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Movie Review: Solo - A Star Wars Story (2018) *Spoiler Free*

Solo - A Star Wars Story is one of those prequel movies you could watch prior to seeing Episode IV, A New Hope (if you're one of the few who've never seen the original trilogy) and it would fit right in. In fact, you'd probably enjoy Solo a lot more if this was your first introduction to the character, and even the Star Wars universe.

Unfortunately, if you're very familiar with the character of Han Solo from all the other films, Solo - A Star Wars story is a bit like watching a retelling of a story you pretty much already knew.


That's not to say there aren't a few surprises in the detail but the broad strokes that you've heard about in most of the other films are nearly all played out here.

Intertwined with that is this film's plot which revolves around a specific heist, that is all new, and provides plenty of opportunity to show you things that you haven't heard stories about before.

Overall Solo is a solid film. The cast all do a great job with what they had to work with. Both Alden Ehrenreich and Donald Glover play good versions of Han and Lando respectively without coming off as trying to do straight impersonations of Harrison Ford and Billy Dee Williams. I'd certainly turn up to watch them in another Solo adventure.

Personally I came to see this movie for Chewbacca, who is my favorite Star Wars character, especially when he's partnered with Han Solo. For the first time he is played entirely by Joonas Suotamo (if you exclude Chewie's barely more than a cameo role in The Last Jedi) who does a great job keeping the character consistent from what Peter Mayhew achieved in the role.

It did grate on me a little that, when Han and Chewie first meet, their conversation is subtitled (for the first time ever, I think). I'm very glad this didn't continue beyond the first few lines because part of what makes Chewie an enjoyable character is, even when no one is translating, you still get the gist of what he's trying to express.

The film is let down mostly by being a prequel that is showing you the stories you'd only heard about until now... and some of those stories may not quite live up to your expectations. Case in point, the Kessel run (surely it's not a spoiler to say you get to see the Kessel run in this movie).

The Kessel run in its self is an exciting sequence. I'm just not sure on how it's depicted in this film translates to a legend that made it as far as Rey's ears, decades later, in The Force Awakens.

Beyond that, Solo has plenty of action sequences that are as good as any you've seen in the Star Wars franchise, a few new and interesting characters, one or two surprises you may not have guessed, and it's clearly setting up for possibly another Solo adventure - or at least, elements that may impact other Star Wars Anthology stories. (My preference would be for another Solo movie now we've got all the 'stories you've only heard about' out of the way).

As I said, it's a movie that is really only let down by being a prequel. If this was your introduction to the Star Wars universe you'd probably be far more impressed. It's not a bad film, by any stretch. Lucas Film just need to work out how to make these prequel stories seem a little less like visual flash backs and a little more like new and exciting additions to Star Wars cannon.

If you're a fan of Han Solo or Chewbacca you'll be glad this movie exists. On it's own it doesn't add much to the Star Wars canon that wasn't already there, though future films could certainly build upon this one to bring us all new adventures in the years prior to the original trilogy.
 

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