#MovieReviewMondays": "Solo: A Star Wars Story"

“Solo: A Star Wars Story” was directed by Ron Howard, and stars Alden Ehrenreich as a young Han Solo, a renegade soldier for the Galactic Empire who develops a mind of his own and turns to a life of smuggling.

There has been a great deal of controversy surrounding the production of this movie, with the firing of directors Chris Miller and Phil Lord from the project deep into shooting, resulting in re-shoots of 70% of the film with Ron Howard at the helm, putting the creative freedom of Disney directors at question.

However, what we ended up getting doesn’t really disappoint. I have some issues with the film, but there is quite a lot to love about it. The acting holds up from everyone, with the standout expectedly coming from Donald Glover as the charismatic Lando Calrissian. Chewbacca (Joonas Suotamo) finally gets his much-deserved spotlight as well. Ehrenreich surprisingly holds his own as the beloved smuggler despite initial controversy following his casting.

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While Star Wars movies are being brought every year now, there is always one aspect to be awed upon, and that is the worlds created. Production and costume design are always standouts in the saga, and they are no different in “Solo”, with costume design being at an all-time high. This combined with some great action scenes save the movie from mediocrity.

The biggest standouts, however, are the music and the cinematography. The score produced by John Powell is arguably on-par with that of John Williams and provides a much-needed sense of atmosphere and urgency. The cinematography brought by Oscar-nominee Bradford Young brings the stylistic shot composition that is usually missing from the Star Wars universe.

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Now on to the gripes I have with “Solo”.

The most protruding issues are the story and pacing. The story of “Solo” is really nothing more than your average heist movie, except drawn out for the origin aspect. The first two acts run along just fine, but the pacing of the third is far to rushed and doesn’t allow any emotion or reaction from the audience.

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The villain, crime lord Dryden Vos (Paul Bettany) is also painfully average and unimpressing in terms of substance. While Bettany in fact does a great job in this role as an actor, the issues in this aspect derive from a weak screenplay and back-story.

 

There are also some issues with Solo himself in terms of writing. Solo is often portrayed as a care-free, independent figure who hates taking orders, driven by profit. Howard and the screenwriters appear to completely ignore this aspect, and make Solo an adolescent driven by love, who takes orders from everyone, trying to prove his masculinity whenever he can.

There is also a slew of badly written fill-in characters that do nothing to serve the plot. Many actors slated as stars of the film only appear very briefly. Other character arcs are boldly predictable.

Consensus

The behind-the-scenes drama and hashed-out screenplay makes this movie feel like nothing more than a cash-grab by Disney at some points. Despite inconsistencies with the characters and predictability, “Solo” is still an enjoyable, well-crafted sci-fi western.

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