwell on the past daddy-o, this is all about the now. The future. The today and tomorrow.

Or something.

I guess we should actually talk about the film.

Which, to be fair, isn't terrible. It's better than Rogue One, certainly. And is possibly on a par with the last 'proper' film.

But, let's be honest, it exists in a world that has Empire in it.

That's a tough height to hit.

But I digress again.

Solo is a perfectly fine film. The action scenes are cool, at times almost gripping, and while Alden Ehrenreich is no Harrison Ford (although he was brilliant in Hail, Caesar!) he's perfectly fine in this.

As is Emilia Clarke, the erstwhile Game Of Thrones star who ones the screen as Daenerys Targaryen.

Yet, somehow, both leads seem to blend a bit into the background and get over-shadowed by the supporting cast.

Paul Bettany is a delight, Woody Harrelson underplays to perfection, Chewie is Chewie and Donald Glover owns every scene Lando is in.

Oh, and Phoebe Waller-Bridge is absolutely brilliant as L3.

So how the hell the two stars fail to shine is something of a mystery.

Then there's the plot (and I'm being kind here).

The whole thing is basically a vehicle to illustrate a piece of Star Wars folk lore.

Two hours to show you how the famous thing actually happened.

Where there no better ideas out there?

There's a twist of sorts at the end that would have made a much better story, for crying out loud, with far more interesting characters.

And as for all the shoe-horning in of future plot references...

But hey ho, I guess the studio bosses know what the fans want.

There's another one of these things coming, which will hopefully be another upgrade, but one's hopes are not high.

For now, it's best to enjoy Solo for what it is - a not terrible tale of a character we come to love in later films.

And follow it up by actually watching the original trilogy. Because if we're not careful, we'll forget what made us love them as much as we do.