Film Review: Solo

Geth is a major Star Wars fan – it’s one of his main obsessions.  As such, for the release of all of the new Disney Star Wars films, we’ve gone out to see the film on release day so that he can watch the reviews on all his favourite Star Wars YouTube channels without getting spoilered.  The fact that we didn’t manage to do that with Solo – indeed, that it took us about six weeks to get around to seeing it – should tell you everything you need to know about how ridiculously busy life has been for us both recently.

Still, this last weekend, Geth has finally managed to celebrate his birthday properly – it was actually three weeks ago, but there just wasn’t space to do anything at the time – and as part of that, we managed to squeeze in a trip to the cinema on Friday afternoon.

I was slightly apprehensive about Solo, because I find recasting difficult – it really breaks my suspension of disbelief.  I’d been very happy with the effects in Rogue One where they’d digitally recreated the likenesses of Peter Cushing and Carrie Fisher, but I do appreciate that you can’t really do that for the main character of a film.  Still, Alden Ehrenreich is a great actor, and while I didn’t feel that he echoed Harrison Ford’s performance in the same way that Ewan McGregor managed for Alec Guinness in the prequel trilogy, I did believe that it was the same character, and I didn’t really think about the change of actors while I was watching the film, which I think is all you can ask for, really.

The story was very enjoyable – it was a good rollicking action adventure, and the tension never let up.  There was a great moment with a surprise appearance from an old character you wouldn’t expect, though I would have thought it would be really confusing for people who only watch the films and not the animated TV series.  I expect I’ll hear more about that when Geth catches up with his YouTube watching.

My only real issue with the story was that, like Rogue One before it, there were a lot of character deaths.  I expected it from the start, and made sure not to get too attached to anyone, but I’m never a fan of killing off characters.  I find it to be cheap and lazy writing – there’s always a more interesting way that you can write characters out of a story – and I get frustrated when certain writers become known and lauded for regularly offing their creations, as if it’s clever or brave to do so.  It’s not.  I find it especially irritating when characters are basically introduced simply in order to die, and I felt that there were a couple of instances of that in Solo.

On the whole, though, I liked the film, and I’d give it a solid three out of five stars.  If we can arrange it before it stops being shown in cinemas, Geth and I will go see it once more with my dad (I have a tradition of going to see Star Wars films with Dad that dates back to The Phantom Menace!  I wasn’t born when the original trilogy came out, sadly) and then it will fade into the kind of film that I’ll be happy to semi-watch while doing something else once Geth has bought the Blu-Ray.